Monday Reads: MLK Holiday, Super Blood Wolf Moon, and waiting for this too to pass …Posted: January 21, 2019
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
The beginning of our celebration of the American Civil Rights Movement and the birth of Martin Luther King began with the syzygy of a Super Blood Wolf Moon in lunar eclipse. I hope you had as good a view of it as we did down here in New Orleans. It was amazing.
We began the day with another Democratic Party contender for President in 2020. Kamala Harris threw her hat in the ring. We have an amazing number of women with serious potential and ability eager to take on the Russian Potted Plant. This is the legacy of many and most importantly Hillary Clinton. Today, made me think of my childhood shero Shirley Chisolm. Kamala gave her a shout out! Chisolm would be ecstatic to see so many serious women candidates. Politico’s Christopher Caledego assesses Harris’ plan to run as a former, high profile prosecutor which worries many.
According to interviews with a half-dozen of her confidants and strategists, Harris will court voters wary of law enforcement by presenting herself as a kinder and gentler prosecutor — a “progressive” attorney who advocated for the vulnerable and served the public interest. At the same time, they believe leaning into her background will allow her to project toughness against Donald Trump, and contrast what they call her evidence-based approach to law and politics with the president’s carelessness with facts and legal troubles with the special prosecutor.
“In the face of a lawless president and a lawless administration, Americans are going to be looking for somebody who represents and stands for the rule of law,” one Harris adviser said.
But it will be a tough balancing act, and it’s an open question whether Harris has the political dexterity to pull it off. A scathing New York Times op-ed by a California law professor last week gave a taste of what the Californian is in for: It argued that Harris was overzealous against defendants in a slew of cases she or her office handled. Her critics and opponents quickly circulated the article.
We need immense criminal justice reforms as well as the reform of our immigration process. We have incredible problems nationally with local police forces and their treatment of minority communities. Does Kamala have the chops for these issues? Astead W Herndon of the NYT writes about her candidacy and her chances today.
In California, Ms. Harris sought to fashion a third-way approach to criminal justice as a city and state prosecutor, what she dubbed being “smart on crime.” But like many Democrats, she has sought to align herself with the party’s leftward drift in recent years, proclaiming her support for “Medicare for All” and, after an initial hesitation, disavowing most corporate donations and embracing the legalization of recreational marijuana, which Ms. Harris once rebuffed.
But it remains unclear how exactly Ms. Harris will position herself on the ideological spectrum in this race. She does not hurl rhetorical thunderbolts at Wall Street in the same fashion of colleagues and rivals like Senator Warren. Still, she is no centrist and would likely embrace an agenda that is more unreservedly progressive than some of her moderate opponents.
Ms. Harris focused her initial campaign themes on broad themes of unity and revitalization, which emphasize her unique status as one of — if not the — most viable black women to ever run for president. Her announcement video borrows language from “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the song and poem written in 1900 and long referred to as America’s “black national anthem.”
At a recent appearance to promote her latest book “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Ms. Harris, when asked why she would run for president, cited the need for leaders who have a “vision of our country in which everyone can see themselves.”
Democrats flocked to see her at a handful of public events tied to the book and many were enthusiastic about her potential.
“Her message of unity is key — people need that hope again,” said Valoree Celona, a 50-year-old insurance executive, who attended one of Ms. Harris’ book events earlier this month in New York. Ms. Celona, who said Ms. Harris caught her attention during Senate hearings, described the senator as “tough, but she’s fair.”
“I didn’t think someone from California could speak to all parts of the country, but I was impressed,” said Ava Leegant, a surgeon from San Francisco who also came to the New York event.
VP Pence–whose sole mission in life seems to be taking rights from others–has been co-opting the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. CNN’ Julian Zelizar calls his behavior and words “shocking”.
In the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Vice President Mike Pence shockingly invoked a line from the civil rights leader’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech to build support for President Donald Trump’s proposed deal on the border wall. Asking legislators to agree to Trump’s proposal of spending $5.7 billion on a border wall along with a temporary extension of the DACA program(that Trump dismantled), Pence said, quoting King, on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “Now is the time to make real the promises for democracy.” He compared King’s belief in using the legislative process to solve social problems to what the President is trying to do.
The “I Have a Dream” speech continues to resonate to this day as one of the most important symbols of a civil rights movement that was committed to ending social injustice and dismantling policies that enabled the inhumane treatment of people living in the United States and all around the globe.
The comments made by Pence — who works at the top of an administration that promotes policies that directly contradict King’s message — fly directly in the face of Martin Luther King’s legacy.
It does so because this is an administration that right now is holding the government hostage — leaving civil servants without paychecks and citizens without full benefits — in exchange for a monument made of brick and mortar or steel that most experts agree won’t do much to enhance border security. Not to mention that, under this administration, thousands of parents have been separated from their children at the border.
In a stark contrast to what King stood for, the Trump administration has repeatedly sent encouraging signals to the forces of white nationalism, starting with the President saying that there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, the keepers of the flame for the white Americans who did everything in their power to stop civil rights back in the 1960s.
And as a way to promote the passage of new voting restrictions — which would fall hardest on marginalized groups of voters — the administration has promoted false claims of election fraud.
I wake each day with one thought on my mind. Is today the day we can make him go away? Max Boot writes on the two year anniversary of this travesty of everything right and democratic at WAPO. “A look back on two dismal years of the Trump administration”. I’ve chose to share the section on incompetence with you.
Incompetence: If Trump has a saving grace, it is that he is so incompetent: A more cunning populist would be far more dangerous. His tweets are riddled with spelling, grammar and factual mistakes. (Remember the “smocking gun”?) More significantly, he couldn’t get a Republican-controlled Congress to approve a border wall or repeal Obamacare. His attempt to implement his Muslim ban led to chaos in airports and a lengthy court battle. He has record-setting turnover and numerous vacancies among his staff. (There is still no nominee for 37 percent of key administration jobs.) He impetuously announced a ban on transgender soldiers, the suspension of military exercises with South Korea and the withdrawal from Syria, catching the Pentagon by surprise. His administration leaked so badly that one anonymous official boasted in a New York Times op-ed of obstructing Trump’s agenda. He launched a trade war with China and a government shutdown with no exit strategy. His midterm campaign backfired, leading the Democrats to pick up 40 House seats. He can’t consistently break 40 percent approval despite a booming economy. And he’s not learning from his mistakes. From the vantage point of 2019, in the midst of a record-setting government shutdown, the chaos of 2017 looks like the good ole days.
We’re learning more about the cadre of young men from Kentucky whose parents sent them on a jaunt to the District to assert their white male privilege over the bodies of women. While it appears that the story began as a rush to judgement, the initial judgement was not that off. This situation still reeks of the white washing of Brett Kavanaugh and the fact they have the same smug little looks on their faces as they pronounce their sanctimonious BS still lets me know one thing. The struggle is real and the MAGA hats are today’s white hoods. This is via the NYT which has a history of white washing. Look out for the mayo!
In a lengthy video posted to YouTube, the Hebrew Israelite activists shouted insults at Native Americans and the high school students. One of the activists, Shar Yaqataz Banyamyan, denied in a Facebook video that his group had been instigators.
On Sunday night, Mr. Banyamyan said that their words had been misconstrued as hateful and that they, in fact, were being mocked by the students.
“I know we seem aggressive reading the Bible, but the Bible states for us to cry aloud and don’t spare anybody’s feelings,” he said. “We’re not violent or ignorant.”
A parent of a Covington Catholic sophomore, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of safety concerns for his family, said his son, who attended the event, said the students were shouting school chants to drown out harassment from the black men. When it worked, the students were “hyped up and high-fiving each other,” he said.
The parent and Mr. Sandmann’s statement denied that the students chanted about building a wall at the border with Mexico, as Mr. Phillips had said. But in an interview on Sunday, Chase Iron Eyes, a spokesman for the Indigenous Peoples Movement, which organized the march, said he had also heard chants of “build that wall,” a rallying cry of supporters of Mr. Trump.
Marcus Frejo, an Indigenous hip-hop artist who is also known as Quese Imc, said he was standing with a friend near the black men when tensions flickered. He said he was worried “something ugly” was going to happen.
Around that time, he said, Mr. Phillips approached, asking to borrow a drum. Together, they headed into the center of the students, creating a sort of prayer circle. They sang what he said was a well-known spiritual song associated with the American Indian Movement of the 1960s and used for prayer and resistance.
Any one wearing a MAGA hat is not going to be taken as a person of good intent. I do not care how self righteous the kid and his friends say they’ve been in this situation. And, all women and all POC know that “look” of white patriarchy asserting its superiority. Little white boys at expensive prep schools learn that look well.
The struggle continues.
Here’s a link to The Guardian’s pictures of last night’s moon. They’re worth a look.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?