From the Historian of the U.S. Senate, a Joseph Keppler cartoon from Puck Magazine, “The Making of a Senator.” Print by J. Ottmann Lith. Co. after Joseph Keppler, Jr., Puck. Lithograph, colored, 1905-11-15. Image with text measurement Height: 18.50 inches (46.99 cm) Width: 11.50 inches (29.21 cm) Cat. no. 38.00624.001
This is a lithograph after a cartoon by Joseph Keppler in Puck Magazine, November 15, 1905. Keppler’s cartoons kept on the heat for some legislative solution to continuing corruption in state legislatures and the U.S. Senate, driven by the ability of large corporations and trusts to essentially purchase entire states’ legislatures, and tell legislators who to pick for the U.S. Senate.
The “people” were at the bottom of the pile when it came to electing U.S. senators, when Joseph Keppler, Jr.’s cartoon, “The Making of a Senator, ” appeared in Puck on November 15, 1905. Voters elected the state legislatures, which in turn elected senators. Keppler depicted two more tiers between state legislatures and senators: political bosses and corporate interests. Most notably, he drew John D. Rockefeller, Sr., head of the Standard Oil Corporation, perched on moneybags, on the left side of the “big interests. ”
This cartoon appeared while muckraking magazine writers such as Ida Tarbell and David Graham Phillips were accusing business of having corrupted American politics. The muckrakers charged senators with being financially beholden to the special interests. Reformers wanted the people to throw off the tiers between them and directly elect their senators–which was finally achieved with ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913.
Recent scuttlebutt about repealing the 17th Amendment seems to me wholly unconnected from the history. The 17th Amendment targeted corruption in the Senate and states. It largely worked, breaking the course of money falling from rich people and large corporations into the hands of everyone but the people, and breaking the practice of corporate minions getting Senate seats, to do the bidding of corporations and trusts.
Anti-corruption work was part of the larger Progressive Agenda, which included making laws that benefited people, such as clean milk and food, pure drugs, and banking and railroad regulation so small farmers and businessmen could make a good living. Probably the single best symbol of the Progressive movement was “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, Congressman, Governor and U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. LaFollette was a great supporter of the 17th Amendment
Nicknamed “Fighting Bob,” La Follette continued to champion Progressive causes during a Senate career extending from 1906 until his death in 1925. He strongly supported the 17th Amendment, which provided for the direct election of senators, as well as domestic measures advocated by President Woodrow Wilson’s administration, including federal railroad regulation and laws protecting workers rights. La Follette worked to generate wider public accountability for the Senate. He advocated more frequent and better publicized roll call votes and the publication of information about campaign expenditures.
Criticism of the 17th Amendment runs aground when it analyzes the amendment by itself, without reference to the democracy- and transparency-increasing components from the rest of the Progressive movements’ legislative actions from 1890 to 1930.
No one favors corruption and damaging secrecy in politics. By pulling the 17th out of context, critics hope to persuade Americans to turn back the clock to more corrupt times.
Couldn’t believe the Germans were so upset about Trump not releasing his taxes for 456 days! Oh, Bundesstraße 456. Wikipedia image
Today September 15 is the 456th day since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, having promised to release his tax returns so American voters could discern and judge his openness, that Trump failed to deliver on that promise.
Word out of the Trump campaign today is Trump doesn’t want to release his taxes because he’s afraid people will look at them.
Rocket 455, an obscure band whose record cover reminds American voters Donald Trump failed to release his taxes for a world record 455th day. Did his dog eat them? (If only Trump were “safe, harmless.”) (Image from Amoeba Records)
Today is the 455th day since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, having promised to release his tax returns so American voters could discern and judge his openness, that Trump failed to deliver on that promise.
We may have clear indications of why Trump does not want Americans to see his taxes. Newsweek today published a story detailing Trump’s business dealings with crooked Russian oligarchs and other shady people, foreign interests which would probably scare away honest American voters, and quite a few in his handbasket of deplorable supporters as well. Trump’s foreign businesses pose threats to U.S. national security.
Trump makes the “cover” of electronic Newsweek, but he’s not happy. See the blurb, lower right, saying Trump’s business dealings threaten U.S. national security. BoingBoing image
So, American voters, you know now WHY Trump doesn’t want to release his taxes, and why it’s more important than ever to get him to release them. A man who wishes to follow the footsteps of FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan and Obama, needs to be transparent in dealings with foreign powers.
In contrast with Rocket 455, Trump is a complete cipher. Rocket 455 are better qualified to be president than Donald Trump, from their tax returns.
Poster for a concert by Rocket 455 and others; they lay out their souls in public. Trump should at least release his taxes. (His soul might darken the day; let’s not go there.) Chris*Kro image
Uncaptioned photo from the Twitter feed of business excellence chronicler Tom Peters, @Tom_Peters
Sign on a litter receptacle:
Resemble not the slimy snail, who with his filth proclaims his trail.
Post your vote here for a cleaner England.
It’s not particularly flattering to the snail, and probably a bit off on the actual biology of snail trails. I particularly like the emphasis on “voting” with action. Reality is that we change the planet, for the better or for worse, with many small, individual acts every day, each one a vote on the future.
Anyone know where this can is? Are there many like it in England?
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
Under Texas’ new restrictive photo/voter ID law, more than 600,000 Texans now lack sufficient identification to vote in elections, with little to no help from the State of Texas to resolve the problems. The Texas Voter Identification Assistance Project, coordinated by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit, provided assistance to Texas voters who wished to vote but lacked the newly required identification, and thus were disenfranchised.
At the Campaign Legal Center’s site, there’s a press release on the video, released to correspond with arguments on voter identification issues at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
CLC FILM RELEASE: On Day of Fifth Circuit Oral Argument, Meet Victims of Texas Voter Photo ID Law
Apr 28, 2015
Today, the Campaign Legal Center released a short film focusing on three lifelong voters disenfranchised by Texas’ voter photo ID law (SB 14), the most restrictive and burdensome voter ID law in the nation. The ten-minute film produced by Firelight Media traces the efforts of the Campaign Legal Center’s Voter ID Project to assist registered voters to overcome the many hurdles erected by the new law in order to obtain the photo IDs required by SB 14.
Today in Veasey v. Abbott, oral arguments will be heard in a challenge to that law, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. Attorneys at the Campaign Legal Center serve as co-counsel for plaintiffs Congressman Marc Veasey, LULAC, and a group of Texas voters.
Following a two-week trial last fall, U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos enjoined SB 14, finding that it was as an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote as well as an unconstitutional poll tax, had “an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose.” The state defendants immediately appealed Judge Ramos’ decision. In mid-October, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that decision solely to avoid confusion in the November 2014 elections, and the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently refused to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay.
The film released today traces the plight of three Texans who were victims of the Texas voter photo ID law and the massive effort required of many voters to exercise their right to vote under the new law.
“These longtime voters were had their voting rights violated because of SB 14 which the District Court found to be unconstitutional and in violation of the Voting Rights Act,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Executive Director of The Campaign Legal Center. “The plight of these victims, who suffered a violation of their voting rights through no fault of their own, mirrors the evidence that prompted Judge Ramos to strike down Texas’ intentionally discriminatory, modern-day poll tax.”
The first challenge (Veasey v. Perry) to the Texas photo ID law was filed by the Campaign Legal Center and others in the summer of 2013 claiming that SB 14 violates the 1st, 14th, 15th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution, as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Several additional challenges were then brought against the Texas law (including one by the United States). All of the cases were consolidated in the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi.
In addition to overseeing the Voter ID Project, the Campaign Legal Center is part of the legal team representing the Veasey-LULAC plaintiffs that includes Chad Dunn and K. Scott Brazil (Brazil & Dunn), Neil G. Baron, David Richards (Richards, Rodriguez & Skeith), Armand Derfner (Derfner & Altman), and Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. (LULAC).
To read the Legal Center’s Fifth Circuit brief, click here.
To read the District Court decision striking down the Voter ID law, click here.
In every other way, this vote should be closely watched. Two nations pushed together by force of arms hundreds of years ago, discussing whether and how to split up. No guns. No tanks. Lots of discussion, lots of fun, lots of ballots. 97% of eligible voters registered to vote, and indications are at least 90% of them turned out.
Can you imagine what would happen in U.S. elections if 90% of registered voters showed up at the polls, instead of 40%, or 30%? Can you imagine if 97% of U.S. eligible voters bothered to register, instead of the less-than-50% we have now?
You bagpipes would flame, too.
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
A man shows off his finger, marked with ink, to show he’s voted in India’s elections, 2014. WSJ Tweet: India’s weeks-long federal elections come to a close. Photos from the polling place: http://trib.al/SekkQd2 (EPA)
In a democratic regime, political power grows from the finger that rings the doorbell or dials the phone to invite a neighbor to vote, and to that same finger marking the ballot in the voting place. In the 21st century, democratic revolutions are slower, cause less bloodshed, but are more deeply rooted in the will of the people, and last longer in the deep reforms they bring to a nation.
The finger is mightier than the gun.
Mao is dead. Even his nation turns towards capitalism, and eventually, to personal political freedom.
O, Tempora! O, Mores!
To which I would add (hoping I get the grammar correct!): Novaeviaeveteresmaliseius conterendos. Speset patientiasuperaretyrannidis. (New ways crush the old bad habits. Hope and determination overcome tyranny.)
I wrote to you last week about the Special Session that Governor Perry has called to address redistricting. As you know, state leaders have dropped their challenges to the Senate district map, meaning that the current makeup of Senate District 10 should remain unchanged for the remainder of the decade. This is wonderful news for our community. We’ve faced this redistricting battle for the past two years and have finally earned an important victory that continues to hold us together.
Unfortunately, Governor Perry is also insisting that the Legislature adopt the interim congressional and State House maps, which include features that a federal court ruled are in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The people of our district certainly know how important it is to have fairly drawn maps that allow voters to elect the leaders of their choice. All Texans deserve that.
You have a chance to speak out against the unfair congressional and State House maps.
I hope you will join us tomorrow for a public hearing with the House Select Committee on Redistricting. It’s vital that we make our voices heard. Let’s tell our state leaders to keep Senate District 10 intact and then to draw fair congressional and State House districts.
The Committee will hear testimony from any member of the public until 7:00 PM. Once again, I understand that this is extremely short notice. I wish that there were more opportunities for the people of North Texas to have their say on this critical issue, but this may be the only chance that we get. If you are able, please come stand with us in the fight for fair maps.
Your friend, and proudly, your state senator,
Will you be there?
Seal of State Senate of Texas. Wikipedia image. (Are those dots the Illuminati dots Gov. Perry insisted on?)
It’s a lousy place for inexpensive parking, so you may want to take the train — it runs within a couple of blocks of the hearing site. But it’s a vital topic.
One wearies of the Texas GOP ramming their views down the gullet of citizens as if voters were just geese to be fattened for foie gras.
March 5, 2013, is the 67th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s speech in Fulton, Missouri. He called the speech “Sinews of Peace,” but it is better known as the speech in which Churchill first used the phrase Iron Curtain to describe events in Eastern Europe after World War II.
Winston Churchill delivering the “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, March 5, 1946 – Photo by George Skadding
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”
Last June son James and I stopped off in Fulton, on the way back from James’s graduation from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. We were treated royally by the people at the Churchill Centre, and got a chance to spend time in what is really a first rate museum. More people should make Fulton a destination, or pause in their summer travels, for the sake of the kids.
The U.S. economy appears to be coming apart at the seams. Unemployment remains at nearly ten percent, the highest level in almost 30 years; foreclosures have forced millions of Americans out of their homes; and real incomes have fallen faster and further than at any time since the Great Depression. Many of those laid off fear that the jobs they have lost — the secure, often unionized, industrial jobs that provided wealth, security and opportunity — will never return. They are probably right.
Cover of Winner-Take-All Politics, by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson
And yet a curious thing has happened in the midst of all this misery. The wealthiest Americans, among them presumably the very titans of global finance whose misadventures brought about the financial meltdown, got richer. And not just a little bit richer; a lot richer. In 2009, the average income of the top five percent of earners went up, while on average everyone else’s income went down. This was not an anomaly but rather a continuation of a 40-year trend of ballooning incomes at the very top and stagnant incomes in the middle and at the bottom. The share of total income going to the top one percent has increased from roughly eight percent in the 1960s to more than 20 percent today.
This what the political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson call the “winner-take-all economy.” It is not a picture of a healthy society. Such a level of economic inequality, not seen in the United States since the eve of the Great Depression, bespeaks a political economy in which the financial rewards are increasingly concentrated among a tiny elite and whose risks are borne by an increasingly exposed and unprotected middle class. Income inequality in the United States is higher than in any other advanced democracy and by conventional measures comparable to that in countries such as Ghana, Nicaragua, and Turkmenistan.
Early voting for the twice-delayed* Texas primary elections opens this week. The election is set for May 29.
Happy to see the Texas Democratic Party sending out notices that voters won’t be turned away from the polls. It’s a clear effort to deflate the voting discouragement campaign of State Attorney General Greg Abbott, Gov. Rick Perry, and the Republicans of the Texas Lege.
I’d be interested to see that the Republican Party in Texas is doing something similar. They keep booting me off their lists. Anybody got a similar letter from them, especially one showing how the Texas Voter Identification law does not apply to this primary election?
* The elections were delayed by federal court orders. Texas is a place that historically discriminated against minority voters, and so under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, reapportionments by the legislature must be approved by the Justice Department or a federal court as complying with the nondiscrimination laws. AG Abbott tried to do an end run around Justice, suing for approval as a first step. As part of its War on Democracy, the Texas Lege wrote a spectacularly Gerrymandered reapportionment plan, depriving Texas Hispanics from new representation despite the dramatic increase in their populations. Consequently the federal courts balked at quick approval. Instead, they asked for more information. In the delay, the Washington courts ordered the federal court in San Antonio to draw up a more fair plan, giving at least three new seats to districts where Hispanics hold broad sway.
Litigation against the Texas Jim Crow Voter Identification law is separate.
We've been soaking in the Bathtub for several months, long enough that some of the links we've used have gone to the Great Internet in the Sky.
If you find a dead link, please leave a comment to that post, and tell us what link has expired.
Retired teacher of law, economics, history, AP government, psychology and science. Former speechwriter, press guy and legislative aide in U.S. Senate. Former Department of Education. Former airline real estate, telecom towers, Big 6 (that old!) consultant. Lab and field research in air pollution control.
My blog, Millard Fillmore's Bathtub, is a continuing experiment to test how to use blogs to improve and speed up learning processes for students, perhaps by making some of the courses actually interesting. It is a blog for teachers, to see if we can use blogs. It is for people interested in social studies and social studies education, to see if we can learn to get it right. It's a blog for science fans, to promote good science and good science policy. It's a blog for people interested in good government and how to achieve it.
BS in Mass Communication, University of Utah
Graduate study in Rhetoric and Speech Communication, University of Arizona
JD from the National Law Center, George Washington University