Brazil’s Illegitimate President Elect Keeping The Peoples Real President In Prison?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZIL 247 NEWS AGENCY)

((OPINION OF OLDPOET56) BRAZIL IS SOON TO BE UNDER THE DICTATORSHIP OF AN ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT, JAIR BOLSONARO, MAYBE HIS ‘NICKNAME’ SHOULD BE JAIL, NOT JAIR’ AS IN “JAIL BOLSONARO”, SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT TO ME.) 

Stories of Sri Lankans who are “Taking a Stand” for democracy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Stories of Sri Lankans who are “Taking a Stand” for democracy

Image via Groundviews

This post originally appeared on Groundviews, an award-winning citizen journalism website in Sri Lanka. An edited version is published below as part of a content-sharing agreement with Global Voices.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a political crisis since October 26 when president Maithripala Sirisena removed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – replacing him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. This has led to a power struggle between the newly appointed PM and the recently ousted PM who both believe in the legitimacy of their position. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Colombo to question the constitutional legitimacy of the president’s decision and demand the parliament be reconvened to settle the matter. Bowing to pressure, President Sirisena has promised to reconvene the parliament on November 7.

On November 4, 2018, a group of people gathered at the Liberty roundabout in the Kollupitiya neighborhood of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

For some, it was their fifth day of standing in protest. Following news that President Maithripala Sirisena and the United People’s Freedom Alliance had stepped down from the coalition Government, a group of citizens decided to meet at the roundabout every day, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, until Parliament was convened. On the first day, the protest coincided with a larger rally organised by Ranil Wickremesinghe-led United National Party (UNP) held nearby – but many of those who attended the rally on that day were quick to say that they were not attending to support the UNP.

On October 30, a tweet by Lisa Fuller featuring one of the posters held by a protester went viral. It read, “I’m not here for Ranil – I’m here for democracy”.

Lisa Fuller@gigipurple

“I’m not here for Ranil. I’m here for democracy and good governance” Civil society protest at liberty circle now

The poster appeared to encapsulate the sentiments of many of those gathered at the Liberty roundabout on October 30 and every day after.

Over the past few days, Groundviews documented those who attended the citizen protest. Those attending included young people who had never attended a protest before, senior citizens, activists and members of civil society. On November 4, there were participants from Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa and Kandy as well as from Colombo. For some, it was their first time at a protest. Others had seen corruption continue on for decades (the oldest participant was 92 years old). Members from the corporate sector stood shoulder-to-shoulder with activists from Jaffna and Batticaloa, who were flanked by those in the theatre community.

Corruption was a recurring topic, given revelations from UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene about sums of money being offered for Parliamentarians to switch allegiances.

On October 30 and afterward, we asked those who attended one simple question – “What made you decide to participate?”

Over the past few days, Groundviews documented those who attended the citizen protest.

This is what they had to say:

Diordre Moraes. Image via Groundviews

“As a mother, as a grandmother, I want to see democracy restored. I’m not against any person or any party but as a citizen of Sri Lanka. Nothing like this has ever happened before” – Diordre Moraes

Neluni Tillekeratne. Image via Gorundviews

“I feel young people should take political issues more seriously. When youth engage with politics they only look at statements from the President or Prime Minister. We don’t look at deeper issues. I’m hoping to influence young people to come.” Neluni Tillekeratne

Nadesan Suresh. Image via Groundviews

Our Malaiyaha Tamil community, those who work in tea estates, voted for President Sirisena hoping he would reform society. However, what he did sets us back 100 years.’ Nadesan Suresh, from Badulla.

Sarojini Kadirgamar. Image via Groundviews

“Though I’m 92 years old, I feel I must make a stand for democracy. Over the years I’ve seen the steady deterioration of political life. Every party has used corrupt practices for short term gains.This has to change.” Sarojini Kadirgamar

Leisha Lawrence, Mihiri de Silva, Sepali de Silva and unknown. Image via Groundviews

“I’m here for democracy. If an MP choose to jump to another party they should lose their seat in Parliament. I’m not here for any party.” Leisha Lawrence (far right)

“We vote in a particular way for who we want. That doesn’t give the President the right to do what he wants, because he doesn’t get on with a particular person.” Mihiri de Silva (second from right)

“My vote is not for sale. This is not right!” Sepali de Silva (second from left)

Kalaivani. Image via Groundviews

‘We call this a democratic country but what happened suppressed democratic means. We made history as having the first female prime minister, now we have made history again for having two prime ministers!’ Kalaivani, from Batticaloa.

Adrian Roshan Fernando. Image via Groundviews

“The decisions being made now don’t include the public opinion. They are just taking their own decisions. There is a way to do things.” Adrian Roshan Fernando.

Piyathilaka Ranaweera. Image via Groundviews

“This is not good for the country. We’re doing this for the next generation, for the future of this country.” Piyathilaka Ranaweera

Irfadha Muzammil. Image via Groundviews

“People’s votes matter. We can’t let politicians corrupt that and exploit voters.” Irfadha Muzammil

Abdul Kalam Azad. Image via Groundviews

Rather than saying “I am Prime Minister” come to Parliament now and show that you have the majority. Govern the country. Don’t waste our time!” Abdul Kalam Azad.

As evening fell, the electricity at the Liberty roundabout remained switched off. Later on, Mayor of Colombo Rosy Senanayake tweeted that this was “an act of sabotage”.

Rosy Senanayake@Rosy_Senanayake

This has been brought to my notice and it was an act of sabotage. We will ensure the lights are switched on tomorrow.

Groundviews

@groundviews

Citizens use smartphones – for light, and to inquire with the CMC why the streetlamps were turned on late – as their protest against #ConstitutionalCrisisSriLanka ends for the day. It will continue daily, 4.30pm-6.30pm at Liberty roundabout till Parliament is convened. #lka

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Undeterred, the protesters used the light of their mobile phones and continued chanting.

Image via Groundviews

Eventually, at 7 pm, the protest came to an end – to be resumed the next day, and the day after that, until Parliament reconvenes.

Image via Groundviews

You can read the full Photo essay here. You can also follow along with the protest on Twitter, and from multiple perspectives, here.

In face of midterm elections, Fla. GOP candidate’s words on slavery should scare everyone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

In face of midterm elections, Fla. GOP candidate’s words on slavery should scare everyone

Excuse of past wrongs not just about Constitution. Falls in line with attitude that hurts immigrants, minorities and shapes ideas about police duties.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

As midterm elections loom, candidates’ every move (including their history) is being watched. It’s no shock, then, that former Rep. Ron DeSantis, the GOP candidate for Florida’s gubernatorial race, has been facing backlash this month for his 2011 book, “Dreams from our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama.”

One of the book’s many racist rants centers on the argument that first black Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, a highly esteemed intellectual, was mistaken in his claim that the Constitution was fundamentally flawed due to its silence on the abolition of slavery.

DeSantis criticizes Marshall’s castigation as one that “overshadows the numerous and long-lasting political achievements embodied in the structural foundations of the government that have nothing to do with the institution of slavery.”

But the Constitution, as a founding document that influences every aspect of how we live, should not be interpreted as a whole, but rather picked apart and scrutinized. It should be viewed through a lens that takes into account the social and political context of our time. An integral part of our history and progress as a nation is the ability to recognize past wrongs and atrocities, not excuse them.

Continuing to place people who hold outdated, racist beliefs in positions of power only perpetuates the collective amnesia that America suffers in regards to its racist history. Works like DeSantis’ book are modern-day propaganda, spinning the events of our country’s past to try to forge a sense of nationalism in the face of evil.

Books like DeSantis’ are dangerous to everyone.

With each one comes the resurgence of a vicious cycle in which those who are skeptical about the existence of racism are confirmed in their beliefs, feeling empowered to be ignorant in a world where ignorance can be one of the most dangerous forms of violence for minorities.

What message does it send to the rest of the country — especially the staggering number of women and people of color running for office — when we elect people who have shown us with their actions and words that they do not care about all of their constituents?

Though the argument could be made that DeSantis’ book is several years old and that the candidate may have changed, this is only one of several racially charged controversies DeSantis has been involved in leading up to and during his gubernatorial run. Less than 24 hours after clinching the Republican nomination, he warned voters not to “monkey this up” by choosing his opponent, Andrew Gillum, whose election would make him the first black governor of Florida.

DeSantis’ racially insensitive comments directly layer into the very platform he is running on — including his stance on immigration and sanctuary cities. He has made it publicly clear that he would punish any Florida city that adopts sanctuary policies preventing officers from cooperating with the federal government on immigration. He also strongly supports building a border wall. Ironically, had similar ideas been held by our country’s earlier legislators, DeSantis’ family would not have been able to immigrate.

DeSantis is keenly aware of the current political climate and the demographic of his voters. His selective ignorance about racism is a key strategy in his gubernatorial run. It depends on the votes of those who claim to be skeptical that racism exists to place him in a position of power — a position that would endanger minority communities across Florida.

The election of DeSantis would not only confirm the belief that racism isn’t real, it would also confirm that Florida is actively accepting and promoting bigotry with no consequences. This kind of environment further emphasizes that, so long as you’re a person of color, your voice will not be heard and you will likely never have a chance to make a change. It establishes a level of hostility that opens the gates for racism and hatred to fester like a disease, plaguing our country more and more each time bigotry is voted into office.

Pride in our country and the recognition that discrepancies in power and resources exist are not mutually exclusive ideas.

This election season, ask more of your fellow voters. Encourage those around you to elect candidates who will work in the best interests of all their constituents, not just the ones who are mirror images of themselves.

Ask that we, as a country, think critically about the entirety of America’s past and use that history as a stepping stone toward a more progressive, more equal future.

Ben Crump is a nationally known civil rights attorney and advocate and is the founder and principal of Ben Crump Law.

Brain Games: 12 Proverbs And Philosophy From My Old Mind: To Yours

Brain Games: 12 Proverbs And Philosophy From My Old Mind: To Yours

 

1) Here in the 21st century how many Christians still observe the day given as Christ’s Birthday, as His Birthday? Yet, it seems that so few choose to walk in His principles. So, is it easier to keep this Holiday, or His Birthday than it is to keep His Commandments? Or, in this modern age are His words of no matter because we judge ourselves by our own righteousness?

 

2) America, if we the people give up the Liberty of the Second Amendment believing that the Government will protect us in our times of peril then we will most certainly lose our freedom, our God-given rights, our Country, and our lives.

 

3) Where you have liberty and all of the basic human rights given to you by God Himself, then you have a Country worth fighting for. If you do not have these things then you do not have a Country, all you have is labor and death to leave to your children and their children.

 

4) We should all work each day as though we will grow old. Yet each night we should bow our knees and pray that we do not die on the morrow.

 

5) Does anyone really own the title to a piece of land? Remember, the Lord gives and if He wishes, the Lord has every right to take away. All things belong to the Lord for they were His before us and they will be His after even the thought of us is gone. Yet no free people can tolerate a Government that puts themselves upon God’s Throne. Governments do not give freedom to the people. It is the people who allow the Government to exist, not the other way around!

 

6) A free people’s rights come from the laws of God, not from inside the D.C. Beltway!

 

7) What will be the American History of 2018 that is left to the future generations, if indeed there be any? Is this generation truly nothing but Donkey dung or Elephant manure? For what good or what freedom can come from the mouth’s of two Domesticated Beasts who’s master is a Dragon?

 

8) If the people are allowed to have no freedom of choice by their Government then the people’s only free choice is to remove that Government!

 

9) We have all heard the old saying about their being too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Yet if the labor of multitudes of Indians go only to behoove a small number of Chiefs, these few Chiefs will grow to consider the many who made them what they are as nothing but parasites not even worthy of their crumbs!

 

10) As death draws us near to our bed what is it that we hope for or believe? Did we leave God’s Light in the eyes of our children or the love of freedom upon their hearts? Or, will the memory of us be forgotten once the dirt is shoveled upon our face?

 

11) If “We The People” are so ignorant as to send Lawyers to be in “Our Congress” how can we expect anything except double talk as they fill their pockets at the people’s expense?

 

12) If a person in your country seeks a position of power and they request you have confidence in them, consider their request if you wish. Yet make sure of two things. Make sure that their feet are bound with chains to your country’s Constitution, and their heart to the Constitution of ‘The’ Creator. For if either one is not bound as such, the people will know only misery, poverty, and an early death!

 

(I hope that you liked at least some or even one of these and if not, I hope that they at least made you either smile, or think. Good night, and God bless.)

Jordan Constitution Concerning Tribal Justice System

(This article is courtesy of the Jordan Times of Amman)

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

By JT – Sep 01,2016 – Last updated at Sep 01,2016

AMMAN — The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft law amending the 2016 Crime Prevention Law, which targeted provisions governing controversial tribal customs like Jalwa (forced relocation), Diyeh (blood money) and administrative governors’ authorities related to these affairs.

The law will be sent to the next Lower House, which will convene after the September 20 elections, for endorsement as stipulated in the Constitution, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

“Jalwa”, a term first coined by tribes, entails the forced relocation of a clan if one of its members murders someone or commits other serious crimes like rape, in a bid to avoid friction between the two tribes, both of the victim’s and the murderer’s, if they were living in the same area.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad has recently held several meetings with tribal and religious leaders, along with jurists, from across the Kingdom.

The figures reached an understanding that regulates tribal customs and norms and limits tribal cases that fall under the Crime Prevention Law to homicide, honor and cases when members of the tribes involved in the dispute do not honour pledges made on their behalf by mediators.

Under the amending law, jalwa should be limited to the murderer, his father and sons, and for a period not exceeding one year, with the possibility of renewing it if deemed necessary by the concerned administrative governor. The proposed version of the law also stipulates that jalwa should be made from one district to another within the same governorate.

The law also tasks the chief Islamic justice with deciding the value of diyeh in murder cases that end with reconciliation, and levies on those parties in tribal disputes who dishonor pledges made by mediators to pay mediators, or guarantors of the deals made, a fine of no less than JD50,000 in compensation for the damage caused to their reputation.

The administrative governor, according to the amendments, has the power to oversee all the tribal procedures included in this law, Petra added.

The amendments aim at regulating tribal customs and norms related to conflicts and cases of jalwa, atwah (a tribal agreement that functions as a temporary conciliation between conflicting parties until the civic law decides on the case) and diyeh, according to Petra.

The law is meant to avoid exaggerated practices that may cause social problems as a result of relocating families away from their places of residence, which normally results in damage to innocent families’ members, who might lose their jobs, education opportunities or businesses.

 

Brain Games: 12 Proverbs And Philosophy From My Old Mind: To Yours

 

1) Here in the 21st century how many Christians still observe the day given as Christ’s Birthday, as His Birthday? Yet, it seems that so few choose to walk in His principles. So, is it easier to keep this Holiday, or His Birthday than it is to keep His Commandments? Or, in this modern age are His words of no matter because we judge ourselves by our own righteousness?

 

2) America, if we the people give up the Liberty of the Second Amendment believing that the Government will protect us in our times of peril then we will most certainly lose our freedom, our God-given rights, our Country, and our lives.

 

3) Where you have liberty and all of the basic human rights given to you by God Himself, then you have a Country worth fighting for. If you do not have these things then you do not have a Country, all you have is labor and death to leave to your children and their children.

 

4) We should all work each day as though we will grow old. Yet each night we should bow our knees and pray that we do not die on the morrow.

 

5) Does anyone really own the title to a piece of land? Remember, the Lord gives and if He wishes, the Lord has every right to take away. All things belong to the Lord for they were His before us and they will be His after even the thought of us is gone. Yet no free people can tolerate a Government that puts themselves upon God’s Throne. Governments do not give freedom to the people. It is the people who allow the Government to exist, not the other way around!

 

6) A free people’s rights come from the laws of God, not from inside the D.C. Beltway!

 

7) What will be the American History of 2018 that is left to the future generations, if indeed there be any? Is this generation truly nothing but Donkey dung or Elephant manure? For what good or what freedom can come from the mouth’s of two Domesticated Beasts who’s master is a Dragon?

 

8) If the people are allowed to have no freedom of choice by their Government then the people’s only free choice is to remove that Government!

 

9) We have all heard the old saying about their being too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Yet if the labor of multitudes of Indians go only to behoove a small number of Chiefs, these few Chiefs will grow to consider the many who made them what they are as nothing but parasites not even worthy of their crumbs!

 

10) As death draws us near to our bed what is it that we hope for or believe? Did we leave God’s Light in the eyes of our children or the love of freedom upon their hearts? Or, will the memory of us be forgotten once the dirt is shoveled upon our face?

 

11) If “We The People” are so ignorant as to send Lawyers to be in “Our Congress” how can we expect anything except double talk as they fill their pockets at the people’s expense?

 

12) If a person in your country seeks a position of power and they request you have confidence in them, consider their request if you wish. Yet make sure of two things. Make sure that their feet are bound with chains to your country’s Constitution, and their heart to the Constitution of ‘The’ Creator. For if either one is not bound as such, the people will know only misery, poverty, and an early death!

 

(I hope that you liked at least some or even one of these and if not, I hope that they at least made you either smile, or think. Good night, and God bless.)

Is Islam More Racist And Un-inclusive Than The KKK Or The Nazi’s?

Is Islam More Racist And Un-inclusive Than The KKK Or The Nazi’s?

 (First Published On January 2nd Of 2016)

When Donald Trump spoke about not allowing Muslims into the United States a month or so ago as Dr. Ben Carson did, I knew that as those words came out of their mouths that it would be used eventually by Islamist terror groups. Too not believe so would be very naive, as it would be to think that democrats like Ms. Hillary would not ridicule them for those ‘anti-Arab’ statements. Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson did speak things that are truthful about our country needing to shut down our borders until our government can come up with a solid workable safe plan regarding Islamic believing people being allowed into our country. But, I knew that what they were saying, especially Mr. Trumps statements were unconstitutional subject actions and that the only way for those things to happen is through changing the Constitution. But now comes the question, if there become monthly if not weekly or daily Islamic terrorist attacks here on American soil, will we the people demand that the Constitution be amended to outlaw Islam on American soil then? Should we wait, will we wait until then? Do we as a democracy have a choice either way? Tough question, tough answer either way. People need to get truly informed on this issue because this issue is not going to magically just go away.

 

Most folks who are born and raised in America know there is a group of people called the KKK that has a very narrow inclusion policy. Before people say that they are or are not for allowing Islam to be allowed in their country each person needs to understand the fundamentals that create a religions very core, it’s basement teachings and beliefs do need to be understood. Should the people of Germany have forbidden Austrians like Adolf Hitler from being allowed to either enter Germany or, once they found him preaching hate should they have been allowed to just thrown him and his followers out? Am I saying that Islam is as bad as the ‘Klan’ or the Nazi? Folks, democracy and Islam will not stand together if those whom believe in the fundamentalist teachings of Islam within that Nation have any say so in that matter. Is your personal religion based on a concept that if you are not exactly like me then the only thing you are good for is to be put to death, or enslaved? If you found out that this is what a group within your midst believed and practiced would you welcome them in as neighbors? If they were now your neighbors, would you insist they move away? Do we, should we, have the ‘right ‘to do so? This is a slippery slope folks, what would be next, expelling all gay folks? How about those mixed race people? Then of course all them Yankees! O, let us not forget all those hate-mongering Christians. You see folks; you always need to be careful what you pray for unless your Asp is turned back on you. We do not have to believe anything that any religion or belief system teaches for someone who does believe in it to kill you and everyone you have ever cared about, you will still be just as dead. A word of wisdom, an uninformed prey is much more likely to be prey!

 

 

Are Donald Trump’s Muslim Ideas Correct; Nuts; Or Even Constitutional

Are Donald Trump’s Muslim Ideas Correct; Nuts; Or Even Constitutional

 

Even if America went exactly against what our Constitution allows and we excommunicate all people who believe in the Islamic faith from our shores unless the whole non-Islamic world follows suit it would be only America who gets ‘Black-balled’ in the eyes of the world. If we are going to break our Constitution, if we are going to break one of the moral codes our society was built upon, then the Government better have one heck of a good reason, or is there such a thing in your eyes? Is the exile of all Islamic believing people back to their country of origin a good idea? What if every single Islamic person on earth were located only in Arabic/Persian/Islamic countries, would this be a good idea? Now of course we would be needed to be banned from going into ‘their countries’, only humanitarian type products, no weapons! There is one question that I would like you Christians and you Jewish folks to think about as we Americans sweep the bare fields where Mosques once stood, who is next? What if the next ‘enemy of the state’ is it Christians? You know them Christians, always causing trouble. Do you remember the Indian folks of the late 1800’s here in America? Beat them down, round them up, disarm them, kill them, does that sound at all familiar? I’m just saying, crack the egg and the guts could fall out.

 

In my lifetime (over 60 yrs now) I have never seen news-headlines like what are bouncing off of the wires here in America lately. Some of the Republican Presidential candidates are making comments and statements that are far more brass than what the D.C., NYC, Hollywood commentators can seem to wrap their far right liberal education and training around. Just like the two parties leaderships don’t seem to get it, the ‘it’ being that the American people are totally fed up with business as usual when the whole nation and all American’s way of life is changing daily and those changes are for the worse. It is the politicians and the media that are clueless to the real world that all the rest of us are living in. Does Donald Trump lead America and most of the rest of the world into a world with bombings here on the homeland a couple of times a week, or do we break the Constitution and force all Islamic believing people to go back to their countries of origin? That is a hard policy, is it correct, nuts, or un-Constitutional?

 

Make no mistake about the issue of why the whole world must do this horrible thing (a point of view) of making one specific religion to clear off all American land. For those of you whom do not know these few facts I will give you a crash course on a basic fundamental that is at the heart of Islams teachings. The Quran is the Islamic Holy Book of the sayings of their Prophet Muhammad but their Holy Book called Hadith is the Book of the Actions of The Prophet. Make no mistake, Muhammad was a military general, the actions of the Prophet should make any human sick. Not only did he do horrible things to thousands of people, he laid out a very intelligent battle plan for all the followers of Allah to follow, until there are no more infidels/non-believers on the Earth. Folks, if a person is brought up in this pure evil all that person knows is this burning hate, that is if they are truly devout to Allah’s will. Folks it is not (radical Islam) it is (fundamental Islam). Folks there is nothing radical about these people who murdered 14 in southern California two years ago. When you are getting to the roots of the religion you believe in and this religion says to do these Demonic acts it is at this point that all people who were brought up in the religion should see their error and convert to a God of love. But in the real world we all know that even under the best of situations six-billion people would have to annex one-billion people to their own ‘private island’. The logistics, the morality, the un-realistic, even impossible scope of such an event on world populations.

 

General Muhammad’s war plan for the whole world was and is quite simple. They are supposed to migrate into a country, bide your time, grow your communities throughout the host country and wait. Wait for your fellow soldiers of Allah to attack the country from the outside as then the plants are supposed to start and up-rising from the inside. Folks this pattern has been followed throughout north-Africa, the Persian Gulf and Europe for about 1,400 years now, folks they are very good at what they do. ISIS has helped show the strength of the fundamental movements in the ‘Arab World’. They along with many other hate groups are insisting on strict Sharia law be enforced everywhere on earth. I don’t know what to do about these horrible issues but the world is being forced to change because if the world that we all know and love doesn’t fight back hard on these huge issues, we wont have a country to walk on or breath in.

 

For those of you who are blind to these events can you not see the path of these Sunni groups like ISIS and Hamas taking total control of your town, of you, and every member of your family, forever! We must not forget the biggest minority within Islam are the Shiite folks. Yet by the articles I scan each day that the Shiite community make up about 20% of Islamic believers, the Sunni about the other 80%. Right now there are Shiite groups who are trying to stay more quiet than normal, could it be it is because ‘the West and Russia’ are bombing the Shiites enemy. Folks there are also many hate groups within the Shiite believers who want the exact same thing that the Sunni groups like ISIS want, total control, total power. I have heard this saying three times, once each from a young Palestinian, Pakistan man and a Saudi man ‘that the only thing lower than a dog is a Christian and the only thing lower than a Christian is a Jew’. The reason there will never be peace between the Jewish State of Israel and its Islamic neighbors is that so many of this religions (Islam) believers will never ever except a Jewish or a Christian State in ‘the Holy Land’. The rest of the world is now starting to taste a tiny taste of what the people of Israel have had to endure for most of their 70 year existence. A sleeping dragon has awakened in our world, now the question is who wins this battle? The Jewish people learned a long time ago that if you refuse to fight on the Sabbath, then you will die on the Sabbath. Just because you lay down your arms for a day or for a lifetime, if the ones who hate you are still shooting at you, you are going to have a very short lifetime. Just because Donald Trump comes off a bit befuddled about facts sometimes it doesn’t mean that he is wrong about everything all of the time, just most things, most of the time.

The Garfield Assassination Altered American History

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SMITHSONIAN.COM)

 

The Garfield Assassination Altered American History, But Is Woefully Forgotten Today

Why we need to have historical marker on the site where Charles Guitea shot the President in 1881

image: https://thumbs-prod.si-cdn.com/i21v5VfAHuP7R9iuQZcgzobsrIw=/800×600/filters:no_upscale()/https://public-media.smithsonianmag.com/filer/73/8f/738f0281-f015-4848-9c4e-d2ecd2f94fe3/garfield_assassination_engraving_cropped.jpgGarfield Assassination
An engraving of James A. Garfield’s assassination, published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper(Wikimedia Commons)
SMITHSONIAN.COM

When President James A. Garfield was shot in the back by an assassin on July 2, 1881, the news electrified the country. Garfield was entering the Washington, D.C. train station, headed for summer vacation, when the attack came. Charles Guiteau, the 40-year old assassin—a lawyer, former bill collector, salesman, preacher, divorcee and political hanger-on who’d failed at most things in his life—had stalked the president for weeks. On this morning, he waited inside the train station until President Garfield entered the room, walking in arm-in-arm with his friend, Secretary of State James G. Blaine. Guiteau stepped behind the president and fired two bullets. One grazed Garfield’s arm, and the other hit him square in the back, knocking him to the ground.

As police grabbed Guiteau and started dragging him away, Guiteau declared: “I am a Stalwart and [Vice President Chester Alan] Arthur is now president.”

Telegraph wires instantly flashed the news across the country. Newspapers flooded city streets with extra editions, copies carried by high-speed trains and horseback to every rural hamlet. For the 79 days between Guiteau’s shots and the president’s death, Americans waited breathlessly for medical bulletins from the White House. They followed every change in Garfield’s condition, praying against the worst. During this time, a team of self-serving doctors probed Garfield’s wounds with unwashed fingers and instruments, allowing the President to contract an infection that would ultimately kill him.

More than 100,000 people came to see Garfield’s body lying in state in the Capitol Building Rotunda, and another 150,000 attended his funeral in Cleveland, Ohio. The new president, Chester A. Arthur, declared days of national mourning.

Americans who experienced these events in 1881 had no trouble appreciating the tragedy of Garfield’s death and the importance of his life. Many considered him perhaps the most promising president of their era, despite his having served only four months in office before the shooting. That generation would be shocked to learn that today, in 2018, just 137 years later, Garfield and his story are largely forgotten. Even the spot where the shooting took place, the old Baltimore and Potomac train station, is long gone.

Garfield was the third youngest president when he took office, just 49 when elected in 1880. His five young children, four sons and a daughter, made the White House a happy, playful home, despite his wife Lucretia’s serious fever (probably typhoid) that spring. The morning of the shooting, Garfield himself, at 6 feet tall and 210 pounds, performed handstands for his young sons in their bedroom and tossed them in the air while playing and saying goodbye.

The last president born in a log cabin, Garfield was raised in poverty on the Ohio Western Reserve, worked his way through Williams College, and taught at and became president of Ohio’s Eclectic University (now Hiram College). A lifelong abolitionist, he enlisted in the Union Army, became a captain, and participated in the Civil War battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga.

Elected to Congress in 1863, Garfield played leading roles in almost every major issue of the day. He helped win passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution to guarantee equal rights for freed slaves.

Garfield never actually ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1880—he attended the party’s convention that year to support another candidate, fellow-Ohioan John Sherman (brother of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman). But after the convention stalemated for 35 ballots, delegates stampeded to an alternative all knew as a competent and intelligent candidate, Garfield himself.

When finally elected president, Garfield had little time to enjoy it. In office, he quickly became embroiled in a signature fight of the era, the struggle against political bosses who strangled the works of government through patronage and spoils. Ultimately, he forced the Senate to abandon its practice called Senatorial Courtesy and confirm a reform-minded Collector of the Port of New York over staunch opposition from New York’s own powerful Senator Roscoe Conkling, who in turn resigned over the conflict.

By winning this fight, James Garfield cleared the way for what he hoped would be a highly productive presidency focused on civil rights, education and economic growth. But this was not to be.

The fight over patronage was the spark that prompted Charles Guiteau, the “disappointed office seeker” as he was called, to decide that James Garfield must be “removed” from office. Guiteau was likely mentally ill, but his insanity was informed by the politics of the day. The shooting of Garfield resulted in adoption of the 1883 Pendleton Civil Service Act, which mandated that government jobs be awarded on merit rather than political affiliation, and was one of the most important political reforms of the late 19th Century.

Garfield is one of just four presidents killed in office, and the sites of the other three attacks are rightly treated as a having major historic importance: Ford’s Theatre in Washington, Dealey Plaza in Dallas, and William McKinley’s assassination site in Buffalo, New York. Each has a maker and displays explaining the history and significant of the event. Garfield deserves the same treatment.

The site, however, presents some challenges. The old Baltimore and Potomac train station, located at 6th and B Streets NW, today’s Constitution Avenue, was long considered an eyesore even before the assassination. Built in the 1870s on landfill over the infested old Washington City Canal, its tracks extended south, splitting the National Mall, shooting soot into the air and causing pedestrian accidents. When Washington’s new Union Station opened nearby in 1907, city officials quickly closed the old depot and had it demolished.

Today, the spot where President Garfield was shot straddles Constitution Avenue between the National Gallery of Art and the Federal Trade Commission across the street, one of the busiest spots in the city. Thousands of locals and tourists alike pass by every day, having no idea of the shocking history that occurred here. On the Mall itself, walkways come within a few feet of the exact spot of the shooting with nothing to mark the spot.

It’s time for Garfield to have his marker too. It’s why I have joined the James Garfield National Historic Site’s initiative to memorialize the spot where an American president’s tenure was cut tragically short. History is too important to let it be forgotten.

About Kenneth D. Ackerman

Kenneth D. Ackerman is an author and lawyer in Washington, D.C., whose books include DARK HORSE: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield. For more on his writing, see www.KennethAckerman.com.

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Monday The 19th: 538 ‘Electors’ Decide Who America’s Next President Is

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

In last-shot bid, thousands urge electoral college to block Trump at Monday vote

December 17 at 6:38 PM
Pressure on members of the country’s electoral college to select someone other than Donald Trump has grown dramatically — and noisily — in recent weeks, causing some to waver, but yielding little evidence Trump will fall short when electors convene in most state capitals Monday to cast their votes.Carole Joyce of Arizona expected her role as a GOP elector to be pretty simple: She would meet the others in Phoenix and carry out a vote for Trump, who won the most votes in her state and whom she personally supported.

But then came the mail and the emails and the phone calls — first hundreds, then thousands of voters worrying Trump’s impulsive nature would lead the country into another war.

“Honestly, it had an impact,” said Joyce, a 72-year-old Republican state committeewoman. “I’ve seen enough funerals. I’m tired of hearing bagpipes. . . . But I signed a loyalty pledge. And that matters.”

Such is the life these days for many of the 538 men and women who are scheduled to meet Monday across the country to carry out what has traditionally been a perfunctory vote after most every presidential election.

The role of elector has intensified this year, in the wake of a bitter election in which Trump lost the popular vote by a margin of nearly 3  million and a secret CIA assessment revealed that Russia interfered to help Trump get elected.

Amid the uncertainty caused by Russian influence, 10 electors — nine Democrats and one Republican — asked for an intelligence briefing to get more information about Moscow’s role. Their request was endorsed by John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager.

“The administration should brief members of the electoral college on the extent and manner of Russia’s interference in our election before they vote on Dec. 19,” Podesta wrote Thursday in a Washington Post op-ed.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Friday evening that it would not brief the electors, because it is engaged in a presidentially ordered review of the Russian interference. “Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the intelligence community stands ready to brief Congress” and may release findings, the ODNI said in a statement posted to its website.

Meanwhile, Joyce and the other 305 Republican electors who are supposed to cast their votes for Trump have been subject to intense campaigns orchestrated by anti-Trump forces to convince them that they alone can block the reality television star from the White House.

Others have targeted Democratic electors, who are supposed to cast votes for Hillary Clinton, to persuade them to switch to a more conventional Republican who could also draw enough support from GOP electors to swoop into office.

While there is little sign the efforts will prove successful, the push has unleashed intense pressure on individual electors, who have now been thrust into a sometimes uncomfortable spotlight.

Joyce has received emails from “Benjamin Franklin” and “John Jay” — and a Christmas card that read: “Please, in the name of God, don’t vote for Trump.”

The rancor about the role of electors started early in the campaign. In August, Baoky Vu, a GOP activist in Atlanta, said he planned to resign from the job because he was so morally opposed to Trump. He planned to defer his voting responsibility to someone more willing — an alternate who would be put in place Monday.

After the election, Vu started getting phone calls and emails asking him not to resign. He was asked instead to consider joining a coalition of electors hoping to vote against Trump. He declined.

“I don’t think we should drag this election out any longer,” Vu said. “And can you imagine if the electors overturned the results? If we attempt to change them in anyway, you’ve got these far-right elements that are just going to go haywire.”

Mark Hersch, a 60-year-old Chicago-based marketing strategist, joined a group known as the Hamilton Electors, who have been organizing efforts to contact electors and change their minds. Before the election, Hersch said, the most political activism he had ever undertaken was planting a yard sign.

He said he believes the goal to deny Trump seems reachable if not probable. Rather than persuade an entire country, he and his allies must find 37 Republicans willing to vote for someone else, a tipping point at which the responsibility of picking the president would shift to the U.S. House of Representatives. No one knows for sure how many are considering alternate votes; estimates vary from one to 25.

The GOP-controlled House could vote for Trump anyway, but those trying to flip voters say there is still value in taking a stand. Hersch said he was inspired to continue to flip electors by the movie “300,” which depicts ancient Sparta’s war against a Persian army that outnumbered them 1,000 to one.

“I would like to think we would be successful, but if not, we need to do all we could to prevent this man from being president,” he said. Then he modified a line from the movie: “Prepare your breakfast, and eat hearty, for tonight, we will go to battle. This isn’t 300, but 538.”

That “battle” has intensified as electors draw closer to their convening Monday. Joyce was getting 15 letters a day and 300 emails in the days after Nov. 8, but those numbers quickly increased to 50 and 3,000. Some of them have been form letters, others handwritten.

The letters came from Washington state and from China, stuffed with copies of the U.S. Constitution or Alexander Hamilton’s writing in Federalist Paper No. 68, which states that the meeting of the electoral college “affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

On Thursday, Joyce received so many letters that the letter carrier just gave her a U.S. Postal Service bucket filled to the brim.

“I’m sorry this is happening to you,” Joyce recalled the letter carrier saying in a phone interview. While some electors have complained of harassment, Joyce shrugged off the mail and placed it all on a sofa decorated with American flag pillows.

“This is America,” she said, adding that most of the messages were thoughtful. “People have a right to say what they want.”

On Friday, she said, her emails became more positive. The messages were from Republicans, thanking her for taking Trump to the finish line of an arduous process.

“How refreshing!” she said.

Although some Democrats (who have in the past five elections lost two in which they won the popular vote) and even Trump himself have questioned the necessity of the electoral college, many opposing Trump have said this election proves just how important it is.

Norman Eisen, a former ambassador to the Czech Republic who served as legal counsel to both the Bush and Obama administrations, began telephoning electors to explain that their job is not necessarily to certify the results, but to have a reasonable discussion over whether the public made the right decision.

For instance, Eisen, who focused on government ethics in Obama’s White House, noted that Trump could be violating a clause in the Constitution that prevents presidents from receiving gifts and funds from foreign governments; it is unclear whether his businesses do because he has not publicly disclosed his tax returns.

In Massachusetts, Republican operative and attorney R.J. Lyman said he didn’t want to harass anyone, so he used his connections to find electors who were willing to chat about the lessons he learned in American history class and at the dinner table. He became one of the few people in America more willing to talk about Hamilton the man than about “Hamilton: An American Musical.”

The electoral college, he said he tells them, was “not intended to be a rubber stamp.” Otherwise, he said, the Founding Fathers would have tasked the responsibility to a clerk or simply used the popular vote as a way of choosing a president.

“I’m reminding them of their duty to think about their choice in a way that’s consistent with their conscience and the Constitution,” Lyman said.

So far, Lyman said, he has identified 20 electors who might be willing to vote “other than their party pledge.” He couldn’t name more than one publicly but insisted that more were out there.

Earlier this month, Chris Suprun of Texas became the first Republican elector in a red state that voted for Trump to declare, in a Dec. 5 New York Times column, that he would not cast his electoral vote for Trump. Suprun voted for Cruz in the primary and said he left behind his wallet on Election Day and thus did not vote in the general.

Nonetheless, Suprun said, he was willing to vote for Trump in the electoral college until the candidate claimed with no evidence that millions of Clinton supporters voted illegally. Suprun’s public stance has elicited death threats and hate mail, he said.

“As of yesterday, people are calling to say, ‘Get your ass together, or we’re coming for you,’ ” said Suprun, who was the sole Republican elector to ask for an intelligence briefing on Russia. “They are doing it with their own phone number, not even blocking the number. That’s not been surprising — look at what Trump says himself.”

Vinz Koller, a Democratic elector from Monterey County, Calif., said he read Suprun’s column and started thinking about his own role in the college. It inspired him to support a new theory: If he could persuade other Democrats to abandon their Clinton votes, perhaps he and Republicans could agree on a more conventional choice — a la Ohio governor and failed candidate John Kasich — to vote for over Trump.

The plan seemed unlikely, he said, but Trump’s candidacy unsettled him so much that he felt he needed to try anything. California is one of 29 states that mandate electors vote for the candidate who won the state, so Koller sued them to continue his plan.

“Frankly, this is hard and not something I do lightly,” he said. “I’ve been working in partisan politics a long time, and I don’t like voting against my candidate, but I never thought that the country might be unstable until now.”

On Thursday evening, he found himself in the Library of Congress. Strolling through its stacks, Koller sought a librarian with one request: Can I see the original Federalist Papers?

He looked to see Federalist No. 68, written by Hamilton to describe the need for the electoral college.

“We have been getting a civic lesson we weren’t prepared to get,” Koller said. “They gave us the fail-safe emergency brake, in case the people got it wrong. And here we are, 200 years later. It’s the last shot we have.”

Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

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