Charlottesville, Virginia: Demonizing Thomas Jefferson and Continuing to Foreclose Education and Free Speech

THOMAS JEFFERSON - statue at U-VA

by Diane Rufino, July 6, 2019

On July 2, the Charlottesville (Virginia) City Council voted to no longer recognize Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, as a celebrated a paid holiday. Charlottesville is the hometown of our country’s most renown Founding Father. It is the home his sprawling hilltop estate, Monticello. In fact, it’s hard to think of Charlottesville, Virginia, without thinking of Jefferson. He was born there in 1743 and he died there, and Monticello was always the place he called home and the place where he found his greatest inspiration and greatest comfort.

Monticello draws almost half a million visitors annually and the town benefits greatly from that tourism.

According to local news, “city officials voted to scrap the holiday in honor of the slave-owning third president of the United States and instead adopt Liberation and Freedom Day, to be celebrated each March 3.” The city council’s decision came just days after James Fields Jr., the 22-year-old driver convicted of killing a woman and injuring dozens of other people at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017, was sentenced to life behind bars.

Jason Hill, a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, said: “I think this was a great man that helped found this country. If we start by retroactively looking at the sins of great figures who have made enormous contributions to western philosophy, we are going to be left with a decimated history.” Professor Hill is an African-American who is not one of those who is unable to review history except thru the lens of slavery. While he refers to slavery as a “birth defect” of the United States, he acknowledges that Jefferson’s legacy, the Declaration of Independence in particular, was ultimately used to freed people from its bonds.

Hill accuses Jefferson of being a flawed man, as evidenced by his ownership of slaves, but his legacy which includes enormous contributions to America far outweighs that single flaw.

It should be mentioned that since slavery was an established institution in the states, and since it was recognized and protected by the Constitution, that almost all of our Founding Fathers from the more southern states and tied to an agrarian economy can be accused of practicing something that was perfectly legal and acceptable at the time. We will be hard-pressed to find any of our Founding Fathers or leading historical figures from any of the southern states who either didn’t own slaves or who didn’t say even something that might be taken as insensitive by today’s civil rights standards. The fact is that today’s hyper-sensitivity to our pre-13th Amendment past prejudices southern historical figures. We cannot judge our forefathers by the social norms of our current times.

What disturbs me, intellectually, aside from the very public snub of the man who gave us our “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” and who gave us the notion of inalienable rights, as opposed to government-granted rights, thereby establishing our American system that values the protection and security of those rights over the longevity of government, is that Charlottesville choice to observe a far more offensive event. The Charlottesville City Council voted to substitute March 3 – that day in 1865 when Union General Philip Sheridan’s troops entered the town and found a population that was majority African-American (most of them being slaves) – as the new “official holiday.”

Why do I say this event is offensive? First of all, the act of the Northern states, having control of the federal government, attacking, invading, and subjugating the Southern states back into the union was the ultimate act of government tyranny. It was unconstitutional on every single level, including an outright violation of paragraph two of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. The Southern states had duly and lawfully left the union and established an independent and sovereign new nation. The invasion of the South had nothing to do with slavery, as an honest historian and researcher well knows. It was about the North deciding that the union needed the southern states and that an independent Confederate States of America posed great threats to the interests of the North. Virginia did not secede to protect slavery or to maintain slavery; when Virginia finally voted to secede, it was because Abraham Lincoln demanded the state send its share of 750,000 troops to fight its southern neighbors. Virginia, respecting the principles in the Declaration and respecting the understanding the states had when they adopted the Constitution and agreeing to be loosely-held in a union, knew that the Constitution would never sanction the government demanding that one state take up arms against another state. Jefferson, as it turned out, was the most vocal proponent of the proper remedies states are entitled to when they simply no longer get along or find enough common interests – with the most fundamental being secession. After all, the colonies seceded from Great Britain with the Declaration – a secessionist document. [The first paragraph opens up: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” (ie, It becomes necessary to secede from the government it has been associated with and establish an independence). And the last final paragraph reads: “We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”]

Second, Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, by executive order, on January 1, 1863. It did nothing to free any slave in the southern states because the southern states had seceded from the union and therefore dissolved its association with the federal government. It was intended as a war measure to incite slave rebellions in the South, and particularly against the women and children who were left home on the farms/plantations (while the men were off fighting). It was an insidious war measure but Lincoln hoped the men fighting would leave the battlefield and go back to their homes and their farms/plantations. What the Emancipation did allow, however, was the freeing of slaves in any territory that the Union forces captured and took control of. This certainly would have been something, right? But the truth is that essentially not a single Union general exercised his discretion to free the slaves. And this was what happened in Charlottesville. While some of the slaves may have used the Union occupation to try to escape their condition, it was not Sheridan who granted them freedom. It was not the Emancipation Proclamation which freed them. Sheridan was a cold killer. After the Civil War, he was given the task of slaughtering the American Indians and moving them off land that the federal government wanted.

So what exactly did the Charlottesville City Council vote to endorse while impugning Thomas Jefferson? They chose to endorse slavery. They chose to endorse the view by the Union that slaves should not be freed, even when agents of that government (Union generals) had the discretion to do so. They chose to endorse the notion that the federal government has the absolute right to order one state to invade, wreak violence, and subjugate another state with whom it disagrees with. They chose to endorse the notion that the federal government is supreme and has the right to subjugate the states to its views and to its whims, including as dictated and coopted by an absolute tyrant.

Charlottesville not only voted to reject Thomas Jefferson but it voted to reject the Declaration of Independence as well.

Virginia sure has come a long way. An how utterly shameful it has become.

In March of this year, some students at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. called for the removal of a Jefferson statue from the campus, claiming he represented racism and slavery. I find it troubling that they would associate Thomas Jefferson with racism and slavery rather than as the author of the Declaration of Independence or the father to the liberties and rights that they obviously take for granted. I find it troubling that college students are that unintelligent and that uninformed as to our country’s history, although after listening to college students speak these days, I am not surprised.

I am sorry that our country has a checkered history. I am sorry that the British imposed slavery on our colonies and that the colonies embraced the ownership and forced labor of fellow human beings. I am, however, grateful that several of our founders tried very hard to abolish it early on – before we formed our union of states. Truth be told, the very man that modern liberals like to demonize, Thomas Jefferson, had several plans to abolish slavery or at least to minimize it and to transition to freedom. Even prior to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Thomas Jefferson proposed (in 1779) a policy of gradual emancipation, education and training, and possible re-location and colonization as a practical solution to end the legal enslavement of human beings (ie, chattel slavery). He believed education and training were absolutely necessary and must be part of the plan to abolish slavery because liberating people who were unprepared for total freedom would be a recipe for disaster. They would need to be able to support themselves and live in dignity. He wanted Africans to be successful and to build successful black communities. In 1784, Jefferson proposed federal legislation that would ban slavery in the New Territories of the North and South after 1800, which ended up failing to pass Congress by only one vote. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, which he published in 1785, Jefferson expressed the beliefs that slavery corrupted both masters and slaves alike and promoted the idea that African-Americans were inferior in intelligence. Again, Jefferson seemed to be looking out for Africans and not looking to keep them in bondage. In 1807, President Jefferson signed legislation to finally abolish the slave trade to the United States.

I am sorry that today’s liberals are so fragile-minded, so fragile psychologically and emotionally, so intellectually stunted, and so intolerant that the sight of Thomas Jefferson or even the mention of his name shatters their fragility and reduces them to absolute moron-ity. I’m sorry that today’s liberals have taken a position to move our notions of civility backwards in the United States. Modern Americans are the very examples of what our Founders hoped could be avoided by giving individuals a country devoted to freedom (and finally, to equality) and instilling in them the responsibility to defend it. Today’s liberals are mental midgets, more obsessed with a long-dead institution than with the health and stability of our country. I’m sorry that slavery continues to dominate our national discourse and taint our ability to come together to celebrate shared values, shared ideals, and shared dreams. I’m sorry that the history of one particular race continues to dictate what can be discussed, celebrated, acknowledged, taught, or included on plaques, memorialized in statue form, inscribed on buildings, in this country. I’m sorry that certain individuals are completely incapable of seeing things without looking at them through a lens of color.

I wish these individuals, these loud-mouths, these trouble-makers and rubble-rousers, would exercise the same tolerance that they demand of others.

Nowhere in the Bill of Rights does it guarantee that individuals have a right NOT to be offended or to feel offended, or the right NOT to be confronted by events in history that happen to offend them. In fact, these rights are not even included in the progressives’ version of the Bill of Rights (authored by FDR who referred to it as “The Second Bill of Rights). This “Second Bill of Rights,” pushed so strongly by FDR, then Truman, then LBJ, then Nixon, then Clinton, and then, to some extent George Bush was an attempt by liberal/progressive-minded presidents to mitigate the “evils” that naturally arise in a free market, capitalistic society – one based on competition and ambition and hard work. The results of our American system (the “evils”), as FDR believed, are primarily economic inequality and to a lesser degree, social inequality. This “Second Bill of Rights” includes the “right” to a job, food, a home clothing, healthcare, a good education, and recreation, and the freedom from the “fear” of unemployment, old age, sickness, and unfair competition.

The First Amendment guarantees the right of FREE speech – not sensitive speech, not politically-correct speech, not sanitized speech… but FREE speech. The First Amendment guarantees that every spoken word, every written word, every historical event, every statue, every plaque, every painting, every work of art is an opportunity for discussion and debate. It is an opportunity for more speech. It is always a learning or teaching opportunity – something to sharpen our minds and our understanding, and NOT to foreclose it to views that others, including government, want to dominate.

The sad thing is that there is a group of individuals – a group much larger than the current liberal snowflakes I am referring to above – that has no connection to slavery, has no part in any efforts to discriminate or any past action of discrimination, and has no discriminatory mindset or discriminatory heart, but who absolutely loves this country, recognizes its history (both good and bad), and values the lessons we had to learn as a fledgling nation predicated on the equal rights of man. Our entire history has made us the country we are today, for good or for bad – but always as a subject for discussion and political views. I am a second or third generation American, depending on whether you look from my mother’s side of the family or my father’s. My family came to the United States from Italy prior to WWI, with little money in their pockets and with no safety net or entitlements to help them. Italians in the day were not a popular ethnic group and as our immigration laws in the 1920’s showed (set limits on the number of immigrants from Italy to limit their population in the US) and as employment signed showed (“No Italians need apply”), they were generally not welcome. But Italians don’t languish over their mistreatment; rather, they quickly became one of the most patriotic and loyal of ethnic groups

The people that I know and that I associate with (mostly white since I am a white woman) do not possess the thought process that says that just because a person has a different skin color, he or she is of a different worth or has less dignity as a human being. We often don’t possess the thought process that directs us to review and scrutinize everything we write and say to make sure that absolutely nothing can be misconstrued, mistaken, or twisted into showing us to be discriminatory or to be otherwise insensitive to others. It’s because we come from a place where we don’t discriminate and we don’t set out in any way, shape, or form to be insensitive to others. Most of us are like this because of our deep foundation in religion. We respect one another because we are taught to love one another; strong communities are founded on mutual respect and a fondness for one another. The problem is that our current culture of racial divide, the constant flinging of the terms “racist” and “white supremist” are imputing on well-intentioned white people a tendency – always a tendency, as President Obama, Michele Obama, and Hillary Clinton publicly stated – to be these terrible things and to inherently look down on black people. It’s not fair to the vast majority of white persons and this problem needs to be addressed. Something needs to done to protect white people and their free exercise of the First Amendment, without the automatic presumption of discrimination.

Maybe we’ve dwelled on slavery and on past discrimination for too long. Maybe we’ve retreated to political correctness for too long to avoid honest conversations about the state of race relations and the effect of history on our current status. Perhaps we’ve allowed African-Americans, too fragile to think outside the “slavery and discrimination” box, to control the dialogue for too long. Thomas Sowell once said: “When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.” Maybe for once we should really trying treating everyone as equals rather than as special.

It is a true denial of the free speech rights of others and an exercise of true intolerance when certain individuals refuse to see things without looking at them through a lens of color. How far can it go? I think the Charlottesville city council vote is one example. In their myopathy, they chose to discard Thomas Jefferson in favor of another form of acceptance of slavery and in favor of government tyranny. Of course, the war against Confederate monuments and leaders is another example.

In closing, I want to emphasize again that I wish today’s liberals and race mongers would exercise the same tolerance that they demand of others.

 

- 0000 (3)

 

Reference: “Charlottesville Will No Longer Celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday in His Virginia Hometown,” FOX News. Referenced at: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/charlottesville-will-no-longer-celebrate-thomas-jeffersons-birthday-in-his-virginia-hometown-report

Advertisements

How the Left Operates (How it has consistently used “race” to invalidate NC Voter ID initiatives)

VOTER FRAUD - I only got to vote once (Daily Haymaker)

(Photo Credit:  Daily Haymaker)

by Diane Rufino, March 2, 2019

North Carolina voters have tried for a long time now to enact a common-sense voter identification law. For years, they have suspected voter and election fraud, and so when groups like the NC Voter Integrity Project (founded by Jay Delancy, its president) and Project Veritas, and data analysts like Major David Goetze presented verified instances of such fraud (which the NC state Board of Elections refused to investigate and prosecute, and in fact, began to enact policies to prevent such groups and individuals from accessing public data to find the fraud), they went to the polls in great numbers to elect representatives who would finally once and for all, legislate on their behalf and address their legitimate concerns about the integrity and transparency of our elections.

North Carolina was the only state in the southeast not to have a Voter ID law.

In 2013, the Republican-majority NC General Assembly passed a strict Voter ID law (Act. 2013-381, HB 589, Part 2), to go into effect for the 2016 presidential election. It included a strict photo requirement to vote. In 2015, the law was challenged by the NC NAACP and other minority groups alleging that it was discriminatory to African-Americans. In anticipation of the lawsuit, the legislature met in an urgent session to revise the bill, making it a “non-strict” photo identification law (HB 836).

The district court upheld the revised Voter ID law, convinced that it was passed in furtherance of reasonable state interests in fraud-free elections. The NC NAACP and other groups appealed the ruling to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals which struck the law down alleging that it was intentionally drafted and passed to target African-Americans and to diminish their voice at the ballot box.

In 2018, the Republican-dominated NC General Assembly passed a ballot initiative (HB 1092) to add a strict photo identification requirement to vote to the North Carolina state constitution. Voters would vote on the initiative (along with five other initiatives to amend the state constitution) in the November election. Despite a very strong campaign by the left, by the NAACP, by the Democratic Party, by the NC Bar Association, by the media (“North Carolina against tries to pass a Voter ID requirement to disenfranchise black voters), and others, including a scheme to confuse uninformed and ignorant Democratic voters who hadn’t even heard of any of the proposed amendments (“You must vote NO for all the amendments; they are the product of an illegal General Assembly!), the Voter ID amendment was approved by the voters.

In order to give life to the amendment, the General Assembly would need to enact legislation requiring verifiable forms of a photo ID in order to vote (a “strict photo ID” law). It would legislatively accomplish what the constitution now required. And so, on December 5-6, the General Assembly voted to approve Senate Bill 824 (SB 824), which listed the types of voter identification that would be accepted at the polls. [SL 2018-144 (2017-2018 session)]. The NC NAACP, headed by extreme race-baiter Rev. Anthony Spearman, held several press conferences articulating his delusion that North Carolina is like Alabama and Mississippi at the height of the civil rights era. They even held a rally outside the legislative building the first day of the vote.

On December 14, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed SB 824 and House Speaker Tim Moore responded in a press statement by saying, “We are disappointed that Gov. Cooper chose to ignore the will of the people and reject a commonsense election integrity measure that is common in most states, but the North Carolina House will override his veto as soon as possible.”

And over-ride the veto they did. Before the new legislature was inaugurated (late January), and while Republicans still held a super-majority, they met and voted to over-ride Governor Cooper’s veto.

North Carolina finally… FINALLY had a Voter ID law. And not only that, they had a strict photo identification requirement to vote enshrined now in their state constitution.

The question was: How long before Democrats and liberals would challenge them and try to invalidate them. It was the question that almost every single person asked on election night and then when the General Assembly met in special session to pass the Voter ID law.

As it turned out, the first lawsuit was filed within hours after the General Assembly over-rode Governor Cooper’s veto of the Voter ID law, on December 19, 2018. The NC NAACP filed that lawsuit and Clean Air Carolina then joined in. The suit was filed against Speaker of the House Tim Moore, Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger, and the State Board of Elections in Wake County Superior Court. [NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger (2018)]. The parties challenged two of the amendments (2 out of 4) that were adopted in November – the Voter ID amendment and the amendment capping the state income tax rate at 7% (lowering it from 10%).

In that lawsuit, the NCNAACP alleged that the NC general Assembly was improperly constituted in 2016, being the product of racially-gerrymandered state house and state districts, and therefore the amendment proposals adopted by that legislature for the November ballot were themselves tainted, were not the product of legitimate popular sovereignty, and therefore invalid acts. The NCNAACP asked the court to strike the amendments

Democrats have become all too predictable. As long as anything could be related to race, the race card would be used.

On Friday, February 22, Wake County Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins invalidated the amendments, The Voter ID amendment was passed by 55.49 % of NC voters and the amendment to limit the state income tax rate was passed by 57.35% of voters. In his ruling, Judge Collins agreed with the NCNAACP that the proposed amendments were passed by an “illegally constituted General Assembly” that was “not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s Constitution.”

Collins further wrote the “unconstitutional racial gerrymander tainted” the three-fifth majorities in each chamber necessary to submit the amendments to voters. He said that amounted to “breaking the requisite chain of popular sovereignty between North Carolina citizens and their representatives….. An illegally constituted General Assembly does not represent the people of North Carolina and is therefore not empowered to pass legislation that would amend the state’s constitution.”

He struck down the two amendments. He declared them to be void.

The judge based his opinion on previous court rulings finding that the General Assembly had been elected using “illegally gerrymandered” district maps. What he conveniently ignored was the federal court ruling that ultimately allowed the maps to be used for the 2016 elections.

Rev. Spearman issued this press release following the ruling: “We are delighted that the acts of the previous majority, which came to power through the use of racially discriminatory maps, have been checked. The prior General Assembly’s attempt to use its ill-gotten power to enshrine a racist photo voter ID requirement in the state constitution was particularly egregious, and we applaud the court for invalidating these attempts at unconstitutional overreach.”

Most are attacking the ruling as an act of clear judicial activism. NCGOP chairman Robin Hayes told the News & Observer: “This unprecedented and absurd ruling by a liberal judge is the very definition of judicial activism.” And Sen. Ralph Hise commented that the judge clearly had “an axe to grind.” And in a statement issued to NC voters, Senate leader (Senate President Pro Tempore) Phil Berger wrote: “It’s yet another example of activist judges taking away your political power to suit their own liberal agenda.”

After the ruling was handed down, Berger posted his disgust on his Facebook page: “Your vote to add a Voter ID amendment to the state constitution was overturned on Friday by one Democratic judge in Wake County. One Democratic judge overruled two million voters—a majority—to toss out Voter ID in North Carolina. He absurdly argued that a voter ID constitutional amendment is unconstitutional.

He continued: “A single Democratic Wake County trial judge ruled that the entire North Carolina General Assembly was an unconstitutional usurper body for approximately 1 ½ years. The millions of votes cast by citizens and certified by the North Carolina Board of Elections could potentially be thrown out by one Democratic judge.”

In other words, the people of North Carolina essentially were without a government for almost two years. That is what the ruling essentially states.

Bryan Collins is a registered Democrat who has clear partisan leanings. He donated to the Kay Hagan campaign and has attended NAACP conventions. It’s hard to imagine he could be impartial in a case brought by the very group he saw fit to publicly support.

My first issue with the ruling is why Judge Collins concluded that the district maps (gerrymandering) had to have been drawn up based on the racial make-up of the voters. Why did he conclude “Race” when the district maps could have just as rationally been drawn up on account of “political identity”? Was it just because a racial minority group made the allegation? [I’m sorry, but I don’t buy the rationale in the Supreme Court decision Cooper v. Harris (2017); See Reference section].

This was the same question I asked when the 4th Circuit concluded that the changes to North Carolina’s voter laws were motivated primarily and overwhelmingly by racial animus – to intentionally suppress the African-American vote. Why did the court assume the General Assembly targeted them on account of skin color rather than on account of political identity? The Supreme Court has said that if a particular race happens to be impacted more than others by a voter ID law that is neutral on its face, than it would be permitted. It concluded that requiring photo identification to vote poses no reasonable burden to an individual right to vote.

Here are some statistics about North Carolina voters in that the NC General Assembly was able to consider in their re-districting plan: In 2016, 22% of all registered (active) voters in North Carolina were African-Americans. (That matches exactly the demographics in the state, with 22.1% of the population being African-American). Furthermore, exactly half of all registered Democrats in 2016 in North Carolina were African-American.

If you take these statistics together, it is seems quite obvious that almost all African-Americans identify as Democrats. It also seems quite obvious that the Democratic Party in North Carolina relies very heavily on the African-American community for votes.

So, if African-Americans identify almost exclusively (certainly overwhelmingly, well over 90%) with the Democratic Party, how does a judge in all honesty, conclude that district maps were drawn based on skin color and not on political identity. Isn’t “political identity” or “party affiliation” the more pertinent identifier ?

In 2016, the General Assembly drew up new district maps. A federal court (the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina), found the 28 of the 170 legislative districts (house and senate) and 2 of the congressional districts were improperly racially gerrymandered (black voters were drawn together in districts). The General Assembly addressed the concerns but they didn’t quite overcome the deficiencies. The 3-judge panel of judges, however, acknowledged that “there is insufficient time, at this late date, for: the General Assembly to draw and enact remedial districts; this Court to review the remedial plan,” and so, they allowed the maps to remain in place for the 2016 election. (The legislature would have to amend the maps in the 2017 session).

At some point during or after 2017, the maps would no longer be struck down by the courts as “racially” gerrymandering but rather as “partisan” gerrymandering. When the state legislature’s district maps could no longer be challenged as “racial” gerrymandering, they then began to challenge them as “partisan gerrymandering. That is, the districts were drawn to favored Republicans. Mind you, the courts are well-aware that the Supreme Court has never struck down a districting plan because it is partisan in design. But precedent has never stopped the liberal North Carolina courts. (See the Appendix at the end of the article).

The maps drawn up in 2016 and used in the 2016 election continued to provide a possible legal angle for disgruntled and racially-obsessed Democrats. The courts have been their friend in the past and they would use them again.

To understand why the NC NAACP brought its lawsuit against the Republican-majority General Assembly based on a racial allegation, we need to look at districting authority, federal law, and court precedent. We will see that the lawsuit was pure political strategy, taking advantage of outdated federal law and court decisions that still believe the United States and southern states in particular are still obsessed with white supremacy and motivated by animus and discriminatory intent when it comes to its African-American population. We will see that this is the favored approach of progressives who use the liberal courts to achieve what it can’t with duly-enacted legislatures and other governing bodies.

Each state legislature is tasked with drawing up district lines, or district maps. District lines for US congressional districts and for both state house and senate districts must be re-drawn every 10 years following the completion of the US census. The party holding the majority in the state legislature at the time re-districting maps are to be re-drawn has the benefit of drawing those district lines to its advantage. Nothing in the state constitution of North Carolina requires that re-districting be done on a non-partisan basis. In fact, for so many years, while Democrats have held the majority in both houses in the NC General Assembly, they have drawn maps to favor their party, including focusing on race since it is a strong indicator of Democratic support.

North Carolina has 13 US congressional districts (for its 13 representatives in the US Congress), it has 120 NC house districts, and 50 NC Senate districts. The NC General Assembly is alone responsible for drawing up all these maps/districts and they are NOT subject to approval by the Governor. In other words, the maps drawn up by the Redistricting Committee is not subject to being vetoed by the Governor.

In drawing up district maps, the federal government mandates that districts must have nearly equal populations to comport with the US Constitution and notions of democracy. The rule that election districts contain equal populations is the essence of the general idea of “One Person, One Vote,” which was emphasized by the Supreme Court in 1962 (Baker v. Carr). It means that a person’s vote counts equally no matter where he casts his vote. Civil Rights laws further mandate that district maps must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity. It is OK to discriminate based on the white color of one’s skin, it is OK to discriminate based on affluence (or lack thereof), and it is OK to discriminate based on political affiliation. The courts have always tolerated partisan gerrymandering (even when district maps assume no reasonable shape at all) but they do not tolerate racial gerrymandering.

Hence we are starting to see why the allegation of “racial” gerrymandering was made. Partisan gerrymandering will not guarantee a favorable challenge and outcome. An allegation of “racial” gerrymandering will.

This is how the Democratic machine works.

Anyway, Senate leader Phil Berger has filed an appeal on behalf of the Republican legislative leaders, calling Judge Collin’s ruling an “absurd decision.” His full announcement read: “We are duty-bound to appeal this absurd decision. The prospect of invalidating 18 months of laws is the definition of chaos and confusion. Based on tonight’s opinion and others over the past several years, it appears the idea of judicial restraint has completely left the state of North Carolina. Rest assured, our lawyers will appeal this ridiculous ruling, but it’s yet another example of activist judges taking away your political power to suit their own liberal agenda.”

Republicans contend Collins’ reasoning jeopardizes dozens of laws.

Here is what the appeal by the Republican legislators argues: (i) Judge Collins disregarded the fact that a federal court had allowed the 2016 election to proceed using the challenged districting maps; (ii) If Collins’ ruling should stand, then essentially the state had no government for almost 2 years (2017-2018). Yet residents were still required to pay taxes to it; (iii) If Collin’s ruling should be permitted to stand, then it would invalidate all the laws of that “illegal legislative session – anarchy; and (iv) To allow Collins’ ruling to stand would create chaos and further litigation in North Carolina.

In the meantime, Sen. Berger appealed to Judge Collins to stay his order striking down the amendments (stay = “put on hold”) while he and fellow Republican leaders file their appeal with the state appellate court, but he refused. The case will most likely reach the state Supreme Court. Currently, the seven-member body is composed of at least five registered Democrats, but Governor Cooper will have the opportunity to appoint one more associate justice, to fill the vacancy on the court caused by his appointment of Associate Justice Cheri Beasley to Chief Justice. It will no doubt be another Democrat, bringing the total to 6 Democrat justices.

A statement by Sen. Berger after the ruling by Judge Collins perhaps describes it best: “All North Carolinians, regardless of party, should be concerned by this lawlessness, because it’s only a matter of time before a judge comes for their preferred legislative policies. Judge Collins is calling the legislature a usurper body while himself usurping the will of millions of North Carolinians who voted to amend their own constitution.”

The one redeeming quality about this ruling is that we can now see all so clearly how liberal-minded, overreaching judges tend to bend the Constitution for progressive purposes and how they use their positions on the bench to disregard the democratic process and un-do the will of the people.

So what does this mean for the honest and decent and well-meaning citizens of North Carolina who want transparent elections in their state? What does this mean for the honest and decent and well-meaning North Carolinians who, despite what Spearman says, do not live their lives seeing things in terms of black and white, who enjoy living side-by-side with persons who don’t look exactly like themselves, and who simply are concerned about the integrity of the NC election process? What does this mean for the majority of North Carolinians who have pressured their state government to address voter fraud and potential voter fraud since 2010?

The good news is that the Voter ID law (SB 2018-144) passed by the General Assembly in December is still good – at least for now. It is a stand-alone bill, not tied by language to the constitutional amendment, and passed by members of the General Assembly of both parties (with two Democrats joining Republicans in the House and one joining Republicans in the Senate). The equipment is not in place yet to provide a free photo ID to those who can’t afford one or who otherwise can’t obtain one, but should be in time for the next election cycle.

The appeal has been filed by Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore and we should soon find out if Judge Collins’ judicial order will stand or be overturned. If the order invalidating the amendments is upheld, there may be a lawsuit to challenge the Voter ID law as the product of an illegally-constituted General Assembly but to move forward under that theory would potentially mean that every single piece of legislation and every decision made could also be challenged in court. My guess is that such a lawsuit won’t be filed.

For now, North Carolina has a strict Voter ID law in place. The only thing the NCNAACP has done is to manufacture a crisis of racism that doesn’t exist and to be successful in convincing a lower state court judge to issue one of the grossest acts judicial activism in recent history. There should be no place in North Carolina for the NCNAACP.

 

References:

Voter ID law – SB 2018-144 (2017-2018) – https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookup/2017/S824“NC Judge Invalidates Two Constitutional Amendments Passed by Voters Last Fall,” NC Family Policy Facts, February 25, 2019. Referenced at: http://my.ncfamily.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=5207.0&dlv_id=9084

Gary Robertson, “Judge Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID OK’ed by Voters,” The Washington Post, February 22, 2019. Referenced at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judge-strikes-down-north-carolina-voter-id-okd-by-voters/2019/02/22/0cfd1a98-3708-11e9-8375-e3dcf6b68558_story.html?utm_term=.24d45d7283d2

”Voter ID History,” National Conference of State Legislatures. Referenced at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id-history.aspx

Rebecca Trippett, “NC in Focus: Who are NC’s Democratic Voters?” UNC Carolina Demography, October 2, 2016. Referenced at: https://demography.cpc.unc.edu/2016/10/07/nc-in-focus-who-are-ncs-democratic-voters/

“Federal Judges: Racially-Tainted General Assembly Districts Must Be Redrawn,” WRAL, August 11, 2016. Referenced at: https://www.wral.com/federal-judges-racially-tainted-general-assembly-districts-must-be-redrawn/15920846/

Adam Liptak, “Justices Reject 2 Gerrymandered North Carolina Districts, Citing Racial Bias,” The New York Times, May 22, 2017. Referenced at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/22/us/politics/supreme-court-north-carolina-congressional-districts.html

VIDEO: “How Gerrymandering Got its Name.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BWVDUpEaNM

VIDEO: “Crash Course on Re-districting.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnhFm5QVVTo

NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger, COMPLAINT –

https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/Complaint_-_Usurpers_FINAL_-_pdf.pdf [Notice how the NAACP refers to Republican leaders as “Usurpers”]

NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger (2018), OPINION – https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/doc03389420190222171503.pdf

Ariane de Vogue, “Supreme Court Blocks Court Order to Redraw North Carolina Congressional Districts,” CNN, January 19, 2018. Referenced at: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/politics/north-carolina-supreme-court-redistricting/index.html   [US Supreme Court voted 7-2 to freeze (ignore) a lower federal court ruling that struck down North Carolina’s congressional districts, holding that it amounted to an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The order makes it likely, although not certain, that the controversial maps will be used for the 2020 election. In January 2018, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower district court and held that North Carolina’s 2016 plan was enacted “with the intent of discriminating against voters who favored non-Republican candidates” and that the plan violated the First Amendment by “unjustifiably discriminating against voters based on their previous political expression and affiliation.” Partisan gerrymandering had been permitted by the Supreme Court and lower courts in the past, assuming that politics was always involved in the drafting of maps. The lower district court had ordered the NC General Assembly to enact a remedial redistricting plan by January 24, 2019. The Supreme Court voted to freeze that court order and, at least for now, to allow the maps to remain in place for the next election. The order comes as the Supreme Court is also considering two other partisan gerrymander cases – one from Maryland and the other from Wisconsin. It is likely that should it take those cases, the NC case will be re-considered along with the other two. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the cases, it will be the first time that the high court takes up the issue of “when is partisan gerrymandering too extreme” (so as to offend notions of fairness). The court will address the question of whether or not standards for partisan gerrymandering can be determined and applied].

Voter ID Laws by State, Ballotpedia. https://ballotpedia.org/Voter_identification_laws_by_state

“Redistricting and the Supreme Court: The Most Significant Cases,” National Commission of State Legislatures (NCSL), July 9, 2018. Referenced at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/redistricting/redistricting-and-the-supreme-court-the-most-significant-cases.aspx

Those cases:

Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962). For the first time, the court held that the federal courts had jurisdiction to consider constitutional challenges to state legislative redistricting plans. The Court held that a federal district court had jurisdiction to hear a claim that this inequality of representation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368 (1963). The Court established the constitutional standard for equality of representation as “one person, one vote.”

Karcher v. Daggett, 462 U.S. 725 (1983). Congressional districts must be mathematically equal in population, unless necessary to achieve a legitimate state objective.

Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630 (1993). Legislative and congressional districts will be struck down by courts for violating the Equal Protection Clause if they cannot be explained on grounds other than race. (While not dispositive, “bizarrely shaped” districts are strongly indicative of racial intent).

Cooper v. Harris, (2017). Partisanship cannot be used to justify a racial gerrymander.

**** I always thought that it was odd the Courts did so, since: (i) it is the manipulation of district maps for partisan purposes that is the real concern in elections, and (ii) all too often, racial identity and political identity are the same.

 

APPENDIX I: Gerrymandering in North Carolina (since 2016)

In November 2010, the Republican party gained control of both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly. Republicans hadn’t had control of both houses since 1896, when the party successfully fused with the Populist Party. Republicans first gained control of the state house in 1998 but they have been unable to gain control of the state senate since 1896. Prior to the 2010 election, corrupt Democratic Senate leader Marc Basnight and corrupt House Speaker Joe Hackney controlled the state’s government. Basnight led the Senate for a record 18 years. The mandate for the newly-elected Republican majority was to end the corruption, to set a priority to live within a smaller more responsible budget (the state faced an estimated $3 billion deficit), and to enact a Voter ID bill.

Elections have consequences. Obama said this many times after he won, and in fact, the Supreme Court has recognized this common-sense truth in reviewing election matters.

The push-back against Republicans began immediately.

The following is taken directly from the “FACTS” section of the Complaint filed by the NCNAACP. It lays out the series of lawsuits against the North Carolina General Assembly (N.C.G.A.) with respect to the district maps.

The Unconstitutional N.C.G.A:

(1) The N.C.G.A. is comprised of 50 Senate seats and 120 House of Representative seats pursuant to the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, Art. II, §§ 2, 4.

(2) In 2011, following the decennial census, the N.C.G.A. redrew the boundaries of North Carolina legislative districts for both the NC Senate and the NC House of Representatives. The districts were enacted in July 2011.

(3) The N.C.G.A. unconstitutionally and impermissibly considered race in drawing the 2011 legislative maps, resulting in legislative districts that unlawfully packed black voters into election districts in concentrations not authorized or compelled under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

(4) On November 4, 2011, the NC NAACP joined by three organizations and forty six individual plaintiffs filed a state court action that raised state and federal claims challenging the districts as unconstitutionally based on race. Dickson v. Rucho, 766 S.E.2d 238 (N.C. 2014), vacated, 135 S. Ct. 1843 (2015) (mem.), remanded to 781 S.E.2d 404 (N.C. 2015); vacated and remanded, 198 L. Ed. 2d 252 (U.S. 2017) (mem.), remanded 813 S.E.3d 230 (N.C. 2017).

(5) On May 19, 2015, plaintiffs Sandra Little Covington et al, filed a parallel challenge in federal court alleging that twenty-eight districts, nine (9) Senate districts and nineteen (19) House of Representative districts, were unlawful racial gerrymanders in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteen Amendment of the United States Constitution. Covington v. North Carolina, 316 F.R.D. 117 (M.D.N.C. 2016).

(6) In August 2016, the three-judge federal district court panel unanimously ruled for plaintiffs, holding that “race was the predominant factor motivating the drawing of all challenged districts,” and struck down the twenty-eight (28) challenged districts (nine Senate districts and nineteen House districts) as the result of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. See Covington v. North Carolina, 316 F.R.D. 117, 124, 176 (M.D.N.C. 2016), aff’d, 581 U.S. ––––, 137 S.Ct. 2211 (2017) (per curiam).

(7) On June 5, 2017, the United States Supreme Court summarily affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the twenty-eight (28) challenged districts were the result of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, North Carolina v. Covington, 581 U.S. ––––, 137 S.Ct. 2211, (2017) (per curiam). On June 30, 2017, a mandate was issued as to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order affirming the lower court’s judgment.

(8) The United States Supreme Court, however, vacated and remanded the lower court’s remedial order for a special election, ordering the lower court to provide a fuller explanation of its reasoning for the U.S. Supreme Court’s review. North Carolina v. Covington, — U.S. —, 137 S. Ct. 1624 (2017) (per curiam).

(9) On remand, the three-judge panel granted the N.C.G.A. an opportunity to propose a new redistricting plan to remedy the unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Covington v. North Carolina, 283 F.Supp.3d 410, 417–18 (M.D.N.C. 2018). In August 2017, the N.C.G.A. submitted a proposed remedial map, drawn by Dr. Thomas Hofeller, the same mapmaker the General Assembly had hired to draw the 2011 invalidated maps. Dr. Thomas redrew a total of 11 of the 170 state House and Senate districts from the 2011 unconstitutionally racially-gerrymandered maps. Id. at 418.

(10) After reviewing the General Assembly’s remedial plan, the three-judge panel determined that a number of the new districts put forward by the N.C.G.A. in its 2017 remedial plan were essentially continuations of the old, racially gerrymandered districts that had been previously rejected as unconstitutional and either failed to remedy the unconstitutional racial gerrymander or violated provisions of the North Carolina Constitution. Id. at 447-58. For those defective districts, the three-judge panel adopted remedial districts proposed by a court

appointed special master. Id. at 447-58. The United States Supreme Court affirmed the districts adopted by the three-judge panel, except for certain districts in Wake and Mecklenburg Counties that had not been found to be tainted by racial gerrymanders, but were drawn in alleged violation of the state constitutional prohibition against mid-decade redistricting.   North Carolina v. Covington, 138 S.Ct. 2548 (2018).

(11) In order to cure the 2011 unconstitutional racial gerrymander, the remedial maps redrew 117 legislative districts.

(12) In November of 2018, elections for all N.C.G.A. seats were held based on the redrawn districts, the first opportunity that voters had had since before 2011 to choose representatives in districts that have not been found to be the illegal product of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

(13) Since June 5, 2017, the N.C.G.A. has continued to act and pass laws.

Reference: NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger, COMPLAINT –https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/Complaint_-_Usurpers_FINAL_-_pdf.pdf [Notice how the NAACP refers to Republican leaders as “Usurpers”]

Additional Gerrymandering History (Background of a Possible Upcoming Supreme Court case) –

In 2017, two congressional district maps, one for congressional district 1 and the other for congressional district 12, were challenged as being racially gerrymandered, and the district and appellate courts agreed. It was appealed to the US Supreme Court, which also affirmed on May 22, 2017. The high Court agreed that the districts in question were improperly racially gerrymandered and sent the case back to the district court for a suitable remedy. The district court ordered the General Assembly to draft remedial maps for use in the 2018 election cycle, which it did. And the court approved them. (So all is OK with the 2018 elections)

Those same district maps were then challenged as being improperly partisan gerrymandered. In 2017, a federal district court and held that North Carolina’s 2016 plan was enacted “with the intent of discriminating against voters who favored non-Republican candidates” and that the plan violated the First Amendment by “unjustifiably discriminating against voters based on their previous political expression and affiliation.” Partisan gerrymandering had been permitted by the Supreme Court and lower courts in the past, assuming that politics was always involved in the drafting of maps. The Supreme Court has always been of the understanding (the rightful expectation) that “elections have consequences.” The lower district court had ordered the NC General Assembly to enact a remedial redistricting plan by January 24, 2019. The ruling was appealed.

In January 2018, a panel of 3 federal judges affirmed the lower court ruling and declared the congressional district maps to be unconstitutional, being the product of partisan gerrymandering – that is, the maps were drawn to unfairly favor Republican candidates. (“The Republican-dominated state’s House map violated the First and 14th Amendments by unfairly giving one group of voters – Republicans – a bigger voice than others in choosing representatives”). The ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court.

On January 19, the US Supreme Court voted 7-2 to freeze (ignore) the lower federal court ruling,. The order makes it likely, although not certain, that the controversial maps will be used for the 2020 election. The order comes as the Supreme Court is also considering two other partisan gerrymander cases – one from Maryland and the other from Wisconsin. It is likely that should it take those cases, the NC case will be re-considered along with the other two. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the cases, it will be the first time that the high court takes up the issue of “when is partisan gerrymandering too extreme” (so as to offend notions of fairness). The court will address the question of whether or not standards for partisan gerrymandering can be determined and applied].

In August 2018, the same three-member panel of judges reached essentially the same conclusion that it had in January – that NC’s district maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans. The Supreme Court had never struck down a state district map based on partisan gerrymandering. However, the ruling sets up a delicate tactical question for the Supreme Court, particularly since two other states have had their districting maps challenged as well as being improper partisan gerrymandering.

 

APPENDIX II: Why the NC NAACAP Filed the Lawsuit

In short, the NC NAACP is an extreme racist group, believing the white community has one interest only – in keeping the black community down, disadvantaged, poor, and suppressed at the ballot box. It believes that the primary object of white legislators is to plot and scheme on how to do all of the above, especially to suppress the black vote. Whites = bad. Blacks = victims. Whites = Republican. Blacks = Democrat. It’s president, T. Anthony Spearman, has spoken often, with racism dripping from his lips, about how white legislators still cling to the Jim Crow mentality of the post-Reconstruction era and “meet in their lily-white caucuses” to “enshrine racism” in the state’s laws and most recently, to enshrine it in the state’s constitution. His organization will do anything, and has done everything in its power (ie, to cry “racism” about everything that the legislature does), to prevent a voter ID law from being enforced in North Carolina and to keep the notion alive that it has no other purpose than to suppress the black vote.

In filing the lawsuit, Spearman commented: “The supermajority’s proposed amendments to the North Carolina constitution represent the greatest threat to our state’s democratic institutions since the Civil War.”

As usual, Spearman shows his utter ignorance of history and his willingness to distort history to further his ambitions. It was the Republicans in government (in power) that first gave blacks access to state democratic institutions and then to national democratic institutions. It was a Democrat, a slavery-supporter named Roger Taney (Chief Justice Roger Taney), who wrote the opinion in the infamous Dred Scott case (1857) that held that the United States never intended for persons of African descent to be included in the body politic (ie, to be considered as citizens) and hence, they could never be entitled to any protections under the US Constitution. In short, Mr. Dred Scott had no legal right even to bring his lawsuit.

It was the Democratic party and Democratic leaders who plotted and schemed to enshrine racism in laws, state constitutions, institutions, policies, and practices, and who engineered the social arraignment that was state-sponsored segregation (Jim Crow) to keep the races separated, implying that one race was superior to the other. It was Democratic Senators who filibustered in 1965 to prevent the passage of civil rights legislation. It was Republican Congressional leaders who banded together to break the filibuster and get the legislation passed.

If Spearman had any understanding or appreciation of history, he would know that Republicans aren’t the enemy of the black community. They aren’t the party that assumes that blacks are less intelligent, less capable, far less disadvantaged, incapable of making decisions on their own, incapable of competing in the workforce, incapable of supporting themselves, etc and hence government must take care of them. The Republican Party is the party of true equality, and all that it mean and all that it requires.

 

APPENDIX III: Why the NAACP Alleged the Income Tax Amendment to be Unconstitutional

The reason was provided in the Complaint filed by the NCNAACP:

“The income tax cap constitutional amendment harms the NCNAACP, its members, and the black community and its ability to advocate for tis priority issues. Because the amendment places a flat, artificial limit on income taxes, it prohibits the state from establishing graduated tax rates on higher-income taxpayers and, over time, will act as a tax cut only for the wealthy. This tends to favor white households and disadvantages people of color, reinforcing the accumulation of wealth for white taxpayers and undermining the financing of public structures (ie, public services) that benefit non-wealthy people, including people of color. For example, historically in North Carolina, decreased revenue produced by income tax cuts in the state has resulted in significant spending cuts that disproportionately hurt public schools, eliminated or significantly reduced funding for communities of color, and otherwise undermined the economic well-being of the non-wealthy.”

[In other words, the black community has nowhere achieved what the white community has achieved in NC, and because the black community has not achieved what the white community has achieved, the black community is entitled to what the white community earns. It makes no difference that the income tax cap amendment is absolutely neutral in its language and free from racial consideration. The black community is entitled to the wealth earned by others, which according to the NCNAACP, is earned almost exclusively by the white community].

Here is my question: Since the Reconstruction era, and especially after 1896, the NC state legislation has been in the hands of Democrats. Since blacks make up only about 22% of the population in the state, the only way that Democrats could have been elected and have continued to maintain control of the state government is if a large percent of voters were white. Democrats have held majorities and supermajorities for over 100 years, so if Spearman is complaining about the historic disadvantaged status of blacks in North Carolina, doesn’t it make sense that that’s because of the 100 years or so of Democratic government? Of Democratic policies? Republicans haven’t had the majority so it wasn’t their policies that have kept blacks so disadvantaged, so illiterate, so economically-depressed, etc. Maybe it was the white Democrats who are the real racists? In any case, it was Democrats, Democratic rule, and the long history of Democratic rule in North Carolina that have given rise to the status of blacks in the state.

Reference: NAACP and Clean Air Carolina v. Moore and Berger (2018), OPINION – https://www.southernenvironment.org/uploads/words_docs/doc03389420190222171503.pdf

 

APPENDIX IV. Why Clean Air Carolina joined the Lawsuit

Clean Air Carolina’s issue is not with the amendments at all. It is with having too many Republicans in government. This is what they said: “If the legislature is successful in its power grab it will have dire consequences for citizens in the voting booth, for our communities and the air we breathe, and for our basic democratic institutions. This is not our typical lawsuit but the proposed ballot measures would impact our ability to fulfill our mission by limiting the voice that North Carolinians have in state policy, particularly on urgent environmental issues.”   [Translation of “the voice that North Carolinians have in state policy”: They obviously mean that conservatives don’t count as North Carolinians. They are only concerned about Democratic residents of NC].

“This legislature has carried out extraordinary attacks to strip fundamental clean air and clean water protections that North Carolinians have been assured of for decades, breaking with our state’s long history of bipartisan support for environmental safeguards. At the moment we are poised to re-establish fair representation that will accurately reflect voters on environmental issues, they have attempted a desperate and unlawful power grab.”

In short, Clean Air Carolina honestly believes that Republicans have no interest in the environment. Hence, if they can help get rid of Republicans legislators, they would happily do so.

African-American Police Officer Posts of the Reality of Patrolling in the Inner City

Jay Stalien

by Diane Rufino, July 13, 2016

Benjamin Spock once wrote: “Most middle-class whites have no idea what it feels like to be subjected to police who are routinely suspicious, rude, belligerent, and brutal.”

Robert Kennedy once wrote: “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”

Let’s look at both these statements.

With respect to Dr. Spock, we can say that for the most part, his statement is true. But the reason might be that white middle-class white people obey laws, live in stable families, embrace decent values, and live in communities with others who share similar values.  Middle class white people have priorities that include education, employment, and church. They conduct themselves in a civilized manner and are respectful when they are in the presence of a police officer. I have never lived in an inner city, but from what I read and see on TV, and what I’ve seen in the public school system, it’s pretty clear that the people there don’t share the same core beliefs or values. Poverty is not an excuse to raise one’s children poorly.

With respect to Mr. Kennedy, his statement certainly sounds like it should be true.

Jay Salien, a police officer who works in Riviera Beach, Florida, assumed as much.  But Salien is no ordinary police officer.  He is an African-American police officer who patrols a predominantly black part of town. Now, Riviera Beach may sound like a resort area – a place people with money might go to retire or for a vacation. But the reality is something quite different. The town is known for its significant rate of black on black crime.

In the wake of the growing Black Lives Matter movement and the countering movement, the Blue Lives Matter movement (which is a result of the intentional, wanton violence against police by BLM supporters), Salien felt he couldn’t remain silent. As the BLM, and even our own president, allege that our nation’s police forces are filled with trigger-happy racist officers, Salien took to Facebook to post the brutal reality of what a police officer faces each day when he patrols a predominantly black community.

His entire post is shared below:

“I have come to realize something that is still hard for me to understand to this day. The following may be a shock to some coming from an African American, but the mere fact that it may be shocking to some is prima facie evidence of the sad state of affairs that we are in as Humans.

I used to be so torn inside growing up. Here I am, a young African-American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY wanting to be a cop. I watched and lived through the crime that took place in the hood. My own black people killing others over nothing. Crack heads and heroin addicts lined the lobby of my building as I shuffled around them to make my way to our 1-bedroom apartment with 6 of us living inside. I used to be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of gun fire, only to look outside and see that it was 2 African Americans shooting at each other.

It never sat right with me. I wanted to help my community and stop watching the blood of African Americans spilled on the street at the hands of a fellow black man. I became a cop because black lives in my community, along with ALL lives, mattered to me, and wanted to help stop the bloodshed.

As time went by in my law enforcement career, I quickly began to realize something. I remember the countless times I stood 2 inches from a young black man, around my age, laying on his back, gasping for air as blood filled his lungs. I remember them bleeding profusely with the unforgettable smell of deoxygenated dark red blood in the air, as it leaked from the bullet holes in his body on to the hot sidewalk on a summer day. I remember the countless family members who attacked me, spit on me, cursed me out, as I put up crime scene tape to cordon off the crime scene, yelling and screaming out of pain and anger at the sight of their loved ones taking their last breath. I never took it personally. I knew they were hurting. I remember the countless times I had to order new uniforms, because the ones I had on, were bloody from the blood of another black victim…of black on black crime. I remember the countless times I got back in my patrol car, distraught after having watched another black male die in front me, having to start my preliminary report something like this:

Suspect- Black/ Male, Victim-Black /Male.

I remember the countless times I canvassed the area afterwards, and asked everyone “did you see who did it”, and the popular response from the very same family members was always, “Fuck the Police, I ain’t no snitch, Im gonna take care of this myself”. This happened every single time, every single homicide, black on black, and then my realization became clearer.

I woke up every morning, put my freshly pressed uniform on, shined my badge, functioned checked my weapon, kissed my wife and kid, and waited for my wife to say the same thing she always does before I leave, “Make sure you come back home to us”. I always replied, “I will”, but the truth was I was never sure if I would. I almost lost my life on this job, and every call, every stop, every moment that I had this uniform on, was another possibility for me to almost lose my life again. I was a target in the very community I swore to protect, the very community I wanted to help. As a matter of fact, they hated my very presence. They called me “Uncle Tom”, and “wanna be white boy”, and I couldn’t understand why. My own fellow black men and women attacking me, wishing for my death, wishing for the death of my family. I was so confused, so torn, I couldn’t understand why my own black people would turn against me, when every time they called …I was there. Every time someone died….I was there. Every time they were going through one of the worst moments in their lives…I was there. So why was I the enemy? I dove deep into that question…Why was I the enemy? Then my realization became clearer.

I spoke to members of the community and listened to some of the complaints as to why they hated cops. I then did research on the facts. I also presented facts to these members of the community, and listened to their complaints in response. This is what I learned:

COMPLAINT:  Police always targeting us, they always messing with the black man.

FACT:  A city where the majority of citizens are black (Baltimore for example) …will ALWAYS have a higher rate of black people getting arrested, it will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting stopped, and will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting killed, and the reason why is because a city with those characteristics will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks committing crime. The statistics will follow the same trend for Asians if you go to China, for Hispanics if you go to Puerto Rico, for whites if you go to Russia, and the list goes on. It’s called Demographics

COMPLAINT:  More black people get arrested than white boys.

FACT:  Black People commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime. Data from the FBI shows that Nationwide, Blacks committed 5,173 homicides in 2014, whites committed 4,367. Chicago’s death toll is almost equal to that of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined. Chicago’s death toll from 2001–November, 26 2015 stands at 7,401. The combined total deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2015: 4,815) and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan (2001-2015: 3,506), total 8,321.

COMPLAINT:  Blacks are the only ones getting killed by police, or they are killed more.

FACT:  As of July 2016, the breakdown of the number of US Citizens killed by Police this year is, 238 White people killed, 123 Black people killed, 79 Hispanics, 69 other/or unknown race.

FACT:  Black people kill more other blacks than Police do, and there are only protest and outrage when a cop kills a black man. University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012. Professor Johnson’s research further concluded that 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

COMPLAINT: Well we already doing a good job of killing ourselves, we don’t need the Police to do it. Besides they should know better.

The more I listened, the more I realized. The more I researched, the more I realized. I would ask questions, and would only get emotional responses & inferences based on no facts at all. The more killing I saw, the more tragedy, the more savagery, the more violence, the more loss of life of a black man at the hands of another black man….the more I realized.

I haven’t slept well in the past few nights. Heartbreak weighs me down, rage flows through my veins, and tears fills my eyes. I watched my fellow officers assassinated on live television, and the images of them laying on the ground are seared into my brain forever. I couldn’t help but wonder if it had been me, a black man, a black cop, on TV, assassinated, laying on the ground dead,..would my friends and family still think black lives mattered?

Would my life have mattered? Would they make t-shirts in remembrance of me? Would they go on tv and protest violence? Would they even make a Facebook post, or share a post in reference to my death?

All of my realizations came to this conclusion. Black Lives do not matter to most black people. Only the lives that make the national news matter to them. Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people, matter. The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter. Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm”, and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter”. I realized that this country is full of ignorance, where an educated individual will watch the ratings-driven news media, and watch a couple YouTube video clips, and then come to the conclusion that they have all the knowledge they need to have in order to know what it feels like to have a bullet proof vest as part of your office equipment, “Stay Alive” as part of your daily to do list, and having insurance for your health insurance because of the high rate of death in your profession. They watch a couple videos and then they magically know in 2 minutes 35 seconds, how you are supposed to handle a violent encounter, which took you 6 months of Academy training, 2 – 3 months of field training, and countless years of blood, sweat, tears and broken bones experiencing violent encounters and fine tuning your execution of the Use of Force Continuum. I realized that there are even cops, COPS, duly sworn law enforcement officers, who are supposed to be decent investigators, who will publicly go on the media and call other white cops racist and KKK, based on a video clip that they watched thousands of miles away, which was filmed after the fact, based on a case where the details aren’t even known yet and the investigation hasn’t even begun. I realized that most in the African American community refuse to look at solving the bigger problem that I see and deal with every day, which is black on black crime taking hundreds of innocent black lives each year, and instead focus on the 9 questionable deaths of black men, where some were in the act of committing crimes. I realized that they value the life of a Sex Offender and Convicted Felon, [who was in the act of committing multiple felonies: felon in possession of a firearm-FELONY, brandishing and threatening a homeless man with a gun-Aggravated Assault in Florida: FELONY, who resisted officers who first tried to taze him, and WAS NOT RESTRAINED, who can be clearly seen in one of the videos raising his right shoulder, then shooting it down towards the right side of his body exactly where the firearm was located and recovered] more than the lives of the innocent cops who were assassinated in Dallas protecting the very people that hated them the most. I realized that they refuse to believe that most cops acknowledge that there are Bad cops who should have never been given a badge & gun, who are chicken shit and will shoot a cockroach if it crawls at them too fast, who never worked in the hood and may be intimidated. That most cops dread the thought of having to shoot someone, and never see the turmoil and mental anguish that a cop goes through after having to kill someone to save his own life. Instead they believe that we are all blood thirsty killers, because the media says so, even though the numbers prove otherwise. I realize that they truly feel as if the death of cops will help people realize the false narrative that Black Lives Matter, when all it will do is take their movement two steps backwards and label them domestic terrorist. I realized that some of these people, who say Black Lives Matter, are full of hate and racism. Hate for cops, because of the false narrative that more black people are targeted and killed. Racism against white people, for a tragedy that began 100’s of years ago, when most of the white people today weren’t even born yet. I realized that some in the African American community’s idea of “Justice” is the prosecution of ANY and EVERY cop or white man that kills or is believed to have killed a black man, no matter what the circumstances are. I realized the African American community refuses to look within to solve its major issues, and instead makes excuses and looks outside for solutions. I realized that a lot of people in the African American community lead with hate, instead of love. Division instead of Unity. Turmoil and rioting, instead of Peace. I realized that they have become the very entity that they claim they are fighting against.

I realized that the very reasons I became a cop, are the very reasons my own people hate me, and now in this toxic hateful racially charged political climate, I am now more likely to die,… and it is still hard for me to understand…. to this day.

The black community is responsible for a hugely disproportionate amount of violent crime in our nation’s communities – mostly in their own communities.  The senseless violence boggles the mind of men and women in uniform who devote their lives and sacrifice their safety for the protection of others. There has to be some accountability and culpability for the racial divide that is currently plaguing us by the black community instead of the usual blame game – “racism.”  Government policies MUST encourage a strong sense of family and actually achieve this goal.  Right now, its policies encourage the destruction of the family and encourage out-of-wedlock births.  Government MUST tear down its “wall of separation” from religion which it keeps “high and impregnable” and embrace policies that encourage and achieve a greater influence of religious teachings in citizen’s lives – particularly our youth.  They need this guidance so badly. Government policies MUST encourage parents to take responsibility for the upbringing of their children and stop leaving it to schools, the police, prisons, etc. There is nothing more tragic than a mother who cries over the body of her slain son, killed while going for a gun when stopped by police when she herself didn’t raise him properly, didn’t check on the friends he was hanging out, didn’t follow up on what he was doing at night, or know that he even carried a gun.”

Solutions are needed.  Serious dialogue is needed, and not just the usual allegation of “racism.”  But while the tension between the Black Lives Matter movement and the police in general seems to be escalating (BLM is now calling for a “Day of Rage” to be celebrated by a wave of protests all over the country), the last thing the BLM seems to be interested in is an honest dialogue or solutions.  I read somewhere that one of their so-called solutions is a collection of states just for blacks.

Last night, I watched a Bill O’Reilly episode, which I very rarely do. O’Reilly asked democrat commentator, Kirsten Powers, if she believes the Black Lives Matter movement is seriously looking for solutions or just acting out in rage. She responded that she believes they are interested in solutions and are essentially a peaceful group.  O’Reilly then showed her a clip of what happened when one of Fox News reporters went into a black community to ask why they hate police. It was not a civilized response. [Seehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7uc6YznICU.  Advance to 19:30 min for the interview segment]

I wondered then, where is this Black Lives Matter is headed. What do they want?  What can the American reasonably believe might be the outcome.  Will our nation’s communities be safer and will the rioting and violence stop?  Will the random and wanton violence against police officers stop?  And then I heard President Obama’s remarks at the Dallas Memorial Service yesterday, July 12.

As long as our President proclaims to our nation and even to the world that we are a racist nation and that our police forces are populated by officers who can’t help but be consumed by racist thoughts, why would the Black Lives Matter ever think it has to make any concessions at all.  Obama’s remarks give the black community every reason to be absolved of the behavior they exhibit in their communities and in inner cities. It was unfortunate that he publicly justified the slaughter of the five Dallas police officers because of “righteous rage” in the black community that has remained (or more correctly, has escalated) since the days of slavery and Jim Crow. In his remarks, he went out of his way to convince America – and we all know the Black Lives Matter is hanging on his every word – that racism still exists; that for the past 50 years, the country is still the same as it was back in the early 1960’s.  “If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our heads, felt it in our own hearts. We know that. None of us is innocent. No institution is immune. And that includes our police departments.”  The one thing that is most evident from what he said is that HE, the person who holds the office of President and who represents every single American, is the one who is racist. He admits that he can’t help thinking that way. He can’t help having “righteous rage” and resentment against white America. And in his remarks at the Memorial Service, he attempted to force his own personal demons on the rest of this country. It’s a sad day when a President of the United States reminds his countrymen that they are inherently evil and unjust.

What can we expect as an outcome when the President supports a violent movement?   What can we expect as an outcome when the President gives legitimacy to a movement which justifies its violence, its rioting, and its civil disobedience on “rage.”

I know what movement I would suggest for the suckers who are collectively called “US taxpayers” !!

 

Obama - Dallas service

References:

Jay Salien, facebook post – https://www.facebook.com/jay.stalien/posts/911372818974402

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7uc6YznICU   (Bill O’Reilly, Fox News clip; See 19:30 min for the reaction of the black community when

A Deliberate and Tragic Act of Racism

Dallas Shooting - victims

by Diane Rufino, July 9, 2016

In a deliberate and calculated act of racism, a black man ambushed and gunned down five Dallas police officers and injured seven more.  I watched on TV how the police community and concerned citizens responded. They honored each officer in a moving tribute that highlighted their life stories, the families they leave behind, their service to our country, and their acts of kindness in their communities. They came together to offer assistance to the families of the fallen officers, establishing funds to pay their mortgages and to send their children to college. They reminded everyone of the dangerous job that police officers willingly accept – serving and protecting their communities – and now, since the start of Black Lives Matter movement (“What do we want?  Dead cops.  When do we want them?  NOW!”), being innocent targets simply for wearing their uniform.  Did the community call for violence against the Black Lives Matter movement and its leaders?  Has it encouraged police officers to take aggressive and retaliatory action in their patrolling of their areas?  Has it suggested that police officers withdraw from black communities and let their violence consume them?

No.

The other side, however, responds with violence and aggression. They are completely predictable. When a member of the black community dies at the hands of police custody, which includes being stopped, subdued, transported, arrested, or incarcerated, the response is rioting, destruction, and violence.  They demand justice which always means that they want the other side to pay for what has been done, regardless of what transpired. At the center of almost all of the unfortunate incidents – and they are all unfortunate – we find a black man who had a gun and wouldn’t surrender it, who had broken the law, who threatened the officer with harm, or who was resisting the police (even though the police had probable cause to stop him).  Simply cooperating with the police would have prevented each of the deaths.

The responses from each side are strikingly different and they speak volumes.

Instead of the accusations against police and the insinuations of blatant racism, why aren’t we asking the more important questions:  Why are young black men walking around carrying guns?  Why are they breaking the law?  Where are their parents to teach them right from wrong?  Where are their parents to keep an eye on them and to know what they are up to?  And most importantly, why aren’t they teaching their children that when they are stopped by police, they must politely cooperate.  I believe that officers respond to guns, not race.

In his song “American Skin,” Bruce Springsteen writes:

“Lena gets her son ready for school
She says, “On these streets, Charles
You’ve got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you, promise me you’ll always be polite
And that you’ll never ever run away
Promise Mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”

The song was inspired by an incident involving the New York City Police Department and a West African immigrant named Amadou Diallo in February 1999. Diallo exactly fit the profile of a rapist who committed several crimes in the Bronx area, and when police caught up with him in a stairwell, they instructed Diallo to show his hands.  Instead, he reached into his pockets. Police assumed he was going for a gun, but it turns out he was only reaching for his wallet.  But it was too late. Police shot him dead.  While the song is an indictment of the rush to judgement on the part of police, Springsteen acknowledges that “these streets” are not safe.  Police patrol areas that are not safe.  At the heart of the problem in this country at this present time is the fact that are our streets not safe.  And yes, certain areas (and I don’t need to spell it out) are much less safe than others. We have to be honest in solving that problem first and not be afraid to be politically incorrect, because yes, too many young black lives are being lost.  Let’s address that root cause first, and the other issues will fall away.

Sometimes when I watch the news, I can’t help but think that we are back in the tumultuous civil rights era.  But we not in the 1960’s.  It’s fifty years down the road.  That equates to 2-3 generations. I don’t mean to sound insensitive to the concerns of the black community when it comes to their history with police, but I’m tired of the dialogue that is so intentionally and overwhelmingly politically-sensationalized and one-sided. Government – all 4 branches (legislative, executive, judicial, and the media) – has got to stop with the political correctness and stop pandering to violence, and start acting responsibly.  We have a code of conduct in this country that transcends race, religion, and ethnicity and it’s called civility and the Rule of Law. We conduct ourselves within the boundaries of the law, we respect each other’s lives, liberty, and property, we respect each other as individuals, and we contribute in a positive way to our communities. We don’t harass one another, we don’t harm one another, we don’t intimidate one another, and we don’t make others feel unsafe.  Everywhere I go, I see signs reading “coexist.”  I imagine it stands for an organization or movement urging social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.  For my entire life, I have been taught this. Growing up in northern New Jersey, I never once thought that a person of a different color was any different than me or should be treated any differently. It just never entered my mind. Since the days when the country righted wrongs and passed the Civil Rights Acts, we have been reminded at every instance to live a colorblind life.  Our schools have taught it, our human resource departments give training sessions on it, our government has put laws and policies in place to ensure it, and courts have come up with remedies to mandate it. Yet when we watch the news, read the newspaper, and listen to our president and US Justice Department speak, you would think that racism is widespread in this country and most notably, is rampant and endemic in our police forces.

I have a good friend in town who happens to be a white police officer.  As he faithfully posts reports of all those officers across the country who have been killed or injured by those supporting the Black Lives Matters movement, he clearly fears for his safety and the safety of his officers. Nevertheless, he is the epitome of public service.  He says this fear will never prevent him from doing his job nor, as far as he believes, will prevent the others from doing the same.  My friend is assigned to what is called the West quadrant, which is the “black section” of town. The West quadrant is racked with violent crime – murders, random shootings, stabbings, drug crimes, and domestic assaults. Someone asked him if, in light of the growing Black Lives Matter movement, he wouldn’t be better off transferring to a different quadrant and perhaps having black officers cover the West quadrant.  His response was quick. He said he would never request a transfer and has every intention of remaining there. When asked why, he answered: “Because I am needed there.”  He said he didn’t enlist to protect just quiet, safe neighborhoods; he enlisted to keep everyone safe.

I believe most officers feel this way.  And sadly, the Black Lives Matter movement has been responsible for the senseless murders of exactly these types of officers.

In my adult life, I’ve seen only three acts of blatant, intentional racism.  In 2010, Black Panther leader King Samir Shabazz intimidated white voters at a polling location in Philadelphia and publicly advocated the killing of white babies. Last year, Dylann Roof, a young white man, opened fire in a black Methodist church in Charleston, killing nine. And then two days ago, July 7, a black man, Micah Johnson, set out with the express intention of killing as many white police officers as he could at a Black Lives Matter protest that was planned in Dallas.  He also supported or belonged to the New Black Panther movement which advocates violence against whites.  Ironically, all these events occurred during the time when our President was jumping to conclusions and crying racism at every instance a black man was mistreated or harmed by police. It began almost immediately after he assumed office.  In July 2009, when a black Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was stopped by a white police officer for suspicious activity, President Obama jumped on the opportunity to lecture the country about racism.

In that incident, police received a call of a possible burglary; the woman was concerned that a man (no mention of race) appeared to be trying to break into a house in a respected Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood. A white officer, Sgt. Jams Crowley, was dispatched to the house and found Gates who had already opened the door.  Gates told the police it was his house and Crowley asked to see identification. Gates refused and instead, flew into a verbal rage and accused the officer of racial profiling. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. President Obama learned of the incident and before knowing the facts of the case, he felt he needed to make a public statement regarding Gates’ treatment.  To a country that had no idea of the incident, Obama said that Sgt. Crowley acted “stupidly.”  He went further and said this was an example of how vulnerable poor people and minorities are “to capricious forces like a rogue policeman.”  He continued: “This man clearly was a rogue policeman.”  Without knowing the facts, President Obama slandered Crowley’s good name to an entire country. As it turns out, Crowley was – is – a decorated officer, an expert on racial profiling, and an instructor on that subject for many years at the Lowell Police Academy.  The police commissioner of the Cambridge Police Department commented that his department was deeply maligned by Obama’s statement.

To an audience that is always on the look-out for instances of racism, Obama’s comments were just what they wanted to hear. Victimhood is a powerful aphrodisiac. Victimhood is a powerful position. Victimhood is big business.  The Gates incident was just the tip of the iceberg. In 2012, Trayvon Martin’s death ignited intense racial tension. When George Zimmerman was acquitted of his death, race riots occurred in Los Angeles, a place that knows them all too well (except when OJ Simpson was acquitted). With each incident, tensions grew stronger, culminating in a march in New York City in 2014, headed by race hustler Al Sharpton. The “Black Lives Matter” demonstrators called for the death of police officers, shouting: “What do we want? – Dead cops. When do we want them?  – Now!”  Not long after that, a black man stalked and killed two innocent white police officers in NYC in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner (which was a sad, tragic event, but clearly without any racial animus). Since 2014, it has been open season for killing police officers and the numbers have been adding up.

I blame the Obama administration for amplifying the voice of the Black Lives Matter movement and for eight long years, helping to fuel charges of racism in this country. The administration, at every chance, legitimized their claims and encouraged their militant responses. The administration is guilty of criminal solicitation – creating the atmosphere in this country that sadly led to this tragic shooting.

RACISM - ruins lives

[I use the terms “white” and “black” not in any derogatory way but merely as an emphasis to the racial divide that has overtaken our country, particularly with respect to law enforcement].