Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

civil rights

Why I Vote For Democrats: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

The act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin and gave the federal courts jurisdiction over enforcement, taking it out of the state courts where justice was uneven at best.

The Civil Rights Act had political ramifications as well. Its adoption caused a mass exodus of angry racists from the Democratic Party in the old south to the Republican Party. And the politics borne of hatred of The Other gave the not so Grand Old Party the presidency for 28 out of the next 40 years.  

Jewish Americans Embrace Supreme Court Rulings on Marriage Equality

Let me start with a very simple statistic about the degree of support marriage equality enjoys within the Jewish American community:

Most Jewish communal leaders celebrated the landmark Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. The Jewish community, with 81% of support for gay marriage according to public opinion polls, is the constituency most supportive of marriage equality, second only to the LGBT community in its backing of the rights of gays and lesbians to marry.

By comparison, among the population as a whole, marriage equality is enjoys anywhere from plurality to a small majority in support.  Given this 81% figure, it should come as no surprise that much of institutional Judaism (to the extent it exists) in the United States has been supportive of the effort for equality.  Many such organizations filed amicus briefs in support of marriage equality before the DOMA and Prop 8 cases were heard and now that the cases have been decided have reiterated their support.

Shooting the Messenger Redux: Guardian in the firing line

Last night the Observer newspaper, a long standing paper in its own right (it actually predates the Guardian by several years) publisheda badly sourced front page story taken from Birtherist Wayne Madsen and the privacy surgeon site about European surveillance

Disaster for the Observer, which has been running on a much reduced staff for several years. It is owned by the Guardian now, but has a long and distinctly different identity and editorial separation.

Not for much longer after a disaster like that.

Complete cock up.

However, it wasn’t long before many were claiming that this cock up undermined all of the Guardian’s reporting on the Snowden issue. To me, that would be like assuming that News of the World’s hacking undermined the Wall Street Journal’s financial reporting, just because they have the same owner. In a long a protracted twitter exchange with Charles Johnson at Green Footballs (beginning somewhere round here) I noticed the claim had gone from ‘Observer screws up’ to “Guardian repeatedly used Madsen as a source.”

Well, no. A source of a story in journalistic terms is the ‘source/origin’ of a story. Apart from the Observer debacle, he is cited five times by the Guardian, for one line quotes, often taken from other news sources. All but one of these were from before 2003, when he launched towards birtherism

Having put paid to the idea he’s a major source for the Guardian, perhaps it would be worth watching this excellent Charlie Rose interview with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and US editor Janine Gibson to see their real motivations.

Three things are apparent to me

1. They verified everything

2. The redacted anything that was a threat to national security

3. They think it’s bigger than Snowden, and digital surveillance, for the first time in history, compromises the right to protest and the possibilities of investigative journalism

The latter is my biggest fear as expressed in the New Republic last week


Meanwhile Der Spiegel is reporting about surveillance on the EU parliament (Germans have a historical reason for mistrusting this level of intrusion) and the Washington Post is reporting that the NSA capture was of live information, with 49 per cent risk the target is domestic.  

“The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Those words (or some slight variation on them) are found in many constitutional amendments to formally enable the Congress to enact legislation to give those amendments meaning.  Among those amendments that possess these words are the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth and Twenty-Sixth, which form the basis of the constitutional guarantee of the right to vote.  It seems that Chief Justice Roberts and the four other justices that joined him in today’s tragic opinion ignored those very basic words.  Perhaps they need a basic refresher in the words of the Constitution.  I’ll start with the Fourteenth Amendment below the fold.

Minnesota House Passes Marriage Equality!

I was watching the Minnesota House of Representatives debate their Marriage Equality bill, and it passed!  75 Yeas to 59 Nays.  The Minnesota Senate is expected to take up the bill on Monday, and from everything I’ve read it’s expected to pass there.  Governor Mark Dayton has said he will sign the bill when it passes.  Minnesota would become the 12th State (13th jurisdiction) to legalize marriage equality.  The tide is definitely turning.

They got on the bus for our freedoms

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Re-creation of burned Greyhound Freedom Rider bus, National Civil Rights Museum

The recreation of the burned out Greyhound bus pictured above doesn’t begin to capture the horror of the actual event, that took place on Mother’s Day outside of Anniston, Alabama.

Perhaps this actual photo illustrates more of the tale that is told by those Freedom riders who were on the bus that day.

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It is May. Springtime. A month of hope and rebirth. It is also a month of memories that we need to revisit yearly until the seeds of hate no longer can sow sorrow in the U.S.A.

I was only 13 years old in May of 1961. Not too young to be concerned with civil rights however, and I looked up to those young people, only a few years older than I, who packed up their bags and headed off to do battle against racial segregation.

They were black, and white, and they knew they were facing possible death.

Yet they got on buses and headed south.

Welfare Used to Fund Terrorism! Beyond Rhetoric: 10 Ways to Fix Welfare

Today headlines blared that the Boston bombers had been funding their terrorist lifestyles with welfare. How could we, the cash-strapped people, have been allowed to provide for these shady characters? The American-born wife and baby were obviously part of a long con on the generosity of the American people. That the wife chose to work 80 hours a week (possibly for less than minimum wage) as a quasi-servant rather than continue with those benefits does not mitigate the fact that someone who later became a terrorist got to mooch! Who would have the insolence to even wonder whether the indignities of the broken welfare system factored into how much these “losers” came to hate the United States…?

Well, I’m going to dare to bring it up.

The welfare approach in the United States are ridiculously fragmented, inadequate, poorly implemented, and outright broken. Political rhetoric from all sides raises the taxpayer’s awareness that their money pays for an enormous welfare system. Yet when the taxpayer turns to this system during their own time of desperation, they discover unanswered phone calls, months (if not years) of applications and appeals, bureaucratistans that don’t bother to deliver the measly few “services” they meticulously document on your “plan” (the California Department of Rehabilitation, which is supposed to be putting people back to work, is a major offender here), and have abundant means to retaliate (for example, by consigning your case to limbo) if anyone complains.

There is a deliberate rightwing campaign to make stymied taxpayers believe that “someone else” (of a different race, religion, or political affiliation) is getting paid “regular checks from the government”, while anyone who has ever tried to deal with this system knows for sure it’s not them. “Disability checks” are the latest spearhead in the rightwing’s egregiously misinformed attack on welfare.

But while Republicans regular twist and ignore facts to shore up their 47 percent Entitlement Society propaganda, Democrats are failing in the other direction by blindly defending the system without acknowledging the problems or making any attempts to fix them. President Obama’s idea of a bipartisan bridge is cutting Social Security benefits, when many seniors are already struggling to get by on a few hundred dollars a month. There is no way around the fact that the only way to get everyone off welfare is to guarantee full employment.

Last year I wrote a series of posts about my own experience of the welfare fiasco for Daily Kos, but I found this was the wrong venue since too many comments trivialized or even flamed a subject that is a matter of life-and-death to a significant segment of the U.S. population. I looked for another place to repost my series, but I could not find another place where I could convey what I knew about welfare to a broad audience of voters. Finally I just boiled down what I had to say in 10 Ways to Fix Welfare on a free WordPress blog and left my message to float on the ether. As far as I know, no one is reading it or referencing it. It’s vitally important to dispel the fog of ignorance that surrounds welfare. So it’s time to make another attempt to shed light on the real problems with welfare and how to fix them.

I am copying my “10 ways to Fix Welfare” here in the hope that this post will be passed around and spark a larger conversation, with testimony from the people who have actually interacted with the welfare system. My complete article is pasted below, and there is a little more information about me on the WordPress site.

The Duping of the Left by Rand Paul

Last week’s filibuster by Rand Paul, the #standwithrand twitter tag, and controversy of whether or not progressives or liberals (take your pick, IMO they are pretty interchangable but I know that not everyone feels that way) should indeed “stand” with Rand got me to thinking about when and if it is every OK to stand with someone who is against everything that you stand for simply because you happen to agree with one thing they are currently doing.

Forward on Climate: The Problem with Novel Technologies

Crossposted from the Forward on Climate blogathon at Daily Kos. There is a schedule of diaries and info about the blogathon at the end of the DK diary.

This week, we’ve had an impressive crop of diaries about the Keystone XL project — an pipeline that hooks us more deeply into one of the more damaging fossil fuel extractions we’ve ever seen. Selling oil from the tar sands promises to make Canada a player in the fossil fuel game…

Margaret Atwood, a Canadian, who recently observed that Canadians with The Tar Sands are Hobbits with The Ring. All of the riches in the world belong to he who holds that power. What Canada decides to do with the tar sands will affect energy policy for most of the next century.

With that against all of us — we who want to slow the rate we are pulling carbon out of the ground and putting it into the sky — there are few things we can control directly about Canada’s decision to mine the tar sands. What we can do is address the horse apples. Slowing the process enough could grind it to a halt. Slowing the process will have an impact.

For today’s horse apple, let’s have a few words about what happens when we try to regulate novel energy technology.

The glass is half full and we are moving FORWARD!

If you are old enough, think back to about 1970. If you are not old enough GET OFF MY LAWN! No, no. Come, pull up a chair and let an old guy talk a bit.

In 1970 the life expectancy for a newborn White boy in the USA was 67.94 years; White girl? 75.49 years. NonWhite boy? 65.63 years. NonWhite girl? 69.05 years. In 2011, all those rates were higher, by between 5 and 8 years.

In 1970, in the building where I lived in New York City, my mother had a Black friend visit. The doorman made her ride the service elevator (OH BOY did that doorman hear from my mom!).

In 1970, the Soviet Union still existed. Germany was still two countries. South Africa had apartheid. Today, none of those things is true (and they all happened without a major war).

In 1970, the idea of an openly homosexual person getting elected to Congress would have been strange. Homosexuality was still considered a psychiatric disorder (and listed as such in the DSM).

In 1970, it was illegal (in Chicago) for “deformed” people to show themselves on the streets.

In 1970 the Americans with Disabilities Act had not been passed. Today, many buildings are required to have ramps for wheelchair access and all children are entitled to a “free and appropriate education” in the “least restrictive environment”.

In 1970 Roe v. Wade was still in the future. Today, abortion is legal.

In 1970, “with all deliberate speed” was long on the deliberate and short on the speed. Today, an African-American is in the White House.

In 1970, there was no internet. In 1970, there were no personal computers.

In 1970, Edgar Ray Killen was still a free man. (Don’t know who he is? Go to the library! Oh, it’s 2013. You can Google).

It was in 1970 that the United States got its first female generals. In 2013, women were finally given combat status.

Are we done fighting? NO WAY.

Are things perfect now? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME

In all of the areas I outlined, there is work to be done. FORWARD!

Have we made progress? YES WE HAVE.

Can we make more? YES WE CAN!