They’re trying to downplay Ocasio-Cortez’ win this week — but we know better

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez justice

While I thought the I’m-not-your-Liberal-donor-class flow of Congressperson-elect Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez was a refreshing breeze from the stale bullets spit by the ruling corporatist wing of the Party of No Guts, my crystal ball didn’t predict an Ocasio-Cortez primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional district.

However, I saw the seams bursting in this forcefully sealed bubble of contentment that led to Ocasio-Cortez’ win.

I told y’all more than two-and-a-half years ago, BEFORE the Party of No Brains decided Donald Trump will be their horse to win the White House, that the screw-the-masses leadership style of both parties — resulting in decades-long stagnant wages, and the lowest labor participation rate in decades after accounting for the new waves of retirees — have created pissed-off potential voters who’ve witnessed a marked deterioration in their quality of life.

These same voters have either seen or felt the movement of industries overseas; the introduction of new technologies without proportionate investments in jobs training for displaced workers; and the shift of commerce activity to China, India and other places.

For the moment, we’ll simplify this potential voting pool and divide them among two general groups: the pissed-off Right and angry Left.

The former saw promise in a Trump Presidency. Trump related to their decades of frustrations on a emotional level, and made policy promises of a wall, Muslim ban, other turn-back-the clock adornments of a different time in racist American society, and JOBS. No specific proposals, just JOBS.

The Progressives saw no such believable promise and stayed home. One can argue about how Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote, but the fact remains that a not-so-trivial number of frustrated voters remained unconvinced that her promises were enough motivation to hit the polls with feeling on November 8, 2016.

And please, don’t talk to me about the 2009 Great Recovery. Read this.

My trip to the past is important, along with the political elite’s dismissal of Democrat Ben Jealous‘ recent gubernatorial nomination in Maryland; Chokwe Lumumba’s mayoral win in Jackson, Mississippi; Trump’s presidential victory; Occupy Wall Street movement; Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaig; the post-2016 internecine warfare within the Party of No Brains and the subsequent purge of the more Progressive members among their ranks.

Of course there are huge ideological and arguably moral differences between the events I described, but they all point to a common theme: matters haven’t been so lovely in the bubble and the elites, along with certain media outlets, won’t admit it.

Need more proof? let’s move forward to December 2016, nearly a month after The Party of No Brains’ electoral evisceration that shut them out of any significant standing in the White House and both House chambers. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi surveyed the damage and said this:

I don’t think people want a new direction. Our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families.

(Laughing) Come on, yo …

Let’s temporarily set aside the fact that America’s working families have joined the fate of their counterparts across the globe by experiencing the same decades–long financial siege.

If sufficient numbers of these workers believed in the leaders who are posing as Progressives and holding the steering wheel, why did the Party of No Guts get pimp stomped in 2016?

Hell, why did the Party of No Brains suffer the same fate eight years prior?

Let’s carry the misery experienced by these unseen American workers forward to January of this year, when now-President Trump proposed to increase the US defense budget from $634 million to $716 million.

The President got what he wanted. The Senate passed their version of the bill 82 (yay) to 10 (nay), while the House passed theirs 359-49.

Pelosi didn’t show much leadership among the minority. She didn’t vote.

But here’s the bigger point: America is okay with spending an additional $82 billion to deal with the smaller global actors that have spent much less money to earn their status as “threats” to the homeland.

$82 billion.

But how about free or low-cost college so that graduates won’t have their financial lives mired in high-cost debt. What about lower-cost health insurance?

Pelosi didn’t dismiss those ideas; she just dismissed the political official proposing them — namely Ocasio-Cortez — by mitigating the meaning of the younger Democrat’s victory to the idiosyncrasies of demographics and zip codes.

I’ll call B.S. on Pelosi’s statement — especially since she’s referring to a state with one of the highest gini coefficients in a country that has one of the largest income divides among Western democracies.

And this is where I go back to the that number — $82 billion — and become sarcastically dismissive of Pelosi’s attitude: I guess darkies are the only financially-distressed folks who want free or low-cost college, Medicare for all, jobs training for a changing society and a dismantling of the mass-incarceration industry.

The elites and their media partners may want you to view events like Ocasio-Cortez’ victory as disconnected islands of protest, but I think you know better than that …

song currently stuck in my head: “midnight prowl” – jd souther

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Here we go again: Permit Patty summons police and joins in Becky-drenched assaults on benign moments in Black life

Alison Ettel Treatwell Health

Do you know why no one can call me Kupkake Kwame or Cookie Cassius?

Because when I walk around my neighborhood and see eight-year old White boys or girls selling cupcakes, checking these kids’ merchant credentials to sell merchandise — or calling the police if they say “What’s a credential, sir?” — is the furthest thing from my mind.

None of my Black friends will ever call the police either.

And if the rest of the Black folks in America are like my friends and me, they’re also too busy living to call the police on little kids who are getting their first taste of entrepreneurship and adult responsibility — even if stuff is being sold without credentials.

In fact, I would look at the kids and smile at the cuteness of it all.

But enter Permit Patty, also known as Alison Ettel, who joins the coast-to-coast Becktastic family of Jennifer Schulte, Jerry Higgens, Holly Hylton, and many others who feel that calling the police on the most trifling matters concerning Black folks going about everyday life is as civic a duty to perform as blowing the whistle on darkies attempting to ride the front of an Alabama bus during the 1950s.

Permit Patty Ettel has to be one miserable-azz ironic soul to walk out of her marijuana edibles office into the streets of San Francisco, fix her privileged gaze on an eight-year old Black girl selling water, and then call the police because the girl is selling merchandise without a permit.

You checked that rhyme, right? Tell them to manage their own lives, but then call the police when exactly that happens … ?

Ettel knew that her deeds were shady. That’s why she tried to hide behind a concrete wall to avoid becoming Instagram-famous. She later explains that hiding behind the wall helped to reduce the outdoor noise.

Either an inanimate crap pile of excuses, or a stream of brainless contradictory reasoning for someone who was an equities trader, Brookings Institution research associate, recipient of two Masters degrees, and now the owner of Treatwell Health tinctures, a medical cannabis supply company where people and pets are its target market.

And now that the Internet is burning with its new hashtag, Permit Patty getting blasted from all angles, and her weed products business taking a hit from all the Beckified B.S. caused by her own actions, She says no part of her behavior yesterday was racially-motivated, and that she feels stressed-out and discriminated against.

Again, an interesting contradiction — especially in a city where the legality of dispensing marijuana to pets is not completely clear.

But let me, hypothetically speaking, roll out with organic chocolate ganache doggy weed drops and watch how far I’d get with that biz …

A broader and more obvious point to be made is the way Ettel has created a business to sell a product that has put many people of color behind bars — and where one of her sub-vertical businesses is arguably illegal — but she felt completely comfortable with calling the police on an elementary-school-aged Black girl selling water.

Face it, peeps. Weed has been gentrified.

I’m thinking about designing T-shirts with Permit Patty’s face on the back. Not for sale, though. I’m not yet saying what will be on the front …

song currently stuck in my head: “don’t let it go to your head” – jean carne

[Note: I typically wouldn’t write about topics like this since there’s an abundance of capable writers who will undoubtedly do so. But there are times when you need to add your voice to the crowd … ]

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A century of state-sponsored bananas, blood and bullets — facts that are missing from today’s immigration debate

Immigrant children zero tolerance policy

I’ll preface my different angle of approach to the latest immigration episode concerning President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy by first addressing those of you who think droning children overseas, snatching them from parents at the U.S. border, physically abusing them, or injecting them with anti-psychotic meds without consent or proper diagnosis is symptomatic of a healthy democratic society.

It’s not. Plus, screwing around with the brains of young children like that will only create the kinds of angry adults some of you think are already “infesting” America.

Which of course leads to higher social costs, whether you dig that outcome or not.

But I want to make another point —something I hinted at in my opening paragraph — which raging Conservatives and pearl-clutching Liberals in Washington won’t do: the current immigration debate is an EPISODE.

Not story arc that most political leaders are ready to resolve.

An episode.

During an election year.

The Party of No Brains needs to hold its current majority positions in Congress and want to grab more seats, while the Party of No Guts will need more loot going into November. The latter’s been a bit financially anemic these days and has been jonesing for an issue firestarter.

Need proof?

Tell me how many politicians are talking about the reasons WHY we have a so-called immigration problem.

For brevity’s sake, let’s focus on Mexico and Central America only.

The so-called immigration problem has been in the making for more than 100 years.

Thanks to America’s role in actively installing, funding and defending dictators in its own backyard; deploying US troops to kill LatinX natives and secure banana plantations for ambitious and colonizing American entrepreneurs; looking the other way while fruit-company-sponsored right-wing death squads slaughter poor workers protesting for better wages; ignoring state-sponsored roles in drug and gun-running; support for trade deals that supoort income inequality on all sides, in addition prohibiting Mexico and Central America from establishing tariffs on US goods while lacking the financial means to subsidize their farmers the way America can with its own; these countries are impoverished to the point where economic and social conditions will almost invariably breed dangerous places for families grow.

If America is interested in stopping the so-called immigration “problem,” the U.S. would help to stabilize the crises it created among its neighbors by cleaning up the aftermath of the banana republics it’s sponsored during the past century. Creating new collaborative platforms for economic development would also help.

But that won’t happen. Washington has a decades-old practice of baiting us to chase episodes …

song currently stuck in my head: “you and me” neil young w/ nicolette larson

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Separating families through border prisons or African drones — how US policies can make parts of the world unsafe for children

mexican immigrant detention trump

The 16-year old son of a suspected terrorist who made the US government’s assassination target list was killed by a US drone strike one evening — two weeks subsequent to an American missile tearing apart his father’s body.

The boy — up to the the point where he was enjoying a outdoor, roadside meal by an open fire seconds before his own assassination — wasn’t on any target kill list that we know of.

The boy never made a threat to America.

And the boy was not aware of his father’s recent death.

The US Press Secretary’s response to direct media inquiries about the assassination of a minor is heartless:

I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.

Mind you, the boy committed no crime.

Except, assuming you extend the Press Secretary’s logic, the young teen made a lousy choice in role models. Or the lousy role model chose the boy.

The assassination and government response occurred in 2012, during the President Barack Obama years. The Press Secretary was Robert Gibbs.

The dead boy was an American citizen named Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the son of Anwar al-Awlaki.

The younger al-Awlaki’s eight-year old sister, Nawar, was shot in the neck and killed in 2017 during a US Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.

I thought about this unnerving story after witnessing the justifiable outrage over The Trump Administration’s practice of separating migrant families at the southern US border — and then positioning this cruel policy as a bargaining lever to get funding for his border wall.

As much as I think Trump has neither the intellectual curiosity nor the emotional stability to serve as US President, I still won’t forget the selective outrage concerning the drone assassination of a boy.

I wish we all demonstrate consistent outrage towards dead children in US-led wars in the Middle East and Africa.

Depending on the report you read, at least 500,000 civilians have been killed in US wars since 2001, with many in that number representing children.

Wars that have been managed by Presidents Bush the Second (two times), Obama (ditto) and now Trump.

And let’s not forget how US warplanes created fertile ground for Libyan killing fields in 2011, helping to remove President Muammar Gaddafi from power and creating a state of bloody chaos that includes an ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign. Serving as the air force to insurgents aligned with jihadist organizations added even more kids to the global violent death toll and worsened the refugee crisis in Europe.

US missiles, refueling planes and intelligence gathering have collaborated to kill innocent children in Yemen and spark a deadly cholera outbreak.

If you ever want to read the disturbing details of these deaths, go to AirWars‘ site.

Based on the past 17 years of US-led warfare, we may see two more decades of brown and olive children killed in similar wars abroad.

So while you’re resisting this new level of low exhibited by Team Trump — and you should — don’t let the media take your attention away from children being killed by US policies of aggression elsewhere …

song currently stuck in my head: “a new day” – louie vega feat. caron wheeler

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Why a Trump-Kim Meeting Won’t Matter

Some of you act as if US President Donald Trump’s negotiations with North Korea President Kim Jong Un — in progress as I write — will matter.

It won’t.

And neither will a mythological new deal Trump wants to craft with Iran, nor the spectre of diplomatic brilliance commonly associated with the current nuclear arrangement that was forged by a previous presidential administration who played themselves.

I write in real time and just decided to cover Iran in a future piece, likely the next one or right after that. Soon, I’m sure.

So, I’ll come back to North Korea.

Have you ever considered that throwing down is what a not-so-trivial number of American leaders, regardless of political party affiliation, want all along?

This is why I’m not the least bit surprised there are some Democratic members of Congress who are shedding the anti-warhawk disguise to sound like hard-liner Republicans when discussing the upcoming talks.

Empires spend an equal amount of violent energy between overthrowing regimes they don’t like and supporting the ones they do.

It’s been that way for centuries.

The long-standing evidence of the US’s desire to mack North Korea is so scriptural that the only question left to be answered is either [1] does the US wish to fight concurrent wars with North Korea AND Iran; or [2] which war does the US want first.

Leave aside — for a moment — that no rational President looking to avoid the conversion of brown, olive and yellow nations into Pol-Pot workshops would ever put a Project for a New American Century alum and North Korea regime change advocate like John Bolton on their team. You can also check this mainstream media site for more info on PNAC’s influence in Washington.

You can still uncover America’s intent by digging into one source whose axiomatic waft has influenced the policy patterns of red, blue and purple White House administrations over the years: The Global Chessboard, written by late National Security Advisor and decades-long White House consigliere Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Written in 1996, The Global Chessboard reads like an American manifesto for pimping everything short of the universe.

I rapped about the book a few months ago, and left you with this Brzezinski quote that explains everything you need to know about America’s military presence on the Korean Peninsula:

… [T]he retention of the American presence in South Korea becomes especially important. Without it, it is difficult to envisage the American-Japanese defense arrangement continuing in its present form, for Japan would have to become militarily more self-sufficient. But any movement toward Korean reunification is likely to disturb the basis for the continued U.S. military presence in South Korea. A reunified Korea may choose not to perpetuate American military protection; that indeed, could be the price exacted by China for throwing its decisive weight behind the reunification of the peninsula.

Any close relationship between the two Koreas would immediately question the point of America’s presence in the region.

A conservative estimate of the number of US troops in Japan and South Korea would be 70,000.

Think about the defense contractor revenue associated with supporting those troops, including the procurement and maintenance of bases, weapons systems and other infrastructure.

What corporation, whose target market is the US Department of Defense, wants to see that kind of hit to their stock price?

So … it’s not all about North Korea.

Never was.

It’s more about the US maintaining its influence in Northeast Asia.

It’s also about the US maintaining a footprint in the developing regional economy called the New Silk Road. I wrote about that topic last September.

And if there’s any truth to the story that North Korea is sitting on the largest deposit of rare earths in the world, we may now know why Trump made a reference to North Korea’s prosperity.

So perhaps the Kim regime has a lifeline — assuming there’s a willingness on North Korea’s part to go further than denuclearization by providing unprecedented US access to a lopsided trade agreement.

I don’t believe North Korea, which really wants money more than anything else, is that dumb. Trump’s recent unilateral nullification of the Iran nuclear deal means Kim will want America to make extraordinary concessions to win his confidence.

Good luck to that hopeful convergence of plans, Trump and Kim …

song currently stuck in my head: “al ver sus campos” – ray barretto

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Unstable mixtures and missing chapters — Chekesia Clemons’ beef about plastic forks at Waffle House ends with being stripped and arrested by Alabama police

chekesia clemons alabama arrested mental unrest

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson’s arrests at the Philadelphia Starbucks and the story I just read about the Black woman who was choked, stripped and arrested by Alabama police officers — more on that in a moment — reminds me of a late-night encounter I saw in a downtown New York City diner from the sidewalk, where a Latino man stood in the middle of the dining room screaming his lungs out.

I’m talking about veins popping, eyes bulging, blood pressure likely tripling — the whole act. He never harmed anyone; just did a lot of random yelling.

The police never arrived because they were never called, even though the few people who witnessed the dude’s meltdown knew he needed some form of evaluation and help.

My takeaway is that no one called 911 because they didn’t want to see him killed.

And this is how many people view interactions between people of color and police officers. They always seem like reading books with missing chapters.

The stories either go from a routine beginning to a quick and outrageously deadly conclusion, or from an odd opener to a a fast and spectacularly sad epilogue.

And sometimes the stories have routine, odd and spectacular elements mixed together, but the takeaway is always one where the drama meter goes from 1 to 11 in almost no time at all.

How does a Black man, (allegedly) selling loose cigarettes, end up choked out by a cop and then dead?

How does a routine traffic stop turn into an argument about whether or not a driver or color can smoke in her car, and then transition to the scene where her cold, dead body hangs from a jail cell?

How does a Black man holding a BB gun in a place that sells BB guns end with the scene where he’s shot dead by police officers?

How does a street football game end with one of the Latino players killed?

How can a scene that features two Black men do what everyone in a Starbucks coffee shop does — sit down, socialize and probably not buy anything — get arrested in the next scene?

How does a “suspicious vehicle tip” involving an unarmed African-American driver and passengers end with the driver dead and the car catching nearly three dozen bullets?

How does a scene involving an erratic-driving, 86-year old Black man with dementia leap to the chapter where he’s tazed, causing him to hit his on the hard street? He’s now dead too.

Like Chekesia Clemons, the Black Alabamian woman who was just roughed up, strangled, stripped topless and then arrested by Saraland, Alabama police officers, I object to the idea of the Waffle House (c’mon, the Waffle House!) charging an extra fee for plastic utensils.

But how does that dispute lead to restaurant employees calling the police, who then roughs up, strangles, strips topless and then arrests Clemons?

You can watch the graphic video (with partial nudity) here — especially since Facebook keeps removing the content from their site.

The same energy cops spent wrestling Clemons to the floor could’ve been used to carry her out of the restaurant and to her car. She didn’t appear to be violent at all.

Or the cops, assuming they wanted to use common sense, could’ve dipped into their own pockets to pay Waffle House for the utensils — a move that would’ve underscored how dumb the Waffle House employees are.

There seems to be a toxicity risk when mixing people of color in the same space with police officers.

And then the pages turn too fast, leaving everyone too confused to comprehend what just happened …

song currently stuck in my head: “tonight at noon” – charles mingus

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Starbucks, racist Holly Hylton and magic training

holly hylton starbucks racism

Do you think we’re anywhere near through discussing this racist, Central City Philadelphia Starbucks incident that resulted in the coffee shop’s manager, Holly Hylton, siccing police officers on two African descendants — Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson — for sitting in the café for just two minutes without buying anything?

Hell. Naw. Starbucks could repeat its planned shutdown of their 8,000+ stores and corporate offices for one more day to conduct a second round of magical “be nice to cull’rd folks” training, and get its storybook-we-shall-overcome meeting between Hylton, Nelson and Robinson, and the fact that Starbucks has a systemic business problem will remain standing while naked. And the racism porn of Hylton stands right next to that.

Let’s talk business first — go to Starbucks’ website to read the company’s core values.

The first value says: “Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.”

“Everyone who’s White,” I guess.

My palate has forbidden me from patronizing Starbucks long before the reign of Hylton, but I pass by the stores often enough to see people hanging out there as if it’s their living room as they binge-watch either Netflix or the street.

How is getting two Black men arrested for sitting in a Starbucks for two minutes a “culture of warmth and belonging”?

The company needs to prove their core values are not digital debris disguised as window dressing, and own the bad hiring decision that led to Hylton joining the team. She violated at least one of those values, and the fact that her departure from Starbucks was a “mutual decision” makes me wonder if company CEO Kevin Johnson really gets it.

The best-run organizations connect their hiring, compensation and job appraisal processes to core values.

Which means there shouldn’t be any room for a narrative that says Hilton and Starbucks “mutually parted ways” for her violation of those values.

CEO Johnson should’ve said “Starbucks will only tolerate a culture of warmth and belonging, as our company values indicate. Therefore, we have terminated store manager Holly Hylton’s employment, effective immediately.”

Johnson should then make sure all human resources policies and and leadership behaviors are aligned with those values.

For instance, what were the district manager and regional vice president thinking when they hired Hylton? What assessment did they use to determine if Hylton had a sufficiently-high diversity IQ? Did they assess Hylton’s competencies according to the company’s values?

Christopher Norris gave us reason to believe that Hylton was at least inconsistent, and probably a racist. But former Starbucks employee Ieshaa Cash gave us full-on confirmation that Hylton is a racist who mistreated employees and customers. Did everyone else at Starbucks miss or endorse this behavior?

This intense level of core values review and alignment may not create better human beings, but it can completely change employee behavior — and do so more effectively than any magic workshop ever can.

Instead, we saw Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz talk about how Hylton is “suffering in her own way” and he didn’t think she intended for the police to arrest Nelson and Robinson.

I covered this in an earlier piece that probably sounded like a tutorial for people who ever consider calling the police to deal with a problem concerning a Black person.

But that wasn’t my intention. Shouldn’t everyone in 2018 know what can happen … ?

I’m waiting to hear Hylton say she thought the police were going to take the two men out to see a Phillies game so I can call her a liar …

song currently stuck in my head: “another day” – ray, goodman and brown

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Happy Wrecka Stow Day — this post is probably not what you think

About the title of this piece — we’ll deal with that in a moment.

I own records — and still buy them — but I don’t celebrate Record Store Day.

Record stores — particularly when taking into account what they’ve been through — are only Barney Fife’ng themselves by selling high-priced releases on the day they could invest time explorung other approaches that will encourage more people to support record stores on a more consistent basis.

You won’t hear this often, but there was a time when record stores were the original Starbucks — sans the caffeinated hipster delusions of culture and race.

Friends and strangers would spend hours in a store bonding, listening to music and buying what they heard.

There was also a symbiosis of sorts formed when the record store experience connected with nightclub culture to support established and emerging musicians. Venues, retailers, creatives and consumers benefited from this alchemy.

I don’t see how pushing limited releases at jacked-up prices helps to revive much of anything.

Today also marks two years and a day since beloved Prince left us.

Prince was all about wrecka stows.

And that’s something I can get with.

Therefore, happy Wrecka Stow Day, y’all …

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Something to think about when the sight of two Black guys sitting in Starbucks makes you call the police

starbucks, black

Unless you really dislike Black people, the video shared by author Melissa DePino of two African descendants being arrested by Philadelphia police officers for simply sitting in a Starbucks in advance of a business meeting should be uncomfortable to watch.

But perhaps you don’t like Black people, but feel uncomfortable when presented with visual evidence that the post-racial-America phantom that was somehow activated on November 4, 2008 never actually walked among us after all.

Or who knows — you may be one of those “wait-the-facts-surrounding-the-arrests-are-not-yet-in” people.

I guess your position on the incident doesn’t really matter when you consider these probabilities: when you call the police to address some matter concerning an African descendant, there’s a relatively high likelihood that the subsequent encounter will end in the Black person getting arrested (5.6x more likely than Whites), physically assaulted (3.6x) or even killed (3.5x).

86-year old Black man who had early signs of dementia? Tased by police. He eventually died.

Homeless Black woman begging for money? This:

Black man suspected of driving a stolen car — it was actually his vehicle — and the caller never saw the man steal the car? Beaten and then arrested:

So, when you decide to call the police because you see Black people sitting in a tree talking to birds, or chilling on a park bench while wearing hoodies and enjoying a moment of spring like everyone else, ask yourself how far are you willing to take the outcome.

Do you want to see them dead?

Beat down?

Or simply hauled away to the nearest jail so that your perfectly-monochromed life can feel comfortable again?

Mind you — the outcome you want is never certain …

song currently stuck in my head: “the wad” – vels trio

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“Where are our leaders today?” you ask.

mlk beyond vietnam speech

It’s been 50 years and three days after Dr. Martin Luther king Jr.’s assassination, and people still ask “Where are our leaders today?”

Which makes me think of Americans’ funny attitudes about leaders.

By 1964, a Gallup poll reported that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the fourth most admired person in America, even beating Robert Kennedy and Pope Paul VI. King became Time Magazine’s person of the year.

But by 1966, about two years before a sniper’s bullet ended MLK’s life, nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed disapproved of him.

Even the majority of Black folks weren’t down with King’s views, according to Gallup.

Perhaps we should rephrase the question: “Where are our POPULAR leaders today?”

Or, “Where are our ACCEPTABLE-BY-THE-MEDIA leaders?”

Because as much as everyone claimed to have loved King, he clearly became unacceptable to much of America during his final days.

You can always tell the difference between acceptable leaders and just leaders.

You won’t hear about leaders.

And when you do, the news about them arrives wrapped in derision — in case you need some coaching to view them as less acceptable.

Before MLK fell off the US admiration pop charts, he was considered President Lyndon Johnson’s inside person on race relations — as long as King worried about integrating lunch counters and boycotting busses, apparently.

King’s expanding view of social justice in 1965 began to make others uncomfortable — it shows in the Gallup poll numbers— but he officially earned mainstream vitriol after April 4, 1967.

That’s when he made a speech (YouTube, transcript) at New York City’s Riverside Church where he spoke out against America’s intervention in the Vietnam War and called the US government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

But King did more than oppose the war.

He talked about the Vietnamese civilians and their homeland ripped apart by American bombs in the name of “liberty.”

He also felt that America should redirect financial resources from Vietnam to eliminate poverty at home.

Suddenly, King became an unacceptable leader.

The New York Times said that King did a disservice to the antiwar cause and the racial injustice he fought against.

The Washington Post and dozens of other newspapers dissed King in a similar way.

So did some Black leaders.

Northern White Liberal support — once a mainstay in the fight against Jim Crow in the South — began to disappear.

But … it took a bullet to rip apart King’s body in order for Liberals and Conservatives alike to love him.

So … while some of you may wonder where the new leaders are, perhaps it’s a good time think of the leaders you may have ignored lately.

LIke Rev. Dr. William Barber, who’s been quietly remixing MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign — one of the latter’s final major initiatives before his assassination.

Attorney and activist Lee Merritt, whose been a warrior in and out of the courtroom as he pursues justice for victims of racial violence, police brutality and predatory incarceration. He’s been leading a campaign to get more social justice-oriented candidates on local District Attorney ballots.

David Hogg, survivor of the Parkland Florida mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. He’s been blowing up Twitter these days.

Truthseekers with a digital bullhorn, like Tanya Free.

The Color of Change team whose online distributed leadership model is influencing grassroots awareness.

Independent journalist Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!

I could list hundreds of leaders. And I still won’t know all of them.

That’s because my lack of awareness is not a glitch, but a feature.

Leaders capable of change are not presented to you on TV as “The people who will lead you out of the wilderness.”

MLK was never presented that way, and neither will anyone after him …

song currently stuck in my head: “everybody’s broke” – herbie hancock

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