Saturday, July 15, 2017

HOW TO EXPLAIN HEALTHCARE INSURANCE TO A REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN OR SENATOR

If you are friends or acquaintances with a Republican Congressman or Senator who appears to be intellectually challenged and is unable to differentiate between concepts of "socialism" and "free enterprise" (sometimes misnomered as "capitalism") try showing him or her this Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) comic strip.

After reading the Tom Tomorrow strip, they might be able to understand the difference between different systems: a 100% socialist healthcare system-- where the government employs the doctors and owns the hospitals and drug companies (i.e. our Veterans Administration hospitals); or a modified socialist system of government payments (with price controls) to pay private medical providers such as doctors and hospitals and pharmacies (i.e. Medicare or Medicaid), or a quasi government regulated private enterprise system with some aspects of socialism-- (those being the government subsidies to the poor and lower middle class to help pay premiums) to pay for private insurance and an expansion of Medicaid- i.e. Romney Care, also known as The Affordable Care Act, a/k/a "Obamacare"; or a totally private free enterprise system (Paul Ryan's, Rand Paul's and Ted Cruz's wet dream, where millions will die without access to health care) where insurance companies can pick or choose their policy holders with no government regulation whatsoever, and everybody has the "freedom" to not be able to get any insurance or to pay $10,000 a month in premiums if they can get it....

However, even if they are too diimwitted or ideologically blinded to understand those concepts-- concepts that any moderately intelligent junior high school student should be able to grasp-- well, at least they might like the pretty colors in the pictures.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

A DEMOCRAT'S SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NATIONAL PARTY- 2017 EDITION


A citizen making his pitch to a school board for an idea to help kids- something we all should do on a local and national level to elected officials and candidates for public office

So, I did this once before in 2004. And again in 2009. Oh, if only they'd listened (!) (you can find the posts on this blog. And here we go again....)

March 5, 2017

To: Democratic members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Democratic National Committee

Re: remaking the Democratic Party, providing a simple, effective, platform which will be good for America, will also allow the Democratic Party to retake the national legislature and the executive branch, and will put the Republican Party in a bind

Dear Democratic Congresspersons and Senators and members of the Democratic National Committee- and Senators Bernie Sanders and Angus King:

Odds are you don't know me and have never heard of me, so I'll give you some quick background before I get into the meat of this letter: I'm in my mid 60's, father of one son (in the Marine Corps reserves), a lawyer who has worked in poverty law and Civil Rights, and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University School of Law. I've taught Constitutional law to college students. And I've run (unsuccessfully, or you would have heard of me) for political office, always as a Democrat. I'm writing this letter as a citizen who is a lifelong Democrat from the Will Rogers wing of the party. I'm more of a fiscal conservative and social liberal, but my abiding consideration is to identify problems and come up with practical solutions that are consistent with our Constitution and our moral values as compassionate human beings.

The current problem facing the Democratic Party is that there is no coherent identifiable platform that the Party has agreed upon and which every candidate, incumbent or challenger, subscribes to, and of which the public is well aware. My solution is to home in on the problems facing the country and come up with solutions that Democrats can agree upon, which are politically popular with all groups, and which will paint the Republicans in a corner whichever way they respond. Here are four areas, my brief summaries of the solutions that the Party should agree upon and make the lynchpin of every campaign and all national and local advertising, followed by in depth elaboration on each.

1. JOBS: The primary reason for the 2016 loss by the Democratic candidate for President in the swing states of Pennysyvlania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan, is jobs. Had the voters in those states been presented with a simple workable solution to the problems of unemployment and underemployment, a Democrat would be in the White House and the Senate would be controlled by Democrats.

The solution is simple and obvious: the Democratic platform should contain a promise that every willing American adult who wants a job will be able to get a job, either through free retraining or, in the last, a public service job at a living wage. Republicans will argue that this is an impossible promise due to funding and deficit issues, but Democrats should counter that Republicans have had no trouble finding money when it came to unfunded wars, including the very unnecessary war in Iraq, or when it comes to fighting terrorism. Nor do they have any problem giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy, even when those tax cuts have historically destabilized the budget.

The advantage of this promise- every willing American gets a job- is that it's simple, easy to understand, it is doable, and no matter what, any Republican opponent will be in the position of either arguing against it or else alienating his or her base by agreeing with it. The jobs provided to those who can't succeed through free retraining or re-education will be public service jobs to help rebuild and repair America's infrastructure, as well as jobs in public works projects, child care and education.

The moral advantages of this proposal are that it will remove the odious xenophobia towards immigrants (legal or illegal) because this program will only be available to American citizens, and it will also be a crime reduction program in areas where unemployment, underemployment, poverty, and despair help foster the conditions to create criminal activity.

The political advantage is that it's easy to understand (just re-watch the 1993 Kevin Kline movie, "Dave"), and it takes away the appeal of a demagogue like the current occupant of the White House who wants to pit American citizens against each other or against foreign nationals who come to this country.

2. HEALTH CARE INSURANCE: The problem is uninsured Americans, followed by the secondary problem of insurance premiums too high and rising for many Americans. Each can be dealt with in three words: "Medicare for all." Or a different three words, same thing: "Single Payer Plan."

The proposal is that Medicare remains free for all over 65 and all others who currently qualify. One modification is for all persons on Medicaid, currently funneled through the States with Federal regulations, who will be transferred to the Medicare program. So far, that is effectively not much of a change. The big addition is to allow all persons not otherwise eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, whether or not they currently have other coverage, to purchase Medicare at a price equal to the incremental costs for adding one person to the program. Anyone who can afford it pays full price; all others will be subsidized in part or in full depending on their assets and income.

In one fell swoop, this eliminates the mandate for all persons which was included in the ACA to get insurance companies to participate in the insurance exchanges, and it streamlines administrative costs for all medical providers while allowing the incredible leverage of the Medicare program over health care costs to be applied to all of the new enrollees.

This proposal in effect keeps all of the popular aspects of the ACA- children being able to stay on parents' plans through age 26, no ban on enrolling persons with pre-existing conditions, no life time cap on benefits- while eliminating every unpopular aspect of the program (the mandate being #1, followed by the push back by some employers, such as religious institutions and the Hobby Lobby crowd, against providing certain aspects of coverage for their female employees).

Some of the benefits of this proposed change are obvious: employers will love it, because in one step all of their employee health care expenses is removed from their overhead, making them more competitive with foreign manufacturers (which might actually increase wages and also add jobs!) Citizens will appreciate it because it's simple to sign up, they get one card to carry that is good everywhere. States will appreciate having this huge budget issue off their plates. And Republicans will hate it because it effectively addresses all of their issues- fake and semi-real (job killing, religious freedom, increasing premium costs, physician choice) and leaves them in a bind if they oppose it.

Along with this proposal I suggest that the bill include a complete revamp of the medical malpractice industry- the insurance cost aspect and the tort reform aspect. Remove all medical malpractice insurance costs from physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and other medical providers by changing the current at fault tort model to a no fault model patterned on Workers Compensation programs. Fund it with a modest sales tax (about 1% or 2 % should do it) on all medical services and all non-prescription pharmaceuticals (I would also put that sales tax on any pharmaceutical which is controlled by prescription but which the manufacturer, inexplicably, advertises in print or broadcast). Including this in the reform bill should get the medical profession and hospitals, previously solidly in the Republican camp, to wake up and realize that supporting Democrats makes huge economic sense.

3. ABORTION: Most people can't see a compromise on this issue. You are either pro-life (anti-abortion) or pro choice (pro death to the other side). I disagree. Democrats should have a platform with a proposal for a law called THE REDUCTION OF ABORTIONS IN AMERICA ACT. The proposal is simple, yet effective (and it is going to be opposed by some pro choice advocates): the act will allow any father of an unborn fetus who is willing to bear the entire cost and responsibility of raising the child to veto an elective abortion (by "elective," it means an abortion that is not performed to save the life or avoid serious injury to the mother or to terminate a fetus that would almost certainly be non-viable). It will also allow any willing person or couple who can post a large enough bond and who is approved by the local social services agency (under guidelines already existing for adoptions following termination of parental rights cases) to agree to adopt an unborn child, and thereby veto an elective abortion.

This bill will also provide funding to Planned Parenthood and similar non-religious organizations for minors and adults to obtain contraception, including devices or injections such as Norplant, in order to reduce the total number of abortions in the United States. This bill may well be opposed by women's rights organizations, but that may be a plus politically, as every "pro life" person who has heretofore been a single issue voter on that one issue has had only one political party to address his or her sincerely held beliefs- and that has been the Republican Party. (Republicans' unstated motto: "our concern for life ends at birth.")

The government will no longer be telling a woman she has to bear a child- the "veto" power over an abortion by the putative father (excluding rapists, of course) can't be labeled as government intrusion on a woman's right to choose because she chose that male to be the possible father of a child. Veto by a couple willing to adopt is a bit different, but still, the woman volunteered to have sexual relations that might produce a child without using effective birth control (again, excluding cases of rape- but even there, we don't sanction the murder of a one minute- or one year old- baby because the father was a rapist).

Republicans will hate this because they don't want a solution- they only want the political issue because they have no original ideas but depend in large part on the single issue voter- pro life, anti-gun control (who should logically be opposed to each other). Democrats will be seen as showing courage by standing up to some of the pro choice advocates who want to give women the unfettered freedom to make every decision concerning the unborn child- a right we don't give any person once a child is born.

4. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: Most Americans (including most elected officials) are really, really tired of politicians continually asking them for money and of election campaigns which now are interminable. The rest are paid political consultants who make a living off this process. The Democratic Platform should call for a law which does no damage to Citizens United or The First Amendment, but which addresses the root issue: false or misleading television advertising, much of it purchased with so called "dark money" or political PAC's, which have a single goal of demonizing Democratic candidates. The solution? The air waves are owned by the public, and should be treated as such. Even cable includes satellite transmissions (it's not really cable anymore). The law will state that no station or network shall air any ad which promotes one candidate or attacks another candidate in the same race (or for the same office if the ad runs against an incumbent before the primaries) until that ad is first previewed by the incumbent (if he or she is not the one running the ad) or every opponent who has qualified to run (if the incumbent runs the ad or it is run on his or her behalf by an independent entity). Any person attacked in the ad shall be permitted to create a response ad twice as long as the attacking ad, which will include only the candidate attacked in the responding ad (no anonymous voice overs), which will air immediately following every airing of the attacking ad. Any ad that simply promotes a candidate without obviously attacking an opponent will be followed by one or more free ads of the same length by every other candidate in the race.

Along with this requirement will come public financing of all federal elections, with the funds coming from a national sales tax on every ad running on every network, cable or not. And finally, no candidate for any federal office will be permitted to solicit money for any reason, campaign related or not, from any person, or to accept money from any person, while a candidate or while holding a federal office. That will be a criminal act of solicitation of bribery.

And no person or corporation will be allowed to offer or pay money to any candidate or any close family member (spouse, children, parents) of a candidate or holder of any federal office, including appointed judicial offices. The only exception will be bona fide employment offers that come from an entity which can not in any way benefit from any act of the federal office holder.

Thanks for reading this far. That should do it for starters.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

We are awake- and we are persisting...

So I've come to some conclusions during my hour long (or just under) peregrination to Lake Loretta (twice around) and back: The current occupant of the White House is making America Great Again! Just not exactly how he planned it. I'm really encouraged by the persistence ("She persisted") of the sane, rational people who live in, respect, and love this country.



The Sunday morning pundit shows have missed this boat by a mile- calling the protesters "the left" and saying that the Democratic Party is committing political suicide by turning "to the left." Since when is it "left" to abhor the politics of hate, fear, and bigotry? Since when is it "progressive" or "liberal" to want a government that will actually work for the people of the country, and not actively try to divide them? Since when is it "radical" to want to live in a country that honors the words on the Statue of Liberty, and remembers the famous phrase of Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." No, none of these things are "leftist," "progressive" (Franklin uttered those words in 1755!), or liberal. They are American- the soul of our country. They are what every flag waving, lapel pin wearing, uber patriot of the right claims to cherish and honor- especially on national holidays. They are what our troops were allegedly fighting for (even when they weren't fighting for our freedom, only our free access to oil lanes in the Persian Gulf).

So no, right wing nut cases who are delusional, angry, defensive, misguided, or just plain bigots and racists. You don't own the flag or the guiding principles of this country, this United States of America. The people who have finally awakened (some of whom apparently were under the impression that Obamacare and The Affordable Care Act were two different things- they were all for repealing the former and keeping the latter) are finally understanding what those of us who have paid attention throughout realized long ago: elections do matter. Not voting for the lesser of two evils (in this case, Ms. Clinton, whom I do not admire and fervently wish had not won the nomination in 2016- I would much have preferred Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Martin O'Malley) is actually voting for the greatest evil- and for the greatest harm to our country.

Back in 2000 too many people said that both major parties were the same, and that who got elected didn't matter. And many of them voted for Ralph Nader. Way too many (but not the plurality) voted for Bush. But that election did matter: the election of 2000 cost over 4,000 Americans and about a million Iraqis their lives, and spawned ISIS (no matter what the Dumpster Fire in the White House claimed during the campaign- the fact is that without the ill conceived invasion of Iraq in 2003, there would be no ISIS in 2017). It also took a $160 billion annual surplus (largest in history) and turned our economy into a Ponzi scheme that crashed in 2007 and 2008, costing thousands of Americans their homes, almost spawning a new Great Depression-- rescued on the brink by bi-partisan (!) bills to inject government money into the economy.

So yes, America is going to be great again. But we'll find out how long that will actually take in 2018 and again in 2020. I hope it isn't longer than four years. I'm going to lose patience.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

We're not "getting over it."


So for the clueless who tell the majority of voters who voted for someone else-- and no, those weren't dead people or illegal immigrants, just the sane and rational alive, legally registered voters who knew the blatantly obvious difference between a seriously flawed candidate (Clinton) and an insane demagogue (Pussy Grabber) who needs to have his worst impulses reined in on a daily basis: this isn't a situation that calls for the rational majority to "get over it" and accept the Pussy Grabber in Chief as the legitimate President of the United States. Because this isn't a football game where my team (the Steelers) lost to the proverbial cheaters (the Patriots) and the result is that the Patriots get to go to the Super Bowl while my team goes on vacation. When a football game is over- it's over. Unfortunately, the damage that we all (68 million of us) foresaw on November 8, 2016, when we voted to keep a narcissistic, misogynistic, sociopathic, bigoted demagogue out of the White House is just beginning to occur. And it will continue to occur and it will get worse unless We the People act to stop it. The Women's March was just a start. We need to begin writing the articles of the Bill of Impeachment now and add to it daily and weekly until the tipping point comes when the Pussy Grabber does some outrageous act that even the Republican majority in Congress can't live with. Or they realize their "conservative" constituents who make up their primary electorate won't stand for it and will, unless the Republican majority acts, at long last replace their asses in Washington with someone who gives a damn about their country and about the rest of the world.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The myth of the 'Death Tax": another Republican misrepresentation.

Recently two people I know and respect were apparently upset over a proposal from the Clinton campaign to raise the top rates of the federal estate tax*, one of whom wrote: "That money was already taxed and most likely at the highest rate possible and now they want to take MORE at a time when children/heirs are grieving?!?! Pfffttt...how in the hell is double taxation constitutional in the slightest?"

One of the political shenanigans which confounded me during the 2002 off year elections was the Republicans making the estate tax- which they renamed the "death tax" for political reasons- an issue during that year's campaigns. I was incredulous at the argument that this was "double taxation," referring to the Republicans' contention that the estate tax taxed the money when it was earned during the lifetime of the deceased, then taxed the same money again when the heirs received the estate. Another objection- and this was used in Republican campaign commercials- was that the estate tax would "destroy small businesses and family farms." And a lot of people who never could have been subject to the estate tax (anyone who wasn't a millionaire) were fooled into thinking that Democrats were going to take their money before it could pass to their children. Apparently that misrepresentation still works in 2016, mainly because the media and the Democrats haven't figured out how to meet those lies head on. Here's one way to deal with the issue:

1. THE MYTH THAT EVERYONE- INCLUDING SMALL BUSINESSES AND FAMILY FARMS- PAYS THE ESTATE TAX: The only estates subject to the tax at the time (2002) were in excess of $600,000.00. That number was quickly raised to well over a million dollars, which meant that under current federal law estates under a million dollars had no federal tax whatsoever. Hillary Clinton's recent proposal to raise the top rate to 65% would only hit the estates of about a hundred or so people in the entire country- billionaires all. Actually, her proposal would start the tax at 50% for those with estates valued at $10 million, and go to 65% for those with estates starting at $500 million- $1 billion for married couples.** http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clinton-proposes-65-tax-on-largest-estates-1474559914

2. THE MYTH OF DOUBLE TAXATION: The most oft heard complaint is that the estate tax is "double taxation" because the money was taxed when earned during the lifetime of the deceased, then taxed again when it passes to the heirs. Ignoring for the moment the assumption that a billionaire (like a Hilton or Wal-Mart heir or a stock market speculator) actually earned that money by the sweat of his or her brow, as opposed to acquiring it through inheritance, capital gains, interest, or dividends- all of which are taxed at lower rates than ordinary wages for a factory worker or laborer- the complaint ignores the fact that EVERY WAGE EARNER'S money is taxed more than once. And that money is taxed while he or she is still living and actually needs the money to feed or clothe his or her family.

As noted, the inherited wealth (remember- starting at $10 million) was probably taxed before- but that paled in comparison to a wage earner's wages, which aren't double taxed before he or she receives a pay check- they are quadruple taxed (!!!), and the wage earner also pays taxes on the money that he or she paid in taxes! Here's the analysis: A wage earner works 40 hours in a week at $12.00 an hour and earns $480.00 gross. However, that wage earner pays 4 taxes on that $480.00, even though after paying the first tax (I'll arbitrarily put them in order as: Social Security (roughly 8%), Medicare (about 1%), Federal (say 10%) and State (say 6%)), the second, third, and fourth taxes are all taxed on the now mythical $480.00. But after the first tax is taken out (8% of $480 is about $38), the second tax isn't taken out of what's left- $442- but out of the $480! And so on for each of the other taxes. The last tax actually taxes money that has been taxed three times before, without ever subtracting anything from the $480, so it is a tax of a tax of a tax of a tax. So if a person is going to be angry and upset and vote against a Democrat who proposes taxing the estates of the top 100 or 200 billionaires in the country (out of 330 million people), then why not oppose the taxes on tens of millions of wage earners being hosed four times over? My answer is: if someone is going to pay more in taxes, it's hard to argue that dead billionaires and their offspring who may have never worked a day in their lives should somehow be treated better than living wage earners who in many cases risk (or lose) life, limb, or their health to feed their families.

SIDE NOTE: In early 2002, when this issue first arose, I spent about an hour on the phone with the then legislative director and later the campaign manager for (then) Georgia U.S. Senator Max Cleland. My argument was that instead of jumping on board the Republicans' faux concern for small businesses and family farms to disguise their efforts to protect the wealth of dead millionaires and billionaires, the Democrats should join together and dedicate all proceeds of the estate tax to a cause that would be unassailable. For instance, take the billionaires' estates and dedicate the taxes to prescription drugs for the elderly poor who need those drugs to survive, or dedicate them to the care of injured veterans and the families of deceased veterans. If the Democrats had done that one simple thing- dedicate all proceeds of the estate tax to an unimpeachable cause like that, it would have reversed the political effects of the Republicans' pernicious campaign ads. Max didn't buy my argument, he supported the Republican efforts to defang or repeal the estate tax, but he ended up losing anyway to a Republican candidate (Saxby Chambliss) who ran the then most infamous television ad in Senate campaign history, linking Senator Cleland to pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKFYpd0q9nE

http://www.politico.com/story/2008/11/cleland-ad-causes-trouble-for-chambliss-015561
***

* "The Clinton campaign changed its previous plan—which called for a 45% top rate—by adding three new tax brackets and adopting the structure proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primaries. She would impose a 50% rate that would apply to estates over $10 million a person, a 55% rate that starts at $50 million a person, and the top rate of 65%, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couples." WSJ

** In 2014, just 223 estates with a gross value exceeding $50 million filed taxable estate-tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service. WSJ

Saturday, September 03, 2016

GEE, WHOEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED THAT WAS THE REASON FOR THE VOTER "FRAUD" PHOTO ID LEGISLATION?


(from Digby, Hullabaloo: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/)

"Longtime Republican consultant Carter Wrenn, a fixture in North Carolina politics, said the GOP’s voter fraud argument is nothing more than an excuse.

“Of course it’s political. Why else would you do it?” he said, explaining that Republicans, like any political party, want to protect their majority. While GOP lawmakers might have passed the law to suppress some voters, Wrenn said, that does not mean it was racist.

“Look, if African Americans voted overwhelmingly Republican, they would have kept early voting right where it was,” Wrenn said. “It wasn’t about discriminating against African Americans. They just ended up in the middle of it because they vote Democrat.”"

MY BET FOR DONALD TRUMP


During the 2008 McCain - Obama contest, John McCain claimed that ACORN (a grassroots organization dedicated to registering new voters nationwide) was committing voter fraud and was going to steal the election. In the final 2008, debate, John McCain said: "ACORN is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." http://www.dailykos.com/…/-Factchecking-the-lies-about-ACORN.

That assertion was a complete fabrication- in fact ACORN had been the VICTIM of fraud when unscrupulous employees turned in fictitious names of voters (famously, the entire Dallas Cowboys football team was turned in as new voters in Nevada) Of course, it would require someone with half a brain to analyze this story and realize that because the ACORN contractors were being paid by ACORN according to the number of voters they signed up, that ACORN was the victim- not the perpetrator of the fraud. Since none of the fictitious voters would ever actually turn up to vote (i.e. Tony Romo, Cowboys QB, wasn't going to show up in Nevada to vote), there was 0 voter fraud that was going to occur. And that is what happened- or, more accurately, that is what DIDN'T happen- in the 2008 election. Apparently that required more brainpower than McCain was able to muster, or else he deliberately lied, and every right wing commentator bought the lie or willingly spread it. (check out the reprise of this false allegation in Georgia recently: http://www.newsmax.com/…/jay-delancy-…/2014/09/23/id/596420/).

So, when Donald Trump now claims that he is going to lose because the election is rigged http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-election-rigged…, I am tempted to make the same bet I made publicly to McCain in 2008: DONALD TRUMP: I will pay you $1,000 for every voter greater than the number of 10, nationwide (where more than 120 million votes will be cast) who turns out to have been a person impersonating another person who was actually registered to vote, if you will pay me $1,000,000 (that's ONE MILLIION DOLLARS) for every number less than 10- i.e., if the number is 9 nation wide, you pay me one million dollars. If the number is 0 nation wide (as it was in 2008), you pay me $10,000,000.00 (that's ten million dollars). What do you say Donald, is this election going to be rigged by voter fraud? Put your money where your mouth is.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY....


Perhaps the most classic example of a top politician making grand pronouncements with a complete abdication by the media on reporting the truth- until Edward R. Murrow's "See it Now" program unmasked Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy.

One of the major problems in our society is a general, pervasive, lack of knowledge of the people who comprise a large part of our electorate. Lack of knowledge of our history, of our laws, of science, of religion, of crime statistics, of the Constitution, you name it. And the media, by and large, no longer sees its role as making up for that lack by providing historical or scientific or statistical perspective to candidates or elected officials who make pronouncements (some of which are the opposite of true) about current events. So when a Ronald Reagan kicks off his 1980 Presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi with a call to the audience that: "I believe in States' Rights," it is incumbent on every news outlet reporting it to put in the proper context. That context being that the location Reagan chose was the location of the infamous murders of civil rights activists (trying to register black voters) James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan, including local Sheriff's Deputies. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/opinion/13herbert.html…. And that the phrase "States' Rights" wasn't just the code phrase for supporting slavery (no dog whistle there), but the actual justification for the continued legalization of slavery used by Southerners in Congress before 1860 and in support of Jim Crow segregation laws for the 100 years after the Civil War.


And in modern times, when considering why the Republican Party's incarnation in the latter half of the 20th century and the 21st century appeals to the racists, bigots, and xenophobes, you have to put it in the context of the passage and signing in July of 1964 of a landmark Civil Rights bill and the presidential election later that year between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson, so wonderfully portrayed in the HBO movie, "All the Way" starring Bryan Cranston as LBJ. The passage of that bill- non-controversial today- meant that Black people and women would have equal rights in employment, and that public accommodations (hotels, restaurants, etc.) could not refuse to seat people because of the color of their skin. And that year and that bill was the genesis for the 180 degree turnabout in the South of Southern Democrats, who left that party and joined the Party of Lincoln, which had originated as an anti-Slavery party in 1854. The election of their candidate in 1860 precipitated the Civil War, as the South (which voted Democratic) saw that election as the beginning of the end of slavery (you can look it up- it's even in the South Carolina legislature's Articles of Secession and in speeches given by Jefferson Davis).


So, the Republican Party, which in the 1860's passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments (Google them if you don't know what they are or what they did), is now the main impediment to the cause of civil rights in this country. They are now the party which passes voter ID bills in jurisdictions where there has never been a case of a person impersonating another voter to cast a vote in person at the polls (that only happens in absentee ballots), something so obviously intended to suppress black voters that courts (most recently in North Carolina) have struck down the more onerous bills. In 2012, one of their loose lipped brethren in my home state bragged about how that legislation would help elect Repbulican candidate Mitt Romney (obviously, by suppressing black, mostly Democratic leaning, votes:

"(CNN) – Pennsylvania Democrats are fuming over a comment made by a Republican state representative, who said a controversial voter identification law will help Mitt Romney carry Pennsylvania in November." http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/…/pennsylvania-lawmak…/.

So when you read some of the crazier stuff said by one particular candidate, and the media just reports what he says without any context (except for The Daily Show, of course), then blame the ignorance of the voters and the cowardice of the highly paid media members.