Helen Philpot of that wonderful blog, Margaret and Helen, does what many of us should do more often: ask why I'm lucky me.
HERE IS MY WHITE STORY:
About 60 years ago my husband and I scraped together every penny we had to buy a small but lovely home in a safe neighborhood with good schools. Our children had a lovely childhood. They got a good education and always knew that going to college was an achievable goal. The worst thing that ever happened in our neighborhood was a bad divorce or a scandalous affair. Murders and robberies happened across town. And when that happened we spoke of it in hushed tones as we smoked fancy cigarettes and drank iced tea on the back porch. Our children all graduated from college, married and had families of their own. Our grandchildren are repeating the cycle and we even have some great-grandchildren who will continue to do well long after I am dead and gone.
HERE COULD HAVE BEEN MY STORY IF I WAS A BLACK WOMAN:
About 60 years ago my husband and I would have tried to scrape together enough money to buy a small but lovely home in a safe neighborhood with good schools. Unfortunately the banks would not approve a mortgage for us and the neighborhood we wanted was restricted anyway. Our children would never truly feel the American dream was about them. The schools they attended would be poorly funded and under-achieving in every way. As hard as I tried to hide it from them, they would know that a life of crime, drugs and violence was a real possibility and it probably would pay better than any job they could get. Fearing authority would come more easily than trusting it. Some of them might overcome the odds but more than likely they would repeat a life of near poverty and almost but not quites… College would be possible but nearly twice as many of their white friends would see that happen rather than their black friends. They would have been called the n-word in various forms many times in their life and they would know that 1 in every 15 African American men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men. When my family eventually celebrated the election of the first black President… we would have done so knowing he might be the last for many years to come. My grandchildren and great-grandchildren might fare slightly better, but only slightly and only if they were very lucky.
I guess we could go on calling this kind of fate "lucky" or "unlucky," but in the end it comes down to injustice and to what woman 1 does to change the life of woman 2. In the meantime, we really should stop taking credit for being free, fortunate, and fair...
I won’t bore you with any more Hillary bashing, apart from saying that her phony baloney populism is an insult to anything with a forebrain and opposable thumbs. I think she has genuine liberal sentiments, but ambition trumps sentiments in politics, and she’s running for president of the United States, not president of Sweden or Denmark, and we don’t truck with too much liberalism. Not one minute after she she snookers us libs into voting for her, she’ll be off to brunch with Lawrence Summers and Lloyd Blankfein, and they won’t be eating hot dogs and spare ribs like the folks. They will, however, be having Very Serious Discussions about raising the retirement age and cutting those wicked entitlements. They will be drafting her inevitable speech about “fiscal responsibility” that we’re all going to have to endure. Just watch.
I can hear it in my nightmares. I can hear it in my daymares. I can see it, smell it, feel it and sense it as if it’s a tangible, living presence hovering over my shoulder getting ready to pounce, the Ghost of Establishment Politician’s Past come to smother me with smugness, condescension and hypocrisy. ...O'Hollern@BadAttitudes
The Senate failed to move forward on legislation to reform the National Security Agency or renew the Patriot Act early on Saturday morning, making it almost a sure bet that portions of the Patriot Act expire at the end of the month. ...TheHill
Although I don't think the Senate merits even a weak, warm gringorita given its track record, it looks like they're allowing the Patriot Act to die a slow death in the next week or so. That's better than nothing.
At the end of the month, three parts of the Patriot Act are set to expire, including the controversial Section 215 which the NSA has used to collect in bulk records about millions of Americans’ phone calls. The program was revealed by Edward Snowden two years ago, and has been the target of reform for civil libertarians ever since.
Failure of the USA Freedom Act — after a similar setback in the closing days of Democrats’ majority in the Senate last year — sends the loudest message yet that Congress is unable to agree on reforming the nation’s intelligence powers.
Senior administration officials have said that uncertainty caused by inaction on the bill would force them to wind down the NSA’s bulk phone collection program in the coming days. They also said it would present a host of operational problems for the NSA and FBI. ...TheHill
As Kevin Drum points out, this is a serious surprise. Even more so when it's revealed as a trend, not a blip in an otherwise reliable leaning towards conservativism on the part of most American voters.
... This really is a milestone. For a long time, one of the rocks of political analysis in America has been the simple fact that conservatives outnumber liberals. That's been true since at least the 60s, and probably for the entire postwar period—and it's been a perpetual millstone around Democratic necks. They couldn't win national elections just by getting the liberal vote and a little bit of the center-right vote. They had to get a lot of the center-right vote. But it now looks like that era is coming to an end. With social issues increasingly defining politics, a social liberal is, for all practical purposes, just a plain old liberal—and the trend of increasing liberal ID is already underway. ...Drum,MoJo
The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty has interesting insights into Hillary Clinton's propensity to muddle friendship with politics -- loyalty with discretion. Her work as Secretary of State was "an archetype of crisp managerial efficiency." As distinct, the Post notes, from how her presidential campaign was managed. It was a mess.
But her time at State does show ongoing problems, lapses in judgment ... even defiance. Her side-stepping of the policy when it came to her private email account is only one example, it seems.
...A trove of newly released e-mails suggests that one of Clinton’s tendencies persisted during her time as secretary of state — an inability to separate her longtime loyalties from the business at hand.
The e-mails from her private account reveal that she passed along no fewer than 25 memos about Libya from friend and political ally Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal had business interests in Libya but no diplomatic expertise there.
Moreover, she did so after the White House had blocked her from hiring Blumenthal at the State Department. The president’s team considered him untrustworthy and prone to starting rumors. ...WaPo
Clinton defends her rule-breaking as a way of staying in touch with reality, of not being trapped in an agency bubble. But pulling old friends into her decision-making process proved to be destructive during her 2008 campaign.
Her 2016 organization has been built with those mistakes in mind. Relatively few of those who were involved in 2008 remain; in their place is a new generation of data-driven operatives, few of whom have long or deep ties to the candidate herself.
Her new campaign chairman, John Podesta, was picked in part for his willingness to act as an enforcer.
“With Podesta in charge,” said a longtime Clinton friend, “it’s a new game in the sense that Podesta’s big skill is the ability to tell people to go to hell.”
In other words, they are building a different kind of Clinton campaign. The question is whether the candidate can be a different kind of Clinton. ...WaPo
Who is Hillary and what are her strengths?
Peter Beinart reports that the Clinton campaign -- this year's edition -- is showing a good deal more savvy in handling their candidate.
Soaring rhetoric and grand themes have never been Hillary’s strengths. That’s one reason so many liberals found her so much less inspirational than Barack Obama in 2008. And it’s a problem with deep roots. In his biography, A Woman in Charge, Carl Bernstein describes Hillary, then in law school, struggling to articulate her generation’s perspective in an address to the League of Women Voters. “If she was speaking about a clearly defined subject,” Bernstein writes, “her thoughts would be well organized, finely articulated, and delivered in almost perfect outline form. But before the League audience, she again and again lapsed into sweeping abstractions.”
Team Clinton appears to understand this. And so it has done something shrewd. Instead of talking vision, Hillary is talking policy, which she does really well. ...Beinart,Atlantic
But this vision thing will be demanded of any serious candidate for the presidency. Hillary will have to face the hightone rhetoric of one or another Republican candidate.
Sooner or later, Hillary will have to move from policy to philosophy. It may be a rocky transition. And if the Republicans nominate Marco Rubio (which at this point looks like a decent bet), she will face a candidate who interweaves personal biography and national aspiration better than she does. But if Hillary stumbles, these opening weeks of her campaign may offer a template for how she regains her footing. She’s at her best talking about America not abstractly, but concretely. She’s most inspiring when talking not about what she believes, but about what she wants to do. And she most effectively humanizes herself by being true to who she is: knowledgeable, passionate, and vaguely obsessive about making government work. Against Rubio, or any other likely Republican challenger, that identity should provide an excellent contrast. ...Beinart,Atlantic
The GOP is producing candidates who, for the most part, have eagerly climbed to the top of the mast but who wouldn't know what to do if you handed them the tiller.
And/or fire the Supreme Court? A report in the Times last Tuesday certainly suggests those solutions to a society in trouble.
The court sided with two San Francisco police officers who in 2008 shot Teresa Sheehan, a mentally ill woman, when she resisted being moved from her private room in a group home to a mental health facility.
When the officers first entered Ms. Sheehan’s room, she told them to leave and grabbed a kitchen knife. After retreating and conferring, the officers forced open the door, blinded Ms. Sheehan with pepper spray and repeatedly shot her.
She survived and sued, and the federal appeals court in California allowed her case to go forward. The appeals court said the officers’ initial entry had been justified and did not violate the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, the court went on, “a jury could find that the officers acted unreasonably by forcing the second entry and provoking a near-fatal confrontation.”
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for a six-justice majority, said the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because there was no clearly established law barring their conduct. ...NYT
Okay, stupid. Stay in the left lane and you're in trouble. First, we double both your mortgage and car payments. Then we stop you from reading anything but romance novels for the rest of your life. Next, we launch a new TV series called "Ridiculously Inept Sexual Partners" and you're the star. If, by then, you still haven't learned that the left lane is for passing only, we give you a seat in the House, the ultimate punishment for certified jerks.
Believe someone who works for peace? Frankly, he should shut up about war, right?
I'm just saying even Americans can be tolerant of the peaceniks polluting our robustitude. Here's a guy who says ISIS isn't winning. He believes Iraq is doing okay and Obama's policy is wise...
Go figure. Even after the loss of Palmyra.
America should help Mr. Abadi mobilize the Sunni tribes by mediating between them and the Iraqi government, to overcome mutual distrust. Washington must continue to bolster Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces while providing air support, improved intelligence, reconnaissance, weapons and training. The United States should also seek to limit any fallout from the operations of Iranian-backed Shiite armed groups in Anbar. Local authorities voted to allow for the deployment of these groups, but that does not guarantee success. Their cooperation with the Sunni tribes will be decisive in expelling the Islamic State from Ramadi.
The propaganda war could be even more important. The Islamic State is now using Ramadi to re-energize its supporters by broadcasting images of blitzkrieg. It has published photos of seized Iraqi equipment and ammunition and of public executions, and images of its black flags over government buildings have been widely shared. For the Islamic State, social media is as effective a weapon as advanced military technology. The United States should continue to target the group’s social media propaganda and its effort to rebuild the cracked aura of invincibility.
Thankfully, the Obama administration seems to recognize that beating the Islamic State on the ground is an Iraqi responsibility. There is enough manpower in Iraq. America and its allies must not overreact to the setback in Ramadi; they should limit their engagement to aerial support and military advisers. ...AhmedAli,NYT
Protest is fine. Protest that erupts into violence gives the right the trump cards. Ferguson may be just the beginning of a fresh start for increased conservative political strength: "If the violent protests in Ferguson and Baltimore supercede nonviolent protest, Wasow’s research implies that the liberal moment might give way to another reactionary era," Chait writes about Omar Wasow's research at Princeton.
Wasow finds that nonviolent civil-rights protests did not trigger a national backlash, but that violent protests and looting did. The physical damage inflicted upon poor urban neighborhoods by rioting does not have the compensating virtue of easing the way for more progressive policies; instead, it compounds the damage by promoting a regressive backlash.
The Nixonian law and order backlash drove a wave of repressive criminal-justice policies that carried through for decades with such force that even Democrats like Bill Clinton felt the need to endorse them in order to win elections. That wave has finally receded and created space for sentencing reforms, demilitarization, an emphasis on community policing, and other initiatives that even have bipartisan support. ...Chait,DailyIntel
Another good reason for studying videos of protests like Ferguson's. Though the issue isn't raised in Chait's piece, there is often evidence of provocation during protests -- not only by the police ...