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!”


The King You Didn’t Know Is the King You Need To Know

Another Martin Luther King Day has come and gone.  Maybe you observed it by attending a King Day observance or you checked out Selma (which I did, but that’s for another time).  Maybe it was just an excuse not to go to work and you spent the day not even remotely thinking about Dr. King or his legacy.

Maybe you just can’t stand hearing “I Have A Dream” even one more time.  If so, you can’t be blamed if King’s Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence speech missed you.  It missed most Americans when MLK gave it on April 4, 1967.  Exactly one year later King was dead, slain by an American sniper named James Earl Ray for reasons and motivations which remained murky.

The speech is important because it was so different from the speeches King had given before.  This King was angrier and less hopeful  He was not the warm and fuzzy Santa Claus of race relations he’d been made out to be.   This King distressed at the direction American was going and he despaired seeing it debased by the immorality of the Vietnam War.   This speech wasn’t filled with the comforting words of the humble Baptist preacher nor is the bluntness of  the language the kind politicians feel safe invoking now.

This is not the Dreamer.   The Dream ran headlong into the nightmare of Vietnam and it sickened him.  That man has his time and place.

This is another Martin Luther King,  Raw.  Radical.  Straight, No Chaser.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

American Sniper Victim

American Sniper Victim

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Ron Paul On Race: Even Worse Than You Thought

I like Ron Paul's campaign and I think it's good for America and the political process in this country that he is running for president. -- David Duke

When you’re a political person and you’re engaged in the social network you often find yourself sparring with others whose own beliefs clash with yours.  That’s the back drop of how I found myself going heads up with a rabid Ron Paul supporter.

Things got real, real quick.  Paulinistas are passionate defenders of their boy.   I work with some and they make for great debates, but sometimes I think they’re living in a separate reality same as Paul.

You have to admire any politician who tells you exactly what he thinks and doesn’t care what you think about it. I watched Paul at a debate in 2008 that was sponsored by Tavis Smiley at a Black university. All the big guns skipped the debate (Romney, McCain, Giuliani) leaving it to Paul and non-entitites like Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback and Duncan Hunter.

Paul stole the show. The audience applauded loudly when Paul said he would end the War on Drugs, but booed just as loudly when he said a President Paul would have nothing to do with the genocide in Darfur. Give Paul credit: he doesn’t tailor his message to please a specific crowd.

But he’s still unelectable. I will always regard his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a deal breaker.

As a rule, libertarians have an unhealthy tendency to apply their principles without due regard to America’s history of state-enforced slavery, apartheid, and sexism, or to the many ways in which the legacy of these insidious practices persists to this day. Paul represents this tendency at his worst. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Paul has argued, led to “a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society.”

It’s hard to interpret Paul’s position on this matter in a kind light. During the last campaign season, James Kirchick revealed in the pages of this publication that in the late 1980s and early 1990s Paul had published newsletters under his name containing rank bigotry against African Americans and gays. Paul claimed he did not write the columns in question or even know about them. Whether you believe that or not, the newsletter scandal highlighted Paul’s longstanding ties with figures, such as Lew Rockwell, with a history of catering to racist and nativist sentiments for political gain.

"Can you believe I get away with saying this crazy stuff?"

When you’re the publisher it’s pretty much a given that the positions expressed in your publication reflect your positions.

It’s disingenuous for Paul and his supporters to claim, “hey, he didn’t write these racist things. He can’t be blamed for it.”

Doesn’t work that way. A publisher is responsible for the content that goes into the publication. If the editor is pushing material that runs contrary to the publisher’s beliefs that’s an editor that needs to be fired.

Ron Paul didn’t do that. He didn’t run any retractions. He didn’t apologize for the racist drivel that ran in his newsletter.

PAULINISTA:  What amazes me is the same people who said he was crazy in 2008 for his anti-war, economic and Drug War views, who claim he’s unelectable today, who claim he can never recover from his loose association with a racist, are ignoring a very recent similar example.

I think people are mostly pissed that he’s actually manned up and refuses to throw his version of Rev. Wright under the bus by naming him. But we do know some things about the author of those rants.

We know that Ron Paul didn’t set in a pew every Sunday for 20 years nodding sagely at the wisdom of the rants of the author of those articles.

We know that Ron Paul has never claimed the author of those newsletter articles was “a close spiritual adviser for over 20 years.

Trying to make Ron Paul taller by cutting down Barack Obama isn’t the best way to sell Ron Paul.   When you can come up with a series of racist and homophobic articles that Barack Obama gave his tacit approval to when he was the editor of the Harvard Law Review, maybe you’ll have a point. Right now, you don’t.

It isn’t “manning up” by refusing to distance yourself from a racist buddy. What it says is even if Paul doesn’t hold those views personally he’s comfortable with those who do. That’s not the kind of person that should be appointing Cabinet members and nominees to the federal judiciary.

You can’t claim to be free of racism and protecting racists within your inner circle. Jeremiah Wright has had zero presence in the Obama Administration. Where would Paul place his bigoted buddies? Running the Justice Department Civil Rights division?

PAULINISTA: I go more on his voting record, the fact that there are no racist comments anywhere directly attributable to him, and statements like that from Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder, who’s known Paul for 20 years and said the charges were unfounded, or Wolf Blitzer, who expresses his open disbelief based on his knowledge of Dr. Paul in the interview I linked. Or maybe the word of Steward Rhodes, a Hispanic former staffer, is worth noting.

I’ll go on Paul’s voting record too and according to the NAACP scorecard he has accrued a mixed record of only 39% on civil rights issues such as affirmative action, which Paul opposes.

Does anyone still think a “some of my best friends are..” line of argument works? A Black guy in Austin nobody outside of Austin has ever heard of and a former Hispanic staffer think Paul is a swell guy and everyone is supposed to forget about his voting record, racist newsletters and say, “Ron Paul must be an okay dude. Two minorities say so.”

According to the NAACP’s most recent civil rights legislative report card for the 112th Congress (2009 – 2010), Ron Paul compiled an impressive 8 percent voting record on issues of interest to the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

Maybe they should have called up Mr. Linder to see if he could put in a good word for his old buddy of 20 years. It might have inched that number up to 10 percent.

PAULINISTA: It’s also worth noting that in the many books that Ron Paul has written the only time he talks about blacks is to praise MLK, Rosa Parks and to condemn economic policies that he thinks are adversely affecting blacks. His oratory on the War on Drugs always emphasizes the over-prosecution of minorities as one of the big sins of the War.

Overall, hardly the record of a Strom Thurmond, Al Gore Senior, George Wallace, or Robert Byrd, just to note a few.

It’s also worth noting Paul has made it clear he would have voted the same way as Thurmond, Gore and Byrd did to oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Just as Paul voted against the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday (though he did choose the holiday as an occasion for one of his “money bomb” fundraisers).

Just as Paul voted against awarding Rosa Parks a Congressional Gold Medal. He did offer to kick in $100 to pay for one. What a big-hearted guy!

Beyond Paul’s support on ending the War on Drugs (and people of color) there’s little to support the suggestion he’s the right man on race. His platitudes to King and Parks are rendered empty by his votes against them. Calling out the opposition of dead Democratic Senators from the South to the 1964 Civil Rights Act might play better if Paul and his idiot son weren’t endorsing the same historially indefensible position (because property rights supersede civil rights).

Taking “responsibility” for racist and homophobic material submitted in your own newsletter isn’t responsible while you continue to refuse to distance yourself from the racists responsible.

Ron Paul is no Barack Obama when it comes to disavowing a friend who espouses repugnant thoughts and spews hateful words.

That’s the problem.  When you strip away the rhetoric, the rubber doesn’t meet the road with Paul and his supposed color-blindness. It’s more like color blinders.

There are some things Ron Paul thinks are great ways to spend money. He says Abraham Lincoln was wrong to have waged the Civil War with the South and there was a better way to free the slaves. The government should have bought the slaves instead.

That is such a fascinatingly deranged perspective I could watch that clip all day long and wonder, “Just how crazy is this old man?”

PAULINISTA:  His voting record is consistent as well. Article 1 Section 8 guides his votes, and there’s a whole crapload of stuff that everybody wants that’s not in there. He votes against handouts for corporations as readily as he votes against any handout.

That’s why he’s named Dr. No.

I can agree with you on that. He says “no” to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He says “no” to affirmative action. He says “no” to U.S. involvement in trying to prevent the genocide in the Sudan. He says “no” to a woman’s reproductive rights. He says “no” to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“No” to stem cell research. “No” to modifying bankruptcy laws to avoid mortgage foreclosures. “No” to gender-equal pay. “No” to allowing shareholders to vote on executive compensation. “No” on $84 million in grants to Black and Hispanic colleges. “No” to enforcement of anti-gay hate laws.

He even said “NO” to establishing a nationwide AMBER alert system for missing children.

Paul does say “yes” to some things. He says “yes” to guns as his A+ rating from the NRA indicates and “yes” to taking away a woman’s right to an abortion.

That’s your “Dr. No” and you can keep him.

 PAULINISTA: You can keep the pretty boy with the peerless pedigree and the condescending smile every time someone asks him when we’re gonna stop killing our children in the streets over herbs, or innocent civilians in foreign lands over oil, and who thinks the Patriot Act is just groovy and every president should have the power to assassinate American citizens.

I’ll go for the political pariah who actually proposes to change those things.

Because some Americans can see that the Barack Obama of tomorrow is the Barack Obama of yesterday… and so, in large part, are Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin.

Yeah, the political pariah wants to change things alright. The problem is he wants to change things back to when restaurant owners could refuse service to a customer because they had the wrong skin color or to when women had to risk their lives to end an unplanned pregnancy or gays stayed nice and quiet locked in a closet or to a time when America walled itself off from the world in paranoid isolationism.

As his recent crazy talk about FEMA as Hurricane Irene approached indicates, you are absolutely right: Ron Paul wants to change America. He wants to change it back to 1900.

Ron Paul's Black support. Singular, not plural.