For Native Americans- a ‘Historic Moment’ on the Path to Power at the Ballot Box – The New York Times

“SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah — In this county of desert and sagebrush, Wilfred Jones has spent a lifetime angered by what his people are missing. Running water, for one. Electricity, for another. But worst of all, in his view, is that the Navajo people here lack adequate political representation.

So Mr. Jones sued, and in late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.The move could allow Navajo people to win two of three county commission seats for the first time, overturning more than a century of political domination by white residents. And the shift here is part of an escalating battle over Native American enfranchisement, one that comes amid a larger wave of voting rights movements spreading across the country.“It’s a historic moment for us,” said Mr. Jones, during a drive on the county’s roller coaster dirt roads. “We look at what happened with the Deep South,” he went on, “how they accomplished what they have. We can do the same thing.” ”

Bravo. Here is a comment I endorse:

DW In the shadow of Monticello 38 minutes ago
it’s about time that the Native American citizens have an equal opportunity to have a proportional vote and to equalize the use of government resources (i.e., tax income) for all – not just for those who control the boundaries of voting districts in their favor.

FlagReply 9 Recommended

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The Colorado Cake Case Is as Easy as Pie – By RIA TABACCO MAR – NYT

“Is there a constitutional right to discriminate? That should be an easy “no.” But in President Trump’s America, that question will be argued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, involves Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, whom I have represented since 2015. They were planning their wedding in 2012, and one of the details they were excited about was the cake. Mr. Craig’s mother, Debbie Munn, was set to visit them that summer, so they decided to wait for her to choose it.”

DL: Keep reading, it gets better.

What Congressmen Are Hiding – The New York Times

“As charges of sexual harassment and assault swept from Hollywood to Washington, Congress has faced questions about how it addresses such claims. The answer: terribly.

For two decades, taxpayers have been underwriting secret payments to people who accuse lawmakers of sexual misconduct under a 1995 law called, paradoxically, the Congressional Accountability Act. The legislation applied to Congress many laws on workplace safety, employment and civil rights from which it had been exempt. In the process, it established an account to pay settlements, which prevented lawmakers from being personally liable, and created an Office of Compliance that kept charges and payments secret.

After public pressure, the Office of Compliance released a tally of the settlements this month: Between 1997 and the present, the office has paid more than $17 million on more than 260 claims. In keeping with Congress’s maddening lack of transparency, the tally lumps harassment with discrimination and other claims, so the number of harassment claims isn’t clear. It also doesn’t name any of those accused.”

DL: Yuck. Yuck. Thank you for the editorial. There were many good comments also, the most popular being:

Dandy Maine 13 hours ago
We would all want to know which Representatives and Senators were accused of sexual misconduct. Why should we tax payers help cover this up?

Reply 155 Recommended

ChristineMcM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 13 hours ago
And to think they’re about to pass a huge tax give-away to the wealthy while stiffing us working stiffs.

They should get their house in order, and pay the $17 million back to the US treasury before even thinking of passing tax “reform’.

It’s the ultimate irony that what they did to their victims they’re doing to us, with one exception: we won’t receive any hush money collected on the average taxpayer’s dime.

Reply 130 Recommended

c ny 13 hours ago
Disgusting, isn’t it?

We, taxpayers, foot the bill whether we agree or not.
Long past time the public knows who we are subsidizing, and time to stop making ANY person not accountable for his or her actions. In Congress or not.

Start with the White House occupant. He should be accountable too.

Reply 107 Recommended

NYT Pick
N. Eichler CA 3 hours ago
I would like those members of Congress for whom settlements have been paid to be named including, as well, the dates of their transgressions. Furthermore, each of these members of Congress must repay the Treasury the amount of the original settlement. Any future such acts of thoughtless idiocy must be made public, and settlements paid by the transgressor not the taxpayer.

None of my taxpayer dollars are to be used by these miscreants allowing them to remain anonymous. I expect those dollars to be used for medical coverage, to increase teachers’ salaries, build more schools, maintain roads and bridges,
make certain we have clean air and water.

Those dollars are to benefit our country and its citizens and not men who refuse to understand the limits of familiarity.

Reply 101
Recommended

NYT Pick
Bob Bascelli Seaford NY 3 hours ago
Jack and Jill went up the Hill. Jill came down and is required to undergo counseling, mediation and a 30-day “cooling off period” before filing a formal complaint of sexual misconduct. This is victim intimidation, plain and simple. Sexual misconduct by the “Fools on the Hill” is a national disgrace. If lawmakers need “mandatory training in appropriate behavior toward their staff” in order to avoid misconduct, how can they be competent enough to be our representatives? Why does Jill need a 30 day cooling off period when it is Jack who needs the cooling off?

Reply 88 Recommended

Robert Mercer- Bannon Patron- Is Leaving Helm of $50 Billion Hedge Fund – The New York Times

“Robert Mercer, a billionaire investor and top financial backer of conservative causes, is stepping down as co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies, as the giant hedge fund faces a backlash from some clients who resent Mr. Mercer’s embrace of polarizing political figures.

Discomfort with Mr. Mercer’s political activism — including protests aimed at university endowments, foundations and pension funds with money invested in Renaissance — has showed signs of taking a small but growing toll. The retirement fund for Baltimore’s police and firefighters, for example, last week asked that all of the $33 million it had invested in Renaissance be refunded, said David A. Randall, the retirement fund’s deputy executive director.

The Baltimore fund had been contacted by a local reporter about whether the pension was bothered by Mr. Mercer’s political activities. Seeking to avoid bad publicity, the pension’s directors convened an emergency conference call and decided to pull their money.”

David Lindsay:
It is not a complete coincidence that we learn today that the new Republican tax plan fails to raise the tax rate on hedge fund billionaires from the 20% capital gains rate to the 39.6% rate that is supposed to be for our richest citizens.

The comments at NYTimes.com are enlightening, such as:

SJM

Florida 20 hours ago

Some believe, including HRC, that the Mercers were instrumental in providing sophisticated social research that identified hot button issues of controversy among select voters in key electoral districts. This “research” focused on wedges in the community: immigration, policing, racial divides, etc. Some also believe that this social trending may have “fallen” into the hands of Russian hackers and misinformation specialists. The connection is Mueller’s to make, but could be part of Mr. Mercer’s resignations.

Virginia Is for Haters – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Why is America the only wealthy nation that doesn’t guarantee essential health care for all? (We’ve made a lot of progress under Obamacare, but not enough, and the Trump administration is doing its best to kill it.) Why do we have much higher poverty than our economic peers, especially among children, and much higher infant mortality despite the sophistication of our medical system?

The answer, of course, comes down to politics: We are uniquely unwilling to take care of our fellow citizens. And behind that political difference lies one overwhelming fact: the legacy of slavery. All too often, white Americans think of the social safety net not as something for people like themselves fallen on hard times, but as a giveaway to Those People.This isn’t idle speculation. If you want to understand why policies toward the poor are so different at the state level, why some states offer so much less support to troubled families with children, one predictor stands out: the African-American share of the population. The more blacks, the less compassion white voters feel.”

On Voting Reforms- Follow Illinois- Not Texas – The New York Times

“In the face of America’s abysmal voter participation rates, lawmakers have two choices: They can make voting easier, or they can make it harder.

Illinois made the right choice this week, becoming the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, to enact automatic voter registration. The bill, which could add as many as one million voters to the state’s rolls, was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who had vetoed similar legislation last year.

Under the new law, all eligible voters will be registered to vote when they visit the Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agencies. If they do not want to be registered, they may opt out.”

Strong editorial, excellent comments, such as:
Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 4 hours ago

The right to vote and the requirements thereof should be nationalized. There should be no difference from state to state. Instead of exercising states rights to improve access, deep red states are using the states rights issue increase political power. This is not only un American, it is essentially stripping away the basis of our republican democracy, which is the right to vote. Nothing is more fundamental.

Texas has just experienced a disaster of biblical proportions. The costs to recover will most likely exceed $100 billion dollars. Tens of million have been hurt.

The floodwaters did not discriminate. Rich or poor, black, brown or white, the waters came. They are all in it together, bound up by their suffering and loss.

That’s how voting is supposed to work in a democracy. All are bound up together, regardless or race, creed or income.

If Texas can’t learn that lesson from Harvey, then it’s time to play hardball. I would make federal aid contingent upon Texas accepting the federal motor vehicle registration system. The cost is nil. The pain to do so is nil.

If Texas wants federal dollars to flow to help in the recovery, then the state should accept the voter requirements that allow voting in all elections.

We are all truly in this disaster together. The nation should rally to help Texas. It’s high time Texas started acting like it is part of this nation.

Reply 58 Recommended

How Trump Kills the G.O.P. – by David Brooks – NYT

“It’s ironic that race was the issue that created the Republican Party and that race could very well be the issue that destroys it.The G.O.P. was founded to fight slavery, and through most of its history it had a decent record on civil rights. A greater percentage of congressional Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats.

It’s become more of a white party in recent years, of course, and adopted some wrongheaded positions on civil rights enforcement, but it was still possible to be a Republican without feeling like you were violating basic decency on matters of race. Most of the Republican establishment, from the Bushes to McCain and Romney, fought bigotry, and racism was not a common feature in the conservative moment.

Between 1984 and 2003 I worked at National Review, The Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and The Weekly Standard. Most of my friends were Republicans.”

Comments
Don Shipp, Homestead Florida 7 hours ago

David is wrong about the Republican Party and its white identity politics, it was an integral part of Republican Party strategy long before 2005. Republican opposition to “big government” was always a metaphor for opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” was a raced based appeal to white voters. Ronald Reagan’s entire presidency was marked by racial dog whistles, opening his 1980 campaign in racially infamous Philadelphia, Mississippi. Reagan originally opposed making Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. He was against forced busing to achieve integration, and affirmative action. He told false stories about “Chicago welfare queens” driving around in Cadillacs, and referred to “strapping young bucks”. He vetoed the “Civil Rights Restoration Act ” of 1987 and sanctions against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. The notorious Willie Horton campaign was the creation of George H.W. Bush’s campaign strategist, Lee Atwood. Moderate Republican’s must accept the fact that Donald Trump’s blatantly racist appeal to voters is an ugly legacy of Republican Party history.

1374 Recommend

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

David Brook’s remarkable op-ed went right by you, Mr. Ship. There is variation and nuance in both parties. John Lindsay was a Republican when he co-authored the what became the civil rights act of 1964. He was part of a bi-partisan group of leaders in congress who forced it to a vote against the quiet wishes of the the Kennedy brothers, who warned it would damage the Democratic party for years.
While you are right that the GOP has moved closer and closer to the white supremacists and racists, a number of Republicans certainly had their great moments in the sunshine of the civil right movement.

The Other Inconvenient Truth – by Charles Blow – NYT

“It is possible to trace this devil’s dance back to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the emergence of Richard Nixon. After the passage of the act, the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln to which black people felt considerable fealty, turned on those people and stabbed them in the back.

In 1994 John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser and a Watergate co-conspirator, confessed this to the author Dan Baum:“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The era Ehrlichman referred to was the beginning of the War on Drugs. Nixon started his offensive in 1971, declaring in a speech from the White House Briefing Room: “America’s public enemy No. 1 in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”The object of disrupting communities worked all too well — more than 40 million arrests have been conducted for drug-related offenses since 1971, with African-Americans being incarcerated in state prisons for these offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that for whites, according to Human Rights Watch.”

The above passages are of great interest to me. I suspected this, but never had an articulate confirmation before now. It is horrifying.

Here is a comment which I found helpful, and another quite amusing, if tragic.

ChristineMcM

is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 2 hours ago

“”This is the tragedy of racism because its ultimate logic is genocide. If one says that I am not good enough to live next door to him, if one says that I am not good enough to eat at a lunch counter, or to have a good, decent job, or to go to school with him merely because of my race, he is saying consciously or unconsciously that I do not deserve to exist.””

Charles, with this quote from King, you’ve opened my eyes to a shattering logic I could never reach on my own.

Your words are a blistering indictment of a party that pays lip service to equality but pursues bigotry via a return to harsh drug and voter “fraud” laws –the very policies Jeff Sessions is dragging back from the grave into our criminal justice system.

The other thing that astounds me in this piece is the how pernicious racism is even among the well-intentioned. The ultimate arrogance if you will–I feel your pain. Of course I can’t–I’m not in your shoes.

But by my vote I signal my beliefs. Never has this been truer than in the age of Trump, a man who managed to openly slander both Jews and African Americans in his justification of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.

If you roll the videotape and watch the body language of Cohn, Menuchin, and Kelly, you need no other information on the size of the dagger Trump inserted into his presidency.

Is this the end of Trump, or only the first blow? Who knows–but your articulation of how racism works is irrefutable.

Larry Eisenberg

is a trusted commenter Medford, MA. 4 hours ago

Once known as dumbest in his class
Once for five deferments harassed
A standby first pager
In print all the rager
For each disaster he’s amassed.

Non reader, non thinker of yore
At gath’rings a terrible bore,
A garrulous greeter
Insatiable tweeter
What greater horrors are in store?

Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O. – by David Brooks – NYT

“Geoffrey Miller, a prominent evolutionary psychologist, wrote in Quillette, “For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate.”

Damore was especially careful to say this research applies only to populations, not individuals: “Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population-level distributions.” ”

David Brooks impressed my greatly with his points. But here is a comment which claims to overturn the writer.

HT is a trusted commenter Ohio 7 hours ago

I’m a woman engineer, and I’ve heard the argument made by Damore countless times. It’s flawed in two ways.

First, it is obvious to all but the most sexist observers that some women do excel in STEM. To argue that the population-level differences in, say, mathematical abilities between men and women have a biological basis is to argue that women who do excel in math are biologically different from women who do not. Once you make this claim, then none of the other population-level averages in other traits can be applied to women in STEM. In other words, if you are going to claim, as Damore does, that women are underrepresented leadership positions at Google because of innate differences in competitiveness, then you need to look at competitiveness among STEM women, not the general population.

Secondly, companies like Google are striving for a diverse workforce because they believe that it makes their company more competitive. (The literature supporting this is just as strong as the literature on gender differences associated with STEM.) The smaller pool of STEM women means that companies like Google must work harder to attract, recruit, and retain STEM women than STEM men. In other words, diversity is about winning a competition between corporations. Damore completely misses this point, but Pichai, whose job is to maintain Google’s competitiveness, does not.

Reply 579 Recommended

Racial Violence on the Screen – by – Michael Eric Dyson – NYT

“In the thick of “Detroit,” a new film by Kathryn Bigelow about the uprising in that city — my native city — 50 years ago, a white cop kills a black man. His partner then asks a witness, a black man, what he saw. The witness says he saw nothing. The partner puts the same question to another witness, a black teen, who refuses to play along.

“You killed him,” the teen responds.

“I don’t see anything,” the cop says.

“It’s a dead guy right there,” the black teen angrily insists. Moments later the cop shoots and kills the defiant witness.

The stakes are clear: There is a penalty for telling the truth about what we see of police brutality.There is a depressing similarity between the racial trauma that this film faithfully revisits and the painful events of today caught on cellphones and police dashcams. The cost is staggering for black people, who are told that what we see with our own eyes is not true — the vicious toll of being repeatedly disbelieved.”