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“Back To The Future In 2016”: Nothing Would Make Policy Debates More Obvious Than Bill Clinton’s Wife And George W. Bush’s Brother

It’s never long in a presidential race before one candidate or another says, “This election isn’t about the past—it’s about the future.” But the 2016 election is probably going to be even more about the past than most, particularly given that there will be no incumbent running.

I thought of that late last week when I heard that Rick Perry—who promises to once again provide more than his share of unintentional comic relief over the next year or so until he drops out—told attendees at an event in New Hampshire that Abraham Lincoln was a great advocate of states’ rights. “Abraham Lincoln read the Constitution, and he also read the Bill of Rights, and he got down to the Tenth Amendment, and he liked it,” Perry said. “That Tenth Amendment that talks about these states, these laboratories of democracy.”

That’s certainly a novel perspective, to characterize Lincoln as a Tenth-Amendment fetishist like today’s tea partiers. But I suppose one can forgive the impulse, given how far the GOP has traveled from what it was in the time of the first Republican president. Pop quiz: If they had been alive in the 1860s, how many of today’s Republicans would have been on the side of the North? Not too many. Rick Perry sure as hell wouldn’t have.

But the history we’re going to argue much more about in 2016 isn’t so distant, and its protagonists—and their family members—are still around. Last week, a prominent Republican economist came up with what may be the most biting message any Democrat could hope for:

“When Hillary Clinton runs, she’s going to say, ‘The Republicans gave us a crappy economy twice, and we fixed it twice. Why would you ever trust them again?’ ” said Kevin Hassett, a former economic adviser to GOP nominees Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. “The objective for the people in the Republican Party who want to defeat her is to come up with a story about what’s not great” in this recovery, especially wage growth, he said.

Now imagine that Jeb Bush is the Republican nominee, and replace “The Republicans gave us a crappy economy twice” with “The Bushes gave us a crappy economy twice.” It hits even harder.

Is that unfair? In the sense that Jeb Bush can’t be held directly responsible for what his father and brother did in office, sure. Or at least, he’s no more responsible for it than any other Republican. It isn’t as though there’s a distinct Bushian strand of economic policy within the GOP, one that differs in some meaningful way from what other Republicans advocate. Although nobody has released detailed campaign policy papers yet, it’s all but guaranteed that the things Jeb Bush would do as president don’t differ too much from what the other candidates would do. They’d all like to cut taxes, particularly on investments; they’d reduce regulations on corporations; and they’d do what they could to roll back the policies of the Obama years in areas like labor and environmental enforcement. It’s possible that one candidate or another has some spectacularly creative new idea that will completely transform the American economy in ways no one has imagined. But probably not.

If the debate around the economy truly has changed, from a focus on what will produce growth to a focus on how to make the economy’s fruits more widely and equitably distributed, then it’s even less clear what Republicans will have to offer. Hillary Clinton can say that the years of her husband’s administration were the only period in recent decades that saw real (if not overwhelming) growth in wages for people in the middle and the bottom. If Jeb Bush were her opponent, it would offer an opportunity to have a historically grounded discussion about everything that has happened since his father was president.

Because I’ve yet to hear Republicans explain that history. If they tried to, they’d have to confront the fact that at every key point, their predictions about what effect policy changes would have turned out completely wrong. When Bill Clinton passed his 1993 budget with an increase in the top income tax rate, they all said that a “job-killing recession” was sure to result (I assume the phrase came from Newt Gingrich, because its use was so ubiquitous during that time). What actually ensued was not a recession but a rather remarkable boom; there were nearly 23 million more Americans working when Clinton handed off the White House to George W. Bush than when Clinton took office eight years before. Bush then committed himself to cutting taxes, particularly those affecting the wealthy—not just income taxes but taxes on investments and large inheritances as well. Republicans predicted that these policy changes would produce an economy practically bursting with wonderful new jobs for all.

That, of course, didn’t happen. Total job growth during the Bush years was a meager 1.3 million. Even if we’re unusually kind to Bush and go back to the high point of jobs in his administration (the end of 2007, before the Great Recession), he would only score a 5.6 million increase, or around one quarter of what Clinton managed.

Then Barack Obama allowed some of those top-tier tax cuts to expire, despite Republicans’ protestation that doing so would create a ball and chain dragging the economy down. Once again, disaster did not ensue; 2014 was the best year for job growth since 1999.

Like a number of liberals before me, I’ll take pains to note that this history doesn’t demonstrate that increasing taxes on the wealthy produces job growth. What it does show is that relatively small changes in the wealthy’s taxes have little effect on the economy one way or the other. Yet the idea that altering the tax burden on the wealthy produces enormous economy-wide effects is still central to conservative economic thinking. And it’s about as fanciful as the idea that Abraham Lincoln was a states’ rights advocate.

Unlike some of the policy debates we engage in, this history of the last couple of decades is pretty easy for voters to understand, since most of them lived through it. And nothing would make it more obvious than a general election between Bill Clinton’s wife and George W. Bush’s brother.


By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; The Plum Line, The Washington Post, February 15, 2015

February 17, 2015 Posted by | Election 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“It’s Time For A Collective And Unbridled Demand For Justice”: Following MLK’s Example Means Ending Our ‘Whatever’ Mindset

I am often deeply disturbed by our remorseless witness. We are all implicated; we share responsibility for our witness of well-defined evil.

We don’t protect our most vulnerable children; we value people according to arbitrary standards blind to the image of God on every face; we are too quick to kill and to slow to forgive; we tolerate the desecration of the only earth we will ever know. We give a platform to political leaders who want to “take back our country” — by setting policies that favor the wealthiest over everyone else, selling public schools to the highest bidder, and tearing apart the safety net that sustains the elderly and assists our most vulnerable — as if their words and ideas are worth listening to, or are grounded in principles worthy of our attention or even support.

Our response? Too often it is tantamount to this: “Whatever.”

We allow injustices to persist as if solutions are someone else’s responsibility. We watched our Congress over the last six years — as we slid deeper into recession, as our immigration crisis worsened, as tragic deaths from gun violence killed children school by school, people in movie theaters, women and children in the sanctity of their homes — do less and less, making history for inactivity. Even now, behind all of the soaring rhetoric is a shocking lack of action. It’s almost as if Congress said, whatever. How will we respond?

February is African-American History Month, so rest assured there will be plenty of posturing by our elected leaders. I hope we will revisit a figure often celebrated at this time of year — but I hope we will have a new appreciation of his example, and what his example should mean in our daily lives.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a young man, going about his daily business, following his predictable path when God called. He was a preacher’s kid from a solid middle class upbringing, attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Boston University School of Theology, earning a Master of Divinity and a Ph.D. He was on a Yellow Brick Road headed for Oz. But God had need of him and he joined the ranks of prophets like Samuel, Amos and Jeremiah; like Martin Luther, and Dietrich Bonheoffer; like Gandhi, Ella Baker, Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer and so many others that could be named.

In part, what distinguishes King and these moral giants is the fullness with which they heard the cry of injustice and responded. And we can all hear it if we listen, and we can all respond. As Callie Plunket-Brewton remarked, “The overwhelming witness of the prophets is that God has no tolerance for those who prey on the weak, who abuse their power, or who eat their fill while others are hungry.”

God has no tolerance for whatever.

And King had no tolerance for it either. In 1959 he said, “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” Six years later, in 1965, he described his vision for where that career in humanity should lead us: “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

Today, are we not a society that has lost its conscience? One only has to listen to the foolishness that passes for debate in any political season — and there is one on the horizon — or to the witless chatter on our televisions to feel the weight of Whatever pulling us down into the gravity of our condition.

But I have hope. I have hope that people of faith in every tradition will heed the words and examples of King and other prophets, and will wake up and rise up, will speak up and stand up; will turn for a moment from entertaining ourselves, buying things, cheering sports teams and entertainers, and insist on a world where children have clean water to drink and safe places to sleep; where the elderly can rest secure, the fruit of their labor beyond the reach of politicians; where a good public education awaits every eager child and a job with a living wage is there for every adult willing and able to work; where health care is a right, not a privilege, and humanity has matured beyond the illusion that our security is gained by weapons and wars.

This month we will celebrate many great African-Americans whose contributions to better our nation and world seem incalculable. But rather than set them apart, let us learn from their example and respond as they would have responded. I long for the day when people of all faith traditions call upon those who exercise power in our nation with words lifted from the heart of our faith — so that our living may be transformed. The time for whatever has long since passed — it’s time for a collective and unbridled demand for justice.


By: Rev. Michael Livingston, Bill Moyers Blog, Moyers and Company, February 15, 2015; This post first appeared at TalkPoverty.

February 17, 2015 Posted by | African Americans, Black History Month, Equal Justice | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“America’s Forgotten Mass Lynching”: When 237 People Were Murdered In Arkansas

The visits began in the fall of 1918, just as World War I ended. At his office in Little Rock, Arkansas, attorney Ulysses S. Bratton listened as African American sharecroppers from the Delta told stories of theft, exploitation, and endless debt. A man named Carter had tended 90 acres of cotton, only to have his landlord seize the entire crop and his possessions. From the town of Ratio, in Phillips County, Arkansas, a black farmer reported that a plantation manager refused to give sharecroppers an itemized account for their crop. Another sharecropper told of a landlord trying “to starve the people into selling the cotton at his own price. They ain’t allowing us down there room to move our feet except to go to the field.”

No one could know it at the time, but within a year these inauspicious meetings would lead to one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history. Initiated by whites, the violence—by any measure, a massacre—claimed the lives of 237 African Americans, according to a just released report from the Equal Justice Initiative. The death toll was unusually high, but the use of racial violence to subjugate blacks during this time was not uncommon. As the Equal Justice Initiative observes, “Racial terror lynching was a tool used to enforce Jim Crow laws and racial segregation—a tactic for maintaining racial control by victimizing the entire African American community, not merely punishment of an alleged perpetrator for a crime.” This was certainly true of the massacre in Phillips County, Arkansas.

Bratton agreed to represent the cheated sharecroppers, who also joined a new union, the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. Its founder, a black Delta native named Robert Hill, had no prior organizing experience but plenty of ambition. “The union wants to know why it is that the laborers cannot control their just earnings which they work for,” Hill announced as he urged black sharecroppers to each recruit 25 prospective members to form a lodge. Hill was especially successful in Phillips County, where seven lodges were established in 1919.

It took a lot of courage to defy the Arkansas Delta’s white elite. Men such as E.M. “Mort” Allen controlled the local economy, government, law enforcement, and courts. Allen was a latter-day carpetbagger, a Northerner who had come to Arkansas in 1906 to make his fortune. He married well and formed a partnership with a wealthy businessman. Together they developed the town of Elaine, a hub for the thriving lumber industry. Allen and the county’s white landowners understood that their continued prosperity depended on the exploitation of black sharecroppers and laborers. In a county where more than 75 percent of the population was African American, this wasn’t a task to be taken lightly. In February 1919, the planters agreed to reduce the acreage of cotton in cultivation in anticipation of a postwar drop in demand. If they gave their tenants a fair settlement, their profits would shrink further. Allen spoke for the planters when he declared that “the old Southern methods are much the best,” and that the “Southern men can handle the negroes all right and peaceably.”

There was nothing “peaceable” about the methods used to demolish the sharecroppers’ union. Late on the night of September 30, 1919, the planters dispatched three men to break up a union meeting in a rough hewn black church at Hoop Spur, a crossroads three miles north of Elaine. Prepared for trouble, the sharecroppers had assigned six men to patrol outside the church. A verbal confrontation led to gunfire that fatally wounded one of the attackers. The union men dispersed, but not for long. Bracing for reprisals from their landlords, they rousted fellow sharecroppers from bed and formed self-defense forces.

The planters also mobilized. Sheriff Frank Kitchens deputized a massive white posse, even setting up a headquarters at the courthouse in the county seat of Helena to organize his recruits. Hundreds of white veterans, recently returned from military service in France, flocked to the courthouse. Dividing into small groups, the armed white men set out into the countryside to search for the sharecroppers. The posse believed that a black conspiracy to murder white planters had just been begun and that they must do whatever it took to put down the alleged uprising. The result was the killing of 237 African Americans.

None of the perpetrators—participants in mass murder—answered for their crimes. No one was charged, no trials were held, at least not of those who had killed blacks. In the early 20th century, state-sanctioned collective violence targeting African Americans was a common occurrence in the United States. 1919 was an especially bloody year. By September, the nation had already experienced seven major outbreaks of anti-black violence (commonly called “race riots”). Riots had flared in cities as different as Knoxville, Omaha, and Washington, D.C. In Chicago, a lakefront altercation between whites and blacks escalated into a week-long riot that took the lives of 38 men (23 black, 15 white). To restore order, Illinois Gov. Frank Lowden called in thousands of state militia.

The root cause of 1919’s violence was the reassertion of white supremacy after World War I. Disfranchisement, Jim Crow laws, and biased police forces and courts had stripped African Americans of many of their constitutional rights and created deepset economic, social, and political inequities. Blacks who defied the rules and traditions of white supremacy risked personal ruin (being banished from their hometowns was one punishment), bodily harm (beatings and whippings), and death. In just five months in 1919, from January to May, more than 20 lynch mobs murdered two dozen African Americans. One of these victims was a black veteran killed for refusing to stop wearing his Army uniform. Lynchers took pride in their actions, often posing for photographs at the scenes of their crimes; few were ever charged, let alone convicted. Mob violence helped protect the racial status quo.

What made 1919 unique was the armed resistance that black Americans mounted against white mobs trying to keep them “in their place.” During the United States’ brief but transformative involvement in World War I, almost 370,000 black men served in the military, most of them in the Army. On the homefront, African American men and women bought war bonds, volunteered for the Red Cross, and worked in defense factories. They were fighting to make the world safe for democracy, as President Woodrow Wilson defined the war’s purpose, yet they didn’t have equal rights and opportunities at home. When the war ended, African Americans resolved to make America safe for democracy. In May 1919, civil rights activist and prolific writer W.E.B. Du Bois declared, “We return from fighting. We return fighting. Make way for Democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the United States of America, or know the reason why.”

Whether they had served in the military or not, African Americans answered Du Bois’s clarion call. When a white mob in Longview, Texas, tried to seize a black man named S.L. Jones to lynch him for insulting the honor of a white woman, a self-defense force organized by Jones’s friends opened fire, dispersing the mob and saving Jones’s life. When police in Chicago failed to stop white gangs from attacking blacks, veterans of the 370th Regiment, 93rd  Division (an all-black unit recently returned from France) put on their uniforms, armed themselves, and took to the streets. And when white servicemen and veterans joined with civilians to form mobs in Washington, D.C., hundreds of black Washingtonians lined the streets of Uptown (now called Shaw) to prevent these mobs from marauding in the neighborhood known for its black-owned businesses and theaters.

The Arkansas sharecroppers who stood up against the white planters of Phillips County were a major part of black resistance during 1919. Their courage came with heavy costs. As word of the trouble spread, white vigilantes from Mississippi crossed the river and began attacking blacks. The posse organized by Sheriff Kitchens scoured the canebrakes and fields, firing on blacks. Meanwhile, Arkansas Gov. Charles Brough cabled the War Department to request the deployment of infantry units. Almost 600 white troops and officers soon arrived from Camp Pike. Told that a black uprising was underway, the soldiers rounded up African Americans and, like the Mississippi vigilantes and local posse, killed indiscriminately. A special agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad who led a force of approximately 50 white men later said the Mississippi mob “shot and killed men, women and children without regard to whether they were guilty or innocent of any connection with the killing of anybody, or whether members of the union or not.” One of the county’s richest white men, Gerard Lambert, observed soldiers shoot a black man who had tried to run from a hiding place. Let that “be a lesson,” the troops told blacks who were also present. Vigilantes killed a black woman, pulled her dress over her head, and left her body on a road, another brutal “lesson” of what happened when African Americans forgot their “place.”

The sharecroppers did the best they could to defend themselves and their families and neighbors. A group of sharecroppers and a black veteran in uniform shot back when part of the posse opened fire. Hearing the shots, union member Frank Moore rallied the men with him. “Let’s go help them people out,” he shouted. But the sharecroppers were outgunned and outmanned. By October 3, most had been captured and jailed. Sheriff’s deputies and special agents for the Missouri Pacific Railroad tortured them to extract false confessions to a conspiracy to murder whites. Rigged trials brought swift convictions and death sentences for 12 men whose only crime was their attempt to obtain fair earnings for their labor. Protracted appeals, supported by the NAACP, resulted in a Supreme Court decision (Moore v. Dempsey, 1923) that helped free the men. The ruling also established the federal government’s obligation to ensure that state trial proceedings preserve the Constitution’s guarantee of due process and equal protection of the laws, a standard the Arkansas trials certainly had not met.

This legal victory couldn’t give back the lives of the black residents killed by the posse, vigilantes, and troops in Phillips County. The death toll of 237 reported by the Equal Justice Initiative is a new figure, based on extensive research. In 1919, sources as varied as the NAACP and the Bureau of Investigation (forerunner of the FBI) estimated the number of killed African Americans at 25 to 80. Writer Robert Whitaker, who has identified 22 separate killing sites of African Americans during the massacre, put the death toll at more than 100. NAACP official Walter White, who risked his life in October 1919 to investigate the killings, stated that the “number of Negroes killed during the riot is unknown and probably never will be known.” In contrast, just four whites died, all of them posse members; one or two may have died as a result of friendly fire.

Say the number of African Americans killed in Phillips County in 1919 was 25. Or 80. Or 237. The very fact that, almost one hundred years after the massacre, we are still trying to pinpoint the death toll should lead us to a larger reckoning: coming to terms with one of the most violent years in the nation’s history, bloodshed that resulted from efforts to make America safe for democracy.


By: David Krugler, The Daily Beast, February 16, 2015

February 17, 2015 Posted by | African Americans, Arkansas, White Supremacy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Rolling Disaster Of John Boehner’s Speakership”: He’s Sure To Be Known As One Of The Weakest Speakers In American History

For years now, John Boehner’s continued occupation of the House speakership has been in doubt. Would the tea partyers evict him in a coup? Would he simply not want this thankless task anymore? The presumption, which I’ve always shared, is that Boehner is in a nearly impossible position. Pressed by a large right flank that sees any compromise as a betrayal, he is constrained from making the deals necessary to pass legislation. While Mitch McConnell can successfully corral his caucus to vote as a unified bloc, the one over which Boehner presides contains so many extremists and cranks that it’s just impossible to hold together.

All of that is true. But might it also be true that Boehner is just terrible at his job?

Look at the two stories about Boehner making the rounds today, both of which were addressed in an appearance he made on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday. The first is the possibility of a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security if Congress can’t pass a bill to fund the department. At a moment when the news is being dominated by terrorism, both in the Middle East and in Europe, a shutdown would be a PR disaster for the GOP (even if, in reality, the key functions of the department would continue with little interruption). The House passed a bill to fund the department, including a provision revoking President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Everyone knows that such a bill is going nowhere — it failed to overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, and even if it had, Obama has made clear that he’ll veto it.

Asked repeatedly by host Chris Wallace whether the House would revisit the Homeland Security spending bill, Boehner kept repeating that “The House has done its job.” And he couldn’t have been clearer on the possibility of a shutdown:

WALLACE: And what if the Department of Homeland Security funding runs out?

BOEHNER: Well, then, Senate Democrats should be to blame. Very simply.

WALLACE: And you’re prepared to let that happen?

BOEHNER: Certainly. The House has acted. We’ve done our job.

Boehner can say “Senate Democrats should be to blame,” but that won’t make it so. Everyone knows how this is going to end: Both houses are going to pass a “clean” spending bill, which Obama will sign. The only question is whether there’s a department shutdown along the way. If and when that happens, Republicans are going to be blamed, just as they were when they forced a total government shutdown in 2013. His calculation now seems to be the same as it was then: I’ll force a shutdown to show the tea partyers that I’m being tough and standing up to Obama, and then once it becomes clear that we’re getting the blame, that’ll give me the room to end the crisis by giving in and allowing the vote that will bring everything to a close. It’s not exactly a strategy to maximize his party’s political gain.

That brings us to the second ongoing PR catastrophe Boehner has engineered, the upcoming speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both here and in Israel, where Netanyahu faces an election next month, the speech has been roundly condemned for politicizing the relationship between the two countries, essentially turning the Israeli prime minister into a partisan Republican coming to the U.S. to campaign against President Obama’s approach to negotiating with Iran about their nuclear program. Worst of all, Boehner invited Netanyahu to make the speech without informing the White House, a bit of foreign policy usurpation that people in both parties find somewhere between inappropriate and outrageous. Here’s how Boehner talked about it yesterday:

BOEHNER: And then when it comes to the threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon — these are important messages that the Congress needs to hear and the American people need to hear. And I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is the perfect person to deliver the message of how serious this threat is.

WALLACE: But when you talk with [Israeli ambassador] Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu, you told him specifically not to tell the White House.

Why would you do that, sir?

BOEHNER: Because I wanted to make sure that there was no interference. There’s no secret here in Washington about the animosity that this White House has for Prime Minister Netanyahu. And I frankly didn’t want them getting in the way and quashing what I thought was a real opportunity.

WALLACE: But it has created a — if not a firestorm, certainly a controversy here. It has a created a controversy in Israel. And shouldn’t the relationship between the U.S. and Israel be outside of politics?

BOEHNER: It’s an important message that the American people need to hear. I’m glad that he’s coming and I’m looking forward to what he has to say.

It may be that by now Boehner thinks that having come this far, he can’t rescind the invitation without making the whole thing look even worse. That’s possible, but by making the invitation in the first place, and keeping it secret from the administration, he created a truly epic blunder, one that not only makes him look bad but also damages American foreign policy interests.

So on the whole, Boehner is managing to combine legislative incompetence with PR incompetence. He’s already sure to be known as one of the weakest speakers in American history, for at least some reasons that are out of his control. But he might also be known as one of the least effective. Perhaps no one could have done a better job in his place, but since no other Republican seems to want the job, we may never know.


By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line, February 15, 2015

February 17, 2015 Posted by | Dept of Homeland Security, House Republicans, John Boehner | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Fighting The Extremists Within”: As Our History Shows, Best Way To Defeat ISIS Extremists Is For Muslim World To Organize Against Them

One of the things that I find interesting in the conservative outrage over President Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast is that most of it is focused on his inclusion of the Crusades (and occasionally the Inquisition). It is an attempt to dismiss what the President said because the events he referred to happened such a long time ago.

All of that ignores that he also included the more recent events of slavery and Jim Crow (the latter of which was still alive and well during my lifetime). For those who suggest the Christian community did not sanction slavery, Ta-Nehisi Coates provides us with a quote from Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens showing that the secession of the Southern States over the issue of slavery was defended based on their religious beliefs.

With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system…

It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws.

Of course there were also Christians who were part of the abolitionist movement – initially a small minority confined mostly to the Quakers. But the question eventually came down to Christians vs Christians over the question of slavery – to the point of a Civil War.

When the issue of Jim Crow actually comes up in these recent discussions, it is usually conservatives appropriating the mantle of Rev. Martin Luther King as a Christian minister who led the Civil Rights Movement. For example, here’s Tucker Carlson:

And by the way, who ended slavery and Jim Crow? Christians. The Rev. Martin Luther King. Christians.

He’s right, of course. Rev. King based his objection to Jim Crow on his Christian faith. But as we saw with slavery, a lot of white Christians firmly planted themselves on the other side. And it wasn’t just the KKK with their burning crosses. I am reminded of the fact that Rev. King’s most famous written document – Letter from Birmingham Jail – was penned in response to eight white religious leaders in the South who objected to his activities.

What we see from both of these examples is that on the question of slavery and Jim Crow, there were Christians on both sides of the divide. After a lot of suffering and death, the “Christian extremists” in our country were defeated by those who held fast to a faith that practiced what it preached.

That is exactly what President Obama’s foreign policy is attempting to accomplish in the Muslim world today on the question of ISIS. Over and over again he has said that the people of Iraq are going to have to lead the way.

In other words, just as our history shows with slavery and Jim Crow, the best way to defeat ISIS extremists is for the Muslim world to organize against them. Conservative attempts to malign all Muslims for the actions of those extremists actually distract and block that from happening.


By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, February 14, 2015

February 17, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, ISIS, National Prayer Breakfast | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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