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Author: Heather Cox Richardson

A self-inflicted wound: Lawsuit seeks to dissolve National Rifle Association over abuse and fraud

The New York Attorney General’s Press Office announced late on August 5 that Attorney General Letitia James would make “a major national announcement” at 11:30 AM on August 6. When James appeared, she announced she was launching a lawsuit to disband the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA was chartered in New York in 1871, in part to improve the marksmanship of Americans who might be called on to fight another war, and in part to promote in America the British sport of elite shooting. By the 1920s, rifle shooting was a popular sport. In the 1930s, amid fears...

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Election fears over mail-in ballots spells an end to the postal system established in our Constitution

Everything now coming from the White House is about Trump’s reelection. While all presidential candidates want to win, they are usually able to accept the idea of a loss. Trump, though, has gone so far as to suggest delaying the election, an unprecedented step which would buy him some time in the hope a coronavirus vaccine would help the U.S. crawl out of the hole it’s in and turn his popularity around. In his quest for reelection, he is attacking the idea of mail-in voting, although he himself has used it often—his distinction between mail-in voting and absentee voting...

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An Abdication of Leadership: How reality is disrupting an ideology still opposed to the New Deal

For a generation, Republicans have tried to unravel the activist government under which Americans have lived since the 1930s, when Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a government that regulated business, provided a basic social safety net, and invested in infrastructure. From the beginning, that government was enormously popular. Both Republicans and Democrats believed that the principle behind it — that the country worked best when government protected and defended ordinary Americans — was permanent. But the ideologues who now control the Republican Party have always wanted to get rid of this New Deal state and go back to the...

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Trump opens a new chapter of his fascist playbook in Milwaukee under the guise of “law and order”

Trump announced on July 22 that he will send federal agents to Chicago and Milwaukee, as part of his push to advance the idea that he is a “LAW & ORDER” president. Trump insists that “violent anarchists” allied with “radical left” Democrats have launched “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.” “This bloodshed must end,” he said. “This bloodshed will end.” To hear the president tell it, the country is at war against a leftist enemy that is destroying us from within. But his dark vision is simply not true. While crime is indeed...

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A Deadly Reelection Stunt: Deployment of secret police force meant to distract from COVID-19 crisis

Trump is shifting his reelection pitch, and it has frightening implications for the country. Over the weekend, the federal crackdown in Portland, Oregon continued with people in unmarked camouflage uniforms arresting peaceful protesters and taking them away in unmarked vehicles. And then, they appeared — for now — to let them go. The administration appears to be constructing a scene of violence and disorder for the news media to show to viewers. It seems clear that the Trump campaign — which got a new director on July 15 – is going to make its case for reelection on the...

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Remembering John Lewis: An icon of the social justice movement with a legacy of community service

Just before midnight on July 17, we heard the news that 80-year-old Georgia Representative John Lewis has passed away from pancreatic cancer. As a young adult, Lewis was a “troublemaker,” breaking the laws of his state: he broke the laws upholding racial segregation. He organized voting registration drives and in 1960 was one of the thirteen original Freedom Riders, white and black students traveling together from Washington DC to New Orleans to challenge segregation. “It was very violent. I thought I was going to die. I was left lying at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery unconscious,” Lewis later...

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