In case it hasn’t been made painfully clear, the Democrats seeking to succeed Barack Obama as president have no time for his coalition.
First, Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee, urges the President to “take advice” from Nancy Pelosi on the TPP trade deal. You know, just like her husband did when he was in charge. Oh, except, Mr. Clinton didn’t. Call me confused, but I thought that, aside from sheer incompetence or malfeasance, the members of a president’s party were supposed to take leadership from him, not nip at his heels over every initiative.
Then, of course, we had Senator Bernie Sanders opining yesterday that black Americans needed to stop voting based on race. The sheer audacity of this statement is mind-boggling. There would have been no Democratic wave of 2006, or two Obama landslides, without the African American vote. And these same African Americans, before the arrival of Barack Obama, voted in almost lock-step for every tired-ass white Democratic candidate which made it through the primary meat grinder. Were blacks voting based on race when they voted for Al Gore or John Kerry?
That was insulting enough. But that was just the shot. Here’s the chaser. Sen. Sanders then went on to say that Democrats had to regain the “working class vote”.
Let that sink in. A sitting United States senator, caucusing with Democrats, running for the Democratic presidential nomination, an avowed socialist, made a distinction between black votes and working class votes. In his mind, the two are mutually exclusive, not overlapping in a Venn diagram. Blacks over there, working class over here.
President Obama showed Democrats how to win. And it wasn’t by slavishly pining after the “working class vote”.
Let’s call that vote for what it is: white voters who left the Democratic coalition in droves after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and have stayed away ever since then, generation after generation giving its allegiance to the GOP.
Where the hell were these blackademics before 2008?
They damn sure didn’t help the black farmers get their money, they damn sure didn’t get black people health insurance, and they damn sure didn’t help our black gay brothers and sisters from getting kicked out of the military.
So where the hell were they?
I’ll tell you where they were, they were at each other’s schools sitting on some fucking panel theorizing about how to end racism or make it better for African Americans.
But do you know where President Obama was?
He was out in the streets registering people to vote, he was condemning an unjust war before it became fashionable to do so.
We got pictures of Barack Obama fresh out of college walking in poor black neighborhoods registering people to vote.
We got pictures of a young Barack Obama helping black folk.
We got pictures of a young Barack Obama sitting in a village in Kenya breaking bread with his grandmother.
And these same motherfuckers want to question his blackness
Barack Obama in Chicago, 1995, photo by Marc PoKempner
Illinois State Senator Barack Obama at a community meeting in his district with his state representative (second from right) House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie
Barack Obama in his first year at Harvard Law School after working at Developing Communities Project as a community organizer from 1985 – 1988 where he set up a tenants rights organization, job training program, and college preparatory program. He enrolled at Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988 so as to better help his community
This photo released by Obama for America shows Barack Obama teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. After Harvard Law School, Obama returned to Chicago, joined a small civil rights firm, ran a voter registration drive, and lectured on constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School
Barack Obama with his grandmother Sarah Hussein Obama in her home in the village of Nyagoma-Kogelo, western Kenya, 1987
Barack Obama at an antiwar rally in Chicago in September 2002
The president of the United States has awesome powers and responsibilities. But being a superhero is not one of them. But you wouldn’t know that by listening to those demanding that President Obama do all sorts of questionable things in response to the tumult over the police killing of Michael Brown. They want Obama to act out in some visceral way. They want more emotion from him on the horrible actions in and images coming out of Ferguson, Missouri. They just want him to do something. All the while completely ignoring what he’s actually doing, what he actually can do and what he is actually capable of doing. Michael Eric Dyson, a professor at Georgetown University, said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, “[W]e need presidential leadership. He needs to step up to the plate and be responsible.” White House officials tell me that personnel from the Department of Justice’s community relations service arrived in Ferguson on Aug. 10, the day after Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Brown.
Some won’t be satisfied until Obama bursts into East Room clad in Kente cloth brandishing a definable “black agenda” wapo.st/1pIlxL6
The level of attention has only ratcheted up from there. DOJ is conducting its own parallel federal investigation. FBI agents swarmed Ferguson over the weekend. A third autopsy of Brown’s body conducted by the federal government was done yesterday. Because of the ongoing investigation the last thing anyone should want is for the president to be rhetorically reckless in talking about the police killing of Michael Brown. deep in his second term, we know the president is no fan of the theater of politics, especially needless theatrics that might make people feel good in the short-term, but do nothing to advance a greater cause or achieve a worthwhile mission in the long run. Obama cares. Deeply. But if you’re expecting him to do seemingly heroic and showy things that make you feel good but do nothing to actually fix big, systemic problems in the long-term you will never be satisfied. All the energy being used to harangue the president should be directed at officials in Ferguson and St. Louis County who have refused to release key documents in the case.
A true measure of a president’s priorities lies hidden in plain sight in his budget proposals. Under that standard, Mr. Obama has been more committed to communities like Ferguson than any Democratic president in the past half century. Mr. Obama earmarked 17 percent of his budget for these needs, versus Mr. Clinton’s 12 percent and Jimmy Carter’s 8 percent. These presidents all faced economic challenges, although of different degrees and strength. Each was committed to the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged. But Mr. Obama made good on that commitment far more concretely. No president gets all he requests, but the outcomes speak well for Mr. Obama, too. Christopher Wimer of Columbia University found, for example, that tax and transfer policies lowered the poverty rate by only 1 percentage point in 1967, under President Lyndon B. Johnson, but by almost 13 points in 2012.
Did Mr. Obama plan to spend more simply because he had more mouths to feed? No. Even after accounting for the higher numbers of poor people caught in the Great Recession, Mr. Obama’s record outshines his predecessors’. His proposed first-term spending per poor individual was $13,731 to Mr. Clinton’s $8,310 and Mr. Carter’s $4,431, in 2014 dollars. Mr. Obama even exceeds Mr. Johnson, whose budget priorities amounted only to $111 per poor person. (Because Mr. Johnson was the first postwar president to tackle poverty issues with so many new programs, it is not surprising that his proposed funding levels were low at the start.) The same pattern shows up in spending per poor family. Mr. Obama allocated $67,132, Mr. Clinton $39,820, Mr. Carter $20,790, and Mr. Johnson $546, again using 2014 dollars.
AS the predominantly black, disproportionately poor community of Ferguson, Mo., erupted in protest after the shooting death of Michael Brown, critics excoriated President Obama for his failure to empathize. Michael Eric Dyson, for example, called the president’s statement about the case on Monday a “stunning epic failure.” Mr. Obama’s defenders point to his second-term commitment to issues that touch the lives of poor communities of color, especially his initiative to assist young minority men, My Brother’s Keeper. But what both sides are ignoring is the president’s first-term record.
A true measure of a president’s priorities lies hidden in plain sight in his budget proposals. Under that standard, Mr. Obama has been more committed to communities like Ferguson than any Democratic president in the past half century. … …. Even after accounting for the higher numbers of poor people caught in the Great Recession, Mr. Obama’s record outshines his predecessors’. His proposed first-term spending per poor individual was $13,731 to Mr. Clinton’s $8,310 and Mr. Carter’s $4,431, in 2014 dollars.
Kyle Niere, 23, was arrested on Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri, for “refusing to disperse” as he attempted to leave the QuikTrip station, where hundreds have gathered to protest the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. As he later relayed to NBC News, Niere, along with 12 other protesters, was arrested after cops told him and his friends that they “looked like the type that were going to stir up drama and go start looting.” According to Niere, police officers dragged him “face-first on the ground” and were “stepping on the back of our heads.” Niere and the others were held overnight and released. This has been the pattern for more than a week: Dozens of legitimate protesters arrested for essentially doing it wrong, which can be variously described as protesting about issues of race, refusing to stop protesting about issues of race, and in many cases, perhaps most outrageously, protesting while black.
It’s virtually impossible to square the law enforcement definition of illegal protest with the snuggly warm vision of political protest put forth by a unanimous Supreme Court only two months ago in McCullen v. Coakley. That was the case in which the high court struck down a Massachusetts law barring any protests within 35 feet of an abortion clinic. That law was passed after two clinic workers were shot and killed at clinics in 1994. But there is a crucial difference between the abortion opponents whose speech rights were feted by the court in McCullen and the garden variety protesters who can still be rounded up in free speech pens and summarily arrested on the streets of Ferguson: The court was careful to explain that the protesters in Massachusetts are not actually “protesters.” They are “counselors.” This presents an obvious solution for the outraged citizens who have taken to the streets of Ferguson and been met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and incarceration: rebranding. From this day forth you should consider yourself “sidewalk counselors.”
Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event- anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found.
He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.
Nick Timiraos: Foreclosed-Property Sales Fall to Lowest Levels Since 2008
Thursday’s home-sales report offers the clearest evidence that the housing market is moving out of the emergency ward and into a rehab facility. The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales rose for the fourth straight month in July to the highest seasonally adjusted annual rate since last September. But the real sign that the housing market is out of critical condition comes courtesy of a separate survey the NAR does of its members. That survey estimates the share of distressed home sales in July fell to 9% of all sales, the lowest level since the trade group’s tally began in October 2008.
the drop in foreclosed-property sales deserves attention. Sales of non-distressed homes, using crude estimates derived from the NAR’s survey, are up slightly from a year ago. Prices are still rising, but not as sharply as they were a year ago. And higher prices could be drawing out more sellers. Inventories are at their highest levels in nearly two years—and this time, they appear to be rising because Joe and Jane Homeowner, not a bank or mortgage-processing company, wants to sell.
The great irony of the USA; we will go far abroad to protect the rights of selected persecuted minorities, we will speak about fair elections, we will condemn others for their failures in human rights, while in our own country we have long been guilty of these sins ourselves. The leaders and citizens of other countries are well aware of this hypocrisy. When they sit across negotiating tables they will have as ammunition the long voting lines and all of the moves to hinder and deny the right to vote, the many tales of members of an oppressed minority gunned down in the streets, unarmed, peacefully protesting citizens being persecuted by heavily armed police (so much for our much-vaunted constitutional rights), a national media, financed and controlled by a small group of wealthy white men, and a white majority that hates and does all that it can to marginalize and destroy a small minority (that is still less than 13% of the overall population).
What can we dare to say to others when we have not cleaned up our own house, when we are guilty of the same crimes that we dare to take other countries to task? It is more than time that we truly take up all of our country’s ills and make a final push to cure them. For far too long, the sores have been covered with band aids, but it is so easy to pull them off and to see the infection underneath. When Buddhist monks, Amnesty International, and the war-torn and savaged Palestinans are compelled to reach out to help American citizens who are being persecuted from all sides, shows just how bad our unresolved racial issues are. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I love this country; I wish that my country loved me.
Been mostly lurking these past few days. Haven’t had many positive words to contribute, so I’ve chosen “praying” over “saying” But something happened last night that I felt I needed to share.
I have lived most of my life in neighborhoods where most of the residents were renters, rather than owners. One area in particular had a helicopter noise issue that was almost unbearable at times. The helicopters would circle overhead endlessly, making the neighborhood feel like a war zone. It got so it was unusual to have a quiet night, and I could relate to that Ice Cube song, “It Was a Good Day.” I would call the local PD and ask what was up and would be told about things like, “there is a fist-fight at a party” or some other minor incident. Finally the phone operator confessed that the city had been given all these helicopters after 911, but the deal was that they had to keep them up in the air for a certain number of hours per month in order to keep them. I commented to her that they flew them over the areas with home renters (also the area with more brown people), rather than home owners, because the rich people fund campaigns and vote and would complain). Her laugh and silence told me that I was correct in my assumption.
Jump to now. I am doing a kind of house-sitting thing for a friend that has landed me in a very affluent suburban community. I have been living here over six months and have never heard helicopters circling, until last night. I heard one overhead going round and round and making an announcement over a loudspeaker. Of course, I assumed they were after some fugitive or something. Nope. The announcer was repeating a male (child’s?) name, along with the words “your family is looking for you. Please get to a phone and dial 911.”
This absolutely floored me! So, in this neighborhood they send out helicopters to find lost neighborhood kids? When I was a kid, the only announcement came from your mom, yelling your name out the front door.
The difference between these two experiences hit me especially in light of recent events. O.k. back to lurking and praying. Thanks to all the TODers for your insightful and informative posts.