Murder In the Morning

Alison Parker and Adam Ward: R.I.P.

If you’re looking for videos of two journalists being gunned down, look elsewhere. It’s not here.

If you’re looking for a link to a madman’s manifesto, you’re outta luck. It’s not here either.

If you think I’m going to obsess over the killer of Alison Parker and Adam Ward and why he did it, you’ve got another think coming.   I don’t care why the killer did it.    I’m glad he’s too dead to ever do it again.

If you want someone to be sympathetic to Vester Flanagan, the TV reporter turned psycho killer turned maker of ISIS-style bloody porn videos,  there’s no sympathy for the devil here.

I was actually hoping they would take Mr. Flanagan alive but it didn’t ruin my day when he decided wanted to be taken dead.

I’ve seen a thousand pretty young reporters like Alison Parker doing stand-ups on television a thousand times. These are usually the softball, slice of life, non-news stories every station uses to fill time between the hard stuff, weather and sports.

I’ve seen ’em a thousand times. I’ve never seen a pretty young reporter murdered on live television. I’ve never seen a cameraman’s last act is film his killer.

Whenever you think you’ve seen it all you get a nasty reminder you haven’t seen anything yet.

Fuck Vester and fuck his fucking “manifesto.”

I don’t want to read his manifesto. I don’t want to know his sob story. I don’t care about his petty little grudges and bullshit beefs. I never knew “Bryce Williams” OR Vester Flanagan existed before today and I will NOT give this psycho turd the recognition in death he never got in life.

Vester Flanagan a.k.a “Bryce Williams” a.k.a. Dead Guy.

These chicken shit assholes and their murder-suicides. Why can’t they reverse the order and spare us all their bloody insanity? They always have to reach out and drag someone down with them.

Goddamn coward. Burn forever and in agony, Vester. You worthless, godless, evil, twisted little FUCK.

Maybe it’s because we’ve been here so many times before when the kill zone was a school, an office, a shopping center, a church or anywhere human beings/targets can be found. We’ve seen the blood, the bullet holes, the corpses and the terrible aftermath of a killing spree. We’ve even seen the deadly slaughter play out in real-time.

But this…this is different.

I can’t say I have ever seen a young woman murdered as we watch in horror and revulsion. I can’t say I have seen a murderer exult in his kill by triumphantly posting it all over social media. I can’t say I have seen two people die like this before my disbelieving eyes.

Now I can say I have seen all this and it makes me sick to my stomach and saddened to the core of my soul.

This isn’t about Vester Flanagan being a Black gay man who believed his ex-employer didn’t treat him nicely. I don’t know what his grievances were and I don’t care to know. He’s just an asshole and he’d STILL be an asshole no matter what his race or sexual orientation or gender or religion was.

A comment from Gawker summed up what, if anything Flanagan’s rampage “means.”

Tthis is a cultural problem. Flanagan belongs to a community that prides itself on wanton violence, theft, and brutality. people need to open their eyes to this ongoing trend of American male-on-American crime

That might be too subtle for some so I’lll be blunt.  This is not a Black thing or a White thing. It’s an asshole thing and now that Flanagan is a dead asshole, the world is better now that he’s no longer in it.   If only it had happened one day sooner Parker and Ward would still be alive.

Alison Parker w/ Adam Ward - WDBJ7 reporter and cameraman.

Alison Parker w/ Adam Ward – WDBJ7 reporter and cameraman.

Survived Car Crash. Killed By Cop. (UPDATED)

We know who killed Jon Ferrell, but the legal system seems to be confused.

In the aftermath of the mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict in the case of Randall Kerrick, the former Charlotte-Meckenberg police officer who shot and killed 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013, you will inevitably hear law enforcement experts providing explanations about why the jury did not vote to convict Kerrick and possibly send him to prison for 11 years.  Many of these experts will be current and former police officers. This is what you need to know about these “experts.”

Everyone has an opinion. Some even have informed opinions. But sometimes what seems to be an informed opinion it is only impersonating one. What you’re actually hearing is a highly biased opinion designed only to defend bad policing by bad cops.

The excuses are the usual ones. The apologists say Kerrick deserved to lose his job. Kerrick should never be a cop again. But it’s not Kerrick himself, but the police department which hired him that should be punished for his bad policing. Kerrick should go free for his bad policing but it is the taxpayers who should be on the hook for Kerrick’s bad policing. Kerrick shouldn’t be punished for pumping 10 bullets into Jonathan Ferrell, even though the two other officers, both more experienced than Kerrick didn’t fire their guns at all.

While for some it may be plausibly asserted the past experience of someone in the same profession has to make them the go-to experts on how ALL police departments work and how ALL police officers respond to situations as an uncooperative suspect, that is a baseless assertion of authority that defies logic, reality and common sense. Nobody is an expert on everything facet and every situation others in that profession may meet.

The opinion which should carry the most weight isn’t of somebody who doesn’t know Kerrick, doesn’t know what sort of cop he was, doesn’t know how the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department trains its officers, and doesn’t know what their policies and rules are. The opinion which matters most is someone who does.

Randall “Wes” Kerrick used excessive force when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell two years ago, a training expert testified Tuesday.


CMPD Capt. Mike Campagna told jurors that given the circumstances – from what Kerrick knew from dispatchers to how events quickly happened – the 29-year-old officer violated police policies by opening fire on Ferrell as the former college football player ran toward him on a Sept. 14, 2013.

jonathan-ferrell car 2

All that’s left of Ferrell’s car. He survived the crash but not the police.

Ferrell, who was unarmed, was hit by 10 gunshots. Most came when Ferrell and Kerrick were a few feet apart or on top of each other.

Campagna said Kerrick was justified in pulling his gun but not in using it. Instead, Kerrick should have holstered his Smith & Wesson 40-caliber pistol and used other options to restrain Ferrell – from firing his Taser, to using his baton or pepper spray, to even kicking or punching the approaching man.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers are taught to respond to a threat with only the force needed to subdue a subject, Campagna testified.

What was the highest response Kerrick should have used, prosecutor Teresa Postell asked?

“Non-deadly force,” Campagna said.

“Was shooting Jonathan consistent with CMPD policy and training?” Postell asked.

“No, it was not,” Campagna said.

Some of these experts will express how concerned they are about bad cops and how they must be weeded out.    Do not believe them.  If their lips are moving, they’re lying.

Anybody who continually manufactures excuses for bad policing and then turns around to make noises about “reforming” the police to get rid of the bad apples in the bunch does not sincerely mean it. Reform is what they say. What they do is repeatedly shrug off every incident of inept, incompetent and illegal policing as isolated events which cop-haters will exaggerate only to tear down the police. How many isolated cases does it take before it is obvious there’s nothing isolated about police violence against people of color?

Kerrick didn’t get desk duty or a suspension for shooting Jonathan Ferrell. He got fired and arrested for murder.   There were troubling signs Kerrick might not be found guilty when a grand jury failed to indict him and it took a second to do so.

How might things play out differently if Timothy Loehmann is indicted and tried for killing Tamir Rice or when Michael Slager is indicted and tried for killing Walter Scott or when the cops in Baltimore are tried for killing Freddie Gray?

It won’t play out any differently. Cops and their lawyers know they if they say the Five Magic Words it will be their guaranteed Get Out of Jail Free Card: “I feared for my life” and some sap on a jury or a limp-dick judge or a prosecutor afraid of pissing off the police will swallow this line whole and without question. We saw it with Eric Garner and Michael Brown and Sean Bell and Oscar Grant and Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond and on and on into infinity and beyond.
Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis because he feared for his life. Theodore Wafer killed Renisha McBride because he feared for his life. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because he feared for his life. The Fear is the same but civilians, unlike cops, are less likely to have that reasonable doubt granted to them. Zimmerman was an exception and everything he’s been involved in since escaping punishment for Martin’s murder has brought clearly into focus between the two which one was the “thug.”

Cops get that benefit of the doubt. The Fear they claim led them to kill an unarmed man, woman or child is not measurable, but the cop apologists will tell you its real and its significant. In Kerrick’s case, he wasn’t facing Jonathan Ferrell alone. There were two other officers with him and neither one of them fired a shot. Does that mean they were the cowards here and Kerrick, the former animal control officer, was the real courageous one?

If a cop is so afraid for his life the default setting is to kill whomever is making them afraid, why the fuck are they a cop in the first place?

Calling Kerrick a coward is a completely proper term. He panicked and overreacted. He violated his training. He acted recklessly. He used lethal force in a situation where in the judgment of two other police officers it wasn’t necessary to stop Ferrell.

Those are the actions of a coward. A gutless, worthless, murderous COWARD who never should have been a cop. Kerrick should still be taking on angry Chihuahuas and poodles, not blowing away disoriented, injured Black men who had crawled from the wreckage of his totaled vehicle.

Make no mistake of it. What Kerrick did when he squeezed that trigger and pumped bullet after bullet after bullet after bullet into Ferrell until he had no more bullets to pump wasn’t about Kerrick being afraid for his life. It was about Kerrick wanting nothing more than to kill Ferrell and take away his life.

Contrary to the cop show hype crime does pay and criminals do get away with murder.  Especially when the criminal is a cop.

The dog catcher turned killer cop testifies in court.

Chelsea Manning Does the Time For Bradley Manning’s Crimes.

Bradley committed the crime but Chelsea is doing the time.

The news that Chelsea Manning will not face solitary confinement for relatively minor rules violations as she serves her 35 year term in Leavenworth prison is a positive outcome for her and her many supporters.  I have some compassion for her but don’t count me among her supporters.

Before she was Chelsea she was Bradley and Bradley Manning never should have been a soldier.

Deifying Manning has become a cause célèbre but she hasn’t done a thing to merit it. Dumping over 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks isn’t heroic. Manning did it to stick it to the military so it shouldn’t come as any shock that now they’re trying to stick it to her.

As anyone who’s ever been in the military knows, all sort of Mickey Mouse shit can and will be used against you if you run afoul of the brass. That is what’s happening here, but I still don’t feel much sympathy for Manning.

Manning should have been discharged long before she stepped foot in Iraq and the fact she wasn’t is an endless source of wonder to me. This is as much the Army’s fault as it was Manning.

Bradley Manning is not Edward Snowden and he is most definitely not a hero. Let’s get that straight, for starters.

Manning is not a whistleblower motivated by either ideology or principle. Nor, despite the claims of some, is he a poster child for transgender rights being persecuted for his gender or sexual orientation. Analyses that have focused on Manning’s personal conflicts over his sexuality and the limitations it placed on his ability to serve miss the point as much as those that have declared him a free-speech martyr. He did not deliberately and methodically set out to expose a discrete government program that he had come to believe was unconstitutional. He was not sentenced for his gender preferences or how he chose to dress. He was a troubled kid looking to make a mark who simply spilled every secret he knew, the equivalent of screaming as loud as he could in the hope that all that noise would bring some attention.

When I was in the army, soldiers used to talk about, “dirtbags,” “shitbirds,” and “shammers.” We applied these cruel labels to the kids who, for whatever reason, just couldn’t hack it. Some of the “shitbirds” had legitimate personality disorders, and others seemed damaged in different ways—they were just off—too idiosyncratic for soldiering, or maybe too sensitive. The “dirtbags” lied to you when they didn’t have to. You couldn’t trust them not to go into your wall locker and steal your stuff. They were the borderline or actual criminals. Then, finally, there were the “shammers,” the troops who actively tried to get out of duty by citing injuries or hardships, real or imagined.

Manning doesn’t deserve hero status but doesn’t deserve 35 years in prison either.

All of these people had their reasons for enlisting in the first place. They sought money, an escape, an adventure, a way to serve their country, or a way to prove something to someone by joining the army and going to war. For whatever reason they had enlisted, once they got to basic training, they stuck out miserably. To say they were bullied would be accurate but would miss something about the character of the army, an institution in which tough-guy power relations are the norm—even tacitly encouraged—and do not form a remarkable exception.

By some accounts, the trouble started early for Pfc. Manning. One of his fellow basic trainees described him this way: “He wasn’t a soldier—there wasn’t anything about him that was a soldier. He has this idea that he was going in and that he was going to be pushing papers and he was gonna be some super- smart computer guy and that he was gonna be important, that he was gonna matter to someone and he was gonna matter to something. And he got there and realized that he didn’t matter and that none of that was going to happen.”

At his sentencing, Manning said, “I look back at my decisions and wonder, ‘How on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better over the decisions of those with the proper authority?'”

Good question, but apparently Manning has cultivated enough true believers to conclude a troubled, confused and lonely soldier was the best qualified person to make that call.

My distaste for Manning is not based on being gay or transgender as I support both being part of the armed forces. My issue with Manning is she is not a prisoner of conscience or anything romantic like that.   Manning couldn’t get out of the Army so she tried to screw it over.   Now that she is at their mercy they are screwing back.

chelsea-manning

Patriot? Whistleblower? Narcissist? Traitor? Take your pick.

Soldiers are not supposed to be robots.  They have brains and they can make decisions, but  when you dump classified information you’re not supposed to there will be consequences.   Chelsea Manning is paying the price for Bradley’s bad decision-making.

Manning was not a hero then, not a hero now, and not a hero ever.   President Obama should show a kindness she may not truly deserve and pardon, then dishonorably discharge Manning from the Army she was unfit for in the beginning.

The Bernie Bunch vs. #BlackLivesMatter

Bernie has a Negro problem.

Much to his chagrin Bernie Sanders is learning it isn’t easy being a liberal darling and expecting the various voting blocs of the Democratic Party to tag along.   Sanders had another bad expereince with #BlackLivesMatter activists and this time he walked off the stage when they shut him down cold.

Sanders’ inability to either address this issue or shut it down should begin to send up some warning flags that his popularity with the Left may not carry out to the general election and his floundering response to being targeted by #BlackLivesMatter says a great deal of how Democrats can’t take it on faith Barack Obama’s base will automatically line up for their nominee next year.

Being the darling of the White progressives within the Democratic Party was never going to be all it took for Bernie Sanders to out-maneuver Hillary Clinton on her Left flank. Sanders was in trouble when he said this at the NetRoots meeting a few weeks ago, “Black lives, of course, matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity. But if you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK. I don’t want to outscream people.”

The mistake Sanders and his supporters have made is thinking a progressive agenda,  being pro-civil rights and marching with King is all it takes to win over a bloc of voters who don’t know what the agenda is or don’t think your agenda is pro-enough. Sanders could put an end to these protests, but that would take him acknowledging he needs to. He’s being challenged by these activists to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. He has failed to rise to the challenge.

Whether Sanders is or is not on the side of the #BlackLivesMatter activists is a debate we’re going to keep having until its been resolved. Right now, they obviously feel Bernie isn’t enough on their side and is only saying what he thinks he needs to say to placate them. Lip service is not going to get it done.

Why should they get Sanders get a pass? I’m speculating, but perhaps the reasoning of #BlackLivesMatter is to their supposed allies to come correct before going after their likely adversaries in the GOP. It only makes sense to hold the Democrats accountable because unlike the Republicans, they actually need to be on the right side of this issue.

#BlackLivesMatter isn’t the only issue in this campaign, but Sanders putting a “racial justice” link on his website does not reach and resonate with the Black community. Neither do interviews where he says dopey stuff like, “I have a long history in fighting for civil rights. I understand that many people in the African-American community may not understand that.”

Oh, Bernie. You really are lost up your own ass, aren’t you?

I’m not the only one saying this. Douglas Wilder, the former governor of Virginia and presidential candidate, said on NPR the issue of race is not going away in the 2016 race.

“Let me tell you one of the things that’s going to be on the agenda … The issue of race is going to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room even though it might not be spoken … because everybody’s talking about the enemy that’s going to be beating us. The enemy is not the enemy with-out our country, it’s going to be the enemy within our country. It’s not going to be ISIS, it’s not going to be al-Qaida, it’s not going to be the Taliban, it’s going to be the people in this country coming to have to believe that we are one nation, indivisible. We are not a police state that treats certain people as second class citizens. Governors have something to say about that.”

Doug Wilder has some advice for the Democrats they might want to take

“I don’t know what’s going to be the top issue, but it’s going to be the issue relative to what we need to do to make our country strong. Yes, it’s a stronger issue than al-Qaida, ISIS, ISIL, Taliban and all of them together because if we are not strong within, then we cannot fight that which attacks us from the outside.”

Are the candidates saying what you want to hear as the first elected African American governor in this country?

“No, they are not. First of all, the African-American vote is taken for granted by both sides — one side says, well we’re not going to get them, and the other side says, well we don’t have to worry about them, so let’s concentrate on the Hispanic vote. That’s a big mistake. Take nobody for granted and be certain to understand that you can’t take people shot and killed because they don’t have a license plate on the front of their car, or …”

You don’t sound like someone who is ready to vote for Hillary Clinton.

“I don’t sound like anyone whose ready to vote for anybody. I have a reputation that no one takes my vote for granted and I think that’s the way it should be, and I’m not suggesting that Hillary and I and her husband and I — we have great relationships — but we’re not talking about personalities. We’re talking about the nation. The country. The people. Where are we? People are saying ‘this exceptional nation.’ Who built the nation, what made the nation great? Who were the people that were enslaved and made others rich and then left to paddle their own canoes and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and then criticized for every little thing that goes askew.”

“I think it’s more important for the candidates to speak to how they regard race in America, how they see what’s taking place, and what they would do to offset some of the things that are taking … this vigilante mindset, and second class citizenship for some just by virtue of the color of the skin…”

Echoing Gov. Wilder here: I’m not ready to vote for anyone yet either and It is insulting to suggest Blacks should be fall in love with Sen. Sanders because he’s the poster boy of White Progressives. Sanders, like Chaffee, O’Malley, and Clinton (the hell with Jim Webb) can’t expect to get the Black vote if they don’t work for the Black vote. Democrats are entitled to nothing simply because they are Democrats. They don’t have the Black vote sewn up and Sanders and Clinton had better wake up to that reality.

Michelle’s advice to Hillary.

The Dems cannot win the White House without the support of Black and Latinos and Sanders doing a humblebrag about what he’s done in the past isn’t going to help him now with a part of the base that doesn’t know him.

Race matters and race is going to matter in the 2016 presidential election no matter how much the candidates would prefer it would not.

For decades, the conventional wisdom has been Republicans don’t want to work to win the Black vote and Democrats don’t have to because they know they’re going to get it anyway. Those young women were being obnoxious, disruptive and rude. But their cause is just and holding the feet of so-called liberals to the fire to put some teeth behind their lofty principles isn’t a bad thing.
It’s too bad for The Bernie Bunch these activists are offending them so much, but it is through dissent is that things get discussed and things get changed. If Sanders can’t handle two angry women calling him out then its better for him to be exposed as a lightweight now because he isn’t ready to deal with Vladimir Putin, Islamic State or a hostile Republican Congress.
Suck it up sweethearts. Being pissed off against young Black folks because they aren’t oohing and ahhing over Bernie isn’t going to make the issue go away.   This is the big leagues and now Sanders is playing small ball.

“I saw ‘Selma’ Bernie and I didn’t see you marching with MLK!”

 

Hillary, Bernie and Jeb Don’t Get Why ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Sandra Bland Did and Now She’s Dead

Don’t Drive While Black.

It’s not possible to be angry enough over what happened to Sandra Bland when she was pulled over by Is it possible Sandra Bland killed herself?   It’s not only possible, it’s probable, but that isn’t the point.  What is the point is Bland should never have been put in the position  where dying was preferable to living.

The only thing more inept than the bungling by the Texas cops investigating themselves and is how the Democratic presidential candidates can’t seem to wrap their thick skulls around the notion that once you say  “All Lives Matter” you’ve missed the entire reason why it became necessary to  emphasize “Black Lives Matter” in the first place.

Hillary Clinton botched her moment at a Black church and then she  backtracked by calling Bland’s death, “heartbreaking,” adding, “And that’s why I think it is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, ‘Yes, black lives matter.’ And we all have a responsibility to face these hard truths of race and justice honestly and directly.”

Clinton’s rivals haven’t fared any better with Sen. Bernie Sanders, the darling of the progressive Left, totally fumbling his response to a protest by Black Lives Matters advocates at the NetRoots Nation conference where he grumped “Black lives, of course, matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity,” he said. “But if you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK. I don’t want to outscream people.”

Sanders has declined to offer specific comment or remedies to the many cases of Blacks being assaulted by law enforcement (Dajerria Becton, Martez Johnson) or killed (Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, John Crawford II, Eric Garner…ad infinitum).

The 73 year-old socialist from Vermont still doesn’t seem to get it as he continues to cite his resume instead of directly addressing how a Sanders presidency would be proactive in getting a handle on police brutality.

“I’m not dismissive,” he said. “I’ve been involved in the civil rights movement all of my life, and I believe that we have to deal with this issue of institutional racism.”

Too young to die.  Too Black to live.

Too young to die. Too Black to live.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley got slapped around when he responded, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” O’Malley, whose testy relationship with the residents of Baltimore has come under scrutiny later apologized, “That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect. I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

Jeb Bush, continuing to prove he isn’t the “Smart Bush” essentially called O’Malley a punk for apologizing.   “We’re so uptight and so politically correct now that we apologize for saying ‘lives matter?” an incredulous Bush wondered aloud at a gathering in overwhelmingly White New Hampshire.   “Life is precious. It’s a gift from God. I frankly think that it’s one of the most important values that we have. I know in the political context it’s a slogan, I guess. Should he have apologized? No. If he believes that white lives matter, which I hope he does, then he shouldn’t have apologized to a group that seemed to disagree with it.”

There’s nothing as useless as good White liberals who think they get it but they’re either too busy bragging about themselves or fumbling to say what they think will keep the natives from getting restless.   As for the Republican conservatives, they have to wait to see what Donald Trump will say first before knowing whether they should say anything at all.

What Hillary, Bernie and Jeb  do not get is they can say “all lives matter”and will be mostly right, but at they will be still be all wrong because they never had to give their children The Talk I’ve had to give my daughter and son on what to say, what to do and what not to do and say and how to conduct themselves so they don’t get killed during a routine traffic stop. There is no routine traffic stop when you are Black and a cop pulls you over.

Bernie is a Socialist,  Hillary is a moderate, and Jeb is a conservative but none of them understands why Black Lives Matter.  Sandra Bland could have told them but now its too late.   This is not about them.   There will be plenty of time for me to think about who the next president will be.    I don’t care about that now.   What I care  about is yet another Black body humiliated, stripped of its pride and humanity,  smashed to pieces and left to die in police custody and I VERY MUCH CARE ABOUT THAT.

The cell where Bland died. She allegedly hung herself with a trash bag tied to the toilet partition.

“how did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this?”
~ Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland should not be dead. She may have killed herself but the State of Texas is complicit for her death.   The U.S. Justice Department MUST step in to answer the question “What Happened to Sandra Bland?”

There must be an independent investigation and an independent autopsy performed on Sandra Bland. The officials in Texas have proven themselves to be untrustworthy by any but the gullible and law enforcement groupies. There are too damn many unanswered questions with the first one being the one Sandra asked herself, “How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this?”

American citizens should not walk into jails and be carried out dead. We can not and should not trust the local cops will do a fair, open and complete investigation.   All lives do matter but not all lives matter equally.   Those lives seemingly don’t matter at all. There is a specific need to say “Black Lives Matter” as there have been too many times when it has been violently proven they don’t.

Sandra Bland was tired of seeing Black bodies laid to rest long before their time.   I’m tired of trying to explain this to ignorant pandering politicians.

Sandra_Bland_Instagram

Was Bland’s Instagram pic was an eerie harbinger of her own death?

Ta-Neshi Coates Gets Trolled by Cornel West

“Eat your heart out, Cornel.”

Ta-Neshi Coates is widely regarded as America’s best and brightest social critic (and I share the sentiment). If writers wield power through their employment and arrangement of words, Coates flexed his muscles in the 2014 essay in The Atlantic, “The Case For Reparations” which moved the debate in an entirely new direction. It certainly opened to the possibility of a legitimate claim for reparations which avoided the non-starter argument of slavery as the justification.

Coates is having his moment in the spotlight as he makes the rounds of television, magazine, web interviews to promote his new book, Between the World and Me. Already the book has been lauded by liberals, crapped on by critics and its author praised by one of America’s literary lions.

“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.” Toni Morrison in a note to Ta-Neshi Coates’ agent.

That annoting did not sit well with one Cornel West who took to his Facebook page to retort:

In Defense of James Baldwin – Why Toni Morrison (a literary genius) is Wrong about Ta-Nehisi Coates. Baldwin was a great writer of profound courage who spoke truth to power. Coates is a clever wordsmith with journalistic talent who avoids any critique of the Black president in power. Baldwin’s painful self-examination led to collective action and a focus on social movements. He reveled in the examples of Medgar, Martin, Malcolm, Fannie Lou Hamer and Angela Davis. Coates’s fear-driven self-absorption leads to individual escape and flight to safety – he is cowardly silent on the marvelous new militancy in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Oakland, Cleveland and other places. Coates can grow and mature, but without an analysis of capitalist wealth inequality, gender domination, homophobic degradation, Imperial occupation (all concrete forms of plunder) and collective fightback (not just personal struggle) Coates will remain a mere darling of White and Black Neo-liberals, paralyzed by their Obama worship and hence a distraction from the necessary courage and vision we need in our catastrophic times. How I wish the prophetic work of serious intellectuals like Robin DG Kelley, Imani Perry, Gerald Horne, Eddie Glaude commanded the attention the corporate media gives Coates. But in our age of superficial spectacle, even the great Morrison is seduced by the linguistic glitz and political silences of Coates as we all hunger for the literary genius and political engagement of Baldwin. As in jazz, we must teach our youth that immature imitation is suicide and premature elevation is death. Brother Coates continue to lift your gifted voice to your precious son and all of us, just beware of the white noise and become connected to the people’s movements!


There are many ways to take that. I take that to mean Cornel West thinks Toni Morrison and Ta-Neshi Coates are full of shit.

But so is West if he (a) thinks James Baldwin needs defending and (b) he’s the guy to do the defending.

Michael Eric Dyson,  the former West ally turned bitter enemy went public with his break in a New Republic piece,  dumped derision on West’s kneecapping of Coates in an interview  “It shows the vast ineptitude of Professor West’s scholarship. The point I made in my piece is that he doesn’t keep up, he doesn’t read the freshest, newest, most insightful scholarship, nor does he write about it in any serious fashion or teach it in his curriculum, and it shows here.”

Dyson described Coates as a “greatly gifted writer” who forms “sentences and thoughts that sing on the page and stick to the mind.”

“Every charge he made against Ta-Nehisi is patently false,”  Dyson added. “Shall I introduce you to his essay on reparations? It has every bit of the analysis that West was hankering for,”

Dyson rallied to Morrison’s defense.  “And so now that makes her look like a dupe and a boob when she is a literary genius who possesses a Nobel Prize in literature,” he said. “I think her pedigree of assessment is far more convincing than Cornel West’s.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates_book

Coates may have incurred West’s undying wrath in 2011 in an essay entitled,    where he wrote:

In the matter at hand, there is no real difference between the tribalism offered by [Dinesh] D’Souza and his ilk, and the tribalism offered by West and his defenders. There is no real difference between Tea Partiers who insist that NAACP are the actual racists, and those who believe Obama is a “black mascot” damning the influence of identity politics. There is no real difference between those who push their agenda by implying that Obama isn’t really American, and those who push their agenda by implying that Obama isn’t really black.

Both are afflicted with a species of blindness, and intellectual sloth. Understanding and debating actual policy is hard. Enumerating perceived slights and name-calling, and dubbing it a black agenda, is not.

It may have taken him four years to return fire, but West never forgets an insult and never forgives the insulter.

West has become a small, petty, vulgar, envious and shriveled little man. His ego is second only to the equally vulgar Donald J. Trump. I now consider him a failed intellectual who has invalidated his earlier status as one of the leading voices in Black Thought.

West has nearly abrogated any claim to being a serious thinker to be taken seriously.   His pathological hatred of Barack Obama  coupled with his envy and spitefulness for anyone  like Coates who disagrees with or eclipses him is sad beyond words.   He’s become a really smart rapper with no flow  who enjoys playing the Dozens with big words.

West is a crank living off his rep and is clearly on the down escalator of his career  as Coates passes him on the way up.

“I repudiate Obama and I repudiate myself for supporting Obama.”

A Good Day In South Carolina

The rebel flag is finally a’comin’ down.

A bill taking down the flag and its flagpole from the Capitol’s front lawn passed the South Carolina House early Thursday after 13 hours of debate. It should get to Gov. Nikki Haley before the end of the day and she has promised to sign it quickly.

The bill requires the flag be taken down within 24 hours of her signing and shipped to the Confederate Relic Room.

There were hugs, tears and high fives in the House chamber after the vote. Members who waited decades to see this day snapped selfies and pumped their fists.

But even among the celebrations, there was more than a bit of sadness.

After the Civil War, the flag was first flown over the dome of South Carolina’s Capitol in 1961 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the war. It stayed as a protest to the Civil Rights movement that sought to end discrimination against blacks, only moving in 2000 from the dome to its current location.

The push to remove the flag only started after nine black churchgoers, including state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were gunned down during Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17. Police said the white gunman’s motivation was racial hatred. Then three days later, photos surfaced of the suspect, Dylann Roof, holding Confederate flags.

“I am 44 years old. I never thought I’d see this moment. I stand with people who never thought they would see this as well,” said House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, who called the victims martyrs.

I’m glad the Confederate flag is coming down in South Carolina. I’m sad it took the deaths of nine innocents to do it.

Let those who want to be stirred up be stirred up. Let them whine, moan and cry like blubbering brats until they have the dry heaves. Let them hold their breaths until they turn blue and die. I am all out of shits to give. No more enabling of a detestable and contemptible symbol of failure, surrender, and bigotry.

The Racist Rabble of the Right are losing their minds. My heritage is under attack! My way of life is under siege! A symbol of pride is being stripped away from me! STFU with that noise!  Nobody’s banned the rebel flag. You can still buy it, fly it and wipe your ass with it. The  flag remains available if you  need  proof of how much you hate Black  people.    Dylann Roof will  appreciated your show of Southern  pride.

The Confederate flag is still available for anyone who wants one.  They can have it in the privacy of their homes,  put it on their license plates,  wear it on their t-shirts and wave it their Klan rallies. They can’t just have it flying over the South Carolina statehouse. That’s all over. If  some sore losers want to go beyond Civil War reenactments to trying to secede again, let ’em whistle “Dixie” and piss up a rope. Pandering to idiots only guarantees more idiocy.

The decision to remove the flag was arrived at through a democratic process where both sides had their opportunity to make their case and win the day. The pro-Confederate flag side lost. Sucks for them. Don’t like the result? Still sucks for them.

I could not care less if that rag becomes more of a rallying point for racists and for those sympathetic to racists.  LET THEM. It only makes them easier to identify as the bigots they truly are.

Racism LOST today and it was like Japan vs. the U.S in women’s soccer.   It wasn’t even close.

Today was a good day for South Carolina and a better one for America. It took a giant step away from ignorance and intolerance and a giant step toward enlightenment and equality.

South Carolina

Obama’s Amazingly Graceful Eulogy

The fallen, but not the forgotten.

Familiarity doesn’t only breed contempt. It creates expectations. Barack Obama has been president for just short of seven years. I read somewhere during his time in office he has made statements at  memorials and  mass shootings in America  19 times. He has to extremely tired of this part of the job.

Yet Obama does it anyway because while it’s a dirty job, somebody’s gotta do it. Somebody has to remind the rest of us America isn’t a great big unlocked insane asylum where the inmates are armed and running buck wild in the streets though it probably looks that way to the rest of the world.

The President isn’t only the Commander-In-Chief of the nation’s armed forces. He’s also the Counselor-In-Chief when yet another senseless act of violence occurs such as the killing of Susie Jackson, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., Cynthia Hurd, Ethel Lee Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Rev. Clementa Pinckney by a murderous White supremacist.

Obama led a bipartisan group from Washington for Pinckney’s memorial service, and he gave praise to the fallen pastor and those of the parishioners who fell with him.     The president used a country preacher’s cadence that while solemn was  full of hope, healing and grace and  grace particularly was on the president’s mind as he lauded Rev. Pinckney.

What a good man. Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized — after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say someone was a good man.

You don’t have to be of high station to be a good man. Preacher by 13. Pastor by 18. Public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith. And then to lose him at 41 — slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God.

Cynthia Hurd. Susie Jackson. Ethel Lance. DePayne Middleton-Doctor. Tywanza Sanders. Daniel L. Simmons. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. Myra Thompson. Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people. People so full of life and so full of kindness. People who ran the race, who persevered. People of great faith.

To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church. The church is and always has been the center of African-American life–a place to call our own in a too often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

It was no surprise the president spoke plainly and forcefully on the unaddressed issues laid bare by the Charleston church shootings including the bloody rebel flag the killer wrapped himself in.

For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. It’s true, a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge — including Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise–as we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now.

Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought — the cause of slavery — was wrong — the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history; a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds. It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better, because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races striving to form a more perfect union. By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace.

Americans have a remarkable ability to focus on something with great intensity and then move on from it. Here today is Rachel Dolezal and tomorrow’s she’s a trivia question. But nobody paid attention when NYPD patrolman Peter Liang was indicted for shooting Akai Gurley That’s the sort of thing which matters while Dolezal’s subterfuge and family matters don’t. The President reminded us there’s still a lot of unfinished business.

But I don’t think God wants us to stop there. For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate. Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system –and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias; that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure.

Then Obama did something no president ever has done before and may never ever do again. He began to sing. The President of the United State sang “Amazing Grace.”

“Amazing grace —  how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see. “

Clementa Pinckney found that grace.

Cynthia Hurd found that grace.

Susie Jackson found that grace.

Ethel Lance found that grace.

DePayne Middleton-Doctor found that grace.

Tywanza Sanders found that grace.

Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace.

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace.

Myra Thompson found that grace.

Through the example of their lives, they’ve now passed it on to us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift, as long as our lives endure. May grace now lead them home. May God continue to shed His grace on the United States of America.

It’s been a long time since I was in church but Reverend President took me there.

I teared up AND got chills. This was the Obama I voted for. Every now and then my president makes me proud and he reminds me why. I could never imagine President McCain or President Romeny responding the way Obama did. Would Rand or Jeb or even Hillary preach and sing from the pulpit? Maybe they would, probably they wouldn’t but whatever they would do they could never do something so perfectly human.

We may not know it yet, but we’re  going to miss Obama when he’s gone.   He’s done some very good things, some very bad things, been exceptional, been ordinary, been inspiring and been infuriating.   Coming off a week where he had won fast- track trade authority in Congress (mostly with Republican support) and two monumentally important decisions by the Supreme Court making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states and preserving Obamacare,  the president had enjoyed some significant wins.   We’ve seen many of Obama’s predecessors enjoy good weeks.

What Obama hasn’t been is anything like we’ve ever seen in any American President.    That’s a good thing and a uniquely Obama thing.