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2022-04-05 18:01:31

    What Happened to the Party of Limited Government?

    I’m old enough to remember when the Republican Party stood for limited government – when Ronald Reagan thundered “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

    Today’s Republican Party, while still claiming to stand for limited government, stands for government intrusion everywhere:

    Republican governors ban masks in schools.

    Republican states outlaw abortions.

    Republican lawmakers prohibit teachers from teaching about America’s racist past.

    Republican legislators force transgender students to play sports and use bathrooms according to their assigned gender at birth.

    And across the country, Republican lawmakers are making it harder for people to vote.

    This is not limited government, folks. This is social control. Republicans have a particular ideology and are determined to impose that ideology on citizens holding different views and values.

    This is not about freedom, either. Just the opposite: It’s Republicans denying people their freedoms: The freedom to be safe from COVID. Freedom over their own bodies. The freedom to learn the truth about our history. The freedom to vote and participate in our democracy.

    Once, Republicans had a coherent view about individual liberties and limiting the role of government. That’s not to say this ideology was beneficial to the country – far from it. But it was coherent, and they were committed to it. Now, they only want to get reelected.

    They are misusing government to advance a narrow and restrictive set of values — intruding on the most intimate acts, and banning what’s necessary for people to exercise their most basic freedoms.

    This is not mere hypocrisy. The Republican Party now poses a clear and present threat even to the values it once espoused.

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    This is very scary and concerning for black people. AGAIN DEHUMANIZING BLACK PEOPLE

    Black people health conditions aren't taken seriously compared to others.Many black people are scared to go to the hospital for this reason

    Black women are 4x likely to die from complications of childbirth than white women in the United states.they've had experience that has unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes

    How Trump’s Attempted Coup Could Still Succeed

    The former president’s attempted coup is not stopping. He still refuses to concede and continues to rile up supporters with his bogus claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Tens of millions of Americans believe him.

    Last Sunday, at a Republican event in Franklin, North Carolina, Congressman Madison Cawthorn, repeating Trump’s big lie, called the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 “political hostages.“  

    Cawthorn also advised the crowd to begin stockpiling ammunition for what he said is likely to be American-versus-American “bloodshed” over unfavorable election results.

    “Much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs,” he said, “there’s nothing I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American.”

    On Tuesday, Texas Republicans passed a strict voter law based on Trump’s big lie – imposing new ID requirements on people seeking to vote by mail and criminal penalties on election officials who send unsolicited mail-in ballot applications, empowering partisan poll watchers, and banning drive-through and 24-hour voting.

    This year, at least 18 other states have enacted 30 laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote, based on Trump’s lie.

    On Thursday, at Trump’s instigation, Pennsylvania Republicans launched an investigation soliciting sworn testimony on election "irregularities,” scheduling the first hearing for next week.

    Arizona’s Republican “audit” will report its results any day, but there’s little question what they’ll show. The CEO of the Cyber Ninjas, the firm hired to conduct it, has publicly questioned the election results, and the audit team consists of Trump supporters and is funded by a group led by Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

    The Republican chair of the Wisconsin state assembly’s campaigns and elections committee has begun “a full, cyber-forensic audit” akin to Arizona’s. Trump’s first White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, saysWisconsin Republicans are prepared to spend $680,000 on it.

    These so-called audits won’t alter the outcome of the 2020 election. Their point is to cast further doubt on its legitimacy and justify additional state measures to suppress votes and alter future elections.

    It’s a vicious cycle. As Trump continues to stoke his base with his big lie that the election was stolen, Republican lawmakers – out to advance their careers and entrench the GOP – are adding fuel to the fire, pushing more Americans into Trump’s paranoid nightmare.

    The three top candidates to succeed Richard Burr in North Carolina all denounced the senator’s vote to convict Trump in his last impeachment trial. The four leading candidates to succeed Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania all embraced Trump’s call for an “audit” of election results.

    A leading contender for Senate seat being vacated by Richard Shelby in Alabama is Representative Mo Brooks, best known for urging the crowd at Trump’s rally preceding the Capitol riot to “start taking down names and kicking ass.” Brooks has been endorsed by Trump.

    Yet even as Trump’s attempted coup gains traction, most of the rest of America continues to sleep. We’ve become so outrage-fatigued by his antics, and so preoccupied with the more immediate threats of the Delta variant and climate-fueled wildfires and hurricanes, that we prefer not to know.

    A month ago it was reported that during his last weeks in office Trump tried to strong-arm the Justice Department to falsely declare that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, even threatening to fire the acting attorney general if he didn’t: “Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen.”

    The news barely registered on America’s collective mind. The Olympics and negotiations over the infrastructure bill got more coverage.

    A top Trump adviser now says Trump is definitely running” for president in 2024, even though the 14th Amendment to the constitution bars anyone from holding office who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the nation.  

    Federal legislation that would pre-empt state voter suppression laws is bogged down in the Senate. Biden hasn’t made it a top priority. A House select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot and Trump’s possible role is barely off the ground. The U.S Justice Department has made no move to indict the former president for anything.

    But unless Trump and his co-conspirators are held accountable for the damage they have inflicted and continue to inflict on American democracy, and unless Senate Democrats and Biden soon enact national voting rights legislation, Trump’s attempted coup could eventually succeed.

    It is imperative that America wake up.

    The 1811 Louisiana Slave Revolt

    Charles Deslondes was a Creole Mulatto slave living on the German Coast east of New Orleans.  Because he was a Creole and thus had lighter skin than other African slaves, he was given special priviledges over other slaves and given the position of “driver”, an oversear of the other slaves tasked with maintaining order and discipline. To the slave owners Deslondes was a loyal slave driver. However in reality it was all an act, Deslondes hated his masters and secretly plotted to overthrow them. While by day Deslondes played the part of a viscious task master, at night he was organizing his fellow slaves for a rebellion, telling them tales of how slaves in Haiti had overthrown their masters and formed their own independent kingdom.  Deslondes also had the priviledge of being able to freely travel among the other plantations for business purposes. Thus he was ables to likewise organize the slaves of other nearby plantations. A date was set for an organized rebellion to take place when the sugarcane harvest was finished in early January, when the slave would be idle and have time to prepare the uprising while the slave owners would be busy preparing for the upcoming Carnival celebrations.  What would transpire would be the largest slave rebellion in United States history.

    On January the 8th, 1811, Delondes attempted to murder his master, Col. Manuel Andry while other slaves hacked appart his son. Andry was able to escape across the Mississippi River despite suffering an axe wound to the head.  Likewise the slaves of other nearby plantations revolted and sent their masters fleeing into the swamps.  The rebel slaves grabbed whatever weapons they could, mostly farm tools such as machetes, pitchforks, axes, and sickles, while some acquired firearms pilfered from plantation armories.  The slaves then marched along the main roadway besdie the Mississippi River towards New Orleans, burning plantations and crops, beating on drums, and chanting traditional African war cries.  After a day, their numbers swelled to around 500 men and women. One notable white planter named Jean-Francois Trepagnier, who had a reputation as a particularly cruel slave master, chose to stand his ground by sitting on his porch on a rocking chair, armed with a musket waiting for the slave army to arrive.  Who knows what he thought he could accomplish alone, but when the slaves arrived he fired his musket and missed.  One of his slaves snuck behind him and buried an hatchet into his skull, then he was dismembered.


    Meanwhile white planters fled their plantations for New Orleans, causing panic to sweep through the city. The locals formed a militia force of two companies bolstered by 30 US Army soldiers.  They were led by General Wade Hampton, who was then the largest slaveholder in the US at the time. They marched out to meet the oncoming slave army. The slave army made a tactical retreat east to fight on better ground.  However Col. Andry had returned from the southern bank of the Mississippi with a force of planter milita and attacked the slave army’s rear.  Surrounded on both sides by an enemy that was better organized and better armed, the slaves didn’t stand a chance.  After a short battle the slaves broke and ran for the swamps.  Around 95 slaves were killed in the battle. The rest would be hunted down by dogs and when captured, executed by hanging or by firing squad.  Charles Deslondes was personally tortured and executed by Col. Andry.  His hands were chopped off, he was shot in the legs, then he was thrown alive into a fire.  

    After the rebellion the corpses of the rebel slaves were beheaded, their heads set atop pikes lining the road over which the slave army had marched along the Mississippi all the way from the Andry Plantation where the rebellion had started to the French Quarter 20 miles away.


    No Compromising with the GOP Cult

    I keep hearing that Joe Biden has to govern from the “center.” He has no choice, they say, because he has razor-thin majorities in Congress and the Republican Party has moved to the right.

    Rubbish. First, there is no “center” between the reality-based world and the conspiracy-fueled, hate-filled world of today’s Republican Party. Second, the problems the country is facing cannot be solved with milquetoast, centrist solutions – they demand immediate, bold action.

    I’ve been in or around politics for 50 years. I’ve served several Democratic presidents who have needed Republican votes. But the Republicans now in Congress are nothing like those I’ve dealt with.

    Today’s Republican Party is a cult.

    93 percent of House Republicans voted against impeaching Trump for inciting an insurrection, and Senate Republicans refuse to convict him. This is after Trump’s insurrection threatened even their own lives.

    The 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are facing backlash from their colleagues, with some even calling to remove Liz Cheney from her leadership position. 

    But hardly any have condemned the vile conspiracy theories spouted by Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has claimed that the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were “false flags” and that the deadly California wildfires were sparked by a Jewish space laser, among other wild lies.

    All of this marks the culmination of the GOP’s growing lunacy over the last four years. With Trump at its head, the Republican Party has embraced blatant white supremacy, and now inhabits a counterfactual wonderland of lies and conspiracies.

    Even by mid-January, polls show three out of four Republicans don’t think Biden won legitimately. 45 percent support the storming of the Capitol; 57 percent say Trump should be the Republican candidate in 2024.

    And a growing fringe – including some Republicans in Congress – openly talk of redressing grievances through violence.

    With this Republican Party, Biden cannot be a “centrist.” 

    Instead, he must deliver bold change for the American people, refusing to compromise with violent Trumpism. Barring Trump from ever holding public office again. Expelling Trump’s co-conspirators from Congress. 

    Don’t listen to people claiming this would be a “distraction” from Biden’s agenda. There is no healing without accountability. If we let those who incited this insurrection off the hook, we’re inviting it to happen again. And next time they might succeed.

    It should all be part of Biden’s agenda. Biden must fight for democracy and against authoritarianism – including strengthening voting rights, getting big money out of politics, and taking on the Republican Party’s anti-democratic agenda of gerrymandering and voter suppression. 

    There is no longer a “center” in American politics. No middle ground between lies and facts. No halfway point between civil discourse and violence. No midrange between democracy and fascism.

    We either have a future based on lies, violence, and authoritarianism – or on unyielding truth, unshakeable civility, and democracy. Biden and the Democrats must fight for the latter. And we must make them.