News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction.
Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
The filibuster is a long and undemocratic Senate tradition that needs to end. Using the filibuster, a small minority can block Senate passage of legislation that is supported by a bi-partisan majority.
Historically, filibusters blocked civil rights and voting rights legislation. Filibusters blocked anti-lynching bills in 1922 and 1935. In 1957, Senator Strom Thurmond spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes in opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Act. The filibuster against 1964 Civil Rights Act ran on for 60 days, with Southern Senators holding the bill hostage despite majority support. Finally, a bi-partisan coalition mustered enough votes to end the filibuster, and the Civil Rights Act passed by a vote of 73 to 27.
President Obama called the filibuster “a Jim Crow relic.” In 2010, that relic killed the Dream Act. A majority of Senators supported the Dream Act, but they could not get it to a vote. In order to stop the filibuster, they needed 60 votes: they had only 55.
President Joe Biden has proven to be anything but “sleepy,” filling his first week with a pile of proclamations, plans, and executive orders. I’m finding it hard to keep up with the news—but in a good way. So here’s my recap of recent developments:
I know a lot of people who don’t want to take sides. They don’t like reading the news. They claim that all politicians or parties are alike, so they don’t want to be involved with any of them. They want to be neutral, uninvolved. If you are one of my friends or relatives who have tried to avoid taking sides or reading the news, this is a message to you.
Neutrality is not an option today. Being neutral means acquiescing in the rampant white racism and violence that threatens to destroy our country.
Taking sides today does not mean choosing between Democrats and Republicans. Taking sides today means choosing between our elected government and violent white nationalists who are trying to overthrow it. Taking sides means rejecting lies and supporting democracy.
The motley coalition of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and other Trump loyalists continues to pose a real and present danger to the country. They plan armed actions next Sunday and on January 20, Inauguration Day. They have organized actions in Washington, DC and in state capitols across the country. They want nothing less than to overthrow the U.S. Constitution and government.
You can see their posters and videos and calls to armed action on the alternative social media sites they have set up. I will not repost them here. I will not repost them anywhere. Many (but not all) of their accounts, including the accounts of their Führer, have rightly been banned from Facebook and Twitter. Their poisonous plotting and propaganda carry real danger. Words and images have power.
The biggest threats to the United States come from within: from right-wing terrorists, from white nationalists, from the Proud Boys and Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis among us. These are the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol yesterday, who smashed their way through locked doors, trashed offices, waved Confederate flags, took down the U.S. flag and replaced it with a Trump flag, urinated in a Congressman’s office, stole computers with classified information, and left without being arrested, vowing to return another day. After they left, law enforcement found pipe bombs and other weapons.
Yesterday’s attempt to overthrow the government should surprise no one. This was an insurrection, a violent rebellion against constitutional government.
This month may be the most critical month in U.S. history since the Civil War.
Consider the past few days:
On Saturday, Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and spent an hour on the phone trying to convince, cajole, and threaten him to switch votes and give Trump a win in Georgia. To cheat. To commit a crime. To “find” Trump votes that do not exist. Raffensperger refused.
Twitter gives 280 characters to tell a story. Facebook posts might be longer, but only a paragraph or two will show up on the front page. Newspaper opinion columns are usually limited to 800 words max. The average newspaper article is even shorter. A long-form analysis runs long at 1,200 words. “George Floyd’s Search for Salvation” clocks in at more than 15,000 words. Add to that the stunning photography, and videos, and you have a portrait of a man and his life and struggles. You also come away with a deeper understanding of the all-American disease of racism from Texas to Minnesota.
I wish that everyone could read this story. Now, in the slower time of this last week of the year, I urge you to read and meet George Floyd. And to reflect on what you and I can do to honor his memory by changing our state, country, and world.
Fed-Ex, Nike, Xcel Energy, and dozens of other huge and hugely profitable companies paid not one red cent in taxes last year. While some 55 large corporations avoided taxes entirely, even more companies paid historically low levels because of the 2017 Trump tax cuts. This is just plain wrong.
Two days ago, a 21-year-old white man went on a shooting rampage that targeted Asian women. He killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. Police said they do not know whether this was a hate crime. Instead of my usual analysis of events or issues, this blog post is mainly other people’s words. […]
As the 2020-21 flu season comes to an end, good news and lessons for the future come from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year’s flu season was far less serious than any previous year, and far less deadly as well. Last year—2019-2020—the CDC estimated that estimated 38 million influenza-type illnesses in the United […]
Right now, the Chinese government is carrying out genocide against the Uyghur ethnic minority. A report from the nonpartisan Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy (formerly the Center for Global Policy) details the past six years of this genocide: “In 2014, China’s Head of State, President Xi Jinping, launched the ‘People’s War on Terror’ in XUAR [Xinjiang Uyghur […]
Two years ago, Stockton, California began a “basic income” experiment. The privately funded Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) gave 125 randomly selected residents of poor neighborhoods $500 per month—no strings attached—for two years. A just-completed study of SEED’s first year showed dramatic results: • “Guaranteed income reduced income volatility, or the month-to-month income fluctuations that households face. • “Unconditional cash enabled recipients […]