Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Last Call For The Speech In Dallas

President Obama must hate giving these speeches in the wake of mass shooting tragedies, yet he keeps on going even as he is visibly aware that his time in the White House is running out.  His speech today in Dallas was both no exception, and exceptional. The Dallas Morning News editorial board covered it:

Dallas' response in the days since five of our police officers were murdered demonstrates that our city can help show America how to heal its divisions over race and ease tensions over police violence.

That was the message President Barack Obama delivered Tuesday, and we couldn't agree more.

The shooter, Obama noted, was motivated by racial hatred, but the white officers he killed had been motivated by love and service. Dallas has responded with more love and unity in the days since.

That's a recipe for hope, the president said.

"We are not as divided as we seem," he said. "And I know that because I know America. I know how far we've come against impossible odds. ... And I know it because of what we've seen here in Dallas."

We weren't waiting for the President to tell us we've done what is right. We feel it in our bones, and see it in our neighbors' faces. But the words are welcome anyway.

The truth is, even before any of Tuesday's speeches, the service at the Meyerson Symphony Hall was poignant and pitch-perfect. It was an appropriate capstone for five painful days that, despite our tears, have showed Dallas at its best.

Barack Obama truly believes America is better than the deaths of black people, the deaths of police protecting a protest of police,  the blazing hatred that has shown its ugly head nearly every day of this man's presidency.  He believes we are better.

Even when we do not.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I've seen how inadequate my own words have been," he said.

He went beyond words, however, when he urged us to confront the racism we too often ignore. It is real, and the protesters like the ones in our streets last Thursday speak from places of pain and desperation. We must hear them even as we honor our police.

That's what Dallas can do, and the good news is we've already begun.

As Obama said: "Weeping may endure for a night but I'm convinced joy comes in the morning."

I'm weary of waiting for that joy.  I'm tired of shouting into the night and expecting the sun to come up.  I'm tired of an entire political party dedicated to making everyone but themselves miserable. I'm tired of being considered a dangerous, mindless brute and hearing from people I trust and even love that my experiences aren't happening, can't be happening in this America in 2016.  I'm tired of the psychic damage delivered offhand by someone who never has truly wanted for anything.

Barack Obama has been through that times a million.  And yet he keeps going.

That does give me hope.

Where Bernie Went Wrong

Fusion author Terrell Starr gives us a very good postmortem for the Sanders campaign on why they lost to Hillary Clinton, and it's because while both campaigns absolutely took black voters like myself for granted, Clinton at least made an effort to listen to that criticism and tried to correct it, while Sanders continued to assume that black voters would magically just go to him over his message.

It didn’t have to be that way. But his campaign never explained how black people fit into his vision of a radically changed America. And, according to a series of Fusion interviews with former staff members, campaign leadership didn’t really see the point in trying.

Those former staffers described a campaign that failed to give its black outreach teams the resources they needed, that never figured out how to connect to black audiences, and that marginalized black media.

In the process, the campaign missed a chance to capitalize on a revolutionary message that otherwise might have appealed to black voters frustrated with the current political order.

Instead, Sanders was clobbered by Hillary Clinton among black voters in state after state after state, including some where Sanders either won white voters or lost them narrowly. The gap made it all but impossible for him to win the nomination.

Sanders himself was “sincere to the core,” said Roy Tatem, the campaign’s former deputy director for African-American outreach. But he said he felt that neither campaign manager Jeff Weaver nor other high-ranking figures thought Sanders could overcome Hillary Clinton’s appeal to black voters.
“I think they felt that the relationship with Hillary was so strong that they didn’t have confidence in doing much of anything to change it,” Tatem said. “Some people felt he had a better chance at winning the Latino vote and the millennial vote than the black vote.”

In other words, as Elon James White has been saying for the last 12 months, "Earn this damn vote or lose."  Bernie made no effort to do so, none at all.  Hillary has made some effort to do that at least, but still has some ways to go.  The difference?  She realized that no Democrat can win nationally without the black vote.  Bernie did not. He blew chance after chance to do so.

As such, Bernie lost.  There is a lesson here for those who wish to learn it.

The NeverEnding Boring

Understand that as long as Republicans remain in charge of the House of Representatives, that they will never, never, never stop going after Hillary Clinton.

Two House Committees on Monday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Hillary Clinton perjured herself on the email controversy while testifying before Benghazi Committee investigators in October.

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) sent the referral to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, asking him to probe claims Clinton made during the hearing last fall that have proved false.

Clinton testified, for example, that she neither sent nor received emails marked classified, and that she turned over all her work-related emails to the State Department. FBI Director James Comey said those statements were wrong during a hearing last week. She did receive some emails with classified markings, he said; his agents found them during their investigation. And they also discovered thousands of work-related messages her lawyers failed to turn over, he said.

“The evidence collected by the FBI during its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony,” the committee chairmen wrote. “In light of those contradictions, the Department should investigate and determine whether to prosecute Secretary Clinton for violating statutes that prohibit perjury and false statements to Congress, or any other relevant statutes.”

The Justice Department, run by the Obama administration, is unlikely to act on the referral. But the missive suggests Republicans have no intention of dialing back their protest of the FBI's refusal to prosecute Clinton, or their criticism of the presumed Democratic nominee for her email set-up.

And when the Justice Department tells these little gremlins to go to hell, they will demand a special prosecutor. When that doesn't happen, they will threaten to impeach.  When that doesn't happen, well, who knows?  They'll go after Clinton's aides, convince Senate Republicans to block any and all cabinet appointments, filibuster everything, it won't end.

It won't end until the voters choose to throw them out of the House.


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