Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Sincere Thank You to the Progressive White American-from your Latino Brother…

They are all around us, the heroes and heroines of the “GOOD FIGHT”.  They have been there from the beginning, they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that gave “We the People” our voice. They championed the values of Liberty, Freedom and Equality.  They have come from all walks of life and from “BOTH” Political Parties. Champions of Democracy, guardians of the poor, the disenfranchised and the minority.  They march in every movement, loyal, selfless, protecting and noble risk-takers they defend the rights of others as the other’s cause becomes their own. They are not only tolerant, but embrace the cultures of the world. Secure, righteous and always on the right side of history…history rewards them with success and legacy. Who are they? They are the progressive liberal White Males and Females of history and these United States.

They defended the defenseless Colonist against taxation without representation; championed the pursuit of Happiness, Liberty and Freedom that we all cherish today.  Our Founding Father’s set the tone for the next 237 years.  These White Males defined the “GOOD FIGHT” risking life and position for the sake of a new Nation and a new way of life. They wrote the mission statement that defines America.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

Amazing words from amazing men.  The “Good Fight” is continuous, never ending, ad infinitum, many have sacrificed to move this Country forward.  From the American Revolution to the striking down of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) progressive White Males and Females have been the key to moving us closer to a more perfect Union. I am a Latino, I understand the arithmetic.  Without these selfless White champions of “MY” freedoms, I would simply be invisible.

White men and Women in the abolitionist movement tirelessly campaigned for the immediate emancipation of all slaves and the end of racial discrimination and segregation. By the early 1830s, Theodore D. Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, Arthur and Lewis Tappan, and Elizur Wright, Jr., had taken up the cause of “immediate emancipation.”  Fighting the times, there was no question in their mind, the morality of their cause. White Quaker women and female slaves, together took a strong moral stand against slavery. Some of these White women educated Blacks, both free and enslaved, and some of them joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and founded their own biracial organization, the Philadelphia Women’s Anti-Slavery Society. Hand in hand Black and White working together for an end to a grave injustice forward to a more perfect Union.

The Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott, was instrumental in organizing what would be the first gathering to fight for Women’s rights in the United States at Seneca Falls. Lucretia Mott and about 100 people attended the convention; two-thirds were women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted a “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions,” that echoed the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.” Among the 13 resolutions set forth in Stanton’s “Declaration” was the goal of achieving the “sacred right of franchise.” With a progressive eye toward equality Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and 100 Americans with “liberal” intention did begin the arduous journey toward Women’s Suffrage and the fight for civil rights.

Will D. Campbell, a towering figure of the U.S. civil rights movement who was the only white person present at the meeting that led to the creation of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A minister, Campbell was a larger than life figure who broke with his own Baptist Church to champion civil rights beginning in the 1950s. His colorful speeches and writings angered many white Southerners. But his commitment to the “Good Fight” was unassailable and undeterred. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Said of Campbell “He was a gift to America who never received the recognition he truly deserved. He will be deeply missed.”  Campbell was a key player in most of the important events of the civil rights movement:

  • He was one of the four White Americans who escorted the black students who integrated the Little Rock, Ark., public schools in 1957.
  • He was the only White minister among about 60 pastors invited to attend the meeting in Atlanta that same year where King laid the foundations for the SCLC.
  • He joined the Freedom Riders who worked to integrate buses in Alabama in 1961.
  • He walked with Martin Luther King on the “March on Birmingham” in 1963.
  • He was also with King for the “March on Selma”, Ala., in 1965.

Michael Schwerner was one of the White CORE field workers killed in Mississippi, by the Ku Klux Klan in response to the civil-rights work he coordinated, which included promoting registration to vote among Mississippi African Americans.  Andy Goodman was only 20 when he died on Rock Cut Road on June 21, 1964, near the end of his first full day in Mississippi.  Both of these men were killed alongside a Black associate, James Cheney, working on the Mississippi Summer Project.  Taking on the cause and paying the ultimate sacrifice to help bring voting/civil rights to the Black Citizens of Mississippi.

William Lewis Moore, a White postman from Baltimore, was shot and killed during a one-man march against segregation. Moore had planned to deliver a letter to the governor of Mississippi urging an end to intolerance.

Rev. Bruce Klunder was among civil rights activists who protested the building of a segregated school by placing their bodies in the way of construction equipment. Klunder was crushed to death when a bulldozer backed over him.

Rev. James Reeb, a White Unitarian minister from Boston, was among many white clergymen who joined the Selma marchers after the attack by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Reeb was beaten to death by white men while he walked down a Selma street.

Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a White housewife and mother from Detroit, drove alone to Alabama to help with the Selma march after seeing televised reports of the attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was driving marchers back to Selma from Montgomery when she was shot and killed by a Klansmen in a passing car.

Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a White Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, had come to Alabama to help with black voter registration in Lowndes County. He was arrested at a demonstration, jailed in Hayneville and then suddenly released. Moments after his release, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.

We must never forget the sacrifices made by these brave and heroic White progressives in the name of the “Good Fight” all men are created equal.

Many new activists consider the Stonewall uprising the birth of the gay liberation movement and it sparked the formation of many gay’s rights groups. The gay rights movement is complex, emotional and on-going as are the fights for equality among Women and African Americans.

The Stonewall is a bar in Manhattan’s West Village that has become a true landmark in gay history. Forty years ago, the New York gay community rose up there in a riot that sparked the modern gay rights movement. In the 1960’s gay bars were regularly raided by the police. But on June 27, 1969, the patrons of The Stonewall Inn had had enough. A crowd 2000 strong chanted “Gay Power” and a new civil rights struggle was born.

The gay rights movement has faced challenges on many fronts, but none as tragic, demoralizing or devastating to the movement as the AIDS crisis.

As an intern in New York City during the early 1980s, Alan Greenberg, MD, MPH walked into the exploding HIV epidemic. Since then, he has devoted his career to HIV/AIDS prevention, research, and treatment. As a recognized leader in this field, Greenberg’s early studies and research have had an enormous impact in preventing HIV transmission and reducing the morbidity and mortality rates of HIV-infected adults.

C. Everett Koop, the Ronald Reagan-appointed surgeon general who would go on to become a hero to AIDS activists. Koop, who was both a pediatric surgeon and evangelical Christian, part of his legacy the one that I trust will last the longest is his efforts to draw attention to the then-emerging AIDS epidemic. Koop said he realized later that the Reagan administration had been slow to address the disease because the election had brought to power people who were antithetical to gay people, then thought to be its only victims. As the epidemic worsened, reaching drug addicts infected with contaminated needles and hemophiliacs who had received a contaminated blood-clotting factor, Reagan, in 1986, asked Dr. Koop to prepare a special report. Dr. Koop proceeded cautiously, knowing the report would be unpopular with many in the administration, with conservatives in Congress and with church groups opposed to homosexuality. He wrote 17 drafts. In that 1986 report Koop didn’t mince words, promoting the use of condoms for safe sex and calling for sex education to begin in school as early as third grade. Koops statement, “Americans, especially young people, must not die because they were deprived of explicit information about how HIV was transmitted.” This statement especially noteworthy, because at the time the Reagan Administration would rarely even utter the word AIDS.  C. Everett Koop, was a portrait in courage fighting the “Good Fight” the progressive fight from the right.

One of the country’s most visible and admired physicians and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., has led the fight against AIDS and, in the process, won the trust and respect of his one-time opponents. Dr. Fauci accepted criticism, and he accepted that someone must absorb the anger and terror that AIDS had spawned.  “I was on a C-SPAN program a couple of months ago with Tony, and I attacked him for the entire hour,” said Larry Kramer one of the earliest ACT UP AIDS activists. “He called me up afterwards and said he thought the program went very well. I said, ‘How can you say that? I did nothing but yell at you.’ He said, ‘You don’t realize that you can say things I can’t. It doesn’t mean I don’t agree with you.’” Fauci’s calm and less than hysterical thoughtful steering of HIV policy, was instrumental in moving gay rights and health privacy forward.

The LGBT Movements newest and most recent Straight White progressive Heroes, pushing for marriage equality, have been California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies.

California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom knew back in 2004 that marrying same-sex couples as Mayor of San Francisco, would lead to litigation, but he said, “Discrimination and inequality is as much about people as it is the law…” After the Court decision on Prop. 8, Newsom said he “took a moment to savor this final step in the long march towards justice. It is truly an emotionally staggering day.” This Straight White male, feeling pride and joy for a cause in which he has no horse in the race. That is the progressive heart.

Ted Olson a Republican and David Boies a Democrat, one time Courtroom adversaries in Bush v. Gore, teamed up to forward civil rights.  Again with no horse in the race, these two men from opposite political spectrums took a progressive stand for marriage equality.

How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the “traditional” definition of marriage and press for an “activist” interpretation of the Constitution to create another “new” constitutional right? Ted Olson explains it this way, “My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights. Olson goes on to say, “Americans who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and equal dignity before the law cannot sit by while this wrong continues. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American one, and it is time that we, as Americans, embraced it.”  Ted Olson, proves my point, even a conservative can be progressive.

David Boies said, “”Our collective journey tells of a crucial and historical civil rights movement that brings us closer to the ideals on which our country was founded,”  Surprisingly, Boies has not been a lifelong liberal. In the 1960’s he was the President of the Young Republicans, but says he realized he “was on the wrong side” of the battle for civil rights. Later becoming a Democrat, he honed his skills on civil-rights litigation and defending civil-rights. Boies says on marriage equality “I think this is the most important civil-rights issue in the country now,”.

As the House of Representative embarks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill (CIR), one can only hope that Conservative Republicans with progressive ideas and honorable ethics will fairly and justly follow the examples of those White Americans that have sacrificed everything to move this Great Nations ideals forward, to expand rights, not exclude humanity from enjoying the fruits of Liberty.  In the Senate Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), John McCain (R-Arizona), Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Michael Bennett (D-Colorado) have personally made the decision to put their reputations on the line for the greater good of this Country, following in the footstep of “GREAT” men that have made their mark in history. Some may say that these men are not being selfless, but self-serving. I say their decision has risk, their calculation not sure, but their efforts will not be forgotten and do not go unappreciated.

No one will build monuments, to bigotry, greed, intolerance. Great men are honored for the “GOOD” they do, the great societies they create and nurture. The Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial, JFK Eternal Flame, Mount Rushmore and the Jefferson Memorial honor men of honor and integrity.

History has not been kind to Benedict Arnold, Joe McCarthy, George Wallace, Ayne Rand, Tom Metzger or Timothy McVeigh.  I dare say that no Statues or Monument will be erected on the Washington Mall for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Laura Ingraham, Tom Tancredo, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Steve King, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, John Cornyn or Jim DeMint. What “Good” have they done?  What great deed can be attributed to them?

There is a great good to advance, men of honor are all around us. I want to dedicate this piece to my best friend of 30 years Scott Waldon, a progressive White Male, tolerant, secure, engaged and supportive. He is a good man. I heard that the GOP feels that “the bottom has not been reached on White resentment, and that will be their new strategy for the elections of 2014 and 2016. How cynical it that?  How disrespectful to White America is it to assume the worst of them?  I want to thank EVERY progressive White Male and Female in America, Democrat, Independent and Republican alike, for bravely standing up for what it right; for turning away from actions and thought that would divide us; for taking on the causes of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native American, LGBT Americans and Women’s Rights; for fighting the good fight; for standing up and not being silent to the destructive voices of intolerance, greed and exclusion; and for moving this Country “FORWARD” in to the 21st Century and leaving no one behind.  You are the spirit of America…I am a Latino American, and I thank you.

Republican “DOUBLE JEOPARDY”?

Latinos and Asians the sleeping Giants are waking!

Latinos and Asians the sleeping Giants are waking!

Yesterday the Senate passed their version of  a comprehensive immigration reform bill by a 68-32 margin. 14 Republicans joined 54 Democrats in a partnership to strengthen border security and give the 11 million undocumented immigrants a path to Citizenship.  Democrats need this bill in order to keep its promise to “TWO” of its newest constituencies, Latinos and Asians…Republicans need this bill to regain support among “Latinos” and “Asians”.

According to Pew Hispanic Center projections, Hispanics will account for 40% of the growth in the eligible electorate in the U.S. between now and 2030, at which time 40 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote, up from 23.7 million now, when the sleeping giant finally awakens.  Republicans use these numbers to instill fear and raise funds in their base.  We can’t have immigration of Latinos, because they will vote Democratic.  I am hear to tell you, that ship has sailed; 23.7 million Latinos are “ELIGIBLE” today, right now at this very moment.  10% of all voters this year were Hispanic, it would mean that as many as 12.5 million Hispanics cast ballots, leaving a growth opportunity of 11.2 million Hispanics. 800,000 Latinos turn 18 each year; by 2030, this number could grow to 1 million per year, adding a potential electorate of more than 16 million new Latino voters to the rolls by 2030. They are already “American Citizens”, they are watching and listening to the debate.  They are listening to which Party, the Democrats or the Republicans, have their best interest at heart.

As important as immigration is to the Latino Community, it is also important to another sleeping giant, Asian-Americans. The number of Asian-Americans jumped from 11.9 million in 2000 to 17.3 million in 2010, a 46 percent growth rate that outpaced even that of Hispanics, according to the US Census Bureau. Every state saw its Asian and Pacific Islander population jump by at least 30 percent between 2000 and 2010 (except Hawaii, which was already majority Asian-American). The Asian population surged by 71 percent in Purple State Virginia, 95 percent in Purple State Arizona, 85 percent in Red State North Carolina, and 116 percent in Purple State Nevada, according to United States census figures.  Despite the nation’s focus on Latino immigration, Asian immigration actually outnumbered Hispanics in 2010, according to the most recent data available from the Pew Research Center, a reversal of past trends.  Asians tend to be well-educated, financially secure and have an eye for entrepreneurialism.  They would tend to be a good constituency for the Republican Party, but voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama.

The Republicans have been just as bad reaching out to Asians as they are to Latinos. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan was widely criticized for an ad that featured an Asian woman riding a bike through rice paddies and speaking in broken English about how Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow shipped money and jobs to China. “Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good,” says the Asian actress in the ad, who later apologized for playing into stereotypes.  This coupled with Bill O’Reilly saying that “Latinos are not traditional Americans”, Rush Limbaugh’s tirade portraying Mexican Immigrants as lazy and government-dependent and Pat Buchanan’s blatant minority fear-mongering in his book “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” in which Buchanan deals with the end of “White America” in Armageddon terminology leaving Latinos, African-Americans and Asians wondering if they will ever feel comfortable in the Grand Ole Party, the GOP. The ongoing insults to these two constituencies push Asians and Latinos farther away from the reach of Republican membership.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform will go far “SHOWING” Asians and Latinos that “Minority Outreach” are more than just words to the Republican Party.  A symbol of Good-Faith, that these two sleeping giants will be welcomed once fully awakened and that their issues will be embraced by the GOP in the 21st Century.  According to the AALDEF (Asian American Legal Defense Fund) 88% of Asian Americans support Comprehensive Immigration Reform and a path to Citizenship.  The Republican Party and House Leadership would be well advised not ignore this “DOUBLE JEOPARDY”  leaving the Democrats with the White House for generations.  Although personally that would be my preference in the spirit of full disclosure…

GOP to America…”Fuck You” and “Fuck Democracy”…

StopTuesday night Wendy Davis a 50-year-old Democrat stood and spoke for 13 hours at the Texas Capitol to filibuster a bill the Republicans were trying to force through.  State Senator Davis attempted to block a Texas abortion bill that would have greatly restricted abortions in the State. Texans flooded the State House to show their disapproval, but the Republicans pushed forth trying to ignore the will of the people.  The special session was called by GOP Governor Rick Perry in an attempt to game the Texas system.

In the past couple of  years American Citizens have had to take extreme measures to prevent the Republican Party from railroading their agenda through State Houses across the Nation.  From gun control, marriage equality, Women’s health, food assistance, voting rights, Union busting and Obamacares, the Republicans have done everything they can to disregard the wishes of a majority of Americans, Supreme Court Decisions and the White House. Pushing through draconian legislation by simply putting aside all decorum or simply ignoring rules of democracy.  Republican Governors, legislators and Conservative Supreme Court Justices, have simply said “fuck you” to the American People, “We” make the rules now.

In Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) said that their voter ID law passed by the GOP controlled legislature would help deliver the state for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.  Democrats fought the voter ID law — arguing it would disenfranchise the poor,  elderly and minorities. The Non-partisan League of Women Voters and the Homeless Advocacy Project had to challenge the legislation in Court to stop the law from going into effect before the election.

In addition to voter suppression, last year the Republicans in the Pennsylvania Legislature proposed strongly encouraging women who have abortions to view and listen to the ultrasounds, forcing technicians to give the women personalized copies of the results and mandating how long before any abortion the ultrasound must be preformed.

The Citizens of Ohio took to the streets in protest, as Republicans in their Legislature passed a Union busting law that was signed by GOP Governor John Kasich. The Bill SB5 was so unpopular it was later taken down by referendum.  Even after the total failure of SB5, the Republicans again this year are ignoring Ohioans and putting up more anti-Union legislation. knowing that the Citizens of Ohio have already spoken…

In Michigan the Republican Governor, has actually suspended democracy, creating his own Kingdom where he and he alone makes decisions for the people of Michigan regardless of what they want. The Republicans have claimed this authority under the guise of Emergency Financial Management Law.  The EFM law essentially does away with voting rights of the people and installs a dictator over a city, school board or other public entity that doesn’t have its fiscal house in order. The dictator is hand-selected by the governor, and has the power to fire elected officials and void all contracts. One has to question if this is still the United States of America…or is it Amerika?

In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Legislature also passed a Union busting bill against the will of the Citizens of Wisconsin.  The Citizens of Wisconsin responded by recalling Republican Legislators and Governor Scott Walker.  Although the Governor did survive the recall the plight of the Citizens of Wisconsin became a National media spectacle, with Wisconsinites taking over the Capitol and marching in the streets to show their anger and disapproval.

In Virginia, Citizens stormed the Capitol as the Republican Legislature passed a bill that required Women to have a forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds before an abortion. Citizens were so angry the Governor had a change of heart, sort of, instead of a forced trans-vaginal ultrasound he is only requiring a forced ultrasound against the will of the Virginia’s Women.

In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott, tried to affect the outcome of the 2012 election by limiting early registration and reducing the number of days Floridians could vote.  He also reduced the number of voting sites in heavily Democratic districts.  Floridians waited up to seven to eight hours to vote.

Republican Horror

In North Carolina, Citizens have taken to the streets for the “Moral Mondays” movement to speak out against what the civil rights groups and other activists say is a Republican-backed regressive agenda on social programs, voting rights, education and tax policy – actions that disproportionately hurt the poor and minorities. 49 people were arrested for peacefully protesting, a clear violation of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution’s right to peaceably assemble to protest the Government.

In Arizona, the Republican Governor Jan Brewer had to threaten the Republican Legislature to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Brewer made good on threats to veto all bills until the GOP-led legislature adopted the Obamacares-based expansion. She even threatened to oust Republican leaders if they blocked the measure.  Jesus Christ almighty, you know things are bad when a Republican Governor can’t get Republicans to do right by the People.

Republicans in Congress, ignored the wishes of 90% of the American People, voting down “Universal Background Checks”.  The background check measure — painstakingly crafted by the bipartisan duo of Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) — was seen as the key to passing the first legislation in decades to address the sorts of mass slaughters that so recently horrified the country in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six educators were gunned down at an elementary school, and in Aurora, Colo., where 12 people were killed in a theater.

Even Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been spurned, humiliated and embarrassed by the House Republicans in a shocking setback, legislation to overhaul the nation’s farm programs failed in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives Thursday as the Republicans vote down their own bill, WTF?

If their proposals and ideas are so popular why do they feel the need to call special “secret-clandestine-Midnight” sessions to pass legislation, arrest American Citizens exercising their 1st Amendment rights, suspend elections and dismiss democratically elected officials and blatantly ignore the will of the People?  Why are Americans taking to the streets to voice their frustrations in the tens of thousands?  Why are Republicans, suppressing the vote, gerrymandering districts and gutting the voting rights act to stay in power? If the American People accept the GOP proposals as viable and popular across this Nation, why threaten secession if you don’t get your way? GOP petulance and hubris knows no bounds.  This is not your Grandfather’s or Father’s Republican Party.

The GOP should file for disaster aid, they certainly are a disaster.  The next time a Republican has the audacity to call himself a “PATRIOT”, flip out this article and tell him don’t you dare, it is an insult to our Founding Fathers, Democracy and to “We the People”.

Voting the American “BIRTH-RIGHT”-the Government belongs to “US”…

The Voting Rights Act
“The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” John Adams
“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” Benjamin Franklin
“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, 1877
Today the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in the face of a changing demographic and in a “PARTISAN” divided decision, recklessly with hubris, used its power to dilute the voice of “We the People”.  No other right is so key to our democracy than that of the “American Birth-Right” the VOTE. For 237 years White Males have tried to restrict the voice of the poor, the illiterate, people of color, Native Americans, Women and new immigrants to these United States. It took 100 years to get the Voting Rights Act passed and the Supreme Court in conservative activist over-reach nullified the power of Congress to give regress to the people when their voting rights are violated.
“When the Country was founded, in most states, only white men with real property (land) or sufficient wealth for taxation were permitted to vote. Freed slaves could vote in four states. Un-propertied white men, women, and all other people of color were denied the franchise. At the time of the American Civil War, most white men were allowed to vote, whether or not they owned property. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and even religious tests were used in various places, and most white women, people of color, and Native Americans still could not vote. Ironically, these are the same groups that are now the majority. The 80% of Americans making under $100,000, Women, LGBT, Naturalized Citizens and “ALL” Minorities “COMBINED” make up the majority in the United States.  We are in the middle of a paradigm shift and Conservative White GOP Males are doing everything in their power to stop it.  The Conservative White Male will not give up the reigns of power easily, they will use every dirty trick in the book to retain political power. History is proof of that.
“Violence was a principal means of direct disenfranchisement in the South before Redemption. In 1873, a band of whites murdered over 100 blacks who were assembled to defend Republican officeholders against attack in Colfax, Louisiana. Federal prosecutors indicted 3 of them under the Enforcement Act of 1870, which prohibited individuals from conspiring “to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the constitution or laws of the United States.” The Supreme Court dismissed the indictments in U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875), faulting them for failure to identify a right guaranteed by the federal government that had been violated in the slaughter: (1) Conceding that the right to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress or vote in federal elections was derived from the federal government, the Court argued that the right to participate in state politics was derived from the states, so individuals could look only to the states for protection of this right. (2) Conceding an exception, that the U.S. Constitution grants individuals the right against racial discrimination in the exercise of their rights to participate in state politics, the Court faulted the indictment for failure to charge a racial motivation for interference in the victims’ right to vote (even though the racial motive was obvious). (3) In any event, the Court ruled that this federal right against racial discrimination was enforceable against the states only, not against individuals. (4) Other rights violated in the slaughter, such as the rights to life and against false imprisonment, were not derived from the federal government, so individuals had to resort to the states for protection of these rights. Cruikshank “rendered national prosecution of crimes against blacks virtually impossible, and gave a green light to acts of terror where local officials either could not or would not enforce the law.” (Eric Foner, Reconstruction, 1989, 531).
Today’s decision is a stain on the Robert’s Court as historical as Dredd-Scott and U.S. vs Cruikshank, a legacy that will forever haunt Justice Roberts personal reputation.
The election of 2012 saw Republicans in many States across this Great Country attempt to disenfranchise Women, Students, Minorities and Democrats. In the past literacy test and poll taxes were obvious attempts at voter suppression, today in the 21st Century, GOP controlled legislatures are limiting the number voting sites, cutting back on voting hours and days, voter ID laws targeted at minority groups, Gerrymandering districts and putting restrictions on where College and University Students can vote.  White College and University students, no Race or Ethnicity has been exempt from the GOP’s voter suppression strategies.
What is at risk for the American Middle Class?  The GOP has made no secret of their disdain for the 47%, Seniors, Veterans, Students, Minorities, Blue Collar Americans, Union Members, Postal Workers, Teachers, Fire & Police, Local/State and Federal employees, Active Duty Military and those Americans making less than $100,000 annually.  Social Security, Medicare, Women’s health, Student Loans, Labor relations, Public Education (Pre-school, Primary, Secondary & Graduate), Healthcare for all Americans,  Veteran Benefits, Food Assistance, Un-employment insurance, a living wage, outsourcing of American Jobs, infrastructure investment, Federal Emergency Management (FEMA), Funding for the National Institutes of Health (research for cures for cancer, HIV and other disease), Meals on Wheels, Health insurance for Americans with Pre-existing Conditions, marriage equality, fair & equal pay, background checks for gun purchases,  historic income inequality are all part of the national conversation. Without protections of our “BIRTH-RIGHT” the vote, “We the People” cannot affect the change we want, that we deserve, we will be silenced and no longer will our government be “By the People for the People”.
Congress must protect our “BIRTH-RIGHT” as Americans, “We the People” must demand it!
Americans  of our own time – minority and majority Americans alike – need the continued  guidance that the Voting Rights Act provides. We have come a long way, but more  needs to be done. United States Representative, Elijah Cummings

Conservatives & Progressives should always be mindful of “The Good” fight!

The Good Fight is Eternal, On-Going and Ad Infinitum

The Good Fight is Eternal, On-Going and Ad Infinitum

The “GOOD” is Always Rewarded by history…

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

No American can argue that the intentions of our Founding Fathers was “good and just”. The preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America is a mission statement for “GOOD” written and fought for by “GOOD” men, men of honor and integrity, portraits in courage.

“We the People” of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

To secure the blessings of “LIBERTY” to Ourselves and our Posterity.  The word “Ourselves” referring to the Citizens of these United States; White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Straight, LGBT, agnostic or atheist, “ALL” Citizens, it is “OUR” American Birthright and it fulfills the mission of “GOOD” set forth by our Founding Fathers.

For the past 237 years history has honored the “GOOD” and progress toward a more perfect Union:

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution of the United States of America
  • The Bill of Rights
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • The 13th Amendment to abolish slavery
  • The 14th Amendment equal protection under the law
  • The 15th Amendment to give African Americans voting rights
  • The 19th Amendment the Women’s Right to Vote
  • The 21st Amendment the repeal of prohibition
  • Executive Order 9981, abolishing once and for all racial segregation in the U.S. military
  • Roe vs. Wade gives a Women the right to privacy with regard to abortion
  • Brown vs. The Board of Education in 1954 repealing “separate but equal”
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law was intended to end discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin
  • The Voting Rights Act 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.
  • 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race or sex.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in schools. Enrollment of women in athletics programs and professional schools increases dramatically
  • The Civil Liberties Act of 1988  is a United States federal law that granted reparations to Japanese-Americans who had been interned by the United States government during World War II
  • The lifting of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” allowing Gay & Lesbian Americans the right to serve their Country openly
  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
  • Affirmation of ObamaCare’s (Affordable Care Act) as constitutional
  • June 26, 2013 Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
  • June 26, 2013 Supreme Court lets stand the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, effective striking down Proposition 8 in California

It is hard to know what is right, but once we know, it is hard not to do the right thing. The right thing is to always move toward a more perfect Union, to move toward the ideal that “ALL” men are created equal…that is the “GOOD” fight!  Our Country has not always made the right decisions and history is not kind to the Men and Women that have supported these aberrations to the mission of “GOOD”.

  • The Dred Scott decision, Supreme Court says that Blacks were not citizens, and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. The second ruling was that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in any territory acquired subsequent to the creation of the United States.
  • 18th Amendment to the Constitution the prohibition of alcohol
  • Plessey vs. Ferguson the Supreme Court installs “separate but equal”
  • The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with, starting in 1890, a “separate but equal” status for African Americans. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. De jure segregation mainly applied to the Southern United States. Northern segregation was generally de facto, with patterns of segregation in housing enforced by covenants, bank lending practices, and job discrimination, including discriminatory union practices for decades.
  • Executive Order 9066, allowed the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast during WW2
  • Yasui and Hirabayashi the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of curfews based on Japanese ancestry
  • Sodomy laws in the United States, which outlawed a variety of sexual acts, were historically universal. While they often targeted sexual acts between persons of the same sex
  • “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) was the official United States policy on gays serving in the military from December 21, 1993, to September 20, 2011. The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants, while barring openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service.
  • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
  • June 25, 2013 Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act and strikes down pre-approval in States with a history of violating voting rights…shame

As the Supreme Court decides whether California’s Proposition 8 which repeals rights given to Gays and Lesbians to legally marry in the State of California and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which states that marriage is a union between a man and a woman only.  One must wonder where Prop. 8 and DOMA will fall in the eyes of history. It is hard to know what is right, but once you know, it is hard not to do the right thing, the “GOOD” thing.  We are “ALL” God’s creation and “We the People” have inalienable rights given to us by our Creator.  We “ALL” have a right to the “pursuit of happiness”  These are ideals that are uniquely American and make no mistake taking away these inalienable rights of “ANY” American is evil and protecting these rights is a “GOOD”.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights a Progressive Idea!

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights a Progressive Idea

Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights a Progressive Idea

Progressives, what are you thinking? First let me say that the Republicans are certainly trying to bring down this President. The GOP scandal machine was in fifth gear with regard to Benghazi and the IRS. There was no proof that President Obama had anything to do with the IRS scandal. As far as Benghazi, it was a tragedy, but a risk that State Department Staff excepts when they take the job. We can review procedures, but it was hardly a scandal as much as a very tragic incident. The phone taps on AP reporters lines is concerning. Without a strong Press, which is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, “We the People” are at the mercy of the Government…The “Government”. In 2016 President Obama will no longer be the President of the United States. Our new President could be Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz or God forbid Michelle Bachmann. President Obama is a champion of “Privacy” he has said that “We the People” should have this conversation. If you don’t believe me read on…

February 23, 2012

“Americans have always cherished our privacy. From the birth of our republic, we assured ourselves protection against unlawful intrusion into our homes and our personal papers. At the same time, we set up a postal system to enable citizens all over the new nation to engage in commerce and political discourse. Soon after, Congress made it a crime to invade the privacy of the mails. And later we extended privacy protections to new modes of communications such as the telephone, the computer, and eventually email. Justice Brandeis taught us that privacy is the “right to be let alone,” but we also know that privacy is about much more than just solitude or secrecy. Citizens who feel protected from misuse of their personal information feel free to engage in commerce, to participate in the political process, or to seek needed health care. This is why we have laws that protect financial privacy and health privacy, and that protect consumers against unfair and deceptive uses of their information. This is why the Supreme Court has protected anonymous political speech, the same right exercised by the pamphleteers of the early Republic and today’s bloggers. Never has privacy been more important than today, in the age of the Internet, the World Wide Web and smart phones.  In just the last decade, the Internet has enabled a renewal of direct political engagement by citizens around the globe and an explosion of commerce and innovation creating jobs of the future. Much of this innovation is enabled by novel uses of personal information. So, it is incumbent on us to do what we have done throughout history: apply our timeless privacy values to the new technologies and circumstances of our times. I am pleased to present this new Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights as a blueprint for privacy in the information age. These rights give consumers clear guidance on what they should expect from those who handle their personal information, and set expectations for companies that use personal data. I call on these companies to begin immedi- ately working with privacy advocates, consumer protection enforcement agencies, and others to implement these principles in enforceable codes of conduct. My Administration will work to advance these principles and work with Congress to put them into law. With this Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, we offer to the world a dynamic model of how to offer strong privacy protection and enable ongoing innovation in new information technologies. One thing should be clear, even though we live in a world in which we share personal information more freely than in the past, we must reject the conclusion that privacy is an outmoded value. It has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever.”

—President Barack Obama

Foreword

Trust is essential to maintaining the social and economic benefits that networked technologies bring to the United States and the rest of the world. With the confidence that companies will handle information about them fairly and responsibly, consumers have turned to the Internet to express their creativity, join political movements, form and maintain friendships, and engage in commerce. The Internet’s global connectivity means that a single innovator’s idea can grow rapidly into a product or service that becomes a daily necessity for hundreds of millions of consumers. American companies lead the way in providing these technologies, and the United States benefits through job creation and economic growth as a result. Our continuing leadership in this area depends on American companies’ ability to earn and maintain the trust of consumers in a global marketplace. Privacy protections are critical to maintaining consumer trust in networked technologies. When con- sumers provide information about themselves—whether it is in the context of an online social network that is open to public view or a transaction involving sensitive personal data—they reasonably expect companies to use this information in ways that are consistent with the surrounding context. Many companies live up to these expectations, but some do not. Neither consumers nor companies have a clear set of ground rules to apply in the commercial arena. As a result, it is difficult today for consumers to assess whether a company’s privacy practices warrant their trust. The consumer data privacy framework in the United States is, in fact, strong. This framework rests on fundamental privacy values, flexible and adaptable common law protections and consumer protection statutes, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement, and policy development that involves a broad array of stakeholders. This framework has encouraged not only social and economic innovations based on the Internet but also vibrant discussions of how to protect privacy in a networked society involving civil society, industry, academia, and the government. The current framework, however, lacks two ele- ments: a clear statement of basic privacy principles that apply to the commercial world, and a sustained commitment of all stakeholders to address consumer data privacy issues as they arise from advances in technologies and business models. To address these issues, the Administration offers Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World. At the center of this framework is a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which embraces privacy principles recog- nized throughout the world and adapts them to the dynamic environment of the commercial Internet. The Administration has called for Congress to pass legislation that applies the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to commercial sectors that are not subject to existing Federal data privacy laws. The Federal Government will play a role in convening discussions among stakeholders—companies, privacy and consumer advocates, international partners, State Attorneys General, Federal criminal and civil law enforcement representatives, and academics—who will then develop codes of conduct that imple- ment the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. Such practices, when publicly and affirmatively adopted by companies subject to Federal Trade Commission jurisdiction, will be legally enforceable by the FTC. The United States will engage with our international partners to create greater interoperability among our
CONSUMER DATA PRIVACY IN A NETWORKED WORLD: A FRAMEWORK FOR PROTECTING PRIVACY AND PROMOTING INNOVATION IN THE GLOBAL DIGITAL ECONOMY

respective privacy frameworks. This will provide more consistent protections for consumers and lower compliance burdens for companies. Of course, this framework is just a beginning. Starting now, the Administration will work with and encourage stakeholders, including the private sector, to implement the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The Administration will also work with Congress to write these flexible, general principles into law. The Administration is ready to do its part as a convener to achieve privacy protections that preserve consumer trust and promote innovation.

“We the People” cannot just relinquish our freedom, civil liberties or privacy without so much as a whimper.  President Obama will not be there forever to protect us.  President Bush is proof that a Republican President will do the unthinkable, will trample on our freedoms, illegally.  We need over-sight. President Obama said as much in the aforementioned preamble and forward to the “Consumer Bill of Rights”.   He had some great ideas and I urge Progressives to read the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights”…If you love President Obama don’t ignore his words.  I have attached the link pull it up and educate yourselves on our Presidents views on “PRIVACY”.

www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/privacy-final.pdf

Violating Privacy is the Cost Worth it to Corporate America? Could it Cost You a Job?

Can you give me your user name and password, to your Facebook and Twitter Account?

Can you give me your user name and password, to your Facebook and Twitter Account?

During the past few years more and more employers are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, My Space and LinkedIn to vet prospective candidates for positions in their organizations.  According to an article in the Social Media Examiner there are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 200 million added in 2011.  There are over 300 million Twitter accounts and over 80% of Americans use a social media network.

In another survey taken by DLA Piper a global law firm, “For Employee’s that us Social Media for Personal use”; 39% had “friended” a colleague or business contact on Facebook or LinkedIn; 14% had posted a status update or “tweeted” about their work; 22% had posted a status update or “tweeted” about a colleague; 28% had posted photo’s of colleagues and business activities and 1% had disclosed confidential business information.

In that same DLA Piper survey, research found that 21% of employers had taken disciplinary action because of information an employee had posted about a co-worker; 25% had taken disciplinary action because of information an employee has posted about workplace business activities; 31% had taken disciplinary action because of information an employee had posted about the organization and finally 30% had taken disciplinary action because of the level or amount of social media used by the employee on work time.  The survey also found some disturbing information, only 14% of U.S. companies reported having a written social media policy that regulated the us of social media inside and outside the workplace; which can also be interpreted as 86% of companies are taking disciplinary actions on employees without a clearly written HR policy, clearly creating a liability for the organization.

In one recent employer action, (Rayburn, 2012) New Journal in Delaware rescinded an offer to reporter Khristopher J. Brooks after he announced his new position with the journal via a mock press release on his “Tumblr” account.

Did the newspaper overreact to what was a candidate’s excitement of his new appointment with the News Journal? Should this have only merited a reprimand and request for it to be taken down? Did the Journal act fairly in taking back their offer of employment and did they communicate their expectations and policies to the candidates during the interview process?

This is certainly a grey area in the recruitment process, and clearly spells out the need for a comprehensive and clearly written policy on the use of social media in the hiring procedures. It also points out the apparent lack of awareness, understanding, uniformity and consensus on the subject of social media protocols in the recruitment and hiring practice for both the candidates and the employers.

According to Career Builder (Forty-five percent, 2009), “Last year alone, two percent of employers said in their 2009 survey that polled managers and human resource personnel that they terminated workers for content posted on these social media sites, and one percent of workers were terminated due to videos they posted on media sharing sites like “YOUTUBE”.

An employee’s problems regarding the discovery of embarrassing or questionable material on social media sites are many and well-publicized, but the employers are also on dangerous ground when seeking to vet possible applicants using today’s social media networks; employers do not have immunity from the law when they rummage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, E-Mails, Blogs and Web-pages of the applicants. In fact, the likelihood that an employer may run afoul of anti-discrimination and privacy laws when they take a peek at photo’s or tweets or recent blog posts is troubling at best and creates substantial financial liability at its worse.

According to G L. Dayton Esq., (G.L.Dayton, personal communication, May 20, 2012), “My first apprehension when it comes t employers pulling up Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds, E-Mails and personal Blogs is for the prospective employees’ privacy. Intrusion upon a party’s seclusion or solitude is a tort, and such a cause of action might arise in the instance of an employer looking around online and digging up information on a prospective candidate.”  Dayton adds, “The employer may argue that the employee has “NO” expectation of privacy for material posted online, but the violation of privacy is certainly an issue the employer needs to be aware of when developing a social media policy for their organization.”

In the past couple of years employers have begun the practice of asking prospective candidates for their Facebook sign-in passwords and some employers are even asking for E-Mail passwords. “This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends,” wrote Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer on the company’s privacy blog. “It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.”

An employer’s investigation of potential candidates’ social network sites may provide the basis for claims under employment discrimination statutes.  Several examples come to mind; one of the first things employers look for upon successfully locating a prospective candidates’ Facebook page is pictures. Facebook allows users to upload a large amount of pictures and arrange them into albums.  From these pictures, as well as the default “Profile Picture” that is displayed with every user’s name (unless privacy settings are modified) and on every user’s main page, an applicant’s race or ethnicity is immediately apparent.  Facebook also has an information input field for religious affiliation, and many users include that as part of their profile.  As the employer combs through the pictures he might see a prospective candidate at the Gay Pride Festival, holding up an Obama/Biden 2012 poster, a Catholic Baptism, a racially mixed couple, Bat Mitzha or a 50th Birthday Party.  Disqualifying a candidate for any of these pictures would be considered discriminatory and increase the liability of the organization.  That may comfort the user’s of Facebook, but proving discrimination is difficult at best and there is no Federal Legislation that protect online privacy.

With employers pushing the boundaries in technology, these action potentially create new pressures  and questions for job seekers.  Ethical questions are posed of employers requesting  a job applicant’s private, social media passwords and log-ins to check a candidates background.  “In order to prevail on the facts, an employee must allege an intentional intrusion (physical or otherwise) on his or her solitude or seclusion, private affairs or concerns, which would be highly offensive to the reasonably prudent person” says Dayton.

One could argue that asking for a “private” password to your social media page or E-mail password would be highly offensive and intrusive to the reasonably prudent person.

In the opening pages to President Barack Obama’s “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” the President says, “”Americans have always cherished our privacy. From the birth of our republic, we assured ourselves protection against unlawful intrusion into our homes and our personal papers. At the same time, we set up a postal system to enable citizens all over the new nation to engage in commerce and political discourse. Soon after, Congress made it a crime to invade the privacy of the mails. And later we extended privacy protections to new modes of communications such as the telephone, the computer, and eventually email.”

According to the California Constitution, article 1, section 1; All people are by nature free, independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness and “PRIVACY’

The current conversation regarding the privacy of the American Citizen goes far beyond “NATIONAL SECURITY” concerns, but is crucial and has an impact on the everyday lives of the American Citizen and to the liability and workings of American business…It is a conversation Americans must take seriously and not just passively disregard…If for any other reason it could affect your livelihood.