Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Monday, November 11, 2019

Supreme Court to tackle Trump's DACA termination

Here's What Harriet Got Wrong About Harriet Tubman's Life

Trump's Stonewalling Adds To Impeachment Evidence | The Beat With Ari Me...

Dems' Point Person For Impeaching Trump Won The Last Senate Impeachment ...

How Trump's Ukraine Conspiracy Backfired In The Impeachment Probe | The ...

'Explicit Impeachable Offenses': See Harvard Impeachment Expert Nail Tru...



“By Eric LutzNovember 11, 2019

Last Friday, the New York Times dropped a story that instantly changed the conversation around the 2020 Democratic primary: Michael Bloomberg, the Times reported, was preparing to enter the race. His motive? Concerns that no one in the huge primary field can take out Donald Trump. But the wealthy ex-New York mayor may see his White House hopes thwarted by a minor problem: almost no Democratic voters want him to run.

According to a new Morning Consult poll, Bloomberg would be the first choice of just 4% of Democratic primary voters—a better position than novelty candidates like Andrew Yang and underperforming lawmakers like Cory Booker, but far from the immediate frontrunner status he might have expected. Indeed, the poll suggested that, at least for now, a late Bloomberg entry would do little to shake up a race that’s already been running full steam for the better part of a year, leaving Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg at the top of the field. While the poll also suggested that the billionaire could edge out Trump, a former golf buddy, in a general election matchup, it confirmed serious doubts about the former Republican’s ability to win over primary voters.

News last week that Bloomberg filed paperwork to run in the Alabama primary—while skipping the first four contests of the race—was met with a great deal of derision, from both commentators and some of his potential rivals. “Don’t think you can simply buy an election,” Sanders said of a Bloomberg candidacy. “People look at the White House and they see this multi-millionaire,” Amy Klobuchar added to CNN. “I don’t think they say, ‘Oh, we need somebody richer.’”

Sunday’s poll appears to reflect that distaste, with a quarter of Democrats holding unfavorable views of Bloomberg—the highest of any candidate in the field. With word that his entry might not cause what his supporters had predicted would be a major disruption, sources close to Bloomberg told Axios on Sunday that he might not run after all. Filing papers in Alabama was a “trial balloon to gauge interest,” sources told the outlet. That the balloon seems to have popped may lead him to stay on the sidelines, as he’d initially said he’d do. His prospects are subject to change, of course; the two moderates and two progressives at the top of the field are continuing to duke it out, and Democratic voters, still battered from a stunning loss in 2016, have continued to second-guess themselves in search of the right candidate to put up against Trump. “Just when they start to fall in love, they find something that gets them a little nervous,” Rahm Emanuel told the Times on Sunday. “They’re still searching for the horse that can win.”

Dreamers prepare for fight as Daca decision heads to supreme court 

Antonio Alarcón will be in the courtroom on Tuesday: ‘I’ll look in their eyes and let them know we are there and we are humans’

Published: 05:00 Monday, 11 November 2019
 Follow Amanda Holpuch

When Antonio Alarcón stood on the steps of the US supreme court for a group photo with the other plaintiffs suing Donald Trump in one of the biggest immigration lawsuits of his presidency, he was flooded with memories from his US history textbooks and government classes that explained the magnitude of the court.

The supreme court affirmed the right to same-sex marriage, protected a woman’s right to have an abortion, and ended bans on interracial marriage.

On Tuesday, it will consider whether Trump’s administration illegally ended a program that allowed people like Alarcón, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, to temporarily live and work in the US.

“I think for many of us, we don’t do this work because we are looking for money or for fame, we do this because we know it’s the right thing to do,” Alarcón told the Guardian, referring to his activism. “And we do it because we have seen the many sacrifices of our parents, and I think this is the least thing we can do for our communities to ensure that all immigrants are respected.”

The nation’s highest court is not actually tasked with reviewing the merits of the program that allows Alarcón, who moved from Mexico to the US when he was 10, and 689,800 others to get renewable, two-year authorizations to live and work in the US: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (commonly known by its acronym, Daca).

Instead, the court will tease out whether it has the jurisdiction to review the government’s decision to end Daca in September 2017 and, if so, whether the Trump administration ended it lawfully.

Mayra Joachin, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, is on the legal team challenging the government and litigated a Daca case in New York, which has been consolidated with two others for the supreme court. Joachin said despite the esoteric law central to this case, it was essential to remember the humans affected by the court’s decision.

“We are talking about a program whose position is going to have significant consequences on hundreds of thousands of individuals in the country – not just those who are Daca recipients, but also the family members, community members, teachers, supporters who will also suffer if there is no favorable decision,” Joachin said.

Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of Americans support allowing people brought to the US as children to stay and eventually seek legal status. In June 2018, 79% of people supported this in a Quinnipiac University poll.

Even Donald Trump, who rescinded the program, has repeatedly said he wants Daca recipients, known as Dreamers, to stay in the country. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Trump tweeted, days after ending the program.

Trump said the decision to end the program was meant to put pressure on Congress to pass legislation to support this population. This, however, is not a priority for the hardline immigration restrictionists in the Trump administration and his government lawyers will be fighting to shut down the program in the supreme court.

There are many ways the court could rule, including to punt on the case by saying it is not in its jurisdiction. The best case for Dreamers is that the court decides the decision to end Daca was unlawful and the program can continue. The ruling will be handed down by the end of June.

Whatever happens, Alarcón is prepared to stay and fight.

At 25, he has spent seven years advocating for himself because his parents went back to Mexico in 2012, after Alarcón’s grandparents died and they needed to care for his brother, who was still there. Alarcón was an excellent student and decided to stay in New York City, fighting for Congress to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers and their families.

Months later, Obama announced Daca in the White House Rose Garden. Suddenly, Alarcón could attend university, work and travel to see his parents.

Since Trump rescinded Daca, uncertainty has trailed the program’s recipients. The recision was blocked by courts – allowing people in the program to renew their applications but not allowing new applications, though the Migration Policy Institute estimates 1.3 million people qualify under the strict criteria.

“For many of us it’s not the end. We will continue to fight for justice, continue to fight for bigger actual reform. We need to make sure we fight for immigration reform next year or the year after,” Alarcón said.

On Tuesday, Alarcón will be in the courtroom, demanding that the justices recognize the young undocumented immigrant, determined to remain in the US.

“[I’ll] just try to look in their eyes and let them know that we are there and we are humans and hopefully they will see the reality that we’re going through – the pain and suffering that we meet every single morning.”

You Must Never Vote for 


“With his filing of paperwork on Friday to put his name on the ballot for the Democratic primary in Alabama, the billionaire businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg inched closer to declaring a run for the Democratic nomination for president.

According to The New York Times, his advisers say he hasn’t made up his mind yet. But I have.

Let me plant the stake now: No black person — or Hispanic person or ally of people of color — should ever even consider voting for Michael Bloomberg in the primary. His expansion of the notoriously racist stop-and-frisk program in New York, which swept up millions of innocent New Yorkers, primarily young black and Hispanic men, is a complete and nonnegotiable deal killer.

Stop-and-frisk, pushed as a way to get guns and other contraband off the streets, became nothing short of a massive, enduring, city-sanctioned system of racial terror.

This system of terror exploded under Bloomberg, with his full advocacy and support.

In 2002, the first year Bloomberg was mayor, 97,296 of these stops were recorded. They surged during Bloomberg’s tenure to a peak of 685,724 stops in 2011, near the end of his third term. Nearly 90 percent of the people who were stopped and frisked were innocent of any wrongdoing.

A New York Times analysis of stops on “eight odd blocks” in the overwhelmingly black neighborhood of Brownsville in Brooklyn found close to 52,000 stops over four years, which averaged out to “nearly one stop a year for every one of the 14,000 residents of these blocks.”

In 2009, there were more than 580,000 stop-and-frisks, a record at the time. Of those stopped, 55 percent were black, 32 percent Hispanic and only 10 percent white. Most were young, and almost all were male. Eighty-eight percent were innocent. For reference, according to the Census Bureau, there were about 300,000 black men between the ages of 13 and 34 living in the city that year.

Not only that, but those who were stopped had their names entered into a comprehensive police database, even if they were never accused of committing a crime. As Donna Lieberman, then the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in 2010, the database became a place “where millions of completely innocent, predominantly black and Latinos have been turned into permanent police suspects.”

The state outlawed the keeping of these electronic records on the innocent, over the strong objections of Bloomberg and his police chief.

Bloomberg used the fear factor to keep white New Yorkers in his corner. He insisted that stop-and-frisk was keeping them safe and that without it crime would soar.

And his ruse worked. In eight separate surveys from 2012 to 2013, pollsters at Quinnipiac University asked New Yorkers if they approved of stop-and-frisk. Every single time, a majority of white New Yorkers said they approved.

But Bloomberg’s crime argument was dubious. The Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Fagan produced a report that became part of a class-action lawsuit against the city in 2010. It found that: “[s]eizures of weapons or contraband are extremely rare. Overall, guns are seized in less than 1 percent of all stops: 0.15 percent … Contraband, which may include weapons but also includes drugs or stolen property, is seized in 1.75 percent of all stops.”

As Fagan wrote, “The N.Y.P.D. stop-and-frisk tactics produce rates of seizures of guns or other contraband that are no greater than would be produced simply by chance.”

And, as the New York Civil Liberties Union wrote this year:

“Since Mayor de Blasio came into office in January 2014, the N.Y.P.D. now reports about 10,000 stops per year. As stops have receded, crime in New York City has dropped significantly. In 2018, New York City recorded the lowest number of homicides in nearly 70 years.”

So Bloomberg’s fear mongering was all a lie.

A federal judge ruled in 2013 that New York’s stop-and-frisk tactics violated the constitutional rights of racial minorities, calling it a “policy of indirect racial profiling.”

Yet, a little over a month before that ruling, Bloomberg said on a radio show, “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.” As USA Todaypointed out at the time: “About 5 million stops have been made during the past decade. Eighty-seven percent of those stopped in the last two years were black or Hispanic.”

Not only has Bloomberg failed to express any regret for what he did, he has continuedto defend it.

It is worth noting that there is virtually no difference between Bloomberg cheerleading stop-and-frisk and Donald Trump musing during the last election about somehow instituting the program nationwide.

Just the idea of Bloomberg in the race is odious to me. And support for his candidacy incenses me. Anyone who would support Bloomberg is complicit in his terror campaign against those young black and Hispanic men — and dismissive of their pain. 

If you support Bloomberg, I want nothing to do with you. Nothing!“

SLAPP Suits: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

When America Tried to Deport Its Radicals A hundred years ago, the Palmer Raids imperilled thousands of immigrants. Then a wily official got in the way. Adam HochschildNovember 11, 2019 Issue

When America Tried to Deport Its Radicals

”On a winter night a hundred years ago, Ellis Island, the twenty-seven-acre patch of land in New York Harbor that had been the gateway to America for millions of hopeful immigrants, was playing the opposite role. It had been turned into a prison for several hundred men, and a few women, most of whom had arrived in handcuffs and shackles. They were about to be shipped across the Atlantic, in the country’s first mass deportation of political dissidents in the twentieth century.

Before dawn on December 21, 1919, the prisoners were roused from their bunks to be packed onto a barge and transported to a waiting vessel, the Buford, which was berthed in Brooklyn. The Buford was an elderly, decrepit troopship, known by sailors as a heavy “roller” in rough seas. One of the two hundred and forty-nine people who were deported that day, Ivan Novikov, described the scene in the island prison: “It was noisy and the room was full of smoke. Everybody knew already that we are going to be sent out. . . . Many with tears in their eyes were writing telegrams and letters.” Many “were in the literal sense of the word without clothes or shoes,” he went on. “There was no laughter.” Then, as now, deportations severed families: “One left a mother, the other a wife and son, one a sweetheart.”

At 4 A.M., with the temperature in the twenties, shouting guards ordered the captives outside, where a gangplank led to the barge and an attached tugboat. “Deep snow lay on the ground; the air was cut by a biting wind,” wrote that day’s most famous victim of what she called “deportation mania,” the Russian-born anarchist and feminist firebrand Emma Goldman. “A row of armed civilians and soldiers stood along the road. . . . One by one the deportees marched, flanked on each side by the uniformed men, curses and threats accompanying the thud of their feet on the frozen ground.”

The mass expulsion was so important to the U.S. government that, despite the hour, a delegation from Washington joined the deportees on the trip across the harbor to the Buford. The group included several members of Congress, most notably Representative Albert Johnson, of Washington State, who was the chair of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization as well as an outspoken anti-Semite, a Ku Klux Klan favorite, and an ardent opponent of immigration. Shepherding the party was a dark-haired, twenty-four-year-old Justice Department official who was quietly respectful toward the dignitaries he was with but who would, before long, wield far more power than any of them: J. Edgar Hoover.

Hoover had met Goldman some weeks earlier, in the courtroom where he made the case for her deportation. Now one of the great American radicals of her day and the man who would become the country’s premier hunter of such dissidents encountered each other one last time, in the galley of the tugboat. She was fifty, more than twice his age, but they were of similar stature, and would have stood nearly eye to eye, with Goldman looking at Hoover through her pince-nez. One admirer described her as having “a stocky figure like a peasant woman, a face of fierce strength like a female pugilist.” Hoover had won this particular match, but, according to a congressman who witnessed the exchange, she got in one last jab.

“Haven’t I given you a square deal, Miss Goldman?” Hoover asked, as they steamed toward Brooklyn in the darkness.

“Oh, I suppose you’ve given me as square a deal as you could,” she replied, two hours away from being ejected from the country where she had lived for thirty-four years and found the voice that had won her admirers around the world. “We shouldn’t expect from any person something beyond his capacity.”

That morning’s mass deportation had been preceded by a crescendo of anti-immigrant rhetoric that will sound distinctly familiar today. “The surest way to preserve the public against those disciples of destruction,” Thomas Edward Campbell, the governor of Arizona, told a conference of newspaper editors on February 22, 1919, “is to send them back forthwith to lands from which they came.” And if native-born Americans were acting un-American, why not deport them, too? Senator Kenneth McKellar, of Tennessee, suggested that they “be deported permanently to the Island of Guam.”

And why not go one step further and strip objectionable people of U.S. citizenship, to make them more deportable? In 1919, alarmed by the growing presence of “peoples of Asiatic races,” the Anti-Alien League called for a constitutional amendment “to restrict citizenship by birth within the United States to the children of parents who are of a race which is eligible for citizenship”—i.e., whites. Senator Wesley Jones, of Washington State, promised to introduce such a measure—a proposal not unlike today’s calls to end birthright citizenship. That May, a cheering convention of the American Legion demanded the deportation not only of immigrants who evaded military service during the First World War but of anymen who evaded service.

What made high-ranking government officials so passionate about deportations that they would get up in the middle of the night to ride through freezing wind across New York Harbor? One factor was the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia in November, 1917, which political and corporate leaders feared might incite militant labor unionists in the U.S., who had already shaken the country with a stormy, decade-long wave of strikes. Lenin had written a “Letter to American Workingmen” declaring “the inevitability of the international revolution.” Postwar economic turmoil promised to make the country more vulnerable than ever to radical doctrines.

For these officials, the most worrisome left-wing group was the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies. The I.W.W. had more flash than breadth—the number of members probably never exceeded a hundred thousand—but the Wobblies caught the public imagination with their colorful posters, stirring songs, and flair for drama.

The Justice Department began a nationwide crackdown in September, 1917, raiding all four dozen I.W.W. offices and the homes of many activists. In sealed boxcars, Wobblies from around the country were brought to Chicago’s Cook County Jail. When they received news of the Bolshevik takeover in St. Petersburg, they celebrated by singing and banging tin cups on their cell bars. A hundred and one leading Wobblies were charged with violating a long list of federal laws as part of a mass trial—still the largest in American history—that ran through the spring and summer of 1918. The jury took a mere fifty-five minutes to render its verdict, finding all the defendants guilty on all counts. They were sentenced to an average of eight years in prison. Tons of I.W.W. records, which the Justice Department had seized in the raids, were later burned.

Fear of bolshevism blended with a long-standing hostility toward certain classes of immigrants. By 1890, those coming ashore at Ellis Island were no longer from places like Britain and Germany; the great bulk were now from Italy, Eastern Europe, or the Russian Empire, and they were Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Jewish. There were a lot of them, too: by 1900, the majority of men in Manhattan over the age of twenty-one were foreign-born.

Many Americans shared the resentment voiced in a book published in 1902: “Throughout the [nineteenth] century men of the sturdy stocks of the north of Europe had made up the main strain of foreign blood which was every year added to the vital working force of the country . . . but now there came multitudes of men of the lowest class from the south of Italy and men of the meaner sort out of Hungary and Poland, men out of the ranks where there was neither skill nor energy nor any initiative of quick intelligence; and they came in numbers which increased from year to year, as if the countries of the south of Europe were disburdening themselves of the more sordid and hapless elements of their population.” The writer of these words was a young Princeton professor, who, a decade later, would become the President of the United States: Woodrow Wilson.

His feelings were echoed widely among the American establishment. The Massachusetts senator Henry Cabot Lodge was a prominent political enemy of the President’s, but he completely shared Wilson’s attitude on this score. In a speech to the Senate about the need to restrict “undesirable immigrants” who came from the “races” he found “most alien,” he invoked Thomas Bailey Aldrich’s poem “Unguarded Gates,” which compared such people to the “thronging Goth and Vandal [who] trampled Rome.” For Lodge and others anxious to restrict immigration, Eastern European Jews were definitely among the undesirables. The historian Henry Adams, a friend of Lodge’s, declared that “the Jew makes me creep” and wrote of a “furtive Yacoob or Ysaac still reeking of the Ghetto, snarling a weird Yiddish.” The novelist Henry James was disgusted by the people he saw “swarming” on New York’s heavily Jewish Lower East Side, who reminded him of “small, strange animals . . . snakes or worms.”

These immigrant swarms, politicians claimed, were not just unseemly; with their affinity for radical movements, they were a threat to national security. Many leftists, like Goldman, were Jewish, and the most violent anarchists were largely Italian-American. In June, 1919, one of them managed to blow himself up as he was planting a bomb at the Washington, D.C., home of Wilson’s Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, and among the items he left at the scene was an Italian-English dictionary. The Socialist Party had a high proportion of foreign-born members, and the pro-Socialist press included newspapers like New York’s Robotnik Polski and Chicago’s Parola Proletaria.

The tenor of the deportation frenzy was heightened by the upcoming 1920 Presidential election. Several of those hoping to succeed Wilson saw great potential in promising to deport troublemakers. A leading Republican contender was Major General Leonard Wood, a dashing hero of the Indian Wars and a former Rough Rider, who captured headlines in 1919 for leading military forces against strikes and race riots in the Midwest, and who at one point put Gary, Indiana, under martial law. “Deport these so-called Americans who preach treason,” he told an audience in Kansas City.

Another Republican candidate, the president of Columbia University, Nicholas Murray Butler, said in a speech, “Today, we hear the hiss of a snake in the grass, and the hiss is directed at the things Americans hold most dear.” He called for deporting “Reds” to the Philippines. The Republican senator Miles Poindexter, of Washington State, also eying the Presidential nomination, called on the government “to deport every alien Bolshevist and to punish rather than protect those who practice their savage creed in this country.” Poindexter suggested that Attorney General Palmer was pursuing the deportation of these savages with insufficient vigor: “The government had positively refused in many cases to allow them to go.”

But Palmer, a Democrat, had his own hopes for the Presidency. An imposing-looking man with a shock of gray hair who wore three-piece suits crossed by a watch chain, he was not about to let anyone outflank him in enthusiasm for deportations. And, unlike the out-of-power Republicans, he had the authority to back up his words. Raised as a Quaker, Palmer had declined the position of Secretary of War, when Wilson had offered it, in 1913, but, when he accepted an appointment as Attorney General, in 1919, his faith did not prevent him from waging a kind of domestic war the likes of which the United States has seldom seen.

The bombing of Palmer’s house, which was clearly intended to kill him, his wife, and their ten-year-old daughter, understandably left him terrified. Eight other bombs went off the same night, mostly at the homes of prominent politicians or judges. Some five weeks earlier, a mail bomb had exploded in the home of a former U.S. senator from Georgia, blowing off the hands of his maid, and thirty-five additional mail bombs addressed to Cabinet members, judges, and business moguls were intercepted before they could go off.

Immediately after the spate of bombings, Palmer founded the Radical Division of the Justice Department to track subversive activities of all kinds, and he put J. Edgar Hoover in charge. This post, as Kenneth D. Ackerman shows in his biography “Young J. Edgar,” was a key step on this precocious man’s path to power. Hoover, during an earlier job at the Library of Congress, had come to love the great information-management technology of the day: file cards. Within two and a half years in his new job, he would amass a database of four hundred and fifty thousand cards on people and organizations, carefully linking them to documents in the Radical Division’s files.

To those in power, signs of a simmering revolution were everywhere. Two rival Communist parties each promised to reproduce on American soil the Bolshevik takeover. In 1919, amid the largest strike wave in U.S. history, one in five workers walked off the job—everyone from telephone operators to stage actors. An unprecedented general strike briefly brought Seattle to a halt. In September of that year, most Boston police officers went on strike. If even those sworn to defend law and order were in rebellion, what could come next? Senator Henry Myers, of Montana, warned that if America did not hold firm it would “see a Soviet government set up within two years.”

At the same time, agents provocateurs played a significant role in the turbulence. Many came from the ranks of private detectives; the three biggest such firms had a hundred and thirty-five thousand employees. In July, 1919, the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia wrote to Palmer to tell him that many of the most extreme agitators were undercover operatives “actively stirring up trouble” because “they know on which side their bread is buttered.” Justice Department officials in Los Angeles concluded that private detectives, in order to create more business, had planted bombs in nearby oil fields. But none of this deterred Palmer, who was now on an anti-dissident crusade, with mass deportations as his main goal. Ninety per cent of Communist and anarchist agitation, he maintained, “is traceable to aliens.”

Millions of immigrants, even if they had arrived decades earlier, had never bothered to become American citizens. The bureaucracy of doing so could seem intimidating, especially for those who didn’t speak English well, and naturalization hadn’t seemed important at a time when the country professed to welcome newcomers. Now, however, lacking citizenship became an enormous liability. Emma Goldman, a prime target, was under close surveillance—her mail was opened, her phone calls were tapped, and her secretary, unbeknownst to her, was a government informer. Goldman believed that she had become a citizen thirty-two years earlier, by marrying a naturalized immigrant, Jacob Kershner. But Hoover contended that the rabbi who performed the ceremony was not properly ordained; moreover, two decades after their divorce, Kershner’s citizenship had been revoked, because he had falsified something on his original application. It was deemed that Goldman had thus lost her status as a U.S. citizen as well, and could be duly shipped off on the Buford.

The crackdown at the time of Goldman’s deportation came to be known as the Palmer Raids, although they were planned and closely supervised by the much younger Hoover. The first big raid rounded up members of the Union of Russian Workers, an avowedly anarchist organization that also offered classes and social activities. Offices of the union in more than a dozen cities were raided during the night of November 7, 1919—pointedly, the second anniversary of the Bolshevik coup—and 1,182 people were arrested and interrogated. A far larger number were roughed up, briefly detained, and then let go. Hoover’s agents were helped by local police. A raid of offices near New York’s Union Square, where members of the anarchist group had been attending night-school classes in mathematics and auto repair, left the building looking “as if a bomb had exploded in each room,” the New York World reported. “Desks were broken open, doors smashed, furniture overturned and broken, books and literature scattered, the glass doors of a cabinet broken, typewriters had apparently been thrown on the floor and stamped on,” and there were “bloodstains over floor, papers, literature &c.” The Times, although it backed the arrests, acknowledged that “a number of those in the building were badly beaten by the police during the raid, their heads wrapped in bandages.” The raids, which were recorded by newsreel-makers for greater impact, produced the outcome that Hoover and Palmer wanted: foreign-born radicals began filling immigration prisons like the one on Ellis Island. President Wilson, incapacitated by a stroke at the time, never publicly addressed the raids, but just before falling ill he had spoken of the “disciples of Lenin in our own midst,” from whom “poison has got in the veins of this free people.”

The Palmer Raids reached their climax on January 2, 1920, with night sweeps in more than thirty cities and towns. Their professed targets were the two Communist parties, whose combined membership was no more than forty thousand but was ninety per cent immigrant. Many of those arrested had only a tangential connection, if any, to the Communists, including, in Nashua, New Hampshire, a hundred and forty-one Socialists. In nearby Manchester, it was everyone dancing at the Tolstoi Club; in Chicago, all the patrons at the Tolstoy Vegetarian Restaurant; in Lynn, Massachusetts, thirty-nine bakers, a third of them American citizens, in the middle of a meeting to discuss forming a coöperative; in New Jersey, a group of Polish-Americans soliciting money for a funeral; in Philadelphia, the members of the Lithuanian Socialist Chorus, mid-rehearsal. There are no complete records of how many people were seized, but a careful study by the Danish scholar Regin Schmidt estimates the total arrested in the Palmer Raids at ten thousand.

More than five hundred of those arrested were jammed into quarters at Ellis Island, which ran out of cots and bedding. Several inmates died of pneumonia. In Detroit, some eight hundred men and women were held for up to six days in a narrow, windowless corridor of a federal building, with a bare stone floor to sleep on and one toilet and one drinking fountain. They were without food for twenty hours, and then could eat only what their families and friends brought them. In Boston, a hundred and forty prisoners in chains and leg irons were marched through the city’s streets, then locked up in an unheated prison on an island in the harbor. One despairing prisoner committed suicide by jumping from a window.

A. Mitchell Palmer, with one eye on justifying these mass arrests and the other on his Presidential campaign, issued a series of press releases. One was headed “Warns Nation of Red Peril—U.S. Department of Justice Urges Americans to Guard Against Bolshevism Menace.” The department’s press office distributed photographs of prisoners, taken after they had been jailed for days without the chance to shave or wash, captioned “Men Like These Would Rule You.” And Palmer published a magazine article warning that Communism “was eating its way into the homes of the American workman, its sharp tongues of revolutionary heat were licking the altars of the churches, leaping into the belfry of the school bell, crawling into the sacred corners of American homes, seeking to replace marriage vows with libertine laws.” (In fact, a survey by a church organization found that a large majority of the arrested men—eighty per cent of whom had lived in the United States for at least six years—were married.)

The arrests continued, and Palmer promised that deportations by the thousands would follow. New Yorkers would soon find, he told an audience in the city, a “second, third, and fourth” ship like the Buford, “sailing down their beautiful harbor in the near future.” Hoover personally led a raid in New Jersey in February, 1920, and Palmer began predicting that a nationwide Communist uprising would erupt on May Day of that year.

Palmer and Hoover had assumed that they could deport most of those seized in the raids. A high proportion were non-citizens, and a law passed in 1918, during the martial fervor of the First World War and the anti-Bolshevik hysteria, said that any alien who advocated anarchism or violent revolution, or who belonged to an organization that did so, could be expelled. There was, however, one considerable roadblock: although it was Palmer’s Justice Department that had the power to arrest people, deportations were under the authority of the Immigration Bureau, which was part of the Labor Department.

Then something happened that neither Hoover nor Palmer anticipated. Two and a half months after the Buford had sailed, and just as the two men were hoping to deport many more shiploads of newly arrested “undesirables,” the Secretary of Labor went on leave, to tend to an illness in the family; his replacement resigned; and a seventy-year-old man named Louis F. Post became the acting Secretary of Labor.

Post was no typical bureaucrat. His wire-rimmed glasses, Vandyke beard, and thick head of dark hair combined to give him a striking resemblance to the man then commanding Soviet Russia’s Red Army, Leon Trotsky. As far as Palmer and Hoover were concerned, he was just as dangerous.

He was born on a New Jersey farm in 1849 and, though too young to serve in the Civil War, was imbued with abolitionist zeal. As a boy, he talked to thefree black handyman who worked for his grandfather and noticed that the man had to eat at a separate table. As a young man, Post spent two years working in the South during Reconstruction and saw how white Southerners foiled all possibility of advancement for the former slaves who hoped for equal rights at last. He served as a court reporter in a series of South Carolina trials in which Ku Klux Klansmen were convicted of murder—only to see President Ulysses S. Grant pardon most of the Klansmen several months later. He returned North, where he became a prosecutor and then a private attorney in New York City. The work left him uninspired, but he acquired a keen sense of the law that he was able to put to extraordinary use decades later.

Journalism, first on the side but eventually full time, became Post’s calling. While running the opinion pages of a lively pro-labor daily, the New York Truth, he supported the campaign that established Labor Day. Along the way, he became a convert to Henry George’s single-tax movement, which advocated a land tax meant to discourage speculators from getting rich by acquiring land and leaving it idle, impoverishing those who could have put it to good use. A friend of George’s, Post in effect became the leader of the single-tax movement after George’s death, in 1897, and toured North America lecturing on the subject. As the editorial writer for the Cleveland Recorder, Post crusaded against industrial monopolies and in favor of workers’ rights. By the turn of the century, he and his wife had started a Chicago-based magazine, The Public, which denounced American colonization of the Philippines, the power of big business, and racial discrimination while supporting women’s rights and unrestricted immigration. Post had been impressed by the promises of reform that helped Woodrow Wilson first get elected President, and, in 1913, when offered a position in the brand-new Department of Labor, he happily accepted.

Post knew, and had published, many of the leading reformers and radicals of the day. Indeed, Emma Goldman had been a dinner guest in his home, and he had managed, in 1917, to prevent her from being deported, although he was powerless to do so two years later, when the laws had been tightened. Being in government did not tame him: as the Assistant Secretary of Labor, he had boldly written to President Wilson suggesting a blanket pardon for jailed draft resisters. As for anarchists, Post knew that some practiced violence, like the man who had bombed Palmer’s home, but he argued that anarchist ranks also included “apostles of peace,” like the followers of Tolstoy, who were “supremely harmless.” It was “perverted,” he wrote, to lump them all together as people to be deported.

Now, in charge of the Department of Labor, Post proved a shrewd investigator and decisive reformer. When he discovered that many of the raids had been made without warrants, or with warrants based on faulty information, he invalidated nearly three thousand of the arrests. He found that prisoners had been questioned without being informed that their answers could be used as evidence against them and without being given access to lawyers. In response, he ruled that any alien subjected to the deportation process was entitled to full constitutional safeguards. Post learned that many people taken in the raids hadn’t known that one of the Communist parties listed them as members; these factions had seceded from the Socialist Party and were intent on claiming as large a membership as possible. He ordered the release of many of those still held in immigration prisons like the one on Ellis Island; he slashed the amount of bail for others. Palmer and Hoover were furious.

Public opinion, however, slowly turned in Post’s favor. Quoting an unnamed commentator, Representative George Huddleston, of Alabama, said that some of the supposedly dangerous “Reds” targeted for expulsion probably didn’t know the difference between bolshevism and rheumatism. A federal judge in Boston ordered a group of immigrants to be released from custody, declaring that “a mob is a mob, whether made up of government officials acting under instructions from the Department of Justice, or of criminals, loafers, and the vicious classes.” Despite the estimated ten thousand arrests made amid the Palmer Raids and the 6,396 deportation cases that Hoover’s Radical Division prepared during this period, Palmer succeeded in deporting fewer than six hundred radical immigrants.

The Attorney General condemned Post’s “habitually tender solicitude for social revolution and perverted sympathy for the criminal anarchists.” Privately, Palmer suggested that Post was “a Bolshevik himself.” Palmer and Hoover sought to discredit Post and get him impeached by Congress. A three-hundred-and-fifty-page file on Post attempted to tarnish him with evidence about everything from contacts with I.W.W. members to his advocacy of divorce reform. The House Rules Committee, supplied with this file, called Post in for ten hours of testimony. But he acquitted himself brilliantly, and the committee could find no grounds for impeachment.

Palmer’s Justice Department continued to issue dire warnings, almost daily, of the nationwide Communist uprising predicted for May Day, 1920. As the date approached, New York City’s police force was put on twenty-four-hour duty; Boston stationed trucks with machine guns at strategic locations. In Chicago, three hundred and sixty local radicals were arrested and put in preventive detention.

May Day came and went. Nothing happened. Yet the silence turned out to be an event in itself. It deflated the national hysteria about arresting and deporting “Reds,” and helped kill Palmer’s campaign for the Presidency. Nor did any of the three Republicans who had thundered about deportation become his party’s choice. The eventual candidate and victor was Warren Harding, a Republican who declared that “too much has been said about bolshevism in America,” and campaigned for a “return to normalcy.” The Republican Party platform that year rebuked the “vigorous malpractice of the Departments of Justice and Labor.”

Owing in part to Post’s courage, normalcy did not include mass deportations on the scale that people like Hoover and Palmer had hoped for. But a larger battle was lost, since pressure for deportations has always been linked to another cause: keeping people out in the first place. In 1924, Congress passed a law that, for the next four decades, slammed the door on all but a tiny trickle of immigrants. It barred Asians from entering the United States and assigned country-by-country quotas, set to reflect the American population as it had been in 1890—when the proportion of Eastern Europeans, Italians, and Jews was small. The law bore the name of its principal author, Representative Albert Johnson, one of the men who, along with Hoover, had seen off the Buford and its cargo of deportees from New York Harbor. It was the Johnson-Reed Act that, years later, would prevent untold numbers of people trying to flee the Holocaust from finding shelter in the United States.

Post did not live to see that shame; he died at the age of seventy-eight, in 1928. But he died proud. He had entered the Wilson Administration expecting to fight for workers’ rights, but ended up fighting a very different battle. When faced with a challenge he had never anticipated, he rose to it magnificently, saving thousands of people from being expelled from the country. Moreover, his example emboldened others to speak out. It was only after Post had spent several months publicly stopping deportations that a group of a dozen distinguished attorneys, law professors, and law-school deans, including the future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, issued a report denouncing the Justice Department’s many violations of the Constitution in carrying out the Palmer Raids. The report was accompanied by sixty pages of material, from sworn statements of witnesses to photographs of bruised and beaten prisoners.

The report had a big impact on members of Congress and the press. Few were aware that two of the people who had helped prepare it were close allies of Post, and that Post almost certainly supplied much of the information in it. Post was both a man of high principle and a master of bureaucratic maneuvering—a rare combination. “He struggled without ceasing to preserve our liberties and to enlarge them,” the Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote after Post’s death. “He resisted the clamor of stupid intolerance. He exposed its shameful, ruthless lawlessness.” 

Robert De Niro says impeachment inquiry of Trump must proceed

Trump’s Plot to Kill DACA Arrives in the Supreme Court, and the Protesters Are Here, Too

Demonstrators just completed their march from New York City to DC.

Georgetown student Anahi Figueroa-Flores, a DACA recipient, speaks during a rally Friday in front of the Supreme Court. Students at area high schools and universities had staged a walkout.Alex Wong/Getty Images

”President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program arrives in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, trailed by the anger of the program’s supporters. Just today, a group of demonstrators arrived in DC after marching from New York City. Thousands more people across the United States are expected to take to the streets on Tuesday, when the court hears a suite of cases challenging whether the Trump administration acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner in canceling the program that shields more than 700,000 young people from deportation.

The Home Is Here marchers, among them one of the plaintiffs in the case, left New York City on Oct. 26 and arrived Sunday morning in DC, chanting and dancing. Supporters from California and other parts of the country also traveled to the nation’s capital, and earlier this week students walked out in support DACA. There’s a national call for students to walk out of school on Tuesday. ”

Friday, November 08, 2019

” By Nicholas KristofNov. 6, 2019

Our species has an ability to adapt. Now’s not the time.

The problem with being a frog in a beaker is that you may not notice the water temperature rising to a boil.

Humans, too. In New Delhi, people get used to air that is filthy. In Syria, to checkpoints. In Angola, to corruption. In China, to propaganda. And in America, we risk becoming numbed to a political, social and moral breakdown.

Scandal and dysfunction dribble out from Washington day by day, numbing us so that we may forget just how unprecedented and outrageous the trends are. It was only five years ago that Fox News was deploring a “shocking” and “desperate” presidential scandal that Republican Representative Peter King described as inexcusable: Barack Obama wore a tan suit! Now we can’t even keep track of how many countries President Trump has asked to do him political favors.

I’ve been traveling abroad, so I’ve been asking journalists and officials how they see America, and from a distance they offer blunt assessments. “If your president isn’t a Manchurian candidate,” one senior European official said, “he’s doing a pretty good imitation of one.”

Sign Up for Debatable

Agree to disagree, or disagree better? We'll help you understand the sharpest arguments on the most pressing issues of the week, from new and familiar voices.

That distance can be useful to see the big picture. To resist complacency, let’s take stock:

In 2016, Obama’s passivity and Republican intransigence may have allowed Russian cyberattacks to swing the presidency to Trump (there’s no way to be sure, but that’s what the forensic work of Kathleen Hall Jamieson suggests). Yet despite improvement, the United States still doesn’t have an adequate strategy to foil Russian or Chinese interference in the 2020 election.

Trump is a hero of many evangelical Christians who previously emphasized the importance of personal values and restoring “honor and dignity” to the White House. Meanwhile, he is on his third wife, has cheated on all three and has been accused of sexual misconduct by 25 women. And Trump tweeted a supporter’s praise likening him to “the second coming of God.”

Since taking office, Trump has made more than 13,400 false or misleading statements, according to a Washington Post database. The Post found that he has recently accelerated his falsehoods to a rate of 22 per day, more than one per waking hour. (I’ve covered many world leaders, and the only two whom I consider pathological liars are Trump and former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.)

Trump has declared “I am the chosen one.” His press secretary last month spoke of “the genius of our great President.”

The Billionaires Are Getting Nervous

Bill Gates and others warn that higher taxes would lead to lower growth. They have their facts backward.

When Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, the top marginal tax rate on personal income was 70 percent, tax rates on capital gains and corporate income were significantly higher than at present, and the estate tax was a much more formidable levy. None of that dissuaded Mr. Gates from pouring himself into his business, nor discouraged his investors from pouring in their money.

Yet he is now the latest affluent American to warn that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan for much higher taxes on the rich would be bad not just for the wealthy but for the rest of America, too. 

Mr. Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, suggested on Wednesday that a big tax increase would result in less economic growth. “I do think if you tax too much you do risk the capital formation, innovation, U.S. as the desirable place to do innovative companies — I do think you risk that,” he said.

Other perturbed plutocrats have made the same point with less finesse. The billionaire investor Leon Cooperman was downright crude when he declared that Ms. Warren was wrecking the American Dream. Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, complained on CNBC that Warren “uses some pretty harsh words” about the rich. He added, “Some would say vilifies successful people.” 

Let’s get a few things straight.

The wealthiest Americans are paying a much smaller share of income in taxes than they did a half-century ago. In 1961, Americans with the highest incomes paid an average of 51.5 percent of that income in federal, state and local taxes. Half a century later, in 2011, Americans with the highest incomes paid just 33.2 percent of their income in taxes, according to a study by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucmanpublished last year. Data for the last few years is not yet available but would likely show a relatively similar tax burden.

The federal government needs a lot more money. Decades of episodic tax cuts have left the government deeply in debt: The Treasury is on pace to borrow more than $1 trillionduring the current fiscal year to meet its obligations. The government will need still more money for critical investments in infrastructure, education and the social safety net. 

This is not an endorsement of the particulars of Ms. Warren’s tax plan. There is plenty of room to debate how much money the government needs, and how best to raise that money. The specific proposals by Ms. Warren and one of her rivals, Senator Bernie Sanders, to impose a new federal tax on wealth are innovations that require careful consideration.

But a necessary part of the solution is to collect more from those Americans who have the most.

And there is little evidence to justify Mr. Gates’s concern that tax increases of the magnitude proposed by Ms. Warren and other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination would meaningfully discourage innovation, investment or economic growth.

The available evidence strongly suggests that taxation exerts a minor influence on innovation. Experts have an imperfect understanding of what drives innovation, but taxation isn’t in the same weight class as factors including education, research and a consistent legal system. 

Congress has slashed taxation three times in the past four decades, each time for the stated purpose of spurring innovation and investment and growth. Each time, the purported benefits failed to materialize. President Trump initiated the most recent experiment in 2017. The International Monetary Fund concluded in a recent report that it had not worked.

Moreover, while higher tax rates may weigh modestly against innovation and investment, that calculus is incomplete. It ignores the question of what the government does with the additional money. It also ignores the possibility that higher taxes could result in more innovation. 

A study of American patent holders found that innovators tend to come from wealthy families, to grow up in communities of innovators, and to receive high-quality educations in math and science. Mr. Gates, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in American history, fits the profile: He grew up in an affluent family and received the best education money could buy.

The implication of that study, and related research, is that public investment, funded by taxation, could give more kids the kinds of advantages enjoyed by the young Mr. Gates.

There is no doubt that it is theoretically possible to raise taxes to prohibitive heights: If a person had to pay 100 percent of the next dollar they earned, they would be likely to call it a day.

But the alarm bells are out of all proportion with Ms. Warren’s plan. Describing his concerns on Wednesday, Mr. Gates at one point suggested he might be asked to pay $100 billion. 

The Warren campaign calculates that under Ms. Warren’s plan, Mr. Gates would owe $6.379 billion in taxes next year. Notably, that is less than Mr. Gates earned from his investments last year. Even under Ms. Warren’s plan, there’s a good chance Mr. Gates would get richer.

To his credit, Mr. Gates has said that he thinks the wealthy should pay higher taxes. But that’s not how he behaved on Wednesday. He can demonstrate that he’s serious about tax hikes by setting aside the hyperbole and engaging in principled and factual debate about the details.”