Posts Tagged ‘Mike


Who Would Want To Be In His Shoes?

@dougmillsnyt: President Obama following a statement on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri & Iraq


The President’s Remarks on Ferguson


Transcript of the President remarks on the situation in Ferguson

 Earlier this afternoon, I spoke with Governor Nixon as well as Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill. I also met with Attorney General Eric Holder.

The Justice Department has opened an independent federal civil rights investigation into the death of Michael Brown. They are on the ground and along with the FBI, they are devoting substantial resources to that investigation.

The attorney general himself will be travelling to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with the FBI agents and DOJ personnel conducting the federal criminal investigation and he will receive an update from them on their progress.

He will also be meeting with other leaders in the community who’s support is so critical to bringing about peace and calm in Ferguson.

Ronald Davis, the director of the DOJ’s Office of Community- oriented Policing Services, or COPS, is also traveling to Ferguson tomorrow to work with police officials on the ground. We’ve also had experts from the DOJ’s community relations service, working in Ferguson since the days after the shooting to foster conversations among the local stake holders and reduce tensions among the community.

So, let me close just saying a few words about the tensions there. We have all seen images of protesters and law enforcement in the streets. It’s clear that the vast majority of people are peacefully protesting. What’s also clear is that a small minority of individuals are not.

While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos. It undermines rather than advancing justice.

Let me also be clear that our constitutional rights to speak freely, to assemble, and to report in the press must be vigilantly safeguarded: especially in moments like these. There’s no excuse for excessive force by police or any action that denies people the right to protest peacefully.

Ours is a nation of laws: of citizens who live under them and for the citizens who enforce them. So, to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other. Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other.

As Americans, we’ve got to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity that’s been laid bare by this moment. The potential of a young man and the sorrows of parents, the frustrations of a community, the ideals that we hold as one united American family.

I’ve said this before. In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear. And through initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper, I’m personally committed to changing both perception and reality. And already, we’re making some significant progress, as people of good will of all races are ready to chip in. But that requires that we build, and not tear down. And that requires we listen, and not just shout. That’s how we’re going to move forward together — by trying to unite each other and understand each other, and not simply divide ourselves from one another. We’re going to have to hold tight to those values in the days ahead. And that’s how we bring about justice, and that’s how we bring about peace.


QUESTION: The incident in Ferguson has led to a discussion about whether it’s proper to militarize the nation’s city police forces. And I’m wondering whether you wonder, or if you think that — you see that as a factor regarding the police response in Ferguson. And also, do you agree with the decision by the governor to send in the National Guard?

PRESIDENT: Well, I think one of the great things about the United States has been our ability to maintain a distinction between our military and domestic law enforcement. That helps preserve our civil liberties. That helps ensure that the military is accountable to civilian direction. And that has to be preserved.

After 9/11, I think understandably a lot of folks saw local communities that were ill-equipped for a potential catastrophic terrorist attack. And I think people in Congress, people of good will, decided we gotta make sure they get proper equipment to deal with threats that historically wouldn’t arise in local communities.

And some of that’s been useful. I mean, some law enforcement didn’t have radios that they could operate effectively in the midst of a disaster. Some communities needed to prepared if in fact there was a chemical attack, and they didn’t have hazmat suits.

Having said that, I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars, to make sure that what they’re — what they’re purchasing is stuff that they actually need. Because, you know, there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred. That would be contrary to our traditions.

And I think that there will be some bipartisan interest in reexamining some of those programs.

With respect to the National Guard, I think it’s important just to remember, this was a state-activated National Guard, so it’s under the charge of the governor. This is not something that we initiated at the federal level.

I spoke to Jay Nixon about this, expressed an interest in making sure that if in fact the National Guard is used, it is used in a limited and appropriate way. He described the support role that they’re gonna be providing to local law enforcement. And I’ll be watching over the next several days, to assess whether, in fact, it’s helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson.


ANN COMPTON: Let me ask you. This is an interesting time in your presidency …. and one of the things that you have so emphasized in the last few months, the last year or so, is this reach-out to Brothers — My Brother’s Keeper and to a generation that doesn’t feel that it has much chance. Sending the attorney general to Ferguson is a step. Has anyone there asked you, or have you considered going yourself? Is there more that you personally can do, not just for Ferguson, but for communities that might also feel that kind of tension and see it erupt in the way it has in Ferguson?

PRESIDENT: Well, Ann, obviously, we’ve seen events in which there’s a big gulf between community perceptions and law enforcement perceptions around the country. This is not something new. It’s always tragic when it involves the death of someone so young. I have to be very careful about not prejudging these events before investigations are completed. Because, although these are, you know, issues of local jurisdiction — you know, the DOJ works for me. And then when they’re conducting an investigation, I’ve got to make sure that I don’t look like I’m putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other.

So, it’s hard for me to address a specific case, beyond making sure that it’s conducted in a way that isn’t (ph) transparent, where there’s accountability, where people can trust the process, hoping that, as a consequence of a fair and just process, you end up with a fair and just outcome.

But, as I think I’ve said in some past occasions, part of the ongoing challenge of perfecting our union has involved dealing with communities that feel left behind, who, as a consequence of tragic histories, often find themselves isolated, often find themselves without hope, without economic prospects.

You have young men of color in many communities who are more likely to end up in jail or in the criminal justice system than they are in a good job or in college.

And, you know, part of my job, that I can do, I think, without any potential conflicts, is to get at those root causes.

Now, that’s a big project. It’s one that we’ve been trying to carry out now for a couple of centuries. And we’ve made extraordinary progress, but we have not made enough progress.

And so, the idea behind something like My Brother’s Keeper is can we work with cities and communities and clergy and parents and young people themselves, all across the country, school superintendents, business, corporations, and can we find models that work, that move these young men on — on a better track?

Now part of that process is also looking at our criminal justice system to make sure that it is upholding the basic principle of everybody’s equal before the law.

And — and one of the things that we’ve looked at during the course of where we can make — during the course of investigating where we can make a difference is that there’re patterns that start early.

Young African American and Hispanic boys tend to get suspended from school at much higher rates than other kids, even when they’re in elementary school. They tend to have much more frequent interactions with the criminal justice system at an earlier age.

Sentencing may be different. How trials are conducted may be different.

And so, you know, one of the things that we’ve done is to include Department of Justice in this conversation under the banner of my brother’s keeper to see where can we start working with local communities to inculcate more trust, more confidence in the criminal justice system.

And — and I want to be — I want to be clear about this because sometimes I think there’s confusion around these issues and this dates back for — for decades.

There are young black men that commit crime. And — and — and we can argue about why that happens because of the poverty they were born into or the lack of opportunity or the school systems that failed them or what have you, but if they commit a crime, then they need to be prosecuted because every community has an interest in public safety.

And if you go into the African American community or the Latino community, some of the folks who are most intent on making sure that criminals are dealt with are people that have been preyed upon by them.

So, this is not an argument that there isn’t real crime out there and that law enforcement doesn’t have a difficult job. And you know, that they — you know, they have to be honored and respected for the danger and difficulty of law enforcement. But what is also true is that given the history of this country, where we can make progress in building up more confidence, more trust, making sure that our criminal justice system is acutely aware of the possibilities of disparities in treatment, there are safeguards in place to avoid those disparities where, you know, training and assistance is provided to local law enforcement who, you know, may just need more information in order to avoid potential disparity. All those things can make a difference.

One of the things I was most proud of when I was in the state legislature, way back when I had no grey hair and none of you could pronounce my name was, you know, I passed legislation requiring videotaping of interrogations and confessions. And I passed legislation dealing with racial profiling in Illinois.

And in both cases, we worked with local law enforcement. And the argument was that you can do a better job as a law enforcement official if you have built up credibility and trust. And there’s some basic things that can be done to promote that kind of trust, and you know, in some cases, it’s just a lack of information. And we want to make sure that we get that information to law enforcement.

So, there are things that can be done to improve the situation, but short term, obviously, right now what we have to do is make sure that the cause of justice and fair administration of the law is being brought to bear in Ferguson. In order to do that, we’ve got to make sure that we are able to distinguish between peaceful protesters who may have some legitimate grievances, and maybe longstanding grievances, and those who are using this tragic death as an excuse to engage in criminal behavior and tossing Molotov cocktails or looting stores. And that is a small minority of folks, and it may not even be residents of Ferguson, but they are damaging the cause. They are not advancing it.

All right? Thank you very much everybody.


Truth-Telling: Jesse Williams on the depiction of Michael Brown


Statement by President Obama

12:15 EDT: The President makes a statement on Ferguson and world events

Also at White House Live


In case there’s any problem with the WH feed:


A Few Thoughts on Ferguson

I can’t even pretend to internalize what’s going on through the hearts of Mike Brown’s family. I can’t pretend to internalize what African Americans all over the country are feeling at young Mr. Brown’s execution.

I can ask a few questions.

What was the last time a white teenager was killed for stealing a candy bar?

What was the last time a white teenager was killed by a community watch vigilante for walking down the street?

What was the last time a white father was gunned down by police for handling an air rifle at Walmart?

If you are scratching your heads trying to come up with the answer, the answer is simple: never.

If your answer then is to say “Well, they [all those black folks] looked suspicious”, then you’re part of the festering racism which works to hold back this country.

Continue reading ‘A Few Thoughts on Ferguson’


A Word From Don

Michael Brown

• • •


It is amazing how black men can keep their sanity despite the insanity that happens to them.

I remember one time I took my wife to a medical appointment at an office building, usually I drop her off at the entrance and I wait in my car in the parking lot usually listening to music or talk radio. Anyway this one time I decided to go in the lobby to use the rest room. As I exited my car this white lady was walking towards me, the look of fear she had or her face was palpable, she clutched her purse so tight her hands turned red. As usual I smiled at her to ease her fears, see I’ve discovered that when I run into white people on a one on one situation I smile just so they will feel comfortable.

I’m tired of smiling; I’m tired of having to worry about some stranger feeling comfortable or uncomfortable in my presence. Why is it that when I’m the only black person in an elevator with a bunch of white peoples, nobody smiles to make me feel comfortable?

Why is it that when I’m anywhere and I’m the only black person there, nobody smiles at me to make me feel comfortable?

The average black man will tell you, if he’s lived long enough, that he’s discovered certain mechanisms he uses to make people feel comfortable in his presence. So now another black kid is dead under unclear circumstances, another black community is in pain, and another policeman is on paid administrative leave.

By this time tomorrow we’ll know everything this young black kid has done since he left his mother’s womb, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. I’ve got an eight year old son; I used to wonder about what college he will attend or what does he want to do when he grows up. As black men we’ve learned to focus our thinking on the present more so than on the future when it comes to our black boys.

• • •

• • •


Thank you for your truthful commentary, Don.

It is a horror in our country that we always have to worry about making white people feel comfortable first before we think of ourselves. When outside, we make sure we smile to make them feel comfortable, we put our hands out so they don’t think we’re hiding something, we make sure we aren’t dressed in threatening ways (who the heck knows what that is because apparently, a hoodie is now threatening), we make sure when walking to our cars, our keys are prominently displayed so suspicious stares stop and cops aren’t called (I’ve been harassed in that manner and now whenever I’m in a predominantly white neighborhood, I make sure my car keys are prominently displayed so that they’re comfortable that I am indeed walking to my own car. I shouldn’t have to do that, but I must so that a group of white people aren’t threatened by one black person).

We make sure we don’t run in public because that looks suspicious (yeah, apparently running is suspicious), we make sure that we are 100% respectful to cops or your life may end that day. Yes sir, no sir, I’m sorry, sir. My hands are out, sir. I’m not holding anything suspicious, sir. I remember my shock and surprise when my white friend argued with a cop and I had to tell her to stop doing that because the person who’ll get shot first is me not her. I can’t even imagine the freedom that white people have to argue with cops and tell them loudly that they have rights. The thought that runs through my mind when I’ve been stopped by cops is the talk that my parents had with me. Be polite, make sure your hands are where they see them, say yes sir/yes m’am, never raise your voice, speak very softly, and it goes on and on and on. The prevailing thought being, good god, please let me be alive after this interaction. White people don’t understand that fear and pain where the cop isn’t there to serve and protect, but to shoot you first then ask questions later.

We make sure that we don’t raise our voice in public lest we seem threatening. I’ve been in coffee shops where white people raise their voices and everyone shrugs it off, but then a black person raised their voice while talking on the phone and a deathly silence filled the shop as people looked fearfully as though the black person was going to kill them. It’s insane.

We make sure that we never leave the house without any form of identification or company card to prove that we’re respectable and that still doesn’t guarantee your life will be safe.

The thought runs through your mind: Why are you as a white person not trying to make me feel comfortable in public? Why are you allowed to raise your voice in public and express your frustrations but I can’t? Why are you allowed to assert your rights with cops but I can’t? Am I not a human being too?

I’ll say it again. It is a horror in our country where a large swath of people can’t think about their lives and safety first, but have to think about others and making them feel comfortable just because of the color of our skin. We’re doctors, teachers, lawyers, business owners, parents, children, etc; but that doesn’t seem to matter when we’re out in public.

• • •

Continue reading ‘A Word From Don’


Rise and Shine

President Obama hugs Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., on the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., before delivering the State of the Union address, Jan. 24, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)



The President has no public events scheduled for today

12:45: Press Briefing by Jay Carney



Greg Sargent: More cracks in GOP resistance to Obamacare

There are increasing signs that the GOP’s total war opposition to Obamacare is becoming tougher to sustain. The basic organizing principle – that only maximum resistance is acceptable in the face of such an existential threat to American freedom – is still widely dominant. But there are scattered indications it’s giving way to an implicit acknowledgment that the law’s fundamental goal — expanding health coverage and security to those who lack it, through more federal oversight and spending – has some moral validity.

More here



ThinkProgress: Pennsylvania Man Confronts His Governor For Refusing To Expand Medicaid: ‘How Many People Have To Die?’

This week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) had a run-in with one of his constituents as he was leaving a fundraising event. Scot Rosenzweig — who identified himself as a fellow Republican — showed Corbett a large photograph of his fiancee, Dina Nelson, who died at the age of 41 because she was uninsured and couldn’t afford a liver transplant. “I think maybe we should consider accepting the Medicaid expansion,” Rosenzweig told his governor, explaining that people like Nelson need access to lifesaving health treatment.

“I can’t do that,” Corbett responded.

Corbett is one of 25 governors who have declined to accept Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion, a move that is preventing an estimated 700,000 low-income Pennsylvanians from accessing public health insurance…..

More here




Michael Tomasky: Why Women Do Not ♥ Huckabee

What galaxy do Republican men live in? Apparently one where ladies who use contraception are ‘helpless’ and this potential 2016 contender could have been the fifth Beatle.

A few weeks ago, right after the dark clouds gathered over Chris Christie’s presidential prospects, some friends and I were having the usual Washington conversation of discussing the rest of the field. After we agreed that it was an awfully B-list bench, someone piped up: Hey, don’t forget Mike Huckabee! He’s losing all the weight!

Clearly, some of that vaporized body mass came out of his brain matter, based on his unhinged comments Wednesday at the Republican Party’s winter meeting. Discussing the GOP’s need to get more of the women’s vote, he said the Democratic Party tells women “they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.”

More here



TPM: 2014 Could Be A Bad Year For Tea Party Senate Candidates

One of the craziest potential match-ups in the Republican Senate primaries this year promised to be Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) against incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) — but early momentum for Stockman quickly fizzled.

Stockman, whose tea party bona fides include threatening to impeach President Barack Obama over new gun control restrictions and comparing Obamacare to sexually transmitted diseases, doesn’t seem to be making much of a dent in the poll numbers after his last-minute entry into the Senate primary. Stockman couldn’t even emerge victorious in a local Texas tea party straw poll and has even recently been missing from congressional votes. And though it’s still early in the 2014 cycle, Stockman’s lackluster campaign might be indicative of how insurgent tea partiers challengers are faring against establishment Republicans. So far, it’s looking increasingly like the so-called tea party wave, which peaked in 2010, might be headed toward a valley this time around.

More here




Wisconsin State Journal: Scott Walker upset sex offender allowed on stage with him

Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he was frustrated that a registered sex offender and felon was allowed to stand alongside him during his State of the State speech.

Christopher Barber, a 32-year-old welder, was one of 13 newly hired workers Walker brought out to stand behind him during the opening minutes of his Wednesday speech as examples of how an improved economy is leading to more people finding work.

Barber wore his welding helmet and work gloves on stage. He waved to the audience in the Assembly chamber as he left the podium and Walker turned around and applauded …. Walker didn’t know that Barber, of Two Rivers, is a registered sex offender with two felonies and three drunken driving offenses.

More here


On This Day:

Senator Barack Obama alongside Republican Senator Richard Lugar at the start of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting on Iraq resolution, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 24, 2007


President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama tour the White House South Grounds with Curator William Allman, left and Chief Usher Admiral Stephen Rochon, Jan. 24, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)


President Obama works on his State of the Union address with Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau in the Oval Office, Jan. 24, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)


President Obama greets Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before his State of the Union address, January 24, 2012

President Obama hugs Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., on the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., before delivering the State of the Union address, Jan. 24, 2012

Guests applaud First Lady Michelle Obama during President Obama’s State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012

In a phone call from the U.S. Capitol immediately after the State of the Union Address, President Obama informs John Buchanan that his daughter Jessica was rescued by U.S. Special Operations Forces in Somalia, Jan. 24, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)


President Obama and Vice President Biden hold a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, Jan. 24, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

Bo, the Obama family dog, plays in the snow in the Rose Garden of the White House, Jan. 24, 2013 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


MoooOOOooorning – Happy Friday! And welcome back Nathkatun!







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