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Tuesday in Mooseville – Slaveholders-in-Chief Cont’d 2/19/19

A former slave of U.S. President Andrew Jackson (probably Betty Jackson) and two of her great-grandchildren; 1867

After Denise’s tour-de-force of a post on Sunday (if you haven’t already, be sure to read it here: I refuse to honor George Washington, and ‘founders’ who enslaved and sold human beings ), my efforts seem meager by comparison. But that’s never stopped me before, and I think it’s important to continue the litany of shame that is as much a part of our national heritage as all the mythology we’ve created about the Founders and their successors. Here then are the final six slaveholding presidents.

Fighting Back: “Democrats will defend Congress’ constitutional authorities.”

 
 

 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issued this press release regarding the Republican Party’s president declaring a national emergency:

The President’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation. This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process.

“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution. The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.

“This issue transcends partisan politics and goes to the core of the Founders’ conception for America, which commands Congress to limit an overreaching executive. The President’s emergency declaration, if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our Founders’ vision.

“We call upon our Republican colleagues to join us to defend the Constitution. Just as both parties honored our oath to protect the American people by passing the conference committee bill, the Congress on a bipartisan basis must honor the Constitution by defending our system of checks and balances.

“The President is not above the law. The Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution.”

Newspaper reactions to the national “emergency” declaration are here.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Slaveholders-in-Chief 2/12/19

First paragraph of James T. Callender’s newspaper editorial, titled “The President Again,” which first exposed the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, one of Jefferson’s teenaged slaves. (September 1, 1802)

Today’s post is prompted by Dee’s observation that we celebrate Presidents’ Day with no mention of the fact that twelve of them were slaveholders. It occurred to me that I wasn’t sure which twelve those were, beyond the Virginians, Washington and Jefferson. In a just world, we would know the names of those held in bondage and their stories and those of their descendants. With the exception of Sally Hemings and her children, those names are mostly lost, but we can name the presidents. And we can remember our history as it truly is. (Six presidents this week; the last six next week.)

Fighting Back: “Democrats will always stand up for the truth.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Barbara Lee of California speaking about Black History Month and the work being done on the For The People agenda.

(Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, co-chair of the Steering and Policy Committee, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Congresswoman Lee marked Black History Month and highlighted Democrats’ For The People agenda.)

“James Baldwin used to say: ‘I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.’ Leaving the House Chambers on Tuesday after the State of the Union, these words echoed in my head.

“We cannot believe what [the Republican’s president] says, because we see what he has done.

“So let me be clear: we will stand up for the truth. We have seen what he has done. And we will stand up for the American people – and for justice, for righteousness, and for truth. […]

Our agenda was written For the People, for all the people.

“It is an agenda built on radical truth, on the understanding that every American will benefit from fairer elections, lower health care costs, and higher wages. […]

“When African American women die in childbirth at nearly four times the rate of white mothers – there is more work to be done.

“When every day, across the nation, our neighbors, classmates, our loved ones are gunned down in senseless acts of violence – there is more work to be done.

“When children are once again snatched from their mothers’ arms as they come to our country – there is more work to be done.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Many Tentacles of Christian Libertarianism, Part Two 2/5/19

Last week, I wrote about the early history of the Spiritual Mobilization organization, a group whose activities were largely limited to pamphleteering. Although Spiritual Mobilization at one point sent tracts to more than 70,000 pastors across the United States, in 1944, only 400 ministers were formally affiliated with the group. With the influx of corporate funding and the addition of staff with one foot in the corporate world, the focus would shift to actively enlisting spiritual leaders in communities (although Spiritual Mobilization was overwhelmingly Protestant Christian, Jewish and Catholic leaders were a small portion of their ranks) to join with the corporate financial backers in defeating the New Deal. (Source material is One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin Kruse, unless otherwise stated.)

Fighting Back: “Democrats recommit to opening up opportunity and advancing equality for all Americans.”

 
 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on Black History Month, which began on February 1st.

Pelosi Statement on Black History Month

“Each Black History Month, Americans celebrate the proud heritage and innumerable contributions that African Americans have made to our nation. We honor the generations of African Americans who have enriched our society, pay tribute to the tireless activists who have fought to fulfill the promise of America, and recognize the new generation of leaders who have transformed the Congress and our country with their vision and values.

“Yet today, barriers to social and economic justice and access to equal opportunity continue to undermine the success and prosperity of communities of color. In the face of these persistent obstacles, the new Democratic Majority is working to build a future of progress and possibility for all Americans. We are acting to advance fair elections and combat the shameful, brazen efforts to erect barriers to the ballot box for communities of color. We are standing up against the rhetoric of hate and violence that is inflicting pain, heartbreak and division in our communities, and insisting on the truth that Black Lives Matter. And we are pushing forward a bold, ambitious agenda For The People to make good on the promise of the American Dream for everyone by lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, raising wages by rebuilding America with green, modern infrastructure, and strengthening our democracy by ensuring that our government works for the public interest, not the special interests.

This Black History Month, we recommit to opening up opportunity and advancing equality for all Americans. To do so, we take strength and inspiration from the legacy of those who came before us and the courage of our heroes, like Congressman John Lewis, who reminds us that ‘there are still forces in America that want to divide us…But we’ve made too much progress to stop or to pull back. We must go forward.’ Guided by countless leaders, advocates and patriotic Americans we will keep moving toward a future of progress and justice for all.”

No Democratic Party Weekly Address was available at publication time.
(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

An Escape to Orcas Island in the Salish Sea

A view from atop Turtleback mountain looking southwest across West Sound in the foreground, San Juan Channel and San Juan Island In the upper photo is the Strait of Juan De Fuca with fog (the white strip) and  the Olympic Peninsula and the Olympic Mountains. To the west ( right side) behind San Juan Island is Vancouver island and Victoria BC.

 

My brother who belongs to a time share condo-resort group treated us to a week at Deer Harbor Resort on Orcas Island in mid January. As some of you might know, this is not far from our home in Bellingham, less than 20 miles as the crow flies. However, after an hour’s drive along the coast and another hour’s ferry ride through scenic islands, we could have been a thousand miles away.

 

And we really lucked out on the weather for mid January – mostly sunny with just a bit of rain at night.

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago that lies between the north western coast of WA state and Vancouver Island within the Salish Sea. On the map below Orcas Island is the horseshoe shaped one in the upper center of the map. You can see part of Vancouver Island with Victoria in the lower left side. Bellingham and Bellingham Bay where we live are on the upper right.

Deer Harbor where we stayed is the smallish inlet on the lower left side of the island, just west of West Sound

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Many Tentacles of Christian Libertarianism 1/29/19

 

From “The Common Objects of the Sea Shore, including hints for an aquarium,” 1860.  Nothing to do with the topic, but I needed an illustration with tentacles.

  Several months ago, I mentioned in a comment that the story about the addition of the words, “under God” to the pledge of allegiance was more nuanced and more detailed than most of us know; it’s a story that starts well before the Eisenhower years. I’ve been wanting to do a post about the topic ever since, but it’s a difficult topic to write about, because it’s so far-ranging and over so many decades. In his book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, author Kevin Kruse spends the first 64 pages laying out the groundwork before even getting to the 1950s, so I knew one post would be either too superficial or insufficient. I needed to find the right “hook”; today this tweet gave me the impetus to start:


When Individual 1 tweets about religion in America, it’s obvious that it doesn’t come from a deep, faith-based place, and that’s true of so much of the public religiosity in our country…and has been for decades. Today I’m writing about one of the groups that masked their politics with religion and helped bring about the rise of the “Religious” Right and the myth of the Christian nation.

Fighting Back: “Democrats will never allow Republicans to use the harm of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Ted Lieu of California. He discussed the escalating safety and economic threat caused by the Republican Party’s senseless government shutdown.

Rep. Lieu:

“It’s pretty simple how we got here. In fact, it’s all captured on videotape. Last month, Trump told the American people, quote, ‘I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.’ End quote.

“No President of the United States should ever be proud of shutting down our government. But Trump carried out his threat to shut down government. And he was enabled by Republicans in the House and the Senate.

“This shutdown started during a time of unified Republican control of the federal government: the White House, the Senate, and the House. Democrats inherited this shutdown from Republicans.”[…]

“Now, how do we stop Trump and the Republicans from continuing to inflict harm on the American people? The Democratic position has been straightforward, consistent, and reasonable: Re-open government. Negotiate a deal.

Democrats will never allow Trump and the Republicans to use the harm of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic. Because if we do, then Trump will do this any time he has a policy disagreement with Congress. […]

“The truth is, the shutdown is not about protecting our border, it’s about Trump’s failed campaign promise. He promised Mexico will pay for his wall. He has been unable to get Mexico to pay for his wall, so he decided to take the mantle and proudly shut down our government. That is wrong, and the American people know it.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Tuesday in Mooseville – A Rant and a Reminder 1/22/19

Yelling at a young black family moving into an all-white development near Philadelphia; 1963.

This isn’t what I planned to write about, but I remain distressed and disgusted by the actions of the Covington Catholic group, especially as directed at Nathan Phillips. I typically don’t write about Native issues, because I know enough to know that I don’t know enough. But I do know about Whiteness, and the Covington Catholic students gave us a full display of its ugly side…and maybe its only side.

I’ve seen the first video that went viral and viewed a good portion of the longer one that some are claiming (unbelievably, to me) is exculpatory. I’ve seen the argument being made that Mr. Phillips was the aggressor; that by virtue of being an adult, he was perceived as threatening and the smirk was really a smile, being used to “diffuse” the situation. I’ve read that yes, the boys were in the wrong, and they just need to spend some time with Native Americans; maybe a mission trip to a reservation could be arranged? I’ve seen comments that it’s really the adults who are to blame: the parents; the chaperones; the teachers; the priests; the school administrators. I’ve noticed some touting the viewpoint that it was just a moment in time, and we (adults) don’t want to do anything too harsh that may ruin his (Nicholas Sandmann’s) life forever.

And all I can say is, “Bullshit.”