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At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes Michael Brown's Unremarkable Humanity:

The New York Times has a feature today looking at the brief life of Michael Brown, informing us that he was "no angel." The reasons for this are many. Brown smoked marijuana. He lived in a community that "had rough patches." He wrote rap songs that were "by turns contemplative and vulgar." He shoplifted and pushed a store clerk who tried to stop him. These details certainly paint a portrait of a young man who failed to be angelic. That is because no person is angelic—least of all teenagers—and there is very little in this piece that distinguishes Brown from any other kid his age. […]

And if Michael Brown was not angelic, I was practically demonic. I had my first drink when I was 11. I once brawled in the cafeteria after getting hit in the head with a steel trash can. In my junior year I failed five out of seven classes. By the time I graduated from high school, I had been arrested for assaulting a teacher and been kicked out of school (twice.) And yet no one who knew me thought I had the least bit of thug in me. That is because I also read a lot of books, loved my Commodore 64, and ghostwrote love notes for my friends. In other words, I was a human being. A large number of American teenagers live exactly like Michael Brown. Very few of them are shot in the head and left to bake on the pavement.

The "angelic" standard was not one created by the reporter. It was created by a society that cannot face itself, and thus must employ a dubious "morality" to hide its sins. It is reinforced by people who have embraced the notion of "twice as good" while avoiding the circumstances which gave that notion birth. Consider how easily living in a community "with rough patches" becomes part of a list of ostensible sins. Consider how easily "black-on-black crime" becomes not a marker of a shameful legacy of segregation but a moral failing.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2012Surprise! Firewall between Super PACs and candidates' campaigns doesn't exist:

Super PACS aren't allowed to coordinate their activities with political parties, candidates and candidates' political action committees. They can raise as much money as they want and spend it how they want, but no collaboration between them and campaigns.

Which is a joke. Citizens United's big laugh on us. It wasn't bad enough that plutocrats have poured so much money into political campaigns that democracy now teeters on the precipice, with hordes of elected officials at the state and federal levels little better than sock puppets for various businesses, from oil to banking. At least there were limits on how much campaign contributors could supply. Those are still in place for the parties, candidates and regular PACs. But not for Super PACs. The trade-off supposedly being that they remain outside groups. But it's a political charade. Utterly transparent. And everybody in Washington knows it.

There are rules. But they don't keep outside groups and candidates or their managers from talking to each other about hiring decisions, fundraising, messaging and the like, which makes the rules essentially worthless


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On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Morning chatter included the NYT's use of the by now-infamous "no angel" framing, and Maureen Dowd's absolutely terrible Sunday lede. Greg Dworkin rounds up the latest back-to-war chatter, and peeks under the hood of the New American Foundation. In other news: Obamacare's popular, but the name isn't; Notorious RBG speaks. Surprise! Reporters digging into the records of the Ferguson-area cops who mistreated them find some serious dirt! Revisiting the pundit fumbling of the Perry indictment, and Jon Perr documents of the history of the "criminalization of politics" tripe. Lastly, not only are corporations people, they're militarized cops!


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