Contrary to the mythology, the US is going backwards on race equality

At the march on Washington in August 1963, where Martin Luther King made his “I have a dream speech”, the United States Information Agency, the nation’s propaganda wing devoted to “public diplomacy”, made a documentary. It wanted to make sure that the largest demonstration in the history of the US capital, demanding jobs and freedom and denouncing racism, was not misconstrued by the nation’s enemies or potential allies. Their aim was to show the newly independent former colonies that the US embraced peaceful protest. “Smile,” they called to demonstrators as the camera rolled. “This is going to Africa.”

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Thought money could buy an American election? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

The finance chairman of the Republican national committee, Ray Washburne, travelled to Chicago last Wednesday to solicit money from two big funders who had reached their donation limit for this election cycle. While he was on the plane, the supreme court ruled that there would no longer be any limits. Washburne told the New York Times that when he landed and heard the news, he said: “Eureka”. He came back with promises of more cash.

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Tony Benn knew the rules but would not play the game

The conductor was striding through the early train from Paddington to Penzance apologising as we shuddered to a halt just east of the Tamar. “I’m sorry for the delay,” he told Tony Benn, sitting opposite me. “There was a lightning strike on the line ahead.”

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