What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White
What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White
Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.
This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Monday, March 18, 2019
Sunday, March 17, 2019
"FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Two young men were found dead inside torched cars. Three others died of apparent suicides. Another collapsed on a bus, his death ruled an overdose.
Six deaths, all involving men with connections to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, drew attention on social media and speculation in the activist community that something sinister was at play.
Police say there is no evidence the deaths have anything to do with the protests stemming from a white police officer’s fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, and that only two were homicides with no known link to the protests.
But some activists say their concerns about a possible connection arise out of a culture of fear that persists in Ferguson 4 ½ years after Brown’s death, citing threats — mostly anonymous — that protest leaders continue to receive.
The Rev. Darryl Gray said he found a box inside his car. When the bomb squad arrived, no explosives were found but a 6-foot (1.8-meter) python was inside.
“Everybody is on pins and needles,” Gray said of his fellow activists.
No arrests have been made in the two homicides. St. Louis County police spokesman Shawn McGuire said witnesses have simply refused to come forward, leaving detectives with no answers for why the men were targeted.
“We don’t believe either one was connected to each other,” McGuire said, but adding, “It’s tough to come up with a motive without a suspect.”
Ferguson erupted in protests in August 2014 after officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown during a street confrontation. Brown was unarmed, but Wilson said he fired in self-defense when the black teenager came at him menacingly.
A grand jury declined to charge Wilson in November 2014, prompting one of the most violent nights of demonstrations, and one of the first activist deaths.
Deandre Joshua’s body was found inside a burned car blocks from the protest. The 20-year-old was shot in the head before the car was torched.
Darren Seals, shown on video comforting Brown’s mother that same night, met an almost identical fate two years later. The 29-year-old’s bullet-riddled body was found inside a burning car in September 2016.
Four others also died, three of them ruled suicides.
— MarShawn McCarrel of Columbus, Ohio, shot himself in February 2016 outside the front door of the Ohio Statehouse, police said. He had been active in Ferguson.
— Edward Crawford Jr., 27, fatally shot himself in May 2017 after telling acquaintances he had been distraught over personal issues, police said. A photo of Crawford firing a tear gas canister back at police during a Ferguson protest was part of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage.
— In October, 24-year-old Danye Jones was found hanging from a tree in the yard of his north St. Louis County home. His mother, Melissa McKinnies, was active in Ferguson and posted on Facebook after her son’s death, “They lynched my baby.” But the death was ruled a suicide.
— Bassem Masri, a 31-year-old Palestinian American who frequently livestreamed video of Ferguson demonstrations, was found unresponsive on a bus in November and couldn’t be revived. Toxicology results released in February showed he died of an overdose of fentanyl.
The Ferguson protests added momentum to the national Black Lives Matter movement, but they also generated resentment from people angered by TV footage of protesters hurling rocks and insults at police. Amid lingering anger, activists and observers say that while they see no clear connection between the deaths and the protests, they can’t help but wonder about the thoroughness of the investigations.
“These protesters and their deaths may not be a high priority for (police) since there is this antagonistic relationship,” Washington University sociologist Odis Johnson said. “I think there is a need for them to have a greater sense of urgency.”
Activists say that in the years since the protests, they have been targeted in dangerous ways.
“Something is happening,” said Cori Bush, a frequent leader of the Ferguson protests. “I’ve been vocal about the things that I’ve experienced and still experience — the harassment, the intimidation, the death threats, the death attempts.”
Bush said her car has been run off the road, her home has been vandalized, and in 2014 someone shot a bullet into her car, narrowly missing her daughter, who was 13 at the time.
She suspects white supremacists or police sympathizers. Living under constant threat is exhausting, she said, but she won’t give in.
“They shut us up and they win,” Bush said.
It’s unclear if residual stress from the protests or harassment contributed to the suicides, but Johnson said many activists feel a sense of hopelessness.
“This has to have a big impact on their mental health,” Johnson said. “For many, law enforcement is not a recourse. Many times law enforcement is not on their side.”
Experts say the deaths also are indicative of a concern at the core of the protests — the underlying difficulty of life for young people of color. Five of the men who died were blacks in their 20s.
Black St. Louis County residents are three times more likely than whites to be poor, often meaning they lack adequate health insurance that could allow them to better address not only physical ailments but mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
They also tend to live in areas with higher crime rates. The 2010 U.S. census showed that while people who live in wealthy and mostly white western St. Louis County can expect to live well into their 80s, life expectancy in parts of mostly black north St. Louis County reaches only into the 60s. Life expectancy in Kinloch, a few miles from Ferguson, is 56.
Forty-five of the county’s 60 homicide victims last year were black in a county where less than a quarter of the population is black, according to police statistics.
“Here in St. Louis, unfortunately, we have allowed the culture of crime and violence to morph into dimensions that anybody’s at risk any day, any time,” said James Clark of the nonprofit Better Family Life."
Puzzling number of men tied to Ferguson protests have died
Friday, March 15, 2019
Monday, March 11, 2019
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Saturday, March 09, 2019
Friday, March 08, 2019
Even some of her critics have to admit that the attacks on her are ridiculous and no one is saying what she is saying is not true.
"The identity politics fiasco surrounding Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been excruciating. Half of me is angry at her. The other half is furious for her.
Among the most basic anti-Semitic tropes are these: Jews employ semi-occult powers to control world events; they manipulate hapless gentiles with their money; and Jews in the diaspora are disloyal to the countries in which they live. Omar, in the course of making perfectly valid criticisms of Israel and its most powerful American lobby, has invoked each of these tropes.
Twice now, she has publicly expressed regret for saying things that many Jews — including some who are quite far to the left on Israel — see as freighted with anti-Semitism, only to reignite public controversy with new insensitive comments. Most recently, while speaking on a panel last week, she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is O.K. for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]
Writers I respect, including Paul Waldman at The Washington Post, have argued that there was nothing wrong with what Omar said, because she was criticizing those who demand that she show more fealty to Israel, rather than accusing Jews of dual loyalties. But even if you interpret her words that way, she’s committed what might be called, in another context, a series of microaggressions — inadvertent slights that are painful because they echo whole histories of trauma. I assume Omar has been reckless rather than malicious, but it is incumbent on her, as on any public person who wades into fraught sectarian debates, to speak with care. This doesn’t mean she should temper her criticism of Israel, just that she needs to stop giving ammunition to those who want to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
So I think Omar deserves criticism. Criticism, however, is not the right word for what she’s faced. As one of the first two Muslim women in Congress — and the first to wear a hijab — Omar has been subject to a terrifying campaign of racist vilification, including a poster in the rotunda of the West Virginia Capitol linking her to 9/11. She is treated as a dangerous foreign interloper in American politics and the embodiment of anti-Semitism, even though her Republican colleagues routinely demonstrate far worse anti-Jewish bigotry.
Earlier this week, Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, accused Representative Jerry Nadler of doing the bidding of the wealthy liberal donor “Tom $teyer,” whose father was Jewish. (To be clear, this tweet counts both as inane AND anti-Semitic,” Nadler responded.) Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is one of Trump’s fiercest defenders, once brought an internet troll who’d denied the Holocaust to the State of the Union. Omar gestured at the idea of dual loyalty, but Donald Trump, speaking to American Jews last December, referred to Israel as “your country.” Indeed, no president has done more to mainstream classically anti-Semitic ideas about an authentic volk at war with parasitical globalists. It’s maddening to watch men who’ve flirted with outright fascism — like former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka, who wore the medal of a Nazi-aligned Hungarian group to one of Trump’s inaugural balls — act like sanctimonious defenders of the Jews.
The point is not to excuse Omar by comparison. It’s to say that Omar said things that are offensive and that she’s the victim of a double standard. She’s been held up for unique opprobrium because, breaking with America’s foreign policy consensus, she empathizes with Palestinians more than Israelis. Representative Juan Vargas, a Democrat of California, gave the game away earlier this week when he tweeted, “It is disturbing that Rep. Omar continues to perpetuate hurtful anti-Semitic stereotypes that misrepresent our Jewish community. Additionally, questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable.”
House Democratic leaders have been widely panned for their handling of the Omar affair, but its contradictions put them in a near-impossible bind. To ignore her words would be to tolerate mild anti-Semitism, an unsavory proposition at any time, but especially now, when many Jews feel newly vulnerable in a country that’s long been a haven. To publicly rebuke her would mean joining in the over-the-top demonization of a black Muslim woman facing death threats. Ultimately, Democrats on Thursday settled on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination, and “bigotry against minorities,” a blandly inoffensive document that didn’t seem to satisfy anyone.
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As that resolution was being hashed out, The Hill published an interview with House Majority Whip James Clyburn that poured gasoline on a trash fire. Defending Omar, who spent four years of her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp, he seemed to describe her suffering as more visceral than that of Jews. “There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’” Clyburn said. “It’s more personal with her. I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”
More from Opinion on Ilhan Omar and anti-Semitism:
Opinion | Bret Stephens: Ilhan Omar Knows Exactly What She Is DoingMarch 7, 2019
Opinion | Thomas L. Friedman: Ilhan Omar, Aipac and MeMarch 6, 2019
Opinion: Anti-Semitism Charges Roil DemocratsMarch 7, 2019
I don’t doubt that Omar is living through a lot of pain, but minimizing the legacy of the Holocaust is never a good idea, particularly when your party is managing an internal crisis over anti-Semitism. For a moment I was frightened: with the country in the hands of a repugnant white nationalist, this is not the moment for Democrats to tear themselves apart over race and religion.
Then the voting on the anti-bigotry resolution started. Every Democrat present backed the resolution, but 23 Republicans voted against it. It was a reminder that while Democrats sometimes fail to live up to the ideals of multiethnic democracy, Republicans don’t seem to recognize those ideas at all. Omar needs to do better, but right now there’s still only one political party in America that is a safe place for hate.
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Michelle Goldberg has been an Opinion columnist since 2017. She is the author of several books about politics, religion and women’s rights, and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2018 for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. @michelleinbklyn"
Opinion | Ilhan Omar’s Microaggression - The New York Times
Paul Manafort got off with far to easy a sentence given the scope of his wrongdoing and his unrepentant attitude. Young kids of color have are regularly sentenced for longer for swelling and ounce of marijuana. This is a disgrace but sadly not surprising. This is a central case of how color and economic privilege work together in America.
Paul Manafort Is Sentenced to Less Than 4 Years in 1 of 2 Cases Against Him - The New York Times
Paul Manafort Is Sentenced to Less Than 4 Years in 1 of 2 Cases Against Him - The New York Times
Thursday, March 07, 2019
By J.T. Smith II
Mr. Smith served as executive assistant to Attorney General Elliot Richardson in 1973.
"If Mueller’s findings compel legal action, the attorney general should reconsider the policy against indictment of a sitting president.
Mr. Smith served as executive assistant to Attorney General Elliot Richardson in 1973.
Reports that Robert Mueller will soon issue the findings of his investigation have brought a new urgency to the question of whether, assuming sufficient evidence exists, a president can be indicted while in office.
Most people take for granted that both Mr. Mueller and the new attorney general, William Barr, accept the current Justice Department legal position — reached in a 2000 opinion — that a sitting president cannot be indicted. In a June 2018 memo, Mr. Barr said that under “the Framers’ plan,” the “proper mechanism for policing the president’s” actions “is the political process — that is, the People, acting either directly, or through their elected representatives in Congress.”
Yet since 1973, the Justice Department has revisited its position five times on the question of indicting a sitting president and reached different conclusions. In fact, as executive assistant to President Richard Nixon’s attorney general, Elliot Richardson, I can speak to the circumstances that delivered that first opinion: The principal purpose of the 1973 Watergate-era legal opinion — which concluded that a sitting president cannot be indicted — was to aid in removal from office of a criminally tainted vice president, who, the memo concluded, could be indicted.
But it was not intended to set an ironclad precedent that would forever shape how a president might be treated.
My experience makes me believe that Attorney General Barr should reconsider Justice Department policy. If the evidence gathered by the Mueller investigation on the actions of the president and his advisers indicates a crime, an indictment might be the proper course to hold the president accountable. Further, the indictment policy does not stand in isolation: It has repercussions for a Mueller report and access to it for Congress and the American public.
The durability of the Office of Legal Counsel’s 1973 opinion is curious. It was prepared under extraordinarily stressful and unique circumstances — borne from the investigations that led to the resignations of Vice President Spiro Agnew that year and President Nixon in 1974.
In 1973, Vice President Agnew faced a grand jury investigation, mostly stemming from his tenure as governor of Maryland, into alleged bribery, extortion and tax evasion. Mr. Agnew resisted pressure to resign. Attorney General Richardson sought guidance on the indictment question in an effort to bring pressure on the vice president.
When the legal opinion was written, it was a very close question and was ultimately shaped by Mr. Richardson’s goal to remove the vice president from his office. The Office of Legal Counsel determined “there is no express provision in the Constitution which confers such immunity upon the President,” even though Article I, Section 6 provides for limited immunity for members of the legislature. (It also said, in reaching its conclusion, that there were “a number of policy factors that weigh heavily against” indicting a sitting president.)
Following the determination on vice presidents, Mr. Richardson obtained the indictment of Mr. Agnew, and rather than face a prolonged legal battle, the vice president pleaded no contest and resigned in 1973.
An often-overlooked facet of the Agnew case — but highly relevant to our circumstances today — was Mr. Richardson’s insistence that the vice president’s resignation and plea on a single count be accompanied by an extraordinary, publicly available 40-page summary of the criminal behavior involving Mr. Agnew that the Justice Department was prepared to prove at trial. Mr. Richardson believed, correctly, that a full recounting of Mr. Agnew’s shameful behavior would put to rest any contention by his supporters that he had been made a political victim.
Ten days after Mr. Agnew’s resignation, though, Mr. Richardson himself resigned, as part of the events leading up to the Saturday Night Massacre. In an effort to end the Watergate investigation, Mr. Nixon called for the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Mr. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus both resigned rather than carry out that order.
Mr. Richardson, Mr. Cox and their successors also insisted upon access to White House evidence. They deeply appreciated the right and responsibility of Congress to exercise reasonable stewardship regarding the behavior of leadership of the executive branch.
Mr. Mueller’s investigation has brought us to face similar questions of institutional integrity and transparency for the American public. If Mr. Barr determines that Mr. Mueller’s findings compel legal action, he should reconsider the policy against indictment of a sitting president.
But if Mr. Barr holds to the view that a president’s actions should be policed by the political and not criminal process, it will be imperative that he share a Mueller report with Congress and, to the extent practicable, with the public, redacting only information that is classified or otherwise prohibited by statute.
In light of the gravity of our circumstances, it would be timely and appropriate for the Justice Department to reconsider the shaky policy regarding indictability of a sitting president and provide Congress and the public with the Mr. Mueller’s full findings and conclusions. Only through sunlight and transparency can we preserve confidence in our national institutions and leadership."
Opinion | What if the Mueller Report Demands Bold Action? - The New York Times
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
"WASHINGTON — President Trump dismissed on Tuesday an expansive document request by House Democrats scrutinizing whether he obstructed justice or abused power as nothing more than a political sideshow — and he suggested the White House might not cooperate.
Trump Dismisses 81 House Document Requests. Here’s Where They Went. - The New York Times
In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen - The New York Times
"WASHINGTON — On a busy day at the White House, President Trump hosted senators to talk about tax cuts, accused a Democratic congresswoman of distorting his condolence call to a soldier’s widow and suffered another court defeat for his travel ban targeting Muslim countries.
In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen - The New York Times
Tuesday, March 05, 2019
Monday, March 04, 2019
Trump’s Grip Shows Signs of Slipping as Senate Prepares to Block Wall Emergency - The New York Times
"WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, conceded on Monday that he could not stave off final passage of a resolution overturning President Trump’s national emergency declaration, setting up a rebuke to Mr. Trump amid signs that the president’s grip even on his own party in Congress may be slipping.
With Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky joining three other Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — in announcing he would support the measure, Democrats now have the 51 votes they need to secure passage and to force Mr. Trump to issue the first veto of his presidency.
Mr. McConnell is exploring whether he can amend the House-passed resolution of disapproval, to send it back to the House and slow its trip to the president’s desk. Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski are both sponsors of a separate resolution, virtually identical to the House resolution, introduced in the Senate last week.
And while a veto is highly unlikely to be overturned, the congressional majority that forces it will stand as a powerful rejection of the tactics Mr. Trump has used to fulfill his top campaign promise to build a wall on the southern border — and will apparently be the first time since passage of the National Emergencies Act of 1976 that Congress has voted to overturn an emergency declaration."
Trump’s Grip Shows Signs of Slipping as Senate Prepares to Block Wall Emergency - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Facing a showdown vote as early as this month over the embattled “Green New Deal,” Senate Democrats are preparing a counteroffensive to make combating climate change a central issue of their 2020 campaigns — a striking shift on an issue they have shied away from for the past decade.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, outlined the new strategy in an interview last week, casting it as a way to mobilize millennial voters, a key part of the Democratic constituency that the party will need to turn out to win in swing states.
With progressives pushing Democrats to embrace the Green New Deal — and Republicans ridiculing the idea as socialism — Mr. Schumer is effectively trying to turn a weakness into a strength. He is planning daily floor speeches attacking Republicans for inaction and a proposal for a special Senate committee focused on the issue, which he intends to announce this week.
And while there is virtually no chance of passing climate change legislation in a Republican-controlled Senate with President Trump in office, Mr. Schumer said he wanted legislation to run on next year — and bring to a vote in early 2021, should his party win the White House and the Senate.
“This is the first time Democrats have decided to go on offense on climate change,” Mr. Schumer said in an interview in his office. Asked about a bill, though, he conceded that “it’s going to take us a little while to come up with a consensus that works.”
But even one of the most ardent evangelists for climate action, former Vice President Al Gore, conceded that it could be difficult for the party to come together around actual legislation. “This is a heavy lift politically,” he said.
Despite that, Democrats see fighting climate change as a winning issue on the campaign trail — a way to mobilize not only young voters but also progressives, who are increasingly talking about the environment in terms of economic and social justice, given the outsize effect pollution has on minority communities.
Protesters for the Sunrise Movement, which encourages young people to combat climate change, outside Representative Steny Hoyer’s office last year.
Photo by: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock
Climate change has for the first time emerged as a front-and-center issue in national political campaigns. On Friday, Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, announced that he would campaign for president on the signature issue of fighting climate change. Other Democratic presidential candidates regularly make campaign speeches about the subject, and most initially rushed to back the Green New Deal, the liberal social policy proposal made famous by its author, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Students around the world are “striking” from school this spring to demand action.
But the rise of climate change as a rallying cry has come with huge downsides for Democrats. The ambitions of its youthful advocates have clashed with the caution of Democratic veterans, memorably caught in a viral video of middle and high schoolers confronting Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.
And in a speech to conservative activists on Saturday, President Trump appeared to salivate at the chance to confront Democrats on the issue. “I encourage it,” he mockingly said of the Green New Deal. “I think it’s really something that they should promote.”
Republicans see a political advantage in tying Democrats to the most contentious Democratic proposals, like linking climate change policy to universal employment.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, plans to put the Green New Deal to a vote, without a single hearing or legislative language, as a way of daring Senate Democrats, especially those running for president, to go on record in favor of it.
“Whether or not they agree with everything in the Green New Deal, they are going to be lumped into what that proposal was,” said Antonia Ferrier, a Republican strategist and former top aide to Mr. McConnell. “To be charitable to them, they care about this issue and think it’s important. But they also do run a risk of alienating a lot of independent-minded voters in some of those states that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.”
Democrats have been skittish about embracing the “green activist” label at least since 2000, when Mr. Gore lost his bid for the White House. Their unease worsened in 2010, when President Barack Obama’s effort to push a climate change bill through Congress crashed in the Democratic Senate and helped sink the careers of some Democrats who voted for it.
Flooded homes and roads in Elizabeth City, N.C. after Hurricane Florence last year.
Photo by: Hilary Swift for The New York Times
“Climate change, to our frustration, was never an issue that rung a bell with voters, particularly in the throes of coming out of an economic crisis,” said David Axelrod, the former chief political strategist to Mr. Obama. “But now we’re a decade down the road, and the road is surrounded by floods and fires in a way that is becoming more and more visible.”
Polls show that millennial voters, the largest voting demographic, consistently rank climate change as an issue of top concern — something older generations never did. A 2018 poll by the Pew Research Center found that millennials are the only generation in which a strong majority — 65 percent — says both that there is solid evidence of global warming and that this is attributable primarily to human activity.
Mr. Schumer said that he believed voters now saw climate change as an issue that affected them in their daily lives, as scientific reports link climate change to damaging extreme weather, such as stronger storms, flooding and drought.
He pointed to “the energy of the young people” on the issue and added, “We want to take that energy and channel it into something more constructive.”
Celinda Lake, a Democratic strategist, said that if Democrats talked about the issue correctly — using phrases like “transitioning to green energy,” rather than the more polarizing “climate change” — they could win over Trump voters, who associate words like “transition” and “energy” with jobs.
“Trump’s weakest issue is the environment,” Ms. Lake said. “As a Democrat, you’re mobilizing our side, you’re cross-pressuring his voters and you’re talking about the economy and the environment at the same time.”
But Democrats are likely to run into trouble when it comes time to propose serious policy solutions. Already, supporters of the Green New Deal have been met with criticism that the proposal is chiefly a set of broad-strokes outlines, rather than concrete legislative language.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, introducing the Green New Deal last month.
Photo by: Pete Marovich for The New York Times
The Green New Deal immediately won the embrace of multiple Democratic presidential candidates, including Senators Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont.
But it was also hit by a backlash, as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s website mistakenly published a draft summary of the document that included contentious provisions not endorsed by those candidates, like language that called for economic security “for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”
Other Democrats shied away, including Ms. Feinstein, who told the group of student protesters, “there’s no way to pay for it,” and “it wouldn’t pass the Senate.”
Mr. Schumer called the episode “a little hiccup, nothing more.”
Republicans saw an opportunity.
“Do our Democratic colleagues really support this fantasy novel masquerading as public policy?” Mr. McConnell asked last week on the Senate floor, discussing his plan for the coming vote. “Do they really want to completely upend Americans’ lives to enact some grand socialist vision?”
Mr. Schumer’s plan to protect Democrats from going on the record in support of the Green New Deal is to have all members of his caucus simply vote “present” when Mr. McConnell brings the proposal to the Senate floor.
Mr. Schumer said he would then counter with a more detailed policy solution, but that may prove just as risky. Such a solution to climate change is the same as it was in 2010, when Mr. Obama failed to pass a bill that required polluters to pay for their carbon emissions.
Policy experts say the solution to climate change is still to put a price — ideally, a tax — on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, essentially creating an energy tax that would raise the price of gasoline and electricity generated from fossil fuels. That idea is likely to remain a tough sell with many voters, even as it energizes the liberal left wing of the Democratic Party.
Veterans of the 2010 debacle say the political risk will not be as great as it was then.
“There has been a lot of change since then,” said Rick Boucher, a former Democratic congressman from a coal-rich quarter of southwest Virginia, whose constituents voted him out of office for backing the Obama-era climate change bill."
Pressed by Climate Activists, Senate Democrats to ‘Go on Offense’ - The New York Times
"By George Yancy, www.nytimes.comView OriginalMarch 4th, 2019
To understand this degrading practice, we must examine the white face that refuses to see itself in its own monstrous creations.
Mr. Yancy is a philosophy professor and author.
In his memoir “Black Boy,” Richard Wright expresses his dismay that white America would continue to fail to understand what it means to be black in America because it “will take a bigger and tougher America than any we have yet known.” I, along with many others, share Wright’s dismay. We have not seen much evidence of that bigger and tougher America when it comes to seriously and collectively interrogating white racism in this country.
The recent scandals over prominent whites donning blackface provided a reminder of this failure. Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia apologized for appearing in a photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook of two students, one in blackface and one wearing Ku Klux Klan “regalia,” and admitted to darkening his face to look like Michael Jackson when he went to a dance party. Similarly, Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini, while a sophomore in high school, donned blackface, replete with a do-rag, gold chains, sunglasses and a New York Yankees cap. As of this writing, both Sabatini and Northam have refused to resign from their political offices.
After these incidents became public, I saw and heard white pundits and commentators condemn these individual cases and persons. This is certainly reasonable. There isn’t much dispute over the racist history and nature of blackface. Condemnation is a sign of greater awareness about this hurtful, racist practice, but it is also a way of distancing: By attributing blackface to a few “bad apples,” they fail to treat this as a teachable moment about the deeply ingrained nature of white American racism. They also ignore the degree to which blackface is actually little more than a perverse expression of whiteness.
To face blackface, as it were, head-on, we must address the structure of whiteness that drives it. Blackface is a performance historically grounded in white supremacy and as such, an act of epistemological and ontological terror. In other words, blackface is a form of “white knowing” (in reality, of white unknowing), of white projection, and of stipulating through performance of what it means to be black by way of lies about what it means to be white. Hence, to understand blackface, we must return to the white face that refuses to see itself in its own monstrous creations.
Blackface is a product of a long history of whiteness and its attempt to make sense of itself through both the consumption and the negation of black humanity. It speaks to the parasitic nature of whiteness and its need to “feed.” After all, whiteness, in its colonial expression, must consume and yet exclude that which is other, that which is black.
Understanding blackface in this way can be an important step toward starving whiteness of its need for the “other,” its need to be what it is not, its need to masquerade, its need to project — or in its root meaning, to “throw forth” — its lies onto the black body and to pretend as if the black body has always been the site of those projections.
Blackface also echoes the pain and suffering felt by black people whose bodies and identities underwent transmogrification, where they were rendered grotesque and bizarre, defined by ugly white myths. White American blackface was a grotesque extension of minstrelsy from the Middle Ages, where servant-performers, as Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates state, “entertained their patrons by playing music, singing, telling stories, juggling, or performing comic antics and buffoonery.”
Within the white American antebellum context and after, anti-blackness was at the very heart of white blackface minstrelsy. The black body functioned as the repulsive and revolting object of white disgust, with whites “throwing forth” their hatred and lies onto what they themselves had created. White American blackface performers engaged in exaggerated and distorted gestures, warped dialect and racist clowning, all creations of the white American imaginary. As white performers blackened their faces with burnt cork, re-presented the black body in caricatured, silly, ersatz, inferior, horrible, and damnable ways, they were able to mark black bodies publicly as appallingly stupid and subhuman.
Within this racist construction, though, white bodies remained “normative,” “intelligent,” “civil,” “nonthreatening,” engaging in “mere entertainment” and they implicitly and explicitly reinforced deeply problematic and false “racial differences” between black and white bodies. As the scholar Ronald L. Jackson argues, “The darkened face, created from the moistened debris of burnt and crushed champagne corks, insolently signified that Whites did not want to see Blacks for who they really were culturally, but, instead, … an iconographic image, a scripted racial body inscribed with meanings and messages Whites enjoyed seeing, ones that were self-affirming and insular.”
On this score, American whiteness embodied and embodies an epistemological and ontological divide that it takes as “normative,” as “common sense.” And it tells a self-redeeming and self-congratulatory history that is itself indicative of white power and privilege.
As the feminist and white anti-racist activist Peggy McIntosh writes, “When I am told about national heritage or about ‘civilization,’ I am shown that people of my [white] race made it what it is.” At the base of this narrative history are lies and distortions; indeed, more broadly, there is an entire underside of white modernity that consists of enslaved and dehumanized black bodies and often forgotten indigenous bodies across the Americas that were brutally slaughtered and decimated. To use the poet and theorist Vincent Woodard’s terms, blackface in particular can be described as an expression of “consumption rituals” and “consumption practices.” In short, the black body and bodies of color are the subject of white consumption.
To conjure the performance of blackface, whites had to engage in a magical trick that involved profound self-deception. White theatrical spaces of blackface performance were forged to confirm the “truth” that white gazes beheld. White people gathered within such spaces to have their worldview proven beyond a doubt. White audiences, through their attendance and their laughter, helped to “validate” the white racist distortions as true. They laughed at those who were deemed fundamentally different from themselves, and that laugher helped to sustain the illusions they had projected, their creations, their myths, authored by an arrogant white race who dared to assume they knew black people better than black people knew themselves.
Imagine whites in blackface on the stage: The actor “throws forth” all of the lies and distortions onto the black body. Here is where the combined performance displays a kind of consumptive process. The whites in the audience embrace and internalize the projections. They accept the putrid lies — the happy “darky,” the black “idiot,” the inferior “nigger”— that fill them with self-certainty about their “superior” status. They deny that they have created these lies and that denial sustains their white “purity” and “innocence.”
Black people are not the horrible and derogatory racist myths that so many white people have depicted, whether through blackface or other white American pastimes. I know who I am. Blackface tells me absolutely nothing about myself, but it does tell me about whiteness, and its grotesque projections. But what if blackface reveals something far too weighty and threatening for white America, something that would require a bigger and tougher America to confront? What if blackface is clear evidence of the emptiness of whiteness, the hollowness of its being as an identity marker?
Blackface is not a black problem. It is a white one, and fixing it is the job of white America. In her book “Dismantling Privilege: An Ethics of Accountability,” the religion scholar Mary Elizabeth Hobgood writes, “For whites to construct an identity outside the racist construct, we would need to give up our socially constructed white selves and embrace the rejected parts of our humanity that requires scapegoats.”
I couldn’t agree more. Blackface is the white man’s burden, not ours.
George Yancy is professor of philosophy at Emory University. His latest book is “Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America.”
Opinion | Why White People Need Blackface - The New York Times
"The parallels between the Mafia and the Trump Organization are striking, and Giuliani perfected the template for prosecuting organized crime.
Mr. Graff is the author of “The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller’s F.B.I. and the War on Global Terror.”
Any onetime Mafia investigator who listened to the Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen testify Wednesday would have immediately recognized the congressional hearing’s historical analogue — what America witnessed on Capitol Hill wasn’t so much John Dean turning on President Richard Nixon, circa 1973; it was the mobster Joseph Valachi turning on the Cosa Nostra, circa 1963.
The Valachi hearings, led by Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, opened the country’s eyes for the first time to the Mafia, as the witness broke “omertà” — the code of silence — to speak in public about “this thing of ours,” Cosa Nostra. He explained just how “organized” organized crime actually was — with soldiers, capos, godfathers and even the “Commission,” the governing body of the various Mafia families.
Fighting the Mafia posed a uniquely hard challenge for investigators. Mafia families were involved in numerous distinct crimes and schemes, over yearslong periods, all for the clear benefit of its leadership, but those very leaders were tough to prosecute because they were rarely involved in the day-to-day crime. They spoke in their own code, rarely directly ordering a lieutenant to do something illegal, but instead offering oblique instructions or expressing general wishes that their lieutenants simply knew how to translate into action.
Those explosive — and arresting — hearings led to the 1970 passage of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO, a law designed to allow prosecutors to go after enterprises that engaged in extended, organized criminality. RICO laid out certain “predicate” crimes — those that prosecutors could use to stitch together evidence of a corrupt organization and then go after everyone involved in the organization as part of an organized conspiracy. While the headline-grabbing RICO “predicates” were violent crimes like murder, kidnapping, arson and robbery, the statute also focused on crimes like fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering and even aiding or abetting illegal immigration.
It took prosecutors a while to figure out how to use RICO effectively, but by the mid-1980s, federal investigators in the Southern District of New York were hitting their stride under none other than the crusading United States attorney Rudy Giuliani, who as the head of the Southern District brought charges in 1985 against the heads of the city’s five dominant Mafia families.
Ever since, S.D.N.Y. prosecutors and F.B.I. agents have been the nation’s gold standard in RICO prosecutions — a fact that makes clear precisely why, after Mr. Cohen’s testimony, President Trump’s greatest legal jeopardy may not be in the investigation by the special counsel, Robert Mueller.
What lawmakers heard Wednesday sounded a lot like a racketeering enterprise: an organization with a few key players and numerous overlapping crimes — not just one conspiracy, but many. Even leaving aside any questions about the Mueller investigation and the 2016 campaign, Mr. Cohen leveled allegations that sounded like bank fraud, charity fraud and tax fraud, as well as hints of insurance fraud, obstruction of justice and suborning perjury.
The parallels between the Mafia and the Trump Organization are more than we might like to admit: After all, Mr. Cohen was labeled a “rat” by President Trump last year for agreeing to cooperate with investigators; interestingly, in the language of crime, “rats” generally aren’t seen as liars. They’re “rats” precisely because they turn state’s evidence and tell the truth, spilling the secrets of a criminal organization.
Mr. Cohen was clear about the rot at the center of his former employer: “Everybody’s job at the Trump Organization is to protect Mr. Trump. Every day most of us knew we were coming and we were going to lie for him about something. That became the norm.”
RICO was precisely designed to catch the godfathers and bosses at the top of these crime syndicates — people a step or two removed from the actual crimes committed, those whose will is made real, even without a direct order.
Exactly, it appears, as Mr. Trump did at the top of his family business: “Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That’s not how he operates,” Mr. Cohen said. Mr. Trump, Mr. Cohen said, “doesn’t give orders. He speaks in code. And I understand that code.”
What’s notable about Mr. Cohen’s comments is how they paint a consistent (and credible) pattern of Mr. Trump’s behavior: The former F.B.I. director James Comey, in testimony nearly two years ago in the wake of his firing, made almost exactly the same point and used almost exactly the same language. Mr. Trump never directly ordered him to drop the Flynn investigation, Mr. Comey said, but he made it all too clear what he wanted — the president isolated Mr. Comey, with no other ears around, and then said he hoped Mr. Comey “can let this go.” As Mr. Comey said, “I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.” He cited in his testimony then the famous example of King Henry II’s saying, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?,” a question that resulted in the murder of that very meddlesome priest, Thomas Becket.
The sheer number and breadth of the investigations into Mr. Trump’s orbit these days indicates how vulnerable the president’s family business would be to just this type of prosecution. In December, I counted 17, and since then, investigators have started an inquiry into undocumented workers at Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf course, another crime that could be a RICO predicate; Mr. Cohen’s public testimony itself, where he certainly laid out enough evidence and bread crumbs for prosecutors to verify his allegations, mentioned enough criminal activity to build a racketeering case. Moreover, RICO allows prosecutors to wrap 10 years of racketeering activity into a single set of charges, which is to say, almost precisely the length of time — a decade — that Michael Cohen would have unparalleled insight into Mr. Trump’s operations. Similarly, many Mafia cases end up being built on wiretaps — just like, for instance, the perhaps 100 recordings Mr. Cohen says he made of people during his tenure working for Mr. Trump, recordings that federal investigators are surely poring over as part of the 290,000 documents and files they seized in their April raid last year.
Indicting the whole Trump Organization as a “corrupt enterprise” could also help prosecutors address the thorny question of whether the president can be indicted in office; they could lay out a whole pattern of criminal activity, indict numerous players — including perhaps Trump family members — and leave the president himself as a named, unindicted co-conspirator. Such an action would allow investigators to make public all the known activity for Congress and the public to consider as part of impeachment hearings or re-election. It would also activate powerful forfeiture tools for prosecutors that could allow them to seize the Trump Organization’s assets and cut off its income streams.
The irony will be that if federal prosecutors decide to move against President Trump’s empire and family together, he’ll have one man’s model to thank: his own TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who perfected the template to tackle precisely that type of criminal enterprise."
Opinion | How Giuliani Might Take Down Trump - The New York Times