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View Diary: Ferguson, Missouri: I think I felt the wind change... (319 comments)

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  •  I often see President Obama at his best during (35+ / 0-)

    these times when America needs a summation of our collective feelings, he puts to words what maybe most Americans think.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 09:44:57 AM PDT

    •  I think he has been highly negligent in (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, Petered, Chi, Shuruq, RainyDay, gustynpip

      his handling of this, sorry. I know he's operating in a political climate where brushing his teeth is seen as an "overreach" by the opposition, but this is a serious situation that could lead to the kind of nationwide riots we saw in the late 60's.

      Or, perhaps that's what this country needs? I don't know, but I wish he were less about "putting into words" and a bit more about "putting into action" and I mean immediate action .

      "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

      by commonmass on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 09:53:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You think bombast from the black (39+ / 0-)

        President would have quieted things?  Made things better?  I think his calm was exactly what was needed at the time.  DOJ ordered another autopsy.  Action was taken.  With everything so amped and hyped, I think the Pres did the very right thing in the right way.

        "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.: Maya Angelou

        by PsychoSavannah on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:04:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  President Obama doesn't "do" bombast. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, ban nock, gustynpip, mmacdDE

          That's not his style, and it's one of the things I like about him. Nationalizing the Missouri National Guard and putting them in charge? That's not bombast, that's ACTION. There's also a precedent for it. Hell, even Truman and Eisenhower did it.

          "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

          by commonmass on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:13:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes... (12+ / 0-)

            but when Truman and Eisenhower did it, the situations were far, far more volatile than this one. Despite how it felt to us, it wasn't on the same level, and the political climate was very different.

            It was important in this situation that the Governor of MO take action, not the POTUS. The POTUS did what he had to (and we won't know exactly what that was for a while, probably)) to make sure that this action came from the right place.  

            Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

            by a gilas girl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:42:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it was exactly the same political climate: (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              a2nite, mod2lib, Ditch Mitch KY

              rampant, national, racial hatred. The only thing different is that those presidents were WHITE. IN fact, it was a worse political climate in many ways, or at least legally so.

              Let's talk in a year and see just what "level" this is on, because I can guarantee you the next time this happens--and it will, in fact it already has, in LA since the Brown murder--the next situation and police response will be even worse.

              Mark my words: we're in for several years of hate, riots, and civil unrest. The baby, so to speak, has been delivered, and Mother Hate has been pregnant for decades.

              "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

              by commonmass on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:47:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Again, I respectfully disagree (8+ / 0-)

                this is at the moment an extremely isolated (in geographic) event that is particularly and specifically tied to one locality. That is a not unimportant distinction.

                I understand exactly where you are coming from and your passions, and I do understand that the underlying sentiments that are fueling this particular set of community responses exist in many other communities, but this is NOT the same level of racial tension that those earlier events displayed.

                We don't do ourselves any favors in drawing either vague or inaccurate parallels. It is a dynamic of the present even though it has echoes in the past.  

                Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                by a gilas girl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 11:04:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Like I said, let's talk in a year. (0+ / 0-)

                  You can always say you told me so. ;)

                  I don't think this is as localized as you think. Even if it is, it's totally unacceptable.

                  "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

                  by commonmass on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 11:29:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Your patronizing tone is not doing anyone any (0+ / 0-)

                  favors, either.

                  You didn't live through those times and you're not living in 'Ferguson now, so you don't know anymore than anyone else in comparing the two.  We tend to exaggerate how bad things were and downplay how bad they are.  We're living in a time that is pretty horrid; it's just that not many of us are being personally affected.  At those times, there were many, many, many people who didn't think it was all that bad - because they weren't being personally affected.

                  Unless you're there now - and were there then - please don't deign to educate the rest of us on just how much tension existed at each time.

                  •  I did live through some of those times (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dvalkure, Mark Sumner

                    which is neither here nor there at this point.  But I do have some historical resources and experiences that indicate that these two periods are not good candidates for parallels, which is the only point I was trying to make.

                    It appears I expressed that point badly, given the way you interpreted my comment, so I will apologize for the sloppy prose. I didn't intend to make arguments about feelings on the ground, but about broader historical factors but I can see where I chose my words poorly which might lend to that interpretation.  Being patronizing was also not an intention, as I tried very hard to indicate with my word choice, but you comment again suggests that I was not successful there either.

                    I guess we'll just have to chalk this up to bad writing on my part.

                       

                    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                    by a gilas girl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 11:59:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Cut the patronizing patronizing crap (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    chrismorgan, arabian

                    Uncalled for, and it's not in her comments either.

                    To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

                    by mbayrob on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 01:19:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, well, I see NG as hit or miss (10+ / 0-)

            Great in Birmingham to stop people from being beaten, shot down in the street,s and attacked by dogs; not so great at Kent State.

            And our NG now has actual combat experience and all of the psychological effects of that, diagnosed and not.

            Parallel investigations, additional autopsy, and eyes on Ferguson 24/7....I just see that as smarter than actual combat troops in the streets.  

            "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.: Maya Angelou

            by PsychoSavannah on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:47:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think that might very well have made it worse. (7+ / 0-)

            Nationalizing the MO National Guard might have brought out some of the crazy militia types, all afraid that the feds were going to assert more control.

          •  I believe that the "great invisible governor" (5+ / 0-)

            Jay Nixon, was threatened with exactly this unless he took serious action, during his phone call with President Obama on Thursday.

            Action was taken and the tenor was changed.... until the suspiciously itchy local police chief released the video. Even then, we've seen nothing like the kind of military-like response we say Sun-Weds.

            The President federalize go the NG and declaring martial law would have gone over in this country like a lead balloon. It would have galvanized the majority of whites against the cause of the residents of Ferguson. I also question how much more effective it actually would have been than putting Capt. Johnson in command.

          •  How many f*cking speeches do you want the (4+ / 0-)

            guy to give on race. Jesus Christ, he's put his neck on the goddamn line several time already. The dude doesn't have a cape. He is not Black Jesus. He isn't here to save us. All he can do which he has done over and over is make it clear that we have to be the change we desire and save OURSELVES.

            White kids got mowed down at a school and NOTHING has changed, what the hell you think he can do about ANOTHER black kid shot for no damn reason.

            I voted for him to lead the country, not exorcise it.

            If I knew it was going to be that kind of party, I'd have stuck my ---- in the mashed potatoes! - Paul's Boutique

            by DoctorWho on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 01:10:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And many Thugs still dog-whistle about his race as (0+ / 0-)

              a cheap political tactic.  If its not 'take our country back'... from whom?  What is so different about this guy that they think they've lost 'their' country (which btw the way 'bagger is our country)?, then its 'he's not really black'... cause its all about undermining him politically, so why not stoop to that?

      •  Commonmass, you've got to know the (28+ / 0-)

        riots will be the white militias if Obama is "overreaching".  They are well armed, batshit crazy racist fuckers who will declare war on every black community and feel perfectly justified.  This is a racist genocidal nation not the home of the brave, certainly not the land of the free.  We joke about Republicans suffocating if Barack promotes deep breathing.  He knows it isn't a joke.  He knows his wife and daughters are targets.  He knows every black man in the country is perceived as a deadly threat by a third of our population.  He knows how deep the fear/hatred is and how close to the surface the violence is.  He knows what Dr. King knew- one loud voice, one raised arm, one rock thrown means open season on every participant.  He's playing this perfectly because it's a reality he knows too well.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:12:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Apparently, some of those "white militias" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Stagger Lee

          are supporting the protesters in Ferguson. Interesting. Perhaps some of these folks do agree with us on some things.

          He could stop this. Right now. He could do it with a strong arm and gentle speech. He is the goddamned President of the United States, for Christ's sake.

          "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

          by commonmass on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:16:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree firmly here with you. (22+ / 0-)

            This was not a situation that called for federalizing. This needed to be handled by the state.

            It was local cops going rogue.  The appropriate oversight authority is the State of MO here.

            When HST, DDE, JFK and LBJ (really RFK) called in the National Guard, it was most often when Governors were resisting the law.  That's a major constitutional difference.

            Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

            by a gilas girl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:46:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Right. Presidents are tasked with upholding (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dvalkure, drmah, I love OCD

              FEDERAL law.  This is why the federal investigation is ONLY about Mike Brown's civil rights....it's the only federal law that applies.

              "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.: Maya Angelou

              by PsychoSavannah on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 11:13:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, the Constitutional right of freedom of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                I love OCD

                speech of the protesters is also involved.  Their civil rights as well as Mike Brown's at this point.  There's plenty of basis for involving the National Guard.

                I personally don't think it's the appropriate answer at this point - if Ron Johnson is actually given authority as well as responsibility and some common sense is inserted.  But if the armored tanks and kevlared cops with assault rifles continue to threaten the protesters, I believe it might become necessary.

                •  Freedom of assembly (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gustynpip, I love OCD

                  As much as or more than freedom of speech. But also a 1st Amendment freedom: "to petition the government for redress of grievances"--it doesn't get more Constitutional than that.

                •  It *might* I agree (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PsychoSavannah, I love OCD

                  but that would be a longer time period than one week, I'm guess.  And since we don't yet know what will happen given that there has been an intervention and a change from the path that events seemed headed on.

                  Since I am not a constitutional lawyer I don't know exactly what the path for intervention of support of 1st Amendments rights would be (aren't those normally supported and defended via courts rather than the National Guard?) but I imagine that Presidential level intervention is more of a last resort of relief rather than a first one.

                  Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                  by a gilas girl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 12:04:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Timing would depend upon the seriousness of (0+ / 0-)

                    the situation.  I'm not there, so I'm not going to try and guess how serious this is, which is the reason I voiced that I'm not certain it would be the best action right now.

                    When you have armored vehicles and guns pointing at protesters and now tear gas being thrown, it seems waiting for the courts to deal with it would be a rather pointless act.  By then, your rights have been egregiously violated and you won't be getting that right to assemble or to express yourself back again.

                    The right to protest has already been established by the judicial system.  Enforcing that right takes action, not law suits.  And enforcing that right might require the National Guard.

                    •  Again, no disagreement in spirit (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      I love OCD

                      but I'll note only that you're being logical rather than legal in making these arguments, which is not, in my experience at least, the way that (or the line of thinking) that is most often applied to such situations.

                      Is there a historical precedent for the National Guard being called out to protect a judicially protected first Amendment right?  (Kent State provides a precedent for the opposite, but I don't know that that would apply).

                      There is a precedent for the National Guard to be called out to protect those who are implementing a law that was supported by court decision (ie. Brown v. Board of education), but that wasn't directly in support of individual's rights, it was when a state was not enforcing a federal mandate.

                      I recognize that in spirit these things are not different, but I'm not sure that one can make the same argument in law.  And so I'll leave that to those who know better than I.

                      I'm obviously not doing a very good job of expressing this distinction that I mean, so I think I should just give it up for lost.

                      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

                      by a gilas girl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 01:41:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'll admit to having no knowledge regarding (0+ / 0-)

                        precedent.  The closest I'm aware of is the use of the National Guard to integrate schools.  That was done to enforce a direct court order.  However, I see little difference between enforcing a direct court order and enforcing rights the courts have repeatedly ruled exist.  Both situations are essentially enforcing rights the courts have previously determined.  While there were those who were angry over the use of the National Guard for that purpose, there's never been any serious claim that it was illegal then and I see nothing that would make it illegal now.  If a governmental entity is depriving citizens of their civil rights, the Federal governmental has the right to enforce those rights.

                        In fact, I believe the National Guard was used during the Civil Rights marches to protect the marchers because the local police refused to and, in fact, made every effort possible to stop, harass, and harm the marchers.  I see little difference between these two scenarios.

                        To suggest that the National Guard can be used to enforce a federal mandate but then question whether it can be used to enforce a Constitutional right makes no sense to me.  Of course using them to enforce school integration was directly in support of individuals' rights.  It was simply a right that the Federal government had created rather than a right the Constitution created - and the latter is quite definitely considered the stronger right.  If anything, the ability to use them to support a Federal mandate would be weaker than that to support a Constitutional right - one that has been supported by court decisions over and over and over again.

                        However, whether it's been done before has nothing to do with whether it's legal, unless the courts have ruled on one way or the other.  The fact that it's not been contested when they've been used is perhaps the strongest evidence for those of us who are not Constitutional lawyers suggesting that the ability does exist legally.

              •  Actually the rev Al Sharpton just said feds hav... (0+ / 0-)

                Actually the rev Al Sharpton just said feds have legal authority to criminally investigate LOCAL POLICE BRUTALITY and it does not have to be race based.

            •  What do you mean, a gilas girl? (0+ / 0-)
              When HST, DDE, JFK and LBJ (really RFK) called in the National Guard, it was most often when Governors were resisting the law.
              (Emphasis my own) What on earth does "(really RFK)" mean?

              Their cause must be our cause too. Because it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. -- Lyndon B. Johnson

              by AllTheWayWithLBJ85 on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 03:49:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Nope, all they'd do is turn it into about HIM. Li (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            I love OCD

            ke the media and his political opponents have on every frakking thing.  Hell, you don't even have to look beyond racial incidents: remember Gates?  Treyvon?

        •  commonmass - The President does not have the (15+ / 0-)

          legal authority to federalize the National Guard except in the case of insurrection/rebellion or if he is unable to execute the laws of the US (federal laws) with the normal means at his disposal.
             Eisenhower used the National Guard to enforce court ordered integration.
             There is no court order in play here.

        •  Not sure I'd say "perfectly," (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I love OCD

          but overall I agree with everything you're saying. Good comment.

          "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

          by NWTerriD on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 01:15:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  two counterarguments offered with respect (28+ / 0-)

        1. Holder has been more forceful, but was sent by Obama

        2. More O does, more it's about him, not a good thing in MO. See ACA vs Obamacare re acceptance.

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:17:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suppose, from a political point of view, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Greg Dworkin, a gilas girl, suka

          you're correct. But this is not about politics, and the longer we make it about politics, the worse it's going to get.

          This is about human and civil rights and the rights of citizens to assemble.

          "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

          by commonmass on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:19:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  by the way there's a 3. (23+ / 0-)

        and that's the point Lawrence O'Donnell made... no other President has ever weighed in this quickly on a matter like this.

        Even when other Presidents have (rarely) done so, it's been a year later.

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:19:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  true leadership is often understated (20+ / 0-)

        I find.

        If there is a criticism of Obama in situations like this, it is probably that he has more faith in the innate humanity of politicians than, perhaps he should.  He tends to wait for the appropriate people (in this case the Governor) to do the right thing before he acts.

        But if you're going to have flaws, that's probably a more desirable one to have than it's opposite.  

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:39:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  commonmass - This is, at heart, a matter for local (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, gramofsam1, arabian

        authorities. It is extraordinary that there is a federal investigation. It is not the role of the President to get involved in local law enforcement or even in day to day federal law enforcement.
           The worst thing that could happen would be for the President to be seen as creating an environment in which a police officer couldn't get a fair trial.

        •  A police officer getting a fair trial? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          suka, happymisanthropy

          Prosecutor: "Did you fear for your life?"

          Officer: "Yes".

          Judge and Jury: "That's good enough for me".

          Good LORD!

          "To take another person's life from the bench is no better than to take another person's life from the street"

          by commonmass on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 10:53:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  When has a police officer ever not gotten (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass

          a fair trial? Cops get acquitted in the face of overwhelming evidence, even in the Grant case they couldn't make anything stiffer than voluntary manslaughter stick.  

          Cop can't get a fair trial?  Give me a fucking break.  Also, where was this concern:

          The worst thing that could happen would be for the President to be seen as creating an environment in which a police officer couldn't get a fair trial.
          ...when Obama declared Chelsea Manning guilty?
      •  I see Ezra weighs in with my POV (0+ / 0-)

        http://www.vox.com/...

        The problem is the White House no longer believes Obama can bridge divides. They believe — with good reason — that he widens them.

        "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

        by Greg Dworkin on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 05:23:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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