Lazy Saturday Reads

Good Morning!!

Seven U.S. Sailors are missing following a collision off the coast of Japan. NBC News: 7 U.S. Sailors Unaccounted for After Navy Destroyer Collides With Ship Off Japan.

The USS Fitzgerald, a 505-foot destroyer, collided with a Philippine container vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday local time (1:30 p.m. ET Friday), about 56 nautical miles off Yokosuka, the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

The ship, which had experienced some flooding after the collision, was tugged back to Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo, early Saturday.

Meanwhile search and rescue efforts by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and boats were underway in the area where the vessels collided.

The U.S. Navy said damaged areas of the ship will also be searched for the seven unaccounted-for sailors after the ship is safely docked.

“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,” Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement. “We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance.”

More details from The Washington Post:

The operators of the merchant ship, ACX Crystal, reported all of the 20-member Filipino crew were safe….

The Philippine-flagged Crystal is nearly four times as large as the Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided-missile destroyer. Japanese and U.S. vessels and aircraft fanned out across the scene of the collision, about 12 miles off Japan’s Izu peninsula. The Japanese coast guard led the search teams.

USS Fitzgerald arrives at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. TORU HANAI / Reuters

Three of the Fitzgerald’s crew, including the destroyer’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, were evacuated from the damaged vessel and are being treated at the U.S. naval hospital at Yokosuka, the home of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet.

Benson was reported to be in stable condition, while the other two were still having their injuries assessed. The Seventh Fleet had set up an information center for families of sailors serving on the ship.

The USS Dewey, another Navy destroyer and two naval tugboats were at the scene, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka. Two Japanese coast guard cutters with helicopters were helping with the search.

The Crystal, which is fully loaded with cargo, is bound for Tokyo, according to a website that tracks maritime traffic. Nippon Yusen K.K., the Japanese shipping company that operates the container ship.

The Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer commissioned in 1995, is part of the Yokosuka-based group that includes the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, but it was operating independently of the carrier when the collision occurred, Flanders said.

It still is not clear how the vessels collided, but one thing we know is that “President” Trump’s unfilled appointments could be a problem for those trying to find the missing sailors and determine the cause of this tragedy. The Guardian reports: USS Fitzgerald collision: Trump criticised for leaving key posts unfilled.

Donald Trump has been criticised for delays in appointing a navy secretary and ambassador to Japan, leaving a communications vacuum as the countries continued their search for seven missing sailors off the east coast of Japan.

The commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald, Bryce Benson, and two other crew were injured after the vessel collided with a Philippine-registered container ship before dawn on Saturday.

The US has been without an ambassador to Japan since Caroline Kennedy left Tokyo in January.

William Hagerty, nominated but not yet confirmed as Ambassador to Japan

Her successor, the Tennessee businessman William Hagerty, has attended a Senate confirmation hearing but has yet to take up his post.

Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official and co-founder of the McPherson Square Group, a strategic communications firm in Washington, pointed to the absence of an ambassador and navy secretary – two officials who would be expected to take a lead in liaising between the US navy, and Japanese and US government officials during the search.

“The USS Fitzgerald might sink off Japan and the US President can’t call our ambassador or our navy secretary because we have neither,” Friedman said.

Trump’s nominee for US navy secretary, Richard Spencer, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

The “president” has been too busy tweeting and raking in money from foreign governments to attend to his constitutional duties. According to Max Boot at Foreign Policy, he is also “proving to be too stupid to be president.”

I’m starting to suspect that Donald Trump may not have been right when he said, “You know, I’m like a smart person.” The evidence continues to mount that he is far from smart — so far, in fact, that he may not be capable of carrying out his duties as president.

There is, for example, the story of how Trump met with the pastors of two major Presbyterian churches in New York. “I did very, very well with evangelicals in the polls,” he bragged. When the pastors told Trump they weren’t evangelicals, he demanded to know, “What are you then?” They told him they were mainline Presbyterians. “But you’re all Christians?” he asked. Yes, they had to assure him, Presbyterians are Christians. The kicker: Trump himself is Presbyterian.

Trump claims he originated the saying “priming the pump.”

Or the story of how Trump asked the editors of the Economist whether they had ever heard of the phrase “priming the pump.” Yes, they assured him, they had. “I haven’t heard it,” Trump continued. “I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago, and I thought it was good.” The phrase has been in widespread use since at least the 1930s.

Or the story of how, after arriving in Israel from Saudi Arabia, Trump told his hosts, “We just got back from the Middle East.”

These aren’t examples of stupidity, you may object, but of ignorance. This has become a favorite talking point of Trump’s enablers. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for example, excused Trump’s attempts to pressure FBI Director James Comey into dropping a criminal investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on the grounds that “the president’s new at this” and supposedly didn’t realize that he was doing anything wrong. But Trump has been president for nearly five months now, and he has shown no capacity to learn on the job.

More broadly, Trump has had a lifetime — 71 years — and access to America’s finest educational institutions (he’s a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he never tires of reminding us) to learn things. And yet he doesn’t seem to have acquired even the most basic information that a high school student should possess. Recall that Trump said that Frederick Douglass, who died in 1895, was “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.” He also claimed that Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War, “was really angry that he saw what was happening in regard to the Civil War.”

Read the rest at Foreign Policy.

Think Progress on all those emoluments: Trump details how he’s profiting off the presidency.

New financial disclosure forms provide insight into where and how Donald Trump has reaped profits since he launched his bid for the presidency.

The 98-page filing with the Office of Government Ethics, released on Friday afternoon, provides an incomplete snapshot of Trump’s financial picture. But since Trump has broken presidential precedent by refusing to release his taxes, it’s the closest look into his investments the public has gotten so far.

The documents provide financial information for the period of time between last January and this spring — encompassing the lead-up to the presidential election and Trump’s transition into the White House.

Trump’s sprawling business empire is difficult to definitively quantify. However, the filings do show that the properties Trump has visited frequently as president have seen significant gains in income, the D.C. hotel at the center of an ethical controversy has generated millions in revenue, and the royalties for Trump’s books have soared.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he spent most of his weekendsimmediately after his inauguration, returned millions more in income after his campaign and subsequent election. Trump reported about $16 million in profits for Mar-a-Lago in his report filed in 2015, about $30 million in his report filed in 2016, and about $37 million in his most recent report.

Trump didn’t hide the fact that his presidency made Mar-a-Lago a more profitable venture for him. The initiation fee for the so-called “Winter White House” doubled to $200,000 — a figure that doesn’t include taxes and $14,000 annual dues — immediately after Trump was inaugurated.

Please click on the link and read the rest.

I’m sure you’ve already heard about this story, but it’s important to take note of it. In Trump’s America, police officer can kill unarmed black people on video and still evade punishment. Slate: Philando Castile’s Killer Acquitted Despite Forensics That Contradicted His Case.

Philando Castile’s killer, police officer Jeromino Yanez, was acquitted of manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm on Friday. The case of Castile’s shooting last July in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota had sparked mass protests after his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds posted a dramatic and wrenching video of the shooting’s aftermath. The video, taken with Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter in the car, included footage of Castile lying in a puddle of blood after he was struck five times from seven shots.

Castile had informed the officer that he was carrying a firearm, for which he had a permit. Shortly thereafter, Yanez opened fire. In his opening statement, Yanez’s defense attorney claimed that Castile was holding his gun when he was shot.

Philando Cast

“He has his hand on the gun,” Engh reportedly said during opening arguments. “The next command is, ‘Don’t pull it out.’ … [Yanez] can’t retreat … But for Mr. Castile’s continuous grip on the handgun, we would not be here.”

The prosecution argued that the 32-year-old school cafeteria supervisor with no violent criminal record was reaching for his driver’s license—as Yanez had instructed—and not his gun when he was shot. The forensic evidence and Reynold’s testimony would both seem to back up the prosecution’s account and rebut the defense’s version. Reynolds testified that he was trying to unbuckle his seatbelt so that he could get out his wallet and driver’s license when he was shot. As the Associated Press reported, this was supported by forensics:

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen highlighted autopsy evidence in his closing argument, reminding the jury of a bullet wound to what would have been Castile’s trigger finger — and that there was no corresponding bullet damage nor wounds in the area of Castile’s right shorts pocket, where he carried his gun. He also cited testimony from first responders who saw Castile’s gun in his pocket as he was loaded onto a backboard.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports: Hours after officer Yanez is found not guilty in fatal shooting of Philando Castile, marchers close I-94.

After 27 hours of deliberation, a jury of seven men and five women reached a verdict in Philando Castile’s death. Eight hours later, after a march in St. Paul, hundreds went on the freeway, where some faced off with police before 18 were arrested.

A jury found St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty Friday in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, whose livestreamed death during a traffic stop stunned a nation.

Castile’s family called the decision proof of a dysfunctional criminal justice system, while prosecutors cautioned the public to respect the jury’s verdict “because that is the fundamental premise of the rule of law.”

“I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota,” Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said at a news conference shortly after the verdict was read in court about 2:45 p.m. “My son loved this state. He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the Twin Cities — the state of Minnesota with TC on it. My son loved this city and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away.”

Castile’s girfriend Diamond Reynolds, who videotaped his murder.

Castile was a cafeteria worker who was very popular with the children he served. Twin Cities Pioneer Press: J.J. Hill school’s grief over Philando Castile’s death continues after verdict.

Philando Castile’s death last year rattled the J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School community.

Friday’s verdict acquitting the officer who fired the shots that killed the beloved school cafeteria worker brought no relief to their grief, parents contacted afterward said.

“I’m appalled, unbelievably sickened,” parent Chad Eisen Ramgren said about the verdict.

Castile — called “Mr. Phil” by the students — had worked at J.J. Hill for two years as nutrition services supervisor before he was fatally shot by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop on July 6. A vigil and children’s march were held in the days after outside the school where his smile and kindness were recalled….

Families knew Mr. Phil as the man who gave their children high-fives in the lunch line and helped them with their lunch numbers.

More at the link.

I’ll have more links in the comment thread. Please join me in posting your thoughts and links.


Lundi Gras Reads

Proteus floatSo, we’re headed into Mardi Gras 2016 down here in New Orleans.  Some big football game in some other city just wrapped up the season.  New Hampshire has its first in the country presidential primary tomorrow and somewhere out there Marco Rubio is having a terrible very bad day!  Yasssssss!!!  Oh, and Happy Year of the Male Fire Monkey!!! Tashi Losar! This is a very eventful lunar period in many ways.

Lundi Gras is the traditional resting day for us before the big day. My plans include making groceries at Rouse’s and picking up dog food at Bark Market. The Kings of Rex and Zulu will appear today. Today there is one parade. It’s the Krewe of Proteus which was founded in 1882.  Their floats are quite historical as they use the original chassis and keep many of their traditional designs.

The Krewe of Proteus parade is based on Egyptian mythology. Proteus was the son of Poseidon, herded Poseidon’s seals, the great bull seal at the center of the harem. He can tell the future, change his shape and will only answer to someone who can capture him.

The images today are historical drawings of old floats and costumes from Proteus.

Here’s some more information on Proteus from the NOLA History Guy.  One of the things he mentions is the Ordinance passed by the City Council to get Krewes to be more racially diverse.  The New Orleans Celebration does have some really deep roots in racism as well as class.

The Council’s unanimous vote came after leaders of six prominent, mostly white parade clubs had pledged to begin trying to integrate “racially and ethnically” by 1993.

Despite objections from civil rights advocates, the Council followed the recommendation of a committee appointed by Mayor Sidney Barthelemy to study the issue. The committee began its deliberations during the furor that arose after the law was proposed last fall by Councilwoman Dorothy Mae Taylor, who is black.

As passed by the Council in December, the ordinance, which takes effect in 1994, would have denied parade and liquor permits to any Carnival clubs, called krewes, that had membership barriers based on “race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex or sexual orientation, age, physical condition or disability.”

Krewes would have had the burden of proving they did not discriminate, and leaders of clubs found to be in violation would have been subject to a $300 fine and up to five months in jail. Watered Down Twice

In February, the Council deleted the jail-sentence provision and removed the burden of proof from the clubs, placing it instead on their accusers.

On Thursday the Council allowed krewes to remain all-male or all-female and softened enforcement of the law. The city now must dismiss any discrimination complaint against a krewe if the club submits an affidavit pledging that it does not discriminate. Change Called ‘Absurd’

If you’d like to read more on this, I suggest  Jame’s Gills’ Book Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans. I read it last year and it was quite enlightening.

I’ve been thinking about these things because of Beyonce and the release of her new video Formation which is fierce by any standard09oc-archives-1jpg-6b58d99c866504f9.  She’s gone full throttle social justice advocate for women, girls, and African Americans. It’s got slaps at the response to Katrina and a major nod to BLM.  It openly celebrates female sexuality too. She sang at that football game whose name I just can’t quite recall.  Responses to both video and performance include a plethora of items that show our country just cannot get beyond the racial divide. Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton and Beyonce have both been the subject of some rather nasty Twitters and such.

Members of the National Sheriffs’ Association meeting in Washington turned their backs on Beyonce during a Super Bowl halftime party, angered the NFL allowed her to sing a song they consider anti-police.

The Association told Secrets that when Beyonce performed a snippet of her hit “Formation,” the sheriffs holding their annual legislative meeting at the J.W. Marriott turned off the volume and video.

The video is marvelously controversial and includes scenes of New Orleans and the wonderful voice of our own Queen Diva Big Freedia.   You can believe the internet is alive with chatter.

Dee: Beyoncé has been accused of not caring enough about Black Lives Matter and of being a bad feminist (or not one at all); on “Formation,” she raises two middle fingers to all sides of her Illuminati-truthing haters with a bold intersection of the two fights. She is a black feminist, full stop. This is a video made for women — she speaks directly to “ladies” in the song’s blazing call to action — and it is clear she is done living for the will and want of men (and has been for a minute, actually). She’s “so possessive” of Jay Z’s love and his power that she wears his “Roc necklaces.” (Still, Hov’s got the hottest chick in the game wearing his chain.) She won’t stand by and watch young black women snatch their noses so far that they can no longer take pride in their Jackson 5 nostrils.

This is a new negro spiritual hymn, one that hits me deeper than Kendrick’s “Alright,” because every look, every lyric, every outfit, every moment is a statement of Black Girl Magic. Of course, I’m moved by that fly little black boy in a hoodie who joyfully dances in front of a barricade of white cops in riot gear. But I’m politically inspired when Beyoncé gives the Black Power salute atop a New Orleans cop car. Am I reaching to call this a protest song? I just can’t get “Mississippi Goddam” out of my head when I see it.

Then, there’s the Cam  “controversy”.   I admit to seeing none of it but being caught in the Twitterstorm that followed.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton showed his personality all season with his dabbin’ and dancing.

Many loved him for it.

Some criticized him for it.

The 2015 league MVP showed his personality again after Sunday night’s 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50 with short answers and an abrupt exit from his postgame news conference.

It wasn’t pretty. The player known for his infectious smile and designer attire answered seven questions with a frown and black hoodie pulled over his head.

It’ll get Newton more criticism than love.

But it was raw emotion just like his dabbin’.

Newton hates to lose, and he wears that emotion on his sleeve as boldly as he wore those Versace zebra-print pants on the trip to California.

Continue reading that article and you’ll see that Cam’s labelled as having “childlike behavior”.  Now the best I can be is a white ally but that description is not what I’d imagine one should say about a grown black f1b82a2fef3a2ee2f0dd92581a464875man who even thought he makes that much money basically tossing balls around in a game. With so much shit coming down in the world and this country, you would think that folks could be more upset by the level of child poverty in the country, the poisoning of children in a poor community by a state government, or say sending drone attacks down on a village.  But, no, we get all excited about a game and some artistic expression. And, it variably turns into a white denial of institutional racism on parade.

Or, you could be like me and be genuinely upset by assholes running to be the leader of the Free World like the aforementioned Marco Rubio.  I really hope the man has a horrid week because THIS. I want his goose cooked until its cinder.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) promised on Sunday that he would sign an abortion ban as president that provided exceptions for rape even though he preferred for pregnant victims to have their rapists’ babies.

Following a Saturday night’s Republican Presidential Debate on ABC News, host George Stephanopoulos noted during a Sunday interview that Rubio had been hammered for his belief that abortion was wrong even in cases of rape or incest.

“Abortion to me is not a political issue,” Rubio insisted. “It’s a human rights issue. And so, if [Jeb Bush] wants to make it a political issue, that’s his right. For me, it’s not.”

“I do require an exception for life of the mother because I’m pro-life,” he continued. “Number two, as I’ve said, if they pass a law in Congress that has exceptions, I’ll sign it. Because I want to save lives.”

“What do you say to that mom when you look her in the eye?” the ABC host wondered.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Rubio replied. “I mean, a crisis pregnancy, especially as a result of something as horrifying as that, I’m not telling you it’s easy. I’m not here saying it’s an easy choice. It’s a horrifying thing that you’ve just described.”

“I get it,” he added. “I really do. And that’s why this issue is so difficult. But I believe a human being, an unborn child has a right to live, irrespective of the circumstances of which they were conceived. And I know that the majority of Americans don’t agree with me on that.”

“And that’s why any law that passed will almost certainly have exceptions. And I’ll sign it.”

ed36c3a2d6a677d0aac1ad3ef3729a6eThat’s right neighborly of him.

Those of you that actually watched the debate with us on Saturday night know that Chris Christie went after Rubio with a relish and Rubio folded like an empty sack of flour.  We’ve frequently talked about Rubio’s penchant for sounding like he’s speaking from memorized 3×5 index cards.  You know, the kind that they used in high school bates backed in the day. Christie nailed him on it and all Rubio did was repeat the same thing over about 4 times.   The polls have taken a turn. Rubio is no longer the flavor of the month and the Twitter and Gifs have not been kind either.

An internal poll conducted on Sunday suggests that Marco Rubio’s fumbled debate performance has damaged his prospects heading into the New Hampshire primary.

The poll, conducted by the pro-John Kasich New Day for America Super PAC, shows Rubio plummeting to fourth place in the primary here, with 10 percent of the vote. Most of the polling conducted in the immediate days before the debate showed Rubio in second place.

The survey, which was based on phone calls to 500 likely voters (margin of error plus or minus 3 percent), was conducted Sunday, the day following the latest Republican debate. Rubio came under scathing attack from Chris Christie, who cast the first term Florida senator as too unready, ambitious, and superficial to occupy the Oval Office.

Donald Trump holds a wide lead in the survey, receiving 35 percent. He more than doubles runner-up Kasich, who has 15 percent. In third is Jeb Bush, with 13 percent. Behind Rubio in fifth and sixth place, respectively, are Christie and Ted Cruz. Both receive 8 percent.

The results are welcome news for Kasich and Bush, both of whom have made New Hampshire the centerpiece of the primary campaigns. Strong performances on Tuesday will give them reason to fight on to the South Carolina primary, which will be held Feb. 20.

So, what’s more important in the scheme of things?  A football game, a video, the potential return of another Bush?  Oh, and of course, Rubio’s a Republican so it’s the media’s fault for emphasizing that he repeated10562275-large the same damned thing about Obama 4 times.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a fundraising email Monday that passed off New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) attacks on the freshman senator’s canned talking points as a controversy ginned up by the media.

The email said the media pounced on the Rubio campaign’s “building momentum” by making hay out of the fact that the senator “pointed out a few times” during Saturday’s Republican presidential debate “that President Obama has been very deliberate about achieving his bad policies.”

“This isn’t the first time the media has tried to distract people,” the email read. “We can’t afford to let the media get away with this.”

Rubio had said some variation of the line, “Barack Obama is undertaking an effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world,” four times during the debate. Christie repeatedly attacked Rubio’s repetition on the stage, calling the Obama line the senator’s “memorized 25-second speech.”

In the fundraising email, which didn’t mention Christie, Rubio said he would stick with the language.

Good luck with that.

If I wanted to give you all a headache, I’d start in on how horrible MoDo was this weekend.  But, BNR has done it for me so I’ll leave it at that.

Dowd is the leading purveyor of Rovian anti-Hillary memes, sophisticated negative character frames crafted in conservative oppo shops to undermine Hillary’s candidacy. Dowd believes that as a woman, she is immune from claims of sexism, so her Hillary-bashing screeds are bursting at the seams with blatantly sexist language, lies and innuendo.

Her latest column includes the following verbatim phrases:

  • Hillary still has not learned the art of seduction on stage
  • Overplays her feminist hand
  • Feels too competitive with her husband
  • Bill could tell her not to shout her way through rallies, adding to her authenticity problem
  • Her campaign cries sexism too often
  • Hillary huffily said…
  • And she’s still not likable enough for the young women who were supposed to carry her forward as a Joan of Arc.
  • With Hillary, there are three things [that make her stupid]: sex, money and the need for secrecy.
  • Nixonian obsession with secrecy by the woman who was once an idealistic lawyer
  • Hillary was there sucking at the teat
  • She tried to drag in others to excuse her own ethically lax behavior

Dowd’s hate masquerading as an editorial is nothing new. She’s been doing this for two decades. But she got sloppy this time, slipping in a line accusing America’s first African American president of “using race” to get elected:

Then there’s the pile on the Big Dawg for a few things he said in a speech and what Madeline Albright said in a speech and what Gloria Steinem said in a speech. Yes, BernieBros, the Clintons control the media narrative. You can sure tell it by the nasty ass coverage of all this including the ginning up of your basic catfight.

Nearly defeated in Iowa, trailing in New Hampshire, and worried about everywhere else,Hillary Clinton’s campaign is bringing out the big guns, releasing political kraken Bill Clinton and summoning feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright to reclaim young female voters who have flocked to Bernie Sanders.

In a sign that the formerly inevitable nominee is growing anxious, Bill went all-out against Sanders during a speech Sunday in New Hampshire that sparingly mentioned the Vermont senator by name, but implied that he was a hypocrite whose ideals were untethered to reality. “When you’re making a revolution, you can’t be too careful with the facts,” he sniped, according to The New York Times. But Bill didn’t stop there, accusing the Sanders campaign of fomenting the alleged “Bernie Bro” phenomenon, described by Politicoas a group “who harass female Clinton supporters online and accuse them of ‘voting with their vagina’ and call them ‘bitches.’” Condemning what he called “vicious trolling,” Bill said the attacks on his wife are “literally too profane … not to mention sexist.” (Sanders has denounced any sexism among the ranks of his supporters, saying misogyny has no place in his campaign.)

But Bill was not alone in his unusually harsh words for Sanders and his supporters. The Clinton campaign also tapped Steinem and Albright, two prominent, glass-ceiling-shattering women, to join in chastising young female voters for not supporting one of their own. “We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Albright said Saturday during a Hillary event, according to The New York Times. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” Steinem, never one to mince words, suggested Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher that young women are supporting Sanders’s campaign because “the boys are with Bernie.” Steinem and Albright both received significant backlash for their comments, with the Times reporting that some young women were insulted by the suggestion that they were “misinformed and stupid” for not voting along gendered lines.

The series of seemingly coordinated moves underscores how much Clinton, who made women’s rights a core mission during her time as secretary of state, has stumbled with female voters. Recent polls suggestthat women under 35 overwhelmingly prefer Sanders by a 20-point margin, citing their disapproval of Clinton’s Wall Street ties and her less progressive positions on economic problems like student debt and a weak job market for entry-level positions. Hillary hasn’t recovered well from these attacks, recently refusing to release transcripts of her speeches to large banks and organizations—for which she received compensation well into the six figures—unless everyone else “who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances” does so as well.

Since this is getting long, I’m going to let you add the links to the criticism for all that if you want along with your thoughts.  Or, we can talk about what kind of challenges we have in this country and who is the best to deal with them.

Meanwhile, did you know there’s a video with a black woman suggesting that the police should stop killing unarmed black people and that a black quarterback with his own kind’ve style upset reporters by leaving a presser early?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: Black Lives Matter News and NonBlack Allies

BlackLivesMatter-1It’s Monday!  The heat wave continues!  We’ve also had another police involved shooting during peaceful protests at Ferguson. There is additional news on the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) protesters that have staged events at Bernie Saunders rallies.  I’m going to focus today on the movement and its actions to bring further attention and action to the criminal justice system’s unequal treatment of Black Americans.

Both BB and I have felt highly compelled to write about the incredible challenges black communities face with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. We’ve both lived in communities with noticeable systemic racial injustice. The militarization of the police along with “broken windows” policing has taken a toll on police-community relations.  Additionally, the FBI has warned that white supremacists and radical right influences have infiltrated police departments across the country which has likely had an impact on many of these killings and brutal behaviors. 

Because of intensifying civil strife over the recent killings of unarmed black men and boys, many Americans are wondering, “What’s wrong with our police?” Remarkably, one of the most compelling but unexplored explanations may rest with a FBI warning of October 2006, which reported that “White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” represented a significant national threat.

Several key events preceded the report. A federal court found that members of a Los Angeles sheriffs department formed a Neo Nazi gang and habitually terrorized the black community. Later, the Chicago police department fired Jon Burge, a detective with reputed ties to the Ku Klux Klan, after discovering he tortured over 100 black male suspects. Thereafter, the Mayor of Cleveland discovered that many of the city police locker rooms were infested with “White Power” graffiti. Years later, a Texas sheriff department discovered that two of its deputies were recruiters for the Klan.

In near prophetic fashion, after the FBI’s warning, white supremacy extremism in the U.S. increased, exponentially. From 2008 to 2014, the number of white supremacist groups, reportedly, grew from 149 to nearly a thousand, with no apparent abatement in their infiltration of law enforcement.

This year, alone, at least seven San Francisco law enforcement officers were suspended after an investigation revealed they exchanged numerous “White Power” communications laden with remarks about “lynching African-Americans and burning crosses.” Three reputed Klan members that served as correction officers were arrested for conspiring to murder a black inmate. At least four Fort Lauderdale police officers were fired after an investigation found that the officers fantasized about killing black suspects.

The United States doesn’t publicly track white supremacists, so the full range of their objectives remains murky. Although black and Jewish-Americans are believed to be the foremost targets of white supremacists, recent attacks in Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina, demonstrate that other non-whites, and religious and social minorities, are also vulnerable. Perhaps more alarmingly, in the last several years alone, white supremacists have reportedly murdered law enforcement officers in Arkansas, Nevada and Wisconsin.

As I mentioned, there was a police involved shooting last night after a day of peaceful protests and remembrances ofblack-lives-matter-1 the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.  Brown’s death was the start of the Black Lives Matter Campaign.

A peaceful day of protest and remembrance dissolved into chaos late Sunday when a man fired multiple shots at four St. Louis County plainclothes detectives in an SUV. The detectives fired back and the shooter was struck, said county Police Chief Jon Belmar. He was in critical condition.

Tyrone Harris identified the victim as his son, Tyrone Harris Jr., 18, of St. Louis. Harris said shortly after 3 a.m. that his son had just gotten out of surgery.

He said his son graduated from Normandy High School and that he and Michael Brown Jr. “were real close.”

“We think there’s a lot more to this than what’s being said,” Harris Sr. said.

In a 2:30 a.m. press conference, Belmar said there is a “small group of people out there that are intent on making sure we don’t have peace that prevails.

“We can’t sustain this as a community,” he said.

Belmar said two groups of people exchanged gunfire on the west side of West Florissant Avenue at the same time the shooting took place, shortly after 11 p.m. Shots were heard for 40-50 seconds, Belmar said. “It was a remarkable amount of gunfire,” he said.

The people doing the shooting “were criminals,” Belmar said. “They were not protesters.”

Investigators recovered a 9 mm Sig Sauer that had been stolen in Cape Girardeau, Belmar said.

Protesters had blocked West Florissant Avenue north of Ferguson Avenue, and the detectives were tracking a man they believed was armed, along with several of his acquaintances, whom they also thought were armed.

In a chaotic scene, police officers, reporters and protesters ran for cover. People sprinted across the street and dived behind parked cars.

Black-Lives-MatterSenator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders continues to experience #BLM protests–most recently 2 days ago in Seattle–at rallies and campaign events.   Sanders held a campaign event in LA today.  Clinton continues to have overwhelming support in black and Hispanic communities as Sanders struggles to communicate his civil rights messages and agendas.  Clinton discussed college affordability in New Hampshire today.  Sanders LA event included black community leaders who specifically addressed #BLM concerns.  This is a first for Sanders whose events tend to focus on middle class populist economic issues.

Sanders and the lawmakers who introduced him mentioned racial inequalities throughout the event, a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Vermont senator’s earlier speech in Seattle that was shut down by protesters.

“Brothers and sisters, what a turnout,” Sanders said at the start of his speech. “It doesn’t seem true but we began this campaign about three and a half months ago, and the momentum has been unbelievable.”

The latest turnout, which was verified by arena staff, supersedes the more than 11,000 people who attended a Sanders rally in Phoenix in July. Doors were closed at the venue, according to arena staff, before the rally started. Sanders’ campaign said the candidate also spoke to around 3,000 people outside the venue who were not able to get inside.

The energized audience, many of whom lined up hours before the event, cheered at nearly everything he said. Sanders, his shirt soaked with sweat, said the turnout proved that “people are tired of establishment politics, establishment economics and they want real change.”

The atmosphere was markedly different than Sanders’ first event of the day, where Black Lives Matter protesters confronted the senator and shut down his event.

Though he did not directly address the earlier disturbance, Sanders cast himself as a lifelong fighter for civil rights.

“No President,” he said, “will fight harder to end the stain of racism in this country and reform our criminal justice system. Period.”

Later in the speech, Sanders touched on an issue Black Lives Matter protesters want to hear more on.

“It makes more sense to me to be investing in jobs and education for our kids than in jails and incarceration,” he said.

Sanders was introduced by a series of speakers, nearly all of whom mentioned Black Lives Matters.

“Sen. Sanders knows, as do I, that Black Lives Matter,” state Rep. Luis Moscoso said. “Racial inequality is as serious as economic inequality. No one should be dehumanized by their race.”

State Sen. Pramila Jayapal said Sanders knows “it is not enough just to say we care, it is not enough. What we have to do is call out personal, individual and institutionalized racism at every opportunity.”

Sanders’ campaign also announced Saturday that Symone D. Sanders, an African-American woman, has been hired as its national press secretary.

Jayapal wrote this Guest Editorial over the weekend.

1) This is one small result of centuries of racism. As a country, we still have not recognized or acknowledged what we have wrought and continue to inflict on black people. The bigger results are how black kids as young as two are being disciplined differently in their daycares and pre-k classes. That black people are routinely denied jobs that white people get with the same set of experiences and skills. That black people—women and men—continue to die at the hands of police, in domestic violence, on the streets. That black mothers must tell their children as young as seven or eight that they have to be careful about what pants or hoodies they wear or to not assert their rights if stopped. That this country supports an institutionalized form of racism called the criminal justice system that makes profit—hard, cold cash—on jailing black and brown people. I could go on and on. But the continued lack of calling out that indelible stain of racism everywhere we go, of refusing to see that racism exists and implicit bias exists in all of us, of refusing to give reparations for slavery, of refusing to have our version of a truth and reconciliation process—that is what pushes everything underneath and makes it seem like the fault is of black people not of the country, institutions, and people that wrought the violence. That is the anger and rage that we saw erupt yesterday on stage. But it’s not the problem, it’s a symptom of the disease of unacknowledged and un-acted upon racism.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve found some Sanders supporters to adopt over the top misogynistic and racist tones that are unbecoming and unrelated to the candidate himself. I certainly hope that we can continue to see a Democratic Presidential Campaign season that shows the benefit of focusing on issues and not personalities.  I have no idea why some supporters for some candidates feel the need to bully voices raising issues and narratives.  This isn’t some Aldous Huxley reality where we all mouth phrases to ensure our choices comply with some internal need for ego stroking.

Sunday’s Washington Post featured a compelling narrative of “Black and Unarmed” and how simple policing activities have lead to the deaths of many unarmed black people around the country.

So far this year, 24 unarmed black men have been shot and killed by police – one every nine days, according to a Washington Post database of fatal police shootings. During a single two-week period in April, three unarmed black men were shot and killed. All three shootings were either captured on video or, in one case, broadcast live on local TV.

Those 24 cases constitute a surprisingly small fraction of the 585 people shot and killed by police through Friday evening, according to The Post database. Most of those killed were white or Hispanic, and the vast majority of victims of all races were armed.

However, black men accounted for 40 percent of the 60 unarmed deaths, even though they make up just 6 percent of the U.S. population. The Post’s analysis shows that black men were seven times more likely than white men to die by police gunfire while unarmed.

The latest such shooting occurred Friday, claiming Christian Taylor, 19, a promising defensive back on the Angelo State University football team. Police said Taylor crashed an SUV through the front window of a car dealership in Arlington, Tex., and was shot in an altercation with responding officers. The case is under investigation.

The disproportionate number of unarmed black men in the body count helps explain why outrage continues to simmer a year after Ferguson — and why shootings that might have been ignored in the past are now coming under fresh public and legal scrutiny.

“Ferguson was a watershed moment in policing. Police understand they are now under the microscope,” said Mark Lomax, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, which represents police rank-and-file.

Video shot by bystanders or captured on police camera, meanwhile, has served in some cases to undermine trust in police. So far this year, three officers have been charged with crimes after fatally shooting unarmed black men. All three were caught on video. One — the April shooting of Eric Harris in Tulsa — appears to have been an accident. But in the other two, the footage contradicted the officer’s initial account of what happened.

“Prior to Ferguson, police were politically untouchable. Ferguson changed that calculus,” said Georgetown University professor Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor whose book, “The Chokehold: Policing Black Men,” is scheduled to be published next year.

Jamie Utt writes about “Interrupting Bernie” and the tone-deafness and insensitivity of many white liberals and democrats to black concerns.

Notably, Black Lives Matter activists haven’t been successful (though I am sure not for lack of trying) in interrupting Hillary Clinton in the same way (that secret service protection and massive campaign budget for private security sure is handy), but even she has had little choice but to pay attention to Black Lives Matter as a mlk-cfwmovement.

And there is a great deal of disagreement within Black communities (we as White folks would do well to remember that people and Black organizations aren’t monoliths) about whether the action was strategic and whether targeting Bernie was the right move. And that dialogue should continue to take place within Black liberation spaces, but White folks – that’s not our business.

Because here’s the thing – what’s powerful about these interruptions from Black women is less how it has changed the tone of the Democratic campaigns and more about what they have exposed in the White left.

I see these protests as less about the individual candidates themselves and more about how their White base refuses to center Black lives and Black issues. It’s notable that White Bernie supporters, who consider themselves the most progressive of us all, shouted down and booed Black women who dared to force Blackness into the center of White space.

Because let’s be honest, every Bernie rally is White space.

In watching the over-the-top angry response from White liberals about Bernie being interrupted in Seattle, I can’t help but think of the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on White moderates:

The MLK quote is shown on the image reproduced here. I hope as the Democratic primaries continue we can focus on the issues that involve our many communities.   I also hope that the we can get whatever group of people who feel the need to censor other people’s concerns because they feel the need to be right about everything.

What’s on your reading and blogging list?