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Statue of Frederick Douglass — Former Slave and Abolitionist — Torn Down and Damaged in New York

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First the confederate flag was taken down across the nation, then statues of confederate soldiers, then statues of anyone with an association to slavery, now…statues of slaves who fought for freedom?

That’s right. The statue of Frederick Douglass, a former slave who fought for abolition and education, was ripped down in Rochester, New York on Sunday. It was removed from its pedestal by unknown vandals and found by authorities nearly 50 feet from its base leaning against a fence next to the Genesee River. The despicable act was carried out on the 168th anniversary of Douglass’s famous “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” speech given in the same town in 1852.

Carvin Eison, a member of the initiative ‘Re-energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass’, the group responsible for putting up the statue, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle another statue will have to be erected as the damage is so severe. He noted it was painful to see “a monument that we put so much work and thought and love and care into” mistreated and vandalized.

“I feel (we should) put a monument back here immediately so whoever did this knows that we are not going to be deterred from what our objective is, and our objective is to continually celebrate Frederick Douglass,” Eison told the local outlet.

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The city of Rochester, New York has 13 statues of the abolitionist throughout the city — the memorials were unveiled in 2018 to commemorate the bicentennial of Douglass’s birth.

The famous speech, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” delivered 168 years ago in Rochester, called out Americans for celebrating Independence Day while slaves were still in chains.

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” Douglass said in the famous oration. “To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless.”

Born into slavery, Douglass was chosen to live in his owners’ home and learned the alphabet from the slaveholder’s wife, Sophia. She was ordered to stop teaching but Douglass continued to seek knowledge from white kids in the neighborhood.

He learned to read and did so constantly. He taught other slaves how to read the New Testament until slaveowners broke the meetings up with weapons.

Moved around frequently, Douglass worked for different masters until his escape to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he hid from slave hunters for three years.

His intellect and speaking skills landed him as agent for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. He went on to write his famous biography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, a classic in American literature. He also started an anti-slavery newspaper, The North Star.

Douglass later befriended Abraham Lincoln and served as an advisor to the sixteenth president throughout the civil war.

According to Britannica, he went on to serve as assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission, marshal and recorder of deeds in Washington D.C. and U.S. Minister and Consul General to Haiti.

Douglass fought and spoke for abolition for the his entire life — he also was an early advocate for women’s rights.

“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker,” Douglass once said.

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WSJ: Corporate Dirty Pool in Washington’s Senate Race

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The Wall Street Journal’s,  Kimberly A. Strassel wrote a piece identifying how the Democrats are so worried about Washington Senator Patty Murray’s re-election “that Seattle’s corporate heavyweights are playing dirty pool on her behalf.”

Murray, a leftwing progressive, has faced little competition while in office; until now. Tiffany Smiley, a Republican nurse and entrepreneur “is pummeling Ms. Murray from every direction and laying out her own detailed reform agenda” adds the WSJ.

A RealClearPolitics average has Ms. Murray winning by 8 points. Another poll has Smiley within 2 points. Regardless, It’s close enough that “Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recently transferred $500,000 of his own campaign cash to Ms. Murray’s campaign.”

Money from Schumer isn’t the only liberal panic dough. “Starbucks, the Seattle Times and the Seattle Seahawks—are actively attempting to sabotage the Smiley campaign, albeit in a distinctly underhanded fashion” writes the WSJ. “Their targets are two effective Smiley campaign ads.”

At the center of the fight are two of Smiley’s ads: “Game Day” and “Cup of Coffee.”

Strassel reports:

In “Game Day” the Republican is in a kitchen preparing to watch a football game, hitting Ms. Murray and Democrats for the spiraling cost of food. In “Cup of Coffee,” she stands in front of a derelict building. Barely visible at the top, and seen backward, is the store’s faded Starbucks sign. Ms. Smiley hits Ms. Murray for rising crime, while the ad flashes two Seattle Times headlines, one of which reads: “Starbucks to Close 5 Seattle Stores Over Safety Concerns.”

“Game Day” hit the airwaves Sept 1. Five days later, according to documents I obtained, the Smiley campaign received a terse email from the Seahawks claiming a trademark violation. The ad briefly shows Ms. Smiley’s husband, Scotty—a retired U.S. Army Ranger who was blinded by shrapnel in Iraq—expressing alarm that “even beer” prices are rising. You only see his shoulders above a tall couch—and if you get a magnifying glass you might make out a letter or two from the word “Seahawks.” The letter insisted the Smiley campaign “immediately cease” its “unauthorized commercial use.” Nothing like your local sports franchise dumping cease-and-desist orders on wounded veterans.

“Cup of Coffee” went live on Sept. 20. The next day, the Seattle Times sent an email to the “Jane Smiley” campaign—apparently without running it past its fact-checking desk—accusing it of “unauthorized use of The Seattle Times logo and two headlines” in violation of the paper’s “copyright and trademark.” It demanded the campaign remove any references to the paper not only in its own ad, but in an NBC News article about the ad’s launch.

Two days later, Starbucks sent a certified letter saying the campaign was appropriating its intellectual property, and complaining it might “create an unfounded association in the minds of consumers between Starbucks and your campaign.” It insisted the campaign either pull the ad or alter it to strip both the (barely visible, backward) sign and the Seattle Times headline referencing Starbucks.

One such letter may be the product of an overzealous lawyer, but three in a row looks like more than a coincidence. One might even wonder if some Murray staffer was putting bugs in Seattle business leaders’ ears. And while corporate political-action committees routinely play politics by making donations, it’s something else for individual companies to go to bat for a candidate via behind-the-scenes threats based on tenuous legal claims. These letters were bound to cost the Smiley campaign money and headaches and might have pushed it off the airwaves.

The campaign didn’t roll over. It made a painless accommodation to the “Game Day” ad, blurring the jersey colors to obscure anything distinct. In a legal letter sent Thursday to Starbucks, the campaign rebutted the company’s infringement claims, running through political speech protections and noting that no reasonable person would ever think a factual ad about shuttered Starbucks stores amounted to a coffee-chain endorsement. It suggested Starbucks focus on its own problems, like its recent union woes.

The Seattle Times also received a letter refuting its claims, but it got something in addition. The Smiley campaign on Thursday filed a Federal Election Commission complaint, charging the paper with providing the Murray campaign a prohibited in-kind contribution. It turns out that Ms. Murray has also used a Seattle Times headline in her ads. Her “First 2016 Ad” sports the newspaper’s logo under the headline: “Patty Murray’s and Paul Ryan’s Teamwork Is a Model for Congress.” It seems the Times has a different legal standard for candidates it endorses.

As the FEC complaint notes, the Smiley campaign would have to spend an estimated $5,000 to remove and update the ad—“costs that Patty Murray does not have to accrue.” It cites FEC regulations that provide “if a corporation makes its resources available for free, it must do so for all candidates.”

Don’t expect the Seattle corporate set to do anything on behalf of Ms. Smiley soon. But it shouldn’t be too much to ask that they do their politicking straight—and out in the open.

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