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Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 70,703

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Dad was retro-bureaucrat cool

..when Dad came to D.C. at the end of the '50's he was wearing suits and hat everywhere he happened about. By the time I recognized him, the hats were tucked away in boxes in the attic, along with the curiously heavy fur coat and a faded WW2 uniform.


(self-obliging re-post from earlier years. )


Dad and Equal Employment Opportunity in Black History




SOME of the most important and relevant aspects of our Black History Month celebrations have been our highlighting and honoring of our country's African American heroes whose efforts helped our nation advance and grow beyond our challenging, and often, tragic beginnings. Although most would be loath to call themselves 'heroes' or volunteer themselves for any special recognition at all for their deeds, there is certainly a benefit in framing and promoting these brave citizens' struggles and triumphs as a guide to future generations as they navigate their own inter-ethnic/inter-racial relationships among our increasingly diverse population. Their work and sacrifices form the foundation for the actions we took to reject and defend against discrimination, racism, and other abuses and injustices; as well as provide sustaining inspiration for the conduct of our own lives.

The most enduring and important legacy of these societal pioneers has been the uplifting of a people, and the promises gained, of opportunity and justice for black Americans (and, subsequently, other minorities, women, and the disabled) to be realized through the affirmative action of our federal government.

It was only through the tireless activism and advocacy of notables like Martin Luther King Jr. and others in the civil rights movement in the 1960's, who were protesting and demanding equal opportunity and access for African Americans, that politicians like John F. Kennedy and his political predecessors saw fit to introduce and advance legislation which would bring the federal government into compliance with the aim of equal employment opportunity and require contractors who were hired by government agencies to form 'affirmative action' programs within their own companies as a prerequisite for getting tax dollars from Uncle Sam.

Although President Kennedy didn't live to see the passage of the Civil Rights Act, he did manage to accommodate the lobbied demands of Dr. King in both, his Executive Order 10925, introduced. in 1961, establishing a 'Committee On Equal Employment Opportunity' (providing for the first time, enforcement of anti-discrimination provisions) ; and in his introduction of the Civil Rights Act to Congress on 19 June 1963.

Almost a year after President Kennedy's assassination, Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress and signed it into law. One of its major provisions was the creation of the 'Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.' The law provided for a defense by the federal government against objectionable private conduct, like discrimination in public accommodations; authorized the Attorney General to file lawsuits to defend access to public facilities and schools, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, and to outlaw and defend against discrimination in federal programs.

So, Dr. King and others in the civil rights effort, had done their part in agitating and promoting through demonstrations, the notion and the ideal of advancing equal opportunity into action and law. The passage of the Civil Rights Act was, by no means, the end of advocacy by black leaders. Neither was it the end of the political effort by Johnson and others committed to advancing and enhancing black employment and establishing anti-discrimination as the law of the land.

On September 24, 1965, President Johnson originated and signed Executive Order 11246 which established new guidelines for businesses who contracted with the Federal government agencies, and required those with $10,000 or more of business with Uncle Sam to take 'affirmative action' to increase the number of minorities in their workplaces and keep a record of their efforts available on demand. It also set 'goals and timetables' for the realization of those minority positions.

As far as the activists and politicians' abilities went, they had stepped up to the plate and hit the ball into the outfield. Now, the challenge was to bring the jobs home; to protect and defend the new employment provisions in the federal government, as well as, around the nation in the myriad of public facilities and other amenities which were connected to the federal government through funding. Enforcement was the key.

That would require reliance on a newly formed bureaucracy and its government managers and directors; some appointed by the president, most others brought into government on a less auspicious level.

One of those 'managers and directors' who was present and accountable in government at the time of these important changes in our employment law was my father, Charles James Fullwood.


Charles James Fullwood

In a bit of a self-indulgent look back at his almost 40 years in government -- in relation to some of the changes in the federal government's evolving embrace of its responsibility to defend and promote the remedies and benefits of the equal protection clauses in the Constitution -- we can see a tenuous, but, determined fight beyond the protests; beyond the political arena; to press on with the implementation and realization of some of the promises of the Civil Rights movement.

In Charles Fullwood's personal development and advancement in the military and in government, we can also see many of the dynamics of inclusion and adjustment in play which marked his coming of age in the midst of poverty and oppression, and also, the period beyond the bold actions and bold choices our nation subsequently undertook through their elected representatives.

As humble beginnings go, it's hard to get more quaint than his first home near an Indian reservation in the mountains of Black Hills, North Carolina. He said his daddy used to run a speakeasy with a still in the cellar which he liked to nip at a little when he fetched and filled the jugs for the blues-loving customers partying upstairs. A run-in by my grandfather with a local sheriff was said to have sent the Fullwoods packing and making their way up North in a hurry. The family of eleven settled down in Reading, Pennsylvania, and, but for a few exceptions, like Dad, lived most of the rest of their entire lives there.


On the Sidewalk Outside of 4th Street Address

Reading was a hard-scrabble, mostly poor community which was mostly known, as my father liked to say, for it's 'pretzels, prostitutes, and beer.' In his neighborhood, at least, he described a people who were laid low by poverty and discrimination, and advantaged more by the 'mob' than by the government or its industry. Their burly representatives were said to bring food and clothing to some of the needy families in the neighborhood, once, as Dad described it, looking in the door and seeing all of the children running around, remarked, 'Look at all the hungry little bastards! Little bastards gotta eat.'

Dad said that they would come by occasionally with items like underwear that folks had discarded, and, they'd take them -- happily, because it might be their only opportunity. It's not as if their father hadn't worked to provide for his large family. In fact, James Beulo Fullwood, who immediately applied for 'Relief', upon arrival in town, refused to send his children to school unless the local government provided all nine of them with new clothes. I'm told he got the clothes.





Somehow, Dad and his sister Olivia (who was a young, tragic casualty of the seedy side of the town) managed to gain admission to a Quaker grade school nearby and enjoyed the benefits of educational integration well before most of the rest of the nation. He also worked with the conscientious objectors in the Quaker community as a member of the local Civilian Conservation Corps.


Dad and the Reading Civilian Conservation Corps

Like most endeavors in his life, Dad was on the cusp of a revolution of societal changes which would both advance his careers, and bring his life experiences to bear as he took advantage of the opportunities that the political community's (and the nation's) determination to implement the 'Great Society' ideals expressed and advanced by King, Kennedy, and Johnson into action or law afforded him.

Charles completed three years of high school (vocational school) without a degree and worked as a machinist apprentice operating a drill press. As far as opportunity went in that town, he had the best of it at the machine shop.

He joined the U.S. Army, in 1942, during WWII. He'd had enough of life in Reading and the world was beckoning. That summer as he trained in munitions handling and other military tasks, U.S. troops had landed on Guadalcanal. A year later, as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met together for the first time, Dad was aboard a Navy carrier bound for New Guinea (the time of his life).



He was attached to the 628th Ordinance Company and their mission was to establish an ammo dump near Brisbane, Australia. The voyage was 'uneventful;' touching once at Wellington, New Zealand and eventually docking at Sydney, Australia.


Members of the 628th Ordinance Company

"Today is cruel:" he wrote, in a brief, but compelling journal of his first voyage and his first trip abroad. "the sky is cold. not a particle of cheery blue is seen. Nature has sketched a lifeless and deadly scene whose background is obscurity . . The elements are warring."


New Guinea -- Cadre and Locals

Dad gained a field promotion in New Guinea to Staff Sargent after his superiors recognized him as a leader among his unit of black soldiers. He had an experienced ability to relate with and communicate effectively with the majority of white commanders and superiors in the military and that also served to elevate his profile among the military leadership.

Dad returned from his voyage and two-month deployment to New Guinea and Australia, newly energized and ambitious. On the way home from the West, he had to repeatedly switch trains to ride on the 'colored' cars through the segregated states and towns. He arrived home to Reading and immediately threw his abusive, deadbeat father to the curb. He didn't plan to stay there long, though.


Dad and Sister

Charles received an honorable discharge in 1946. Four years later, he was a graduate student on the GI Bill at West Virginia State College. Dad met my mother there and married her after graduation. He received a degree there in Psychology and went on to further his education at Princess Anne College in Maryland, where he described living in a rundown, segregated, barrack-like dorm.





At WVa. State College, Dad became a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and joined the ROTC.


W.Va, College President, John W. Davis Presents the ROTC Unit's Colors to Senior Cadet, Lt. Charles Fullwood

He subsequently enlisted in the USAR in 1950 where he was assigned to work on civil affairs, recruiting, and personnel. Years after that, in 1963, Charles became a military policeman in the National Guard of the District of Columbia.


Public Safety Officer With D.C. National Guard

Back in his community, Mr Fullwood had also organized a civic association in his home named the Raritan Valley Association which was founded to further the goal of racial equality and for "greater awareness among Negroes of their own responsibility to the community."





It was also at this time -- right at the point in 1963 where President Kennedy is introducing the Dr. King-inspired Civil Rights bill of his to a divided Congress -- that Charles Fullwood was hired as an Employee/Management Relations Specialist in the Office of Undersecretary of the Army overseeing and processing complaints that passed through the Army Policy and Grievance Board.

When the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, Mr. Fullwood had been promoted to a Personnel Staffing Specialist, Chief of Employee Services Section, at NASA, with responsibility for managing equal employment, mentally ill, and affirmative action programs; along with responsibility for recruiting and outreach. By 1966, he was NASA's 'principle action,' Equal Opportunity Employment Specialist for the Federal Government, and assisted in the implementation of Kennedy and Johnson's 'affirmative' action-based Executive Orders, 10925 and 11246.


Dad at NASA

By 1967, Charles had advanced to the U.S Civil Services Commission, assisting in developing general and special inspection plans for employer compliance with affirmative action laws and participating in EEO reviews.


Graduating Class at Judge Advocate General's School

In 1968, after being a rare bird in the Judge Advocate General's School and completing its International Law course, he was, simultaneously appointed Deputy Chief, Placement at the Office of Economic Opportunity Personnel and Job Corps. The remnants of the OEO that were reorganized into the Department of Health and Human Services. were the last vestiges of Sargent Shriver's hopes and dreams which Nixon had dismantled and tried to underfund and eliminate.

The next year, Charles Fullwood was moved to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a senior consultant top legislative officers of state, local governments, and private industry in providing ways to implement Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.



By 1970, he was promoted to a position as Deputy EEO Officer, responsible for implementing and evaluating a program of equal employment opportunity for employees of the Public Health Service hospitals, clinics, and major health services divisions.

Later, as Deputy Director of OEEO and HSMHA in 1972, Mr. Fullwood would direct the implementation and administration of affirmative action, upward mobility programs, and the processing of the Federal Women's and the Spanish-Speaking Program which had also been folded under EEO's mantle. This was the period where EEO had been granted actual authority to file lawsuits against violators. In the past, those cases were processed and prosecuted by the Labor Dept., with EEO merely providing friend-of-the-court briefs in support or opposition.

Dad took advantage of this period to play 'Lawrence of Arabia' and leave his paperwork-laden office and go out in the field to bonk some heads. He'd take a sheaf full of the new regs and new authority and put on his best angry administrator face for the code violators and abusers he encountered along the way. Not to diminish the effect of the enforcement ability afforded EEO, there were several landmark cases which were quickly prosecuted by the government and won.

____ It was also during this period that my father had become frustrated over being ignored, yet again, for a promotion in his membership as a major in the Army Reserve. He had been with the Reserve for over 20 years at that point, attending to that career at the same time he was submerged in his government one. Three times he had achieved the required service for consideration for advancement, and twice he had been passed-up.

Anxious that this third bid was destined to be rejected, he wrote then- Brigadier General Benjamin L. Hunton, USAR Minority Affairs Officer, and complained about a process where there were never enough blacks available in the pool to ever stand a chance of any minority gaining the promotion.



"There are a total of 61 officers in the unit," he wrote. "Two are minority group members; a total of 67 officers in another -- two are minority group members . . . a total of 63 in yet another unit with three minority members. The first cited has seven officer vacancies."

"The normal promotional procedure has been to select company and field-grade officers from the companies to fill headquarters vacancies. The procedure of promoting from within is as it should be. My only reservation," he wrote, "is that there are too few black officers at the company grade level available for consideration -- and when available, not selected for promotion."



450th - First Year With Unit

After little more than lip service from the general, Major Fullwood wrote then-Major General Kenneth Johnson:

"I am concerned that, despite the rhetoric and regulations, the Army Reserve and Command, have not now, nor in the past, initiated programs designed to seek and encourage blacks and other minorities to enlist in the Reserve forces . . ."

"Where they do exist, implementation of programs designed to recruit and maintain minority members has been delegated to local commanders with authority to implement according to local needs, but, without specific guidance or compliance review. Herein lies the problem; historically, the Reserve program, as you know, has been a haven for white boys. It has not changed . . . "



450th - Two Years Later

"I have approximately 22 years of combined service in the National Guard and Reserve Corps and am now being denied the opportunity for advancement. If local commanders can capriciously and unilaterally make the decision to deny me, an officer, opportunities that have been offered in abundance to whites, it doesn't require a great deal of imagination to realize the treatment black applicants to the reserve are being subjected to . . . The Reserve recruiting proedures and the Reserve program are, in the main, designed for whites, and consequently, mitigate against recruiting career-minded blacks," he wrote.



Dad's in the far back row, third from the left, behind a soldier

Major Fullwood recieved his commission to Lieutenant Colonel almost 3 years after he had lodged his complaints, and he retired from the Reserve at that rank in 1981.

Ironically, one year after that promotion, LTC Fullwood was assigned by the U.S. Army as an Education and Training Officer, providing support and assistance to U.S. Army Race Relations/Equal Opportunity Staff in preparation and presentation of the Unit RR Discussion Leader Course.



In a validating, but dumbfounding review by his commander, of his new promotion and new 'race relations' assignment, LTC Fullwood was described as 'diligent' and 'exemplary' in the performance of his duties. "His background as Director of Equal Opportunity for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare enabled him to greatly assist First U.S. Army in establishing the Unit Race Relations Discussion Leaders Course," the recommendation read.

No kidding.

Charles Fullwood would serve as Acting Director of OEEO and the Health Services Administration from August 1973 to September 1974. Next, he would serve as Special Assistant to the Administrator for Civil Rights, and then, as Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.



"The HSA Administrator is responsible for the administration of the EEO and Civil Rights programs," Mr. Fullwood told the 'Health Services World' magazine in 1976, after gaining his appointment, "And Dr. Hellman, HSA Administrator, has appointed me to implement them. I intend to do just that, with the help of all of the HSA employees," he said.

That's the long and short of Dad's military and public service. He advanced in the military and the government -- almost Gump-like in his relative obscurity; an uncomfortable aberration in the images capturing the racial make-up of his peer groups -- working to elevate and implement so many of the ideals and initiatives contained in the civil rights legislation that Martin Luther King Jr. and others fought for; working to implement the orders and initiatives from two successive presidents determined to make the 'Great Society' programs a reality (and Nixon, curiously providing the first actual governmental language), and serving as administrator for the inevitable outgrowths and expansions of those initiatives into the federal workforce and beyond; recruiting countless African Americans into the federal workforce, in his time, and providing some of the early backbone for the nation's new impetus in the hiring and advancement of blacks in government.

Most interesting to me, is that image after image shows the extent that, in those early days, Mr. Fullwood was usually, either the only black official in the rooms where important decisions were made concerning equal employment and other vestiges of the Civil Rights Act; or he was one of just a few. It's remarkable how steadfast he appeared over the years as he navigated his way to the senior positions he held in government and in the military.




Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Moves to HSA

In our nation's democracy, social, economic, and legal changes are advanced by a combination of activism, political initiative, and administrative implementation and interpretation. We are advantaged in the realization of our individual and collective ideals by activists, politicians, and bureaucrats. They all contribute.

It's wise to avoid getting too sentimental about the role of government in carrying out our ideals and addressing our concerns in the form of legislation or Executive actions. We, correctly, continue to press our concerns, even after we've passed our legislative remedies and tasked them to administrators and managers to implement. However, it doesn't hurt to recognize the tenacious, principled individuals inside of government who are driven by a determination to make it all work for as many Americans as possible to carry out our political mandates.

I think my father (with the help of countless others assuming the same responsibilities of implementing the dream) fulfilled that role with a characteristic routineness that mirrored the disciplined, principled personal life this African American sought to lead against so many obviously threatening odds; mirroring the unflagging commitment to the nation's advancement that countless generations of black Americans have repeatedly demonstrated, against all odds.

With all of the controversies today about corruption and greed influencing our political and governmental leaders, it's nice to know that there was a sober and trustworthy individual working on these issues behind the scenes. Charles Fullwood was transparently, if nothing more, a decent and principled man. That seems to be a rarity in government these days. It's certainly worth celebrating.

We're left to wonder just what we'd do without them; these good guys in government . . . I look optimistically to the future for more Chuck Fullwoods to run the bases after we've hit our political balls deep into the nation's outfield. How have we ever managed without him?



The truth will set (most of) us free

.
..for some folks, not so much.

It's to be expected that there is cynicism and real concern over whether Donald Trump will ever face justice. Trump has many ways at his disposal to avoid prosecution. That's just the reality.

The political system, with Trump's party auguring obsequiously to defend him, is primed and oiled for a free ride for all of his crimes and transgressions. The prospect of corrective elections ahead, the promise of a 'blue wave,' is a hope and a prayer, expecting that this same political system which fosters and protects such deep and corrosive corruption can somehow set our democracy right again.

Even the courts hold out promise for Trump's campaign to subvert justice. Money and prestige work wonders in affording prominent defendants wide benefit of the doubt, the elixir of acquittals.

However, there is another, overriding factor in court cases which is almost always inviolable. It's the integrity of the court, itself - to be more exact. It's basic respect for the rule of law which most animates jurists and others who sit in judgment.

It's precisely that flagrant abuse of and disregard for the law Trump has demonstrated that's sure to set any court's hair on fire which sits in his judgment. If the judge revoking Manafort's bail agreement and jailing him is any guide to the future, Trump and his carefree romp through the criminal code, is in deep trouble.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of United States District Court for the District of Columbia, delivering what should be the operating guide to jurisprudence concerning anything Trump, gave an iconic admonition to Manafort before jailing him:

“This is not middle school,” she said. “I can’t take away his cellphone.”

“This hearing is not about politics. It is not about the conduct of the office of special counsel. It is about the defendant’s conduct.”Jackson said.

“You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago, I’m concerned you seem to treat these proceedings as another marketing exercise.”


More important, though, are the other reasons Judge Jackson gave for her ruling:

"The law is clear that I can't impose pretrial detention to punish this defendant for the alleged conduct in the new allegations..." she said. "While the grand jury has found probable cause to believe the defendant has corruptly persuaded people to lie, there's been no evidence of even a threat of harm to any person."

"We don't have what one might consider the typical sort of harm to the community at large; dangerous substances being peddled on the corner; unlawful possession of firearms."

"The harm in this case is the harm to the administration of justice. It is the harm to the integrity of the court system... The indictment alleges a corrupt attempt to undermine the integrity and truth of the fact-finding process upon which our system of justice depends."


The truth, or rather Trump's aversion to it, is the reef upon which his ship of state will eventually run aground. We can only hope and pray that there are jurists like Judge Amy Berman Jackson out there to deliver the respect for the law that the vast majority of courts expect and demand from defendants and prosecutors alike.

President under active investigation for colluding with Russia allowed to negotiate with NK dictator

...allowed to steer America's foreign policy in the direction of normalizing relations with yet another barbaric megalomaniac.

It's frightening just how easily the press, pols, and other observers are settling into legitimizing this bizarre deconstruction of decades of resolve against these national and world security threats by such an openly compromised U.S. president.

It's extremely unsettling to see the two autocratic leaders meeting in private for nearly an hour. If there is some sort of subversive purpose to Trump's eager embrace of Russia and North Korea, we're already so deep into the con that there's no easy way back.

What happens to the nation when the facilitator of this coddling of these major adversaries is found to have been illegally colluding with one of them in the effort leading up to his election? What position is America really in tonight, with our felonious president acceding to such a compromised and illegitimate union with unrepentant enemies of America?

If Trump invokes his 5th Amendment rights

...in response to a deposition, from the Stormy Daniels case, for example, it will be unprecedented and historically newsworthy, but at this point it won't shock America much at all.

Thing is, some 40% of Americans are willing to allow Trump to further that deceptive course. As this investigation moves closer to implicating the president, he's going to be aided by nearly the entire republican party, both pols and the public who support him, both as co-conspirators, and ultimately as co-defendants.

Can't Resist Another Easter in Charleston

...forgive this little indulgence of mine.



me

I REMEMBER Easter as a child. Mom would take us to Charleston, West Virginia every year to visit my grandfather for the Spring holiday.

Granddad lived in a huge two story house off of Main Street, and there, he rented out the upstairs to a few folks that I never really saw much, and a room off of his kitchen where a dapper garbage man slept. Granddad was a short, strong man, dark as night, with a hearing aid for his deafness that happened when he worked in the glass factory after WWI. He'd turn it down when my mom would lecture him about something or another, and whenever he fell asleep in his red reclining chair with the red duct tape covering the cracks while he watched the baseball game turned up way loud. He'd wake up every now and then to spit his tobacco in his brown ceramic spittoon and record the score on the margin of his TV guide. Granddad was a master of checkers and never let me win one game. I still have the wooden checkers and board that he put away for good after his last checker partner and friend died.

Bobo, his faithful mixed border collie who would bark whenever the phone rang or the door chimed, laid and slept by his side as he slept. When he thought we weren't listening, he'd call Bobo by his seedy pet name: "C'mon shitbutt, he'd say as he sneaked away to the smaller room by the kitchen where he slept (or listened to the baseball game on his portable radio) while we took over his grand bedroom with the thick, dark aged-oak furniture and the huge wooden pocket doors that separated the bedroom from the living room. Bobo would never fail to bite me almost every visit, sending me three times to the doctor for stitches, the last time after taking the other half of a cookie I gave him from my hand.



Bobo


Besides that, nothing much at all happened in that town for us young ones. The biggest thing was when the huge car carrier pulled up on the other side of the street. My sister and I would run outside on the porch and sit on that rough painted metal rocking chair and bench and watch as the man unloaded the new cars one by one until the very last.

Charleston was like a large retirement community to me, with a Dairy Queen where I sometimes got to go to by myself to get mom her butter almond, and an sweltering, all night laundromat where we sometimes went after dark to wash our clothes and beg Mom for one of the prizes in the bubble gum machine; or, maybe a handful of stale peanuts for a nickle from the other dispenser.

There were a bevy of old relatives who Mom would take us to visit - walking for endless miles through town, in the heat, in our new spring wear. There was a lady with who had been stuck in bed for years (I never saw her get up) who was always in her nightgown and robe. Mom said she tried to get up one morning and found she couldn't walk. She was a kind woman with several pictures of Jesus on the wall. There was a lady who took care of her who had a huge goiter on her neck. The bedridden lady always gave my sister and I some change before we left.

Then, there was Mrs. Gilmore (a recognized civil rights leader) who lived in a huge brownstone with a funeral parlor in the basement that her husband had left her. Everyone in town brought her their business when someone passed away. She had a wide painted smile with her hair pulled back so tight that it seemed stuck on. She had long fingers with the longest nails I had ever seen and she would gesture when she spoke with the extra long cigarette holder she had delicately wedged between two of them. Mom would take us to visit and I'd fiddle with a crystal ball she had brought back from a visit to Russia to try and conjure up the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz in the translucent glass. Years after she died the National Park Service made her spooky home a landmark because of her work as an activist in Charleston and elsewhere.

There was Annie Joe, my mom's best friend who would do her hair with the hot combs heated on the kitchen stove, and her mom, Cousin Gussy and Uncle Moore who lived across the Kanawha bridge in one of a suite of plaster houses with sunken floors. They had two trees with white washed trunks and red mites that crawled up and down. We'd salt the slugs on the walkway for fun and climb the trees to wait for them to shrivel. The railroad tracks were just a few feet from the house and the train would barrel by occasionally. We'd leave pennies on the track and collect them flattened when the train rolled over them. Gussy would cook up a Sunday meal that I'll never forget with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and greens that would melt in your mouth while Mr. Moore watched the ball game.

Easter Sunday was a great pain for a small kid like me. Mom was a terror as she got us ready for church. She'd scrub me, brush my hair raw, and dress me in this powder blue, Lord Fauntleroy suit with shorts and a beanie cap. She'd hustle us outside as Granddad carefully backed his gold Oldsmobile out of the garage with the shed on the side which had a ton of pipe parts, motor parts, nuts and bolts and everything wonderful. There was a shack in the back and a couple of run-down homes surrounding his three floor boarding house where poor folks improbably survived on next to nothing.

I smoked my first cigarette in that shed one Sunday before church, one of Granddad's Pall Malls without a filter . . .



Granddad's house


Granddad would stop and open the wide gate he had built at the end of the long driveway (with pipe parts) which had a pulley and a rope with a brick tied on that slowly shut the gate by itself until it clicked surely into its handmade latch. The front gate also closed by itself, but with an entirely different pulley and weight arrangement he had designed. I'd always look back out of the window of the Olds to see whether that would be the day that it failed to close. It always clicked shut, though.

We'd arrive early at the First Baptist Church and sit in the pew as the parishioners would stream in. First Baptist was a huge church with a wall of stained glass windows on both sides and a pulpit that towered above us all with room for its large choir. Martin Luther King preached there in 1960, the year I was born. The church on Easter Sunday was always packed full and humming from the rich, sickly perfume of the women there. The smell was unbelievable. And the hats . . . wide brimmed monstrosities with feathers and such, atop processes and wigs.

There was this one large lady who owned and lived in a dubious consignment shop along Main Street with a few dust-covered ceramic figurines and plastic flowers on the window shelf who would always arrive at the last minute. She'd saunter down the aisle with her silver tipped cane, and her hat was always the largest, most outlandish one there, with fake birds, fruits or something amazing on top. She'd make her way down to her reserved seat in the front row. She was the only holy roller I think that was allowed in First Baptist. I understood that she had been informed that she'd have to tone down her shouts of praise to the Lord which, nonetheless, still echoed through the hall at several key points in the service.

Granddad always left us to take his place up front. He was a longtime deacon who would fully memorize the passage he would get to read before the congregation. I'd be stuck on that hard bench for the full 3 hours that the service ran on Easter Sunday. Mom would do her best to keep me still and quiet throughout the service with gum, or some starlight mints and butterscotch candies. A few of the stained glass windows swung open to let in whatever breeze could be had, but it was always sweltering hot. Almost everyone (but me) had a hand fan with a wooden handle and a picture of Jesus and a lamb on the front and a picture of the church on back. You could hear the fwap, fwap of the parishioners waving them back and forth in vain attempts to ward off the heat. I always fell asleep several times throughout, taking advantage of Mom's arm, probably the only time that she didn't terrify me.

The First Baptist Church was led by the Reverend Moses Newsome, a towering, light-skinned black man with a deep baritone and kind eyes. He would lead the congregation through prayers, through acknowledgments and death and sick mentions. He would stop in between and sit as the choir belted out some rollicking gospel tune, rocking, bobbing, and clapping their hands in unison as they rocked the house. They had an unbelievable sound. And folks would rock along with them. There was nothing subtle about the choir. They were loud and righteous. Whew! The one holy-roller up front would be on her feet, shouting out, " Praise glory!" she would cry. "Thank you Jesus!"

Then came the sermon. One hour long. An eternity. I'd have a sore butt by then and the candy just wouldn't cut it anymore. Reverend Newsome would speak in a low, measured tone as he counseled the congregation on the vestiges of evil and the virtues of good. His long arms reached out from under his flowing robe and he firmly grasped the lectern on both ends as he glared down on the flock. Sweat poured off of his freckled brow while he cautioned us about the Devil and warned us to look everywhere for Christ's coming.

Somewhere near the end, you would get a whiff of the food cooking in the church kitchen for after the service. The smell of fried chicken and gravy, beans, cornbread, and greens wafted uncontrolled into the great hall. Folks got restless, but they were mostly patient and still until, at once, the Reverend's voice would rise to a fevered timbre as he brought on the end of his sermon. Folks would shift in their seats and sit upright again as the Reverend boomed out his ending.

Then came the benediction, that wonderful benediction that signaled the end of the service. And then it was over. There were Easter baskets full of jellybeans and chocolate waiting at home, and the sun was shining full outside as we filed past Reverend Newsome and he grasped my small hand with his giant, coffee-colored, soft ones.

"You be good now, you hear?" the Reverend would say. "I'll be good sir." I'd answer, as I pushed out into the Spring air to soak up another Easter in Charleston.



Trump's not going to get a decent lawyer to represent his tangle of lies and deceptions

_________________________________

...Trump bravado today about lawyers lining up to represent him was more of a cry for help than a humble-brag.

Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case...don't believe the Fake News narrative that it is hard to find a lawyer who wants to take this on. Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted. Problem is that a new......
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2018

....lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country - and I am very happy with my existing team. Besides, there was NO COLLUSION with Russia, except by Crooked Hillary and the Dems!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2018


It's true that there are myriad individuals with law degrees who would love to glom-on to the Trump legal racket for their own enrichment, but there aren't any decent attorneys waiting in the wings to have their reputation and profession dunked into Trump's gold toilet.

They can see for themselves the utter folly in taking on the role as spokesperson for his daily duplicity, and his uncontrollable reflex for self-incriminating foolishness. Trump simply can't be trusted to stick to one story, much less avoid creating new ones with his incessant babbling on twitter.

The only way Trump will get an A-list attorney is for a plea bargain or admission of guilt. No one of any stature is going to go down with this infuriatingly inveterate liar.



https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status/977961020676280320

Kushner, who Trump charged with digital ops, is the reason Cambridge Analytica joined the campaign

from Vox, October 16, 2017:

In June 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to take over its data operations.

We know from the reporting of Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim at the New York Times that Jared Kushner, who was charged with overseeing Trump’s digital operations, is the reason Cambridge Analytica joined the Trump campaign.

Kushner hired a man named Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital expert who had worked previously for team Trump. According to Confessore and Hakim, Cambridge Analytica convinced Parscale (who has since agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee) to “try out the firm.” The decision was reinforced by Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, who is also a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica.

It’s not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump’s digital operation was shockingly effective. Samuel Woolley, who heads the Computational Propaganda project at Oxford’s Internet Institute, found that a disproportionate amount of pro-Trump messaging was spread via automated bots and anti-Hillary propaganda. Trump’s bots, they reported at the time of the election, outnumbered Clinton’s five to one.

read more: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/16/15657512/mueller-fbi-cambridge-analytica-trump-russia



from Forbes, Nov 22, 2016:

____The decision that won Trump the presidency started on the return trip from that Springfield rally last November aboard his private 757, dubbed Trump Force One. Chatting over McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, Trump and Kushner talked about how the campaign was underutilizing social media. The candidate, in turn, asked his son-in-law to take over his Facebook initiatives.

____"I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley, some of the best digital marketers in the world, and asked how you scale this stuff," Kushner says. "They gave me their subcontractors."

At first Kushner dabbled, engaging in what amounted to a beta test using Trump merchandise. "I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting," Kushner says. Synched with Trump's blunt, simple messaging, it worked. The Trump campaign went from selling $8,000 worth of hats and other items a day to $80,000, generating revenue, expanding the number of human billboards--and proving a concept. In another test, Kushner spent $160,000 to promote a series of low-tech policy videos of Trump talking straight into the camera that collectively generated more than 74 million views.

By June the GOP nomination secured, Kushner took over all data-driven efforts. Within three weeks, in a nondescript building outside San Antonio, he had built what would become a 100-person data hub designed to unify fundraising, messaging and targeting. Run by Brad Parscale, who had previously built small websites for the Trump Organization, this secret back office would drive every strategic decision during the final months of the campaign. "Our best people were mostly the ones who volunteered for me pro bono," Kushner says. "People from the business world, people from nontraditional backgrounds."

____This wasn't a completely raw startup. Kushner's crew was able to tap into the Republican National Committee's data machine, and it hired targeting partners like Cambridge Analytica to map voter universes and identify which parts of the Trump platform mattered most: trade, immigration or change. Tools like Deep Root drove the scaled-back TV ad spending by identifying shows popular with specific voter blocks in specific regions--say, NCIS for anti-ObamaCare voters or The Walking Dead for people worried about immigration. Kushner built a custom geo-location tool that plotted the location density of about 20 voter types over a live Google Maps interface.

read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/11/22/exclusive-interview-how-jared-kushner-won-trump-the-white-house/#214cf2e83af6



related:

Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica, data firm tied to Trump campaign
Facebook on Friday suspended consulting firm Strategic Communication Laboratories, the parent company of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies on data collection and retention.
read: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/facebook-cambridge-analytica-trump-campaign-data-collection-violation-suspended-today-live-updates-2018-03-17/

Russia Probe Now Investigating Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s ‘Psychographic’ Data Gurus
They were once Steve Bannon’s favorite analytics shop. Now investigators want to know if the Kremlin had a thing for Cambridge Analytica, too.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/russia-probe-now-investigating-cambridge-analytica-trumps-psychographic-data-gurus

What the hell is really going on here?

____________________________

Trump's own NSA director says Russian interference in our elections is unchecked and likely to persist indefinitely, but the CIC hasn't ordered them to do anything about it:

(National Security Agency director, Adm. Mike Rogers), who was appointed by former President Barack Obama and is set to retire this spring, said Russia is attempting to undermine U.S. institutions and has not been deterred so far.

“My concern is I believe that President [Vladimir] Putin has clearly come to the conclusion there is little price to pay here and that therefore [he] can continue,” Rogers told the Senate panel. “Everything that as both director of NSA and what I see on the Cyber Command side leads me to believe that if we don’t change the dynamic here he is going to continue and 2016 won’t be viewed as something isolated. This is something that will be sustained over time.”

Rogers said the U.S. has not engaged in the same type of cyber operations being waged by Moscow, but he pushed back at Democrats' claims that the administration is “sitting back and waiting” to see what happens.

“Based on the authority that I have as a commander I have directed the national mission force to begin some specific work. I’d rather not publicly go into that, using the authorities that I retain as a commander of this mission,” he said.


Why is Trump “sitting back and waiting” to see what happens?

It's not strategy. This man couldn't care less about geopolitical gamesmanship, except where it directly benefits him or his personal interests. Even there Trump's not bright enough to make prescient moves on his own, and consider the way his own NSA director is essentially calling him out as a traitor.

Hell, over 90% of Congress already sent him legislation directing him to act, and he's hidden it away from America like a bad report card with a sloppily forged grade. What is he really trying to keep from happening?

One obvious reason would be his belief that keeping Russians creeping all over the next round of elections would produce the same trick that put a 2.8 million vote loser in the White House in 2016. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

There is, of course, no guarantee that the midterm results can be manipulated the same way, to achieve the same republican-affirming result. That makes the other possibility more probable, and more intriguing - that Russia actually holds something so vile, so incriminating, so humiliating on Trump, that he's scared out of his witless mind that Russia will release all of it the minute he retaliates.

It's not as if there haven't been numerous private meetings and phone calls between Putin and Trump for that threat to have been conveyed to the serial degenerate in the most direct and convincing terms.

Putin, release those tapes!

These young folks from Marjory Stoneman Douglas tweeting are breaking my heart

...they are very strong and not here for any BS.

I'm going to respect their privacy and not post any, but students have planned a protest in D.C., March 24, and we should support these strong people any way we're able.

That's how they spent the weekend, planning a campaign to demand gun control. Trump went to a party.

These determined young people are going to be a force in the future that will not yield to petty politics, political gamesmanship. We'd better be, or become, the nation they deserve.





Writing about Trump this morning, pulled up my first response to his election

...posted by email during the DU hack.


On Tuesday, roughly half of America declared war on their fellow Americans by sending a dangerously unstable demagogue, a obsessive compulsive megalomaniac, to lord over us in the White House. Prominent among those who voted for Donald Trump was a sizable bloc of people who share his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and bigoted views.

As I sit here watching Pres.-elect Trump's plane land, as he makes his way to the White House after accepting the invitation of the man he insisted for years wasn't a U.S. citizen, and unqualified to be president, I'm absolutely overwhelmed with anxiety and foreboding for the futures of my fellow countryfolk.

I’m looking at the official reception of Trump’s presidency, and I’m witnessing a critical disconnect between the warnings Pres. Obama gave about a man with Trump's character and temperament assuming responsibility for our nuclear arsenal, as well as the rest of the myriad levers and hair-triggers of the presidency - mechanisms which can work to keep us safe and secure, or, conversely, plunge our lives into chaos and devastation - contrasted against the post-election politeness coming from him and others, urging us to 'keep an open mind,' and to give this man room to succeed.

So much of the Trump appeal in the campaign was directed at assuaging those forces which are actively working to limit or eliminate our government's protections, defenses, or aid to the vulnerable, imperiled, or afflicted among us. There was zero conciliation with the targets of his often vindictive agenda - no healthcare alternative offered, for example, to replace the Obamacare he pledged to repeal; no regard expressed for the innocent, productive, but undocumented residents who are now facing a very real threat of a major upheaval of their lives as Trump and his republican-dominated legislature threaten to muscle them out of the country, as he promised. Only his self-promoting insistence that whatever he devised would suit us all.

Trump supporters at the polls voted to effectively allow 100's of thousands of us to die unnecessarily every year for need of life sustaining medical care enabled through the ability to obtain or afford insurance.

Trump supporters voted to allow our planet to die, with the candidate promising to reverse and eliminate every vestige of the Obama administration's efforts to unilaterally move ahead of the republican Congress' obstinacy and resistance to efforts to confront and address climate change and global warming.

Trump supporters voted to re-institutionalize racism and bigotry - usher in a new era of 'Jim Crow' - rallying behind their candidate's promise to 'ban' Muslim immigrants and advancing the man who openly disparaged the character and reputation of Mexican immigrants and citizens, alike. Trump supporters voted to uproot the lives of 742,000 young DREAMers, and place Trump in charge of thousands granted refuge and protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump supporters voted allow a regression in women's rights, from their candidate’s threats to reproductive choices, to implicit disregard for, and pledged hostility toward, declared victims of sexual assault. They’ve advanced a man to the highest office in the land who has been recorded bragging about his ability to ‘grab’ women in the most private of places - bragging that he’s essentially entitled to the assault by the mere virtue of his position.

Trump supporters have voted to allow Russia a role in our government’s consideration which is as dismissive as their candidate has been of Putin’s government’s abuses and intrusions into our political process – not to mention the myriad other activities of the regime which run counter to the legitimate and vital interests of our nation and our allies. Not surprisingly, just this morning, news came that a Russian ambassador is bragging of coordination between the actual Trump campaign and the Politburo.

Trump supporters have voted to legitimize white supremacy, most notably, the Klan, advancing a man into the White House who hired an avowed white supremacist as a senior coordinator of his campaign for president. Indeed, the entire white supremacy network is openly celebrating the Trump presidency as validation of their own brand of bigotry, racism, and divisive hatred.

Trump supporters voted to allow, sight-unseen, any conflict-of-interest their candidate will almost certainly have as president between his office and his many business interests and debts. Whatever he’s been hiding in his tax returns will tell that sordid tale. Couple that with an upcoming court date in his Trump University fraud trial, and you have a presidency so mired in scandal that it will have zero authority to dictate anything from that high office.

One of the only believable rationalizations offered for the disturbing and consequential statements Trump has made in this campaign, and what he’s said in the past, is that, perhaps, he didn’t really mean any of it. It was all just self-serving patter designed to win an election. That would make some sense, looking at the contradictions, duplicity, and flip-flops which have marked any (rare) discussion from the candidate about policy. He’s just an opportunistic demagogue.

What I believe is that Trump supporters have elected a dangerous, life-threatening sociopath who will only tolerate the needs of Americans as far as his own narrow, often personal, interests are defended and enhanced. I really don’t need any more evidence of this. Trump’s entire campaign has been a stark and sobering preview of the horror-show ahead. I truly fear for our nation in a way that I don’t really believe I even fully comprehend the depths we will sink to before we have hope of recovering.

We need to prepare for what will be a long and greuling opposition. We need to prepare and organize.



...letting that sink in.
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