This is an October 1874 cartoon from Harper’s Weekly, by Thomas Nast, about violence by organisations like the Ku Klux Klan and the White League against African Americans in the southern states of the USA.
US government offered little protection to black population
The federal government ignored the rights of the black population after the American Civil War. Historian Mark Leon de Vries discovered that the national government virtually did not help at all. Doctorate ceremony on 23 April.
After the American Civil War (1861-1865) the national government passed a number of laws that should provide far-reaching social and political equality for blacks in the southern United States. This did not happen: a group of conservative whites in the region, the Ku Klux Klan, vehemently protested against this policy and orchestrated a campaign of terror against blacks and whites who supported them.
Government did not maintain its own laws
But not only local opposition was a cause of the sorry state of black Americans. De Vries: “Politicians from the north did little to enforce their own laws in the south. That was because the topic did not really live in the north, where relatively few blacks lived. It did not help the government much electorally to deploy people and resources accordingly. In addition, after some time the recovery of the relationship with the southern states became increasingly important.”
Red River Valley: hotbed of violence
De Vries discovered this by the study of violence against blacks in the Red River Valley, Louisiana. “According to statistics, this was one of the regions where most violence occurred against black people. That was also because the federal court was far away: to get there you had to travel a few days, first on the Red River, then along the Mississippi. When the water was high enough, at least. Law enforcement was done mainly by local sheriffs and judges who disliked the ideas from the north.”
Washington knew of abuses
He believes that compliance with the laws certainly would have had effect on the position of black people. “First, because the violence in the area noticeably decreased in those places where local federal officials themselves took the initiative to enforce existing laws. Because there were abuses in the Red River Valley, Washington heard that too. After a few years, after federal enforcement was greatly reduced, violence flared up again. Second, if the legislation would have brought nothing, why did the southerners there resist it so much?” De Vries was the first historian who through the study of a particular subject area studied how the national government in the United States reacted to violence against blacks.
Echo of the past
De Vries explains on the basis of his research there is a link between the past and the present. “The racial terror and lawlessness of that period reverberates in the recent murders of black Americans.” Does he think that even now the national government should intervene more actively? “That’s a tough question. You can see that now more organs react to abuses. The policeman who recently shot and killed black man Walter Scott will be prosecuted, the police union does not support him. Let’s hope that change in culture will continue.”
In the Walter Scott case, it was extremely important that a bystander made an amateur video. If there would have been no video, then things might unfortunately have gone like in the case of the death of Michael Brown.
The prevailing view, often based on research into federal level politics, is that the failure of Reconstruction was a more or less inevitable consequence of the compromises that the Republican party had to make and of, as a consequence, the relatively conservative reforms that they endorsed.
This research suggests, in contrast, that the failure of Reconstruction was by no means inevitable.
It was due to the refusal of the federal government to maintain in practice its reforms, limited as they were. These reforms could have achieved much more if the federal government would have found an adequate response to the violent opposition among the white population. The outcome of Reconstruction was therefore not so much a “compromise of principles,” but overall a capitulation to terror.
What will unfold over the next 19 months is a travesty of democracy. The American financial aristocracy will select the candidates of the two big-business parties, using its vast wealth and control of the media. This will culminate on November 8, 2016, when the voters will be given the “choice” between two individuals with nearly identical right-wing views, committed to the defense of Wall Street’s interests at home and abroad.
A staggering amount of money is required to be considered a “viable” presidential candidate. Ultra-right Texas Senator Ted Cruz vaulted onto that list by raising $31 million in the first week after announcing his candidacy. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother and son of former presidents, reportedly plans to raise $100 million in the April-June quarter alone, even before announcing his campaign for the Republican nomination.
By one published estimate, Hillary Clinton will raise and spend between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in the primary and general election campaigns, twice the amount Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent in 2012.
To raise these vast sums, all potential presidents must thus pass through a screening process that involves a few thousand billionaires and near-billionaires. According to a revealing report in the Washington Post last week, so-called bundlers who played a vital role in earlier campaigns by combining donor checks into bundles totaling $100,000 or more are now generally ignored by the top candidates. Their cash input is considered insignificant compared to what the “super-PACs” can obtain in one check from billionaires such as the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and George Soros.
The financial oligarchy selects the possible candidates, a process now referred to as the “invisible primary,” and puts them through their paces, using various media-generated attacks and pseudo-scandals to determine which ones are best able to shake off external pressures, ignore public opinion and do the bidding of their corporate masters.
Those selected are invariably right-wing, reliable defenders of corporate America, usually themselves millionaires or multimillionaires. On the Republican side, the announced or likely candidates include four US senators—Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham—and numerous governors and former governors, including Bush, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.
The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that Jeb Bush, who viciously attacked public education and supported the ultra-right campaign over the comatose Terri Schiavo, is now regarded as the leading “moderate.” His main competition for that role is Christie, promoted by the media as a “moderate” despite his savage attacks on social services and bullying of teachers and other public employees.
Those based primarily on ultra-right Tea Party and Christian fundamentalist elements include Cruz, who provoked a partial shutdown of the federal government in 2013, and Rand Paul, who recently called for a $190 billion increase in military spending.
Those appealing to both the ultra-right and the Republican establishment include Rubio, set to announce Monday, and Scott Walker. The Wisconsin governor, now running even or ahead of Bush in most polls, is best known for his attack on public employees in Wisconsin, which provoked a stormy mass movement in 2011.
While the American media—itself owned by giant corporations or billionaires like Rupert Murdoch—will portray the 2016 presidential as an exercise in democracy, the US political system can be more accurately described, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, as government “of the billionaires, by the billionaires and for the billionaires.”
There is little or no correlation between the political sentiments of the working people who constitute the vast majority of the American population and the policies advocated by the Democratic and Republican candidates for president.
By large margins, even in opinion polls conducted by the corporate-controlled media, the American people support sharp increases in taxes on the wealthy to fund social programs and provide jobs for the unemployed; they oppose cuts in Social Security and Medicare and view education, health care and other public services as basic rights; they oppose government spying on the telephone and Internet usage of ordinary Americans, as well as other police-state measures; and they oppose overseas military interventions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The Democratic and Republican presidential candidates stand on the other side of the barricades on all these issues.
The electoral process effectively excludes any candidates who challenge the capitalist system. Tens of millions of working people support measures that can be achieved only through a struggle for socialism. But the political monopoly of the two-party system prevents any consideration of such policies.
This political straitjacket has become increasingly intolerable. There are many signs of growing popular disaffection, from declining voter turnout to widespread support for courageous opponents of the emerging police state such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, the outbreak of strikes despite the efforts of the trade unions, and the wave of protests over police murders.
Marco Rubio Tells Donors He’s Running For President: here.
Scott Walker’s tenure as governor has been an unmitigated disaster. Here‘s the latest proof.
Now that Ted Cruz has officially announced he’s running for president, the seal has been broken and more will quickly follow. Oh, and besides being a presidential candidate, now Senator Cruz will be signing up for Obamacare. Nothing at all hypocritical about that, right? Cruz’s wife is taking a temporary leave from her job at Goldman Sachs so poor ol’ Ted won’t have the health insurance to which he has grown accustomed.
This video from Missouri in the USA says about itself:
Just over a month after the suicide of his boss, Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, communications director Spence Jackson was found dead Sunday in his apartment in Jefferson City in what police are investigating as a suicide. Jefferson City Police Captain Doug Shoemaker takes media questions about the investigation on Monday, 03/30/2015.
Aide to Missouri Politician Who Committed Suicide Is Found Dead in Apparent Suicide
By Ben Mathis-Lilley
An upsetting story out of Missouri: A former aide to a political figure named Tom Schweich—who died Feb. 26 in an apparent suicide—has been found dead in what is also thought to have been a suicide. Spence Jackson, 44, was the media director for Schweich, a former Bush administration official and state auditor who was “a frontrunner,” per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, to be the Republican party’s nominee in the 2016 Missouri governor’s race.
Schweich and Jackson were both recently involved in a strange scandal involving allegations of an “anti-Semitic ‘whisper campaign’” against Schweich perpetrated by fellow Missouri Republican John Hancock. Schweich was not, in fact, Jewish.
Schweich was a Protestant Christian. One of his grandfathers was Jewish.
The 44-year-old Texas senator, who bears an unpleasant resemblance, in his bullying style and perpetual sneer, to the late Senator Joe McCarthy, is almost unknown to the public. He has little support even among likely Republican primary voters, where he polls in the low single digits.
Nonetheless, his campaign launch was given massive and respectful media publicity and presented as the beginning of the official presidential campaign. Several other Republican hopefuls are expected to announce their candidates in the next month, including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
These announcements are part of the process in which an array of reactionaries, self-promoters and semi-fascists are put through their paces by the American financial elite in order to select the Republican nominee for president, one of two tested defenders of big business who will represent the “choice” given to the American people in the 2016 elections.
For the Democrats, the presumptive front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is also reported to be planning an April campaign launch.
The spring timetable for the formal announcements is driven by the requirements of fundraising, since any viable candidate–from the standpoint of the two-party system–must accumulate a war chest of at least $25 million in the year before the election. For Clinton, Bush and Walker, the presumptive candidates most favored by the multi-millionaires, that sum will be raised quickly. For long shots like Cruz, fundraising is the first “primary”–the first and most important test of their ability to sustain a campaign past the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire next March.
Cruz is a first-term senator, elected in 2012 as a Tea Party candidate, having defeated an establishment Republican for the party’s nomination in Texas. His embrace of right-wing populism is an awkward fit for his biography as a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School who has worked as a government lawyer his entire life. Similarly, his denunciations of the Wall Street bailouts sound hollow given his marriage to a managing director at Goldman Sachs, one of the principal recipients of Treasury cash.
Once in the US Senate, Cruz gained national notoriety for precipitating the 2013 partial shutdown of the federal government in a quixotic effort to force the Obama administration to abandon its health care overhaul.
As the son of a Cuban exile turned evangelical minister, Cruz combines bellicose defense of American imperialism with appeals to fundamentalist religious sentiments. His main function in the race is to act as a right-wing anchor for the entire field, staking out positions that will drag both the Republican candidates and their Democratic counterparts further to the right.
Among his more bizarre stances is an insistence, as chairman of the Senate committee controlling the budget of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, that NASA focus its resources on non-Earth projects, abandoning programs that study the Earth from space. Such studies have tended to reinforce the warnings of climate scientists about the dangers of global warming. Like many right-wing Republicans, Cruz denies global warming, and portrays the scientific evidence as the product of a conspiracy to increase government regulation of industries such as oil, coal and electricity generation.
BP is a British global energy company that is also the third largest global energy company and the 4th largest company in the world. As a multinational oil company (“oil major”) BP is the UK’s largest corporation, with its headquarters in St James’s, City of Westminster, London. BP America’s headquarters is in the Two Westlake Park in the Energy Corridor area of Houston.
The company is among the largest private sector energy corporations in the world, and one of the six “supermajors” (vertically integrated private sector oil exploration, natural gas, and petroleum product marketing companies). The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
The company has been convicted of two felonies for environmental crimes, including one felony for which BP pleaded guilty in connection with the Texas City refinery explosion in 2005 that caused 15 deaths, injured 180 people, and forced thousands of nearby residents to remain sheltered in their homes.
On 20 April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in excess of 200,000 gallons of oil (approx. 5,000 barrels) leaking every single day after a blow-out preventer designed to stop oil from flowing out during an emergency failed to activate. The spill was expected to continue until the blow-out preventer could be activated or another containment method implemented. Though 115 workers were evacuated from the site, eleven missing workers were presumed dead. On 28 April 2010, the US Coast Guard set fire to some sequestered portions of oil which had leaked from the uncapped well located five thousand feet below the Gulf of Mexico.
Climate-sceptic US senator given funds by BP political action committee
Sen Jim Inhofe, who opposes climate change regulation, has received $10,000 from PAC funded by donations from US staff at oil group
Sunday 22 March 2015 17.14 GMT
One of America’s most powerful and outspoken opponents of climate change regulation received election campaign contributions that can be traced back to senior BP staff, including chief executive Bob Dudley.
Following his re-election, Inhofe became chair of the Senate’s environment and public works committee in January, and then a month later featured in news bulletins throwing a snowball across the Senate floor.
Before tossing it, the senator said: “In case we have forgotten – because we keep hearing that 2014 is the warmest year on record – it is very, very cold outside. Very unseasonal.”
The BP PAC is funded by contributions from senior US executives and company staffers who sent in contributions to the PAC totalling more than $1m between 2010 and 2014. Over the same period the committee paid out $655,000 to candidates, with more than 40 incumbent senators benefiting.
Dudley has personally given $19,000 since June 2011 to the BP PAC – very close to the $5,000-a-year maximum allowable by law. Although Dudley is resident in Britain, he is eligible to give via the BP PAC because he is a US national.
Yet, BP and Dudley have long called for world leaders to intervene and impose tough regulatory measures on the fossil fuel industry. Publishing its 98-page research paper, Energy Outlook 2035, last month, BP warned: “To abate carbon emissions further will require additional significant steps by policymakers beyond the steps already assumed.”
While the sums channelled to Inhofe’s campaign represent only a small proportion of the BP PAC’s election spending and the senator’s own campaign funds, they show how unafraid the committee has been to spread its donations to the most controversial candidates. According to the BP PAC website, it financially supports election candidates “whose views and/or voting records reflect the interests of BP employees”.
Records suggest Inhofe’s 2014 campaign was a funding priority for the BP PAC, ranking as one of the top recipients of committee funds when compared with disbursements to other serving senators.
This was despite Inhofe’s senate battle not being a close one. His opponent, Matt Silverstein, who Inhofe beat comfortably in last November’s midterms, had a tiny campaign war chest by comparison.
BP was asked whether it was appropriate for the PAC to make campaign contributions to such a vocal opponent of action on climate change, or for Dudley to be contributing towards such payments.
In a statement BP replied: “Voluntary donations [by staff] to the BP employees’ political action committee in the US are used to support a variety of candidates across the political spectrum and in many US geographies where we operate.
“These candidates have one thing in common: they are important advocates for the energy industry in the broadest sense.”
The company declined to comment on Dudley’s own donations.
PACs exist in the US where companies and trade unions cannot give directly to the campaigns of those running for office. Instead funds are pooled from staff – often senior executives – into a PAC, and disbursed by a committee board, often in a manner sympathetic to the company’s lobby and other interests.
But Tillerson and other peers have not been as outspoken as BP and Dudley in calling for state intervention to tackle climate change, making the BP boss’s links to Inhofe campaign finance more controversial.
Last week Obama said it was “disturbing” that Inhofe had been made chair of the senate environment committee. In broader criticism of unnamed political opponents, he then went on to say: “In some cases you have elected officials who are shills for the oil companies or the fossil fuel industry. And there is a lot of money involved.”
Inhofe is unabashed about election campaign financing he receives from the industry. In his 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, he wrote: “Whenever the media asked me how much I have received in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, my unapologetic answer was ‘not enough’.”
According to data compiled from public filings by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), Inhofe’s campaign raised $4.84m between 2009 and 2014, with $1.77m coming from PACs, many of them sponsored by fossil fuel companies.
BP’s PAC was more active in the US 2014 election cycle than any other for more than a decade. Despite insisting it is non-partisan, 69% of contributions to federal election candidates in recent years have been to Republican politicians. This is a stronger bias than most other corporate PACs, according to the CRP.
There are, however, other leading recipients who have attracted criticism from climate change campaigners, including Republican House speaker John Boehner and fellow Republican, Sen Mike Enzi from Wyoming.
When asked his views on climate change in January, Boehner said: “We’ve had changes in our climate, although scientists debate the sources, in their opinion, of that change. But I think the real question is that every proposal out of this administration with regard to climate change means killing American jobs.”
“I don’t see [Obama] as trying to control pollution. I see him trying to put business out of business,” Enzi said last year.
Campaign contributions is just one aspect of US political engagement linked to BP and its staff. Filings show the oil and gas group spends millions on lobbying efforts.
The CRP classifies BP as a “heavy hitter”, ranking it among the top 140 biggest overall donors to federal elections since 1988. Its PAC ranks as the six largest such body with a sponsor company that is ultimately part of a non-US multinational.
Those on the PAC board, deciding how to spend staff donations, are senior executives and lawyers at the company. The board’s vice-chair is Bob Stout, BP’s Washington-based head of regulatory affairs, who also sits on the group’s global policy making body. Dudley does not sit on the PAC board.
According to its website, the PAC makes donations to “candidates who support the principles of free enterprise and good government, support a fair and reasonable business environment for the energy industry and share our philosophy that energy diversity advances energy security.” It says staff contributions are encouraged but stresses they are voluntary.
The first BP PAC contribution to Inhofe’s 2014 campaign was a given on 12 March 2012. This $1,000 donation came just two weeks after the publication of Inhofe’s book The Greatest Hoax, cementing his credentials as the most outspoken denier of climate change in US politics.
Publicising the book, the senator gave a radio interview on Voice of Christian Youth America. “God is still up there,” he said. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate to me is outrageous.”
“I’m sure this will be greatly misquoted,” Jones told the AP. “But it would not be a bad idea to bring the swift justice today that was brought in Israel’s day against murder and rape and homosexuality. I guarantee it would solve the problem post-haste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands.”
Over the weekend, Jones shocked activists by finally apologizing for the comments.
“I take personal ownership of this inflammatory rhetoric. This reckless statement was made in the heat of a political controversy 35 years ago,” Jones said in a statement. “Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger—were my name not attached.”
“I cannot erase them, but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners,” he added.
BJ Unity Executive Director Jeffrey Hoffman told WSPA that the apology was shocking.
“It is never too late to say you’re sorry,” Hoffman said. “Most people are just shocked. We never expected to see an apology.”
“It’s been the Gays versus the Christians, which ignores and erases a large number of Gay Christians who live in the upstate of South Carolina,” Hoffman explained. “We think that this is the time to start to talk about how to make Bob Jones University safer for its LGBT students.”