Friday Reads: SCOTUS Runs Amok, Congress Vacations, and the Trump Mob got the Blues

Happy Friday!

We’re closing in on Independence Day!  I’m sure the six signers of the Declaration of Independence that led to me being here sure wouldn’t be happy with the mess we’re in today. None of the nation’s three branches of government is fairing well in today’s polls either.  A new Emerson Poll is out and Americans are clearly not happy or trustful of any of the branches.

The latest Emerson College Polling national survey of US voters finds a majority disapprove of President Biden, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Biden has a 40% job approval, while 53% disapprove of the job he is doing as president. Since last month, Biden’s approval has increased two points. The US Congress has a 19% job approval, while 70% disapprove of the job they are doing. The Supreme Court has a 36% job approval; 54% disapprove.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “Independent voters align more with Democrats on Supreme Court approval: 71% of Democrats and 58% of Independents disapprove of the job that the Supreme Court is doing whereas a majority, 56%, of Republicans approve of the job they are doing.”

In the 2022 November Midterm Elections, 46% of voters plan to vote for the Republican congressional candidate on the ballot while 43% plan to support the Democratic congressional candidate. This congressional ballot test has remained relatively stagnant since last month’s national poll, where Republicans also led by three points on the congressional ballot, 45% to 42%.

Looking at 2024, 64% of Democratic primary or caucus voters think President Biden should be the Democratic nominee for president, while 36% think he should not be. In the 2024 Republican Primary, 55% of voters would support former President Trump, 20% Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and 9% former Vice President Mike Pence. No other potential GOP candidate clears 5%.

In a hypothetical 2024 Presidential Election matchup between President Biden and former President Trump, Trump holds 44% support while Biden has 39% support; 12% would vote for someone else and 5% are undecided. “Since last month, Trump has held his share of support while Biden’s support has reduced four points.”

The Trump family crime syndicate certainly is a cult.  Let’s hope we don’t get a repeat where the left just boycotts our democracy because they can’t get their way.  The desire to see Roe as national law is strong everywhere but in the White Christian Nationalist party.

Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which leaves abortion legality up to the states, 59% of voters think that Congress should pass a law legalizing the right to abortion. Among women, support for the legislation is higher: 62% think Congress should pass a law legalizing the right to abortion compared to 55% of men.

“While a majority, 65%, of Republicans oppose Congress passing a law to legalize the right to abortion, the policy has majority support among Democrats and Independent voters, 81% of Democratic voters and 58% of Independent voters support federal legislative action to legalize abortion,” Kimball said.

Congressional legalization of the right to abortion has the highest support among 18-29 year olds: 76% support a federal legalization of abortion, compared to 59% of 30-49 year olds, 50% of 50-64 year olds, and 56% of those over 65.

A majority, 57%, say that they or someone that they’ve known have had an abortion. Among those who have had or know someone who has had an abortion, 62% think Congress should pass a law legalizing the right to abortion.

There are also some numbers on the impact of the public hearings held by the January 6th committee.

The January 6th hearings have had a split impact on voters’ intention to vote for Donald Trump in 2024 if he were to run: 35% say it makes them less likely, 32% say it makes them more likely, 28% say it makes no difference.

Kimball noted, “Half of Republicans say they are more likely to vote for Trump following the January 6th hearings, while a plurality, 38%, of Independents say they are less likely to support Trump if he runs in 2024. More specifically, among those who voted for Trump in 2020,  nine percent say they are less likely to vote for him again in 2024 after the hearings.”

Kimball continued, “The January 6th hearings reflect an educational divide, regarding their impact on Trump support: those with a college degree or less are about 33% less likely to vote for Trump because of the hearings, whereas 51% of those with a postgraduate degree are less likely to support Trump because of the hearings.”

Yes, Trump loves him some undereducated people.  There are also some numbers on the economy–which is labeled the most important issue by the majority of voters–and gun regulation.

In other polling news,  Reproductive and Women’s rights are moving quickly up the priority scale. It’s hard to see that we will get anything done without some new blood in the senate.

A new poll finds a growing percentage of Americans calling out abortion or women’s rights as priorities for the government in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, especially among Democrats and those who support abortion access.

With midterm elections looming, President Joe Biden and Democrats will seek to capitalize on that shift.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in remarks immediately after the decision that “reproductive freedom is on the ballot in November.” But with pervasive pessimism and a myriad of crises facing the nation, it’s not clear whether the ruling will break through to motivate those voters — or just disappoint them.

Everyone is still reeling from the number of extremely radical opinions forced on us by a group of White Nationalist Christians on the Supreme Court.

Well, that’s a nice statement. Now, DO SOMETHING!

From Hayes Brown writing at MSNBC: “Congress has let the Supreme Court run amok. The founders would be baffled by a judiciary that Congress can’t — or won’t — balance.”

The Supreme Court ended its term Thursday having produced a string of decisions that with casual brutality threatened Americans’ privacy, health and well-being. Democrats, in the face of this assault on the rights and privileges of their constituents, haven’t responded with the necessary anger or urgency.

The framers intended Congress to be the most powerful of the three branches of government, consisting of representatives of the people and the states. The executive was to be feared and constrained; the judiciary was, in comparison, an afterthought mostly left to future Congresses to craft. In drafting the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton considered the courts the “least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution.”

What we’ve seen this term is a court determined to prove Hamilton wrong. While Congress has the ability to curtail the authority that the unbalanced, undemocratic courts have accumulated, there seems to be almost no drive among Democrats to even challenge the third branch.

Let me clarify that I do not propose invalidating the principle of judicial review, whereby the courts have the authority to block and overturn legislative and executive actions. The Supreme Court’s function as arbiter of the Constitution is an important and needed one, given the possible abuses from the other branches.

It’s a power that is more easily used to strike down than to build. As Vox’s Ian Milhiser has noted, while the court can’t establish an agency to protect the rights of citizens, it can absolutely erase one out of existence.

Here’s some historical reference from Ian Milhiser at Vox: “The case against the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court was the midwife of Jim Crow, the right hand of union busters, the dead hand of the Confederacy, and now is one of the chief architects of America’s democratic decline.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s public approval ratings are in free fall. A Gallup poll taken in June before the Court’s decision in Dobbs found that only 25 percent of respondents have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the Court, a historic low. And that’s after nearly a year’s worth of polls showing the Court’s approval in steady decline.

To thisI say, “good.” The Dobbs decision is the culmination of a decades-long effort by Republicans to capture the Supreme Court and use it, not just to undercut abortion rights but also to implement an unpopular agenda they cannot implement through the democratic process.

And the Court’s Republican majority hasn’t simply handed the Republican Party substantive policy victories. It is systematically dismantling voting rights protections that make it possible for every voter to have an equal voice, and for every political party to compete fairly for control of the United States government. Alito, the author of the opinion overturning Roe, is also the author of two important decisions dismantling much of the Voting Rights Act.

This behavior is consistent with the history of an institution that once blessed slavery and described Black people as “beings of an inferior order.” It is consistent with the Court’s history of union-busting, of supporting racial segregation, and of upholding concentration camps.

Moreover, while the present Court is unusually conservative, the judiciary as an institution has an inherent conservative bias. Courts have a great deal of power to strike down programs created by elected officials, but little ability to build such programs from the ground up. Thus, when an anti-governmental political movement controls the judiciary, it will likely be able to exploit that control to great effect. But when a more left-leaning movement controls the courts, it is likely to find judicial power to be an ineffective tool.

The Court, in other words, simply does not deserve the reverence it still enjoys in much of American society, and especially from the legal profession. For nearly all of its history, it’s been a reactionary institution, a political one that serves the interests of the already powerful at the expense of the most vulnerable. And it currently appears to be reverting to that historic mean.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 30: In this handout provided by the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (R) looks on as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson signs the Oaths of Office in the Justices’ Conference Room at the Supreme Court on June 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. Jackson was sworn in as the newest Supreme Court Justice today, replacing the now-retired Justice Stephen G. Breyer. (Photo by Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images)

Newly sworn-in Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson is going to join the normal group of women on the court and will have her job cut out for her!

President Joe Biden in a written statement praised Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic swearing in as the first Black female Justice of the Supreme Court, calling it a “profound step forward.”

“Her historic swearing in today represents a profound step forward for our nation, for all the young, Black girls who now see themselves reflected on our highest court, and for all of us as Americans,” Biden said in the written statement. 

Biden also thanked retiring Justice Stephen Breyer for “his many years of exemplary service.”

Here are some links to news on the latest January 6th Committee’s findings.

From Politico: New details of Jan. 6 panel’s mystery messages emerge

“[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow,” read a slide that the Jan. 6 committee broadcast at the end of Hutchinson’s hearing, which Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) characterized as pressure on a key witness. “He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”

Meadows is the person whose name was redacted in that slide. Contents of that final deposition were described to POLITICO, which could not independently corroborate the identity of the intermediary or that Meadows directed any message be delivered to Hutchinson before her second deposition.

From David Rothkopf  of The Daily Beast:  Put a Fork in Donald Trump—the Ex-President Is Done

Mark it on your calendars. This was the week the meteoric political career of Donald Trump did what meteors often do and collided with planet Earth, leaving a large, ugly mark on the landscape.

The fact that Trump may soon announce his candidacy for the presidency in the days ahead is itself more of a sign of his political collapse than it is of any strength he may have. The first time he ran for president, he did it because he thought it would boost his brand. This time he is likely to do it because he thinks it may make him more difficult to prosecute. And because he can use it to mount one last big attempt to fleece his supporters.

From the Washington Post: ‘Take me up to the Capitol now’: How close Trump came to joining rioters

The excursion that almost happened came into clearer focus this week, as the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 presented explosive testimony and records detailing Trump’s fervent demands to lead his supporters mobbing the seat of government. Though Trump’s trip was ultimately thwarted by his own security officers, the new evidence cuts closer to the critical question of what he knew about the violence in store for that day.

Trump has acknowledged his foiled effort to reach the Capitol. “Secret Service wouldn’t let me,” he told The Washington Post in April. “I wanted to go. I wanted to go so badly. Secret Service says you can’t go. I would have gone there in a minute.”

But as Trump repeatedly floated the idea in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, several of his advisers doubted he meant it or didn’t take the suggestion seriously. One senior administration official said Trump raised the prospect repeatedly but in a “joking manner.”

As a result, the White House staff never turned Trump’s stated desires into concrete plans. Press officers made no preparations for a detour to the Capitol, such as scheduling an additional stop for the motorcade and the pool of reporters who follow the president’s movements. There was no operational advance plan drafted for the visit. No speech was written for him to deliver on the Hill, and it wasn’t clear exactly what Trump would do when he got there, said the person who talked with Trump about the idea.

From MediaIte’s Colby Hall: “Rudy Giuliani Deletes Tweet Insisting Cassidy Hutchinson Was Not Present When He Asked for a Pardon.”  Giuliani has to be so close to jail that he can smell the jello.

Flagged by Ron Flipowski, who noted “She wasn’t there when I asked Trump for a pardon. But I never asked for a pardon. Only Rudy.”

He deleted the apparently self-incriminating Tweet and clarified that he never asked for a pardon …

So, that’s enough of the chaos for today.  I’m just dreaming of BBQ chicken, potato salad, and a really big piece of my mother’s chocolate cake.

Have a nice long weekend!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Softy

Watching the confirmation hearings, I want to run down the street screaming!

Now, cartoons from Cagle website:

Seriously though…

I don’t know what’s going happen if these assholes get control of House or Senate in November.

This thread:

We should be hitting a million US Covid deaths soon:

Banjoville area making news again, this from Lumpkin county…

But in weather news:

Ending with this, only to say..not all dogs:

This is an open thread.


Wednesday Reads: Is it him?

I think it is…

Now then, cartoons from Cagle website:

A few more instagram for #InternationalWOMENSDay

Some updates:

You should follow the his photographer:

I have to end it here…

This is an open thread.


Monday Reads: Of Droogs, Unwinable Wars, and Civil Rights Protests

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Fifty years ago, Elton John released Tiny Dancer, and Clockwork Orange was playing in theatres. We were fighting what seemed like an endless war run by a lawless President.  It was the year of the Easter Offensive when North Vietnamese forces overran South Vietnamese forces. It was probably the first true evidence of a war the US would not win.

Shirley Chisholm became the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed Congress and got 35 of the 38 votes to become a Constitutional Amendment.  In 1972, Native Americans occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The protest came from tribal frustration with the government’s ‘Trail of Broken Treaties.’  It lasted six days.

After the Senate voted passage of a constitutional amendment giving women equal rights, Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., left, met with two supporters and one opponent, Wednesday, March 23, 1972 in the Capitol in Washington. Sen. Sam Ervin, D-N.C., second from right, one of eight senators who voted against the amendment. Others are Rep. Martha Griffiths, D-Mich., and Sen. Marlow Cook, R-Ky.

Furman v. Georgia was decided in 1972.  The United States Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty schemes in the United States in a 5–4 decision.  Each member of the majority wrote a separate opinion. The Civil Rights act of 1972 passed which led to Title IX.

A recipient institution that receives Department funds must operate its education program or activity in a nondiscriminatory manner free of discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment, which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; treatment of LGBTQI+ students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, no recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in a proceeding under Title IX.

1972 was also the year of the Gary Declaration coming from a National Black Political Convention. Reverend Jesse Jackson was just one of many to attend the convention.

What Time Is It?

We come to Gary in an hour of great crisis and tremendous promise for Black America. While the white nation hovers on the brink of chaos, while its politicians offer no hope of real change, we stand on the edge of history and are faced with an amazing and frightening choice: We may choose in 1972 to slip back into the decadent white politics of American life, or we may press forward, moving relentlessly from Gary to the creation of our own Black life. The choice is large, but the time is very short.

Let there be no mistake. We come to Gary in a time of unrelieved crisis for our people. From every rural community in Alabama to the high-rise compounds of Chicago, we bring to this Convention the agonies of the masses of our people. From the sprawling Black cities of Watts and Nairobi in the West to the decay of Harlem and Roxbury in the East, the testimony we bear is the same. We are the witnesses to social disaster.

Our cities are crime-haunted dying grounds. Huge sectors of our youth — and countless others — face permanent unemployment. Those of us who work find our paychecks able to purchase less and less. Neither the courts nor the prisons contribute to anything resembling justice or reformation. The schools are unable — or unwilling — to educate our children for the real world of our struggles. Meanwhile, the officially approved epidemic of drugs threatens to wipe out the minds and strength of our best young warriors.

Economic, cultural, and spiritual depression stalk Black America, and the price for survival often appears to be more than we are able to pay. On every side, in every area of our lives, the American institutions in which we have placed our trust are unable to cope with the crises they have created by their single-minded dedication to profits for some and white supremacy above all.

Me in 1973 with friends.

I was in high school feeling like we might actually get through this all and get to the dream of a more perfect Union. It was definitely a year of ups and downs. Fifty years ago seems like another lifetime. You’d think we’d see more progress on all of this.

We do have a Black Woman Vice President but no ERA and we had our first Black Man elected President who served two terms.. The Department of Interior is led by an Indigenous woman who has planned reforms that might bring more civil rights to our native peoples.  Women’s sports are taken a lot more seriously but not one woman player earns what her male peers make.

Black Americans face a new wave of voter suppression and a Supreme Court ready to tear through laws meant to improve access to American Universities not unlike what the 1972 Civil Rights law sought to do on the basis of gender.  We just got rid of a second long, unwinnable war but will we have another?

We also have Elton John on tour and Droogs. The Droogs are the white male Maga Men and hide under names like Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and Patriot Front.

Some things don’t change and in this country, we know why. They don’t share power. They don’t want to. They’ll do anything to keep as much of it as possible.  We have a White Male problem and it’s mostly got the face of an extreme patriarchal take of Christianity.

So that’s the perspective. This is the reality in 2022.  This is from MS Magazine whose first stand-alone magazine was published in 1972. Excerpts from Elizabeth Hira’s “Americans Are Entitled to Government That Truly Reflects Them. Let’s Start With the Supreme Court” are going to show you exactly how far the rest of us still have to go.  It’s in response to the audacity the Republican Party has to hold up Joe Biden’s promise to appoint the first black woman to the Supreme Court as some kind of affirmative action for a less-qualified person which is total Bull Shit.

This is the premise she completely proves. “Our current system has created conditions where, statistically, mostly white men win. That is its own kind of special privilege. Something must change.”

This is her conclusion. “American government in no way reflects America—perpetuating a system where male, white power makes decisions for the rest of us.”

These are her descriptive statistics.

Data shows these claims are not hyperbolic. A Supreme Court vacancy started this inquiry: There have been 115 Supreme Court justices. 108 have been white men. One is a woman of color, appointed in 2009. (Americans have had iPhones for longer than they’ve had a woman-of-color justice.)

One might be tempted to dismiss old history, except that the Supreme Court specifically cannot be looked at as a “snapshot in time” because the Court is built on precedent stretching back to the nation’s founding. Practically speaking, that means every decision prior to 1967 (when Justice Thurgood Marshall joined the Court) reflected what a group of exclusively white men decided for everyone else in America—often to the detriment of the unrepresented.

In a nation that is 51 percent female and 40 percent people of color, are white men simply more qualified to represent the rest of us than we are of representing ourselves? That sounds ridiculous because it is. And yet that is the implication when naysayers tell us that race and gender do not matter—that the “most qualified” people can “make the best choices” for all of us, and they all just happen to be white men.

What’s worse, those white men aren’t just making broad, general decisions—each and every branch of government acts in ways that directly impact people because of their race and gender, among other identities.

  • When the Supreme Court considers affirmative action, it will be considering whether race matters for students who are already experiencing an increase in school segregation—what Jonathan Kozol once dubbed “Educational Apartheid.”
  • When Congress is inevitably asked to pass a bill to protect abortion should the Court strike down Roe v. Wade, 73 percent of the Congress making that decision will be men—not people who could even potentially experience pregnancy.
  • When recent voting rights bills failed, it was because two white Democrats and 48 Republicans (45 white and three non-white) collectively decided not to protect all American voters of color against targeted attacks on their access to the ballot.
  • When Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke to the Senate floor about why she could not take necessary steps to protect Americans of color, she did not have to look a single sitting Black woman senator in the eye. Because there are none.

The Supreme Court is not alone in underrepresenting women, people of color, and women of color. Of 50 states, 47 governors are white, 41 are men. Nearly 70 percent of state legislators are male.

The pattern holds federally, too: Today’s Congress is the most diverse ever—a laudable achievement. Except that today’s Congress is 77 percent white, and 73 percent male. (As an example of how clear it is that Congress was simply not designed for women, Congresswomen only got their own restroomin the U.S. House in 2011.)

In the executive branch, 97.8 percent of American presidents have been white men. There has never been a woman president.

BIA Spokesperson at Trail of Broken Treaties Protest: 1972
John Crow of the Bureau of Indian Affairs answers questions from Native Americans on November 2, 1972 at 1951 Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, D.C on the first day of the Trail of Broken Treaties demonstrations.

The numbers don’t lie.  I don’t even want to go into the number of American presidents that have been worse than mediocre including the previous guy.  This is the kind of systemic discrimination perpetuated in this country’s primary decision-makers. It is no wonder 50 years later we are even losing the table scraps they’re stealing now.

I’m going to leave you with this one last analysis before telling you to go read the entire essay.

The first female major-party presidential nominee was dogged by questions of her “electability,” and recent data shows large donors gave Black women congressional candidates barely one-third of what they gave their other female counterparts. Some people don’t support women and candidates of color because they worry these candidates simply can’t win in a white male system of power—which perpetuates a white male system of power. To create equitable opportunities to run, we must change campaign finance structures. It’s a necessary precursor to getting a government that looks like everyone.

I’m trying to send money to Val Demings in her effort to take down Mark Rubio.  Mark Rubio will never consider the interests of all of his constituency because he’s funded by white males with a vested interest in their monopolies on politics and the economy.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I’ll be there

Wherever somebody’s fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody’s struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, and you’ll see me”
Yeah!

Like Tom Joad, I was born an Okie. I was born on the Cherokee strip one of those places on the Trail of Broken Treaties at the end of the Trail of Tears.  “The Grapes of Wrath” was on many a book banning and burning list back in the day. Look for it again on a list near you.


Thursday Reads: Crazy is the New Red

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I really tried to watch two court proceedings and the censor vote and discussion on Paul Gosar. The Gun Fetishists have clearly moved into the territory of Vigilantism for all kinds of perceived reasons, and none of them are good.  It was clear that a high schooler with a semi-automatic dropped into a civil rights action gone wrong was a bad move that would only worsen a bad situation.  We’ve got plenty of laws against that and carrying around illegal weapons yet, the right has made a kid with the bad judgement of an immature adolescent into some kind of a marauding hero.  It is evident when you hear most of the responses that led to the murder of 2 people, and the severe injuries to one were based on them thinking he was an active shooter.  He was patrolling the street, basically looking for someone to gun down. Rittenhouse went looking to shoot someone and killed 2 people. Today is the third day of jury deliberations.

Then I saw bits and pieces of the three older vigilantes with some policing experience basically stalk a young black jogger and then claim self-defense when that’s precisely what Aubry was doing.  Figuring a white truck with armed white guys and a confederate flag license plate were likely to kill him, he tried to defend himself, and they killed him.  So, the police training and more mature minds basically led to the same outcomes.  These folks up for murder basically went looking for trouble with guns. Travis McMichael is one of three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery; his defense attorney tried to turn him into a Coast Guard hero.  His primary duties with the USCG were auto mechanic. Arbery was unarmed.

Then, we see the ever-crazy, ever-defiant Paul Gosar retweet the same violent video with him as some kind of anime hero killing his colleague and stabbing the President the morning after he was censured by the House of Representatives.

The last thing I tried to listen to was an interview with Julius Johns, who is scheduled to be executed by the state today for a murder that evidence suggests he did not commit.  One of these things is not like the others above.   Julius is a black man.

 

You could not possibly take all of this in and not be depressed and angry about the state of our criminal justice system.  I also watched interviews with the author of The 1619 Project. This is the basis for all the white angst and fragility over Critical Race Theory, which is basically something that’s taught in Law Schools and not in any primary or secondary public school anywhere.

This is why I am supporting Susan Hutsan for Sheriff of Orleans Parish. Our criminal justice system must be reformed, or our democracy will continue to fail to provide equal justice under the law to all.  Susan has been the New Orleans Independent Police Monitor. She opposes building a new parish jail. We already have an incredible incarceration rate here.

Charles Blow discusses ‘White Men on Trial’ in an Op-Ed for the NYT.  He includes Bannon’s woes in his analysis.

There is quite the convergence at the moment of race and justice as cases featuring white male defendants accused of everything from murder to insurrection dominate news coverage.

There is a virtual pageant of privilege as the country waits to see if our system of justice will deal as severely and unsparingly with these men as it has with others who were not white men.

All the cases are different, of course. Some are being adjudicated in the state courts, others in federal. Some have proceeded to sentencing, while others remain at the charging or trial stage. But the optics are somewhat consistent.

Blow is right. The optics are consistent and hard-to-miss.

Race hangs heavy over all these cases. They involve white vigilantes who stalked and killed a Black man, and a young man who killed two people at a protest that was in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. They involve white men who sought to overturn a fair election in which people of color secured a victory for Biden over a white nationalist president, and a white man who defied Congress to protect those white nationalists. And finally, they involve a man who posted a violent video about killing a woman of color in Congress.

I would like to return to the link at NBC about Nikole Hannah-Jones whose book is subtitled “The Harsh Truths of the Black Experience.:”  The book was released on Tuesday.

In an interview with Trymaine Lee, host of the MSNBC podcast “Into America,” in front of an audience at Harvard University where he is a fellow, Hannah-Jones spoke about the legacy of 1619, and the way Americans’ understanding of historical events can evolve.

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; those words are powerful,” she said in the interview, which will be featured in the podcast Thursday. “We just have never lived up to them for a single day. So if you believe in that kind of vaunted 1776 origin story, that’s the comforting origin story. The1619 Project, I would argue, is more truthful, but not comforting. It’s not comforting at all.”

The 1619 Project received harsh criticism for the main conceit of the project, which was that America was not founded in 1776 when it declared its independence from England, but in 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to the colonies and exploited.

Then-President Donald Trump took aim at the narrative last year during a White House press conference, during which he expressed the government’s need to restore patriotic education in schools. Hannah-Jones said she received intimidating emails and voicemails that used racial slurs, as well as threats that her home would be burned down.

She said she thought about the project “all the time” as she was working on the initial magazine feature.

“I also felt a tremendous burden to get it right, to do justice to that suffering, to do justice to our ancestors,” Hannah-Jones said. “And then facing, you know, constant attacks, not just on the work, but on my credibility as a journalist, I became a symbol; and I think we would not be being honest if we didn’t say me being a Black woman in particular, a Black woman who looks and presents the way that I do, that I didn’t get a certain, extremely vicious type of pushback.”

I was  ten years old when Seperate But Equal died in the Supreme Court.  We’re talking only 55 years ago. The south gets the blame for a lot of Jim Crow but it was all over including just tryiing to take a vaction in California or Colorado. Click this link to see the photo exhibit.  This was still in operation when I was a child spending my summers in a Colorado cabin in the Rockies. There were never any black families staying with us at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies.

Lincoln Hills, 1925–1965

Coloradans love the outdoors. But African Americans were once barred from leisure opportunities most whites took for granted. Explore a Rocky Mountain haven where African Americans could hike, fish, and camp—and leave discrimination behind.

A black family that owned a camping and recreation in California had its business taken from it and turned into a public park.It’s finally been given to the grandchildren as a reparation for the theft.  The beach was seized from the family in 1924.  These are the kinds of things that impact intetergenerational wealth. The story is reported by ABC.

A stretch of beachfront land in Southern California that was seized from a Black family 97 years ago is set to be returned to their descendants.

Black couple Willa and Charles Bruce purchased land on Manhattan Beach in 1912, making them among the first Black landowners in the city. But 12 years later they were forced off their property as it was seized by the city.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to return the property to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce.

The Bruces bought the first of two ocean-view lots for $1,225, a property that could now be worth millions.

They built a resort known as Bruce’s Beach to serve Black residents, making it one of the few beaches Black residents could use due to segregation. The Bruces and their customers were harassed and threatened by their white neighbors, including the Ku Klux Klan, the county board of supervisors said in a news release.

In 1924, the city of Manhattan Beach used eminent domain to force the couple off their land to turn it into a park. The city seized the property in 1929, however, it remained vacant for decades.

Think of this. From the NY:  “NASA Astronaut to Be First Black Woman to Join Space Station Crew. Jessica Watkins, who joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 2017, is scheduled to fly to the orbital outpost in a SpaceX capsule in April.”

All you have to do is open your eyes and seek the truth and it shall free you.  It should not make you feel aggrieved by the feelings of the victims.  There are far too many good firsts that have yet to appear for every one but White Men.  Time to change that!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?