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“She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” – A Film

“Aren’t the Internets great?”

– me to my Moose peeps this morning

An article in the New York Times yesterday about the “Women of the Young Lords: The Revolution within the Revolution” panel at the Bronx Museum, included the rare link-out to a web site for some biographical information on one of the speakers, our own Denise Oliver Velez.

Much to my delight, that was a sub-page on a larger site about a film entitled “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry”.

The trailer explains what it is about:

With women’s reproductive freedom under attack in the states and in the Republican controlled Congress and in the courts, when one of our major political parties is already loading up the testosterone cannon and aiming it at the woman who is the front-runner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, when right wing groups are attacking Planned Parenthood … a group that saves women’s lives, it is a great time to remind ourselves of our past, the fights we won, only to lose again, and the battles we will face in 2016 and beyond.

The Bernie Sanders campaign: Connecting with black voters is a work in progress.

 photo 46f769a0-d795-4a95-aabd-58aeae51330c_zpsqjycpysy.jpg

The Bernie Sanders campaign: Connecting with black voters is a work in progress.

After taking a look at the campaign staff and advisers for Hillary Clinton, looking specifically at people of color in major positions, I promised I would do the same for the Bernie Sanders campaign.

As it stands to date, there is not a lot to report, but there has been some progress since his initial announcement. Based on examining his campaign staffing page, and searching to identify the people currently listed there, he needs to step up the hires of people who can assist him with networking in the all important segment of the base that votes for Democrats, specifically women of color, and black women in particular.

Working together towards a common goal

The latest dustup in the progressive blogosphere has exposed a rift in the progressive movement.

It is something that should not be a rift and maybe it does not reach the level of rift but is still a pretty strong disagreement that is generating more heat than light.

The goals of the #BlackLivesMatter movement are fundamental to our core Democratic Party principles and should not just be picked from a grab bag of progressive issues to focus on in the coming election. Racial justice issues need to be addressed because they are a matter of life and death. It can be argued that economic issues are a matter of life and death and that is certainly true. But a rising economic tide that raises all boats does nothing but drown those who have no boats, who can’t swim, or who are being held down.

Maybe the rift turned into a flame war because we, as Democrats, haven’t had to deal with a primary process for 7 years and we forget the bitter battles of 2007 and 2008. Maybe it is because we remember the bitter battles of 2007 and 2008 and don’t want to give an inch lest our ideal of Perfect Progressivism will not match up to the eventual nominee selected to carry our banner into the general election in 2016.

“…Only Black ‘Deaths’ Matter.” Rev. William Barber

I received this from Rev. William Barber, and have permission to share it with you all:

Our Nation Is In Need of Prophetic Pastoral Counseling Because It Is Sending the Message —- Only Black Deaths Matter
By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church, Goldsboro, N.C., Architect of the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, and an Auburn Senior Fellow.

During my meditation on the messages being sent out from South Carolina this week, three scriptures came to me:
Jeremiah 31:15This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
John 8:32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Isaiah 58:1-3Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. “Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”
Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.”

When the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina statehouse Friday morning, Gov. Nikki Haley spoke solemnly of the nine Black churchgoers who were shot to death less than a month ago at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. “We have all been struck by what was a tragedy we didn’t think we would ever encounter,” Haley said of the horrifying massacre. Before signing the bill with nine pens that will go to the families of the victims, she called those who were murdered during Bible Study at the historic church, “Nine amazing people that forever changed South Carolina’s history.” The Governor referenced the “grace” shown by the nine families, when they forgave the white gunman. She said their grace helped usher the state toward this long overdue decision.  

The assassinations at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, followed by the public forgiveness from the grieving families, were similarly cited by several South Carolina lawmakers as their reason for voting to remove the flag. What they are really saying is that Black Deaths Matter, not our lives. Black people in the US are only deemed worthy of action in their death, not in their life. In a year that has seen thousands in the streets, young and old, black white and brown, saying to the nation, “Black Lives Matter”, the painful and dangerous message coming from South Carolina this week is: Black Deaths Matter.  That’s the painful and dangerous narrative being developed out of South Carolina; it’s a narrative that the oppressed of this land have known for a long time: Only Black Deaths Matter.  Our nation is capable of doing the right thing – such as taking down the Confederate flag in the year 2015, a flag that represents the racist, immoral, unconstitutional defense of slavery and Jim Crow – but only when Black deaths happen and are met by a response deemed acceptable by those in power. Ever since this flag was raised in 1961, to send the message that South Carolina would not honor equal protection under the law, tens of thousands of small and large protests have not been enough to move the power brokers to take it down.

President Obama Press Conference on Iranian Nuclear Deal

On Wednesday, July 15th, President Obama answered questions about the historic deal to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons.

(Transcript)

Statement by the President:

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Yesterday was a historic day. The comprehensive, long-term deal that we achieved with our allies and partners to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon represents a powerful display of American leadership and diplomacy. It shows what we can accomplish when we lead from a position of strength and a position of principle, when we unite the international community around a shared vision, and we resolve to solve problems peacefully.

As I said yesterday, it’s important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal. That process is now underway. I’ve already reached out to leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle. My national security team has begun offering extensive briefings. I expect the debate to be robust — and that’s how it should be. This is an important issue. Our national security policies are stronger and more effective when they are subject to the scrutiny and transparency that democracy demands.

And as I said yesterday, the details of this deal matter very much. That’s why our team worked so hard for so long to get the details right. At the same time, as this debate unfolds, I hope we don’t lose sight of the larger picture — the opportunity that this agreement represents. As we go forward, it’s important for everybody to remember the alternative and the fundamental choice that this moment represents.

With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear program — a nuclear weapons program, and Iran’s nuclear program will be under severe limits for many years. Without a deal, those pathways remain open; there would be no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran could move closer to a nuclear bomb.

With this deal, we gain unprecedented, around-the-clock monitoring of Iran’s key nuclear facilities and the most comprehensive and intrusive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated. Without a deal, those inspections go away, and we lose the ability to closely monitor Iran’s program and detect any covert nuclear weapons program.

With this deal, if Iran violates its commitments, there will be real consequences. Nuclear-related sanctions that have helped to cripple the Iranian economy will snap back into place. Without a deal, the international sanctions regime will unravel, with little ability to re-impose them.

With this deal, we have the possibility of peacefully resolving a major threat to regional and international security. Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East, and other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.

As I said yesterday, even with this deal, we will continue to have profound differences with Iran — its support for terrorism and its use of proxies to destabilize parts of the Middle East. Therefore, the multilateral arms embargo on Iran will remain in place for an additional five years, and restrictions on ballistic missile technology will remain for eight years. In addition, the United States will maintain our own sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, and its human rights violations. And we’ll continue our unprecedented security cooperation with Israel and continue to deepen our partnerships with the Gulf States.

But the bottom line is this: This nuclear deal meets the national security interests of the United States and our allies. It prevents the most serious threat — Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, which would only make the other problems that Iran may cause even worse. That’s why this deal makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure. It’s why the alternative — no limits on Iran’s nuclear program, no inspections, an Iran that’s closer to a nuclear weapon, the risk of a regional nuclear arms race and a greater risk of war — all that would endanger our security. That’s the choice that we face. If we don’t choose wisely, I believe future generations will judge us harshly for letting this moment slip away.

And no one suggests that this deal resolves all the threats that Iran poses to its neighbors or the world. Moreover, realizing the promise of this deal will require many years of implementation and hard work. It will require vigilance and execution. But this deal is our best means of assuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon. And, from the start, that has been my number-one priority, our number-one priority. We’ve got a historic chance to pursue a safer and more secure world — an opportunity that may not come again in our lifetimes. As President and as Commander-in-Chief, I am determined to seize that opportunity.

Questions and Answers below the fold.

President Obama: “This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change”

An Iranian nuclear deal has been reached:

(Final video. Full text of transcript below the fold.)

President Obama:

“The United States, together with our international partners, has reached a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“As President Kennedy said, ‘Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate’.”

“History shows that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles”

“This deal is not built on trust. It’s built on verification.”

“There’s a very real incentive for Iran to follow through, and there are very real consequences for a violation”.

“I have made clear to the Iranian people that we will always be open to engagement on the basis of mutual interests and…respect.”

“We give nothing up by testing whether this problem can be solved peacefully.”

“I believe it would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal.”

“I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”

Vice President Biden, after the speech, whispered “Good job” to the President. (He could have added “This is a Big F-ing Deal”.)

From the White House:

After many months of principled diplomacy, the P5+1 — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany — along with the European Union, have achieved a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.

This deal stands on the foundation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), achieved in November of 2013, and the framework for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), announced in Lausanne on April 2, 2015 that set the requirements for the deal with the P5+ 1 and Iran, alongside the European Union announced today.

Now, with this deal in place, the U.S., our allies, and the international community can know that tough, new requirements will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon

(Details below)

Behind the scenes. A look at the people of color in the Hillary Clinton campaign

Maya Harris, senior policy senior policy adviser for Hillary Clinton with her sister Kamala Harris, CA Attorney General.

Behind the scenes.  A look at the people of color in the Hillary Clinton campaign

Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver-Velez

Though much attention is being focused on the top two candidates running for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, it behooves us here in Black Kos to examine the actual people who are both adviser’s to the candidates and running their national campaigns, because this is a political blog, and campaigns are one of the key elements on the road to electoral success or failure. I don’t believe that a candidate in 2016 can win—the nomination and the general election—without significant backing and turnout from the large portion of the Democratic base that is comprised of people of color.

The Scott Walker Story: Intimidated, again!

Earlier this year, the Republican dominated Wisconsin legislature did Gov. Scott Walker’s bidding and elided The Wisconsin Idea from the University of Wisconsin system’s mission statement. The Wisconsin Idea had been part of the statutes for well over a century and promised this:

Inherent in this broad mission are methods of instruction, research, extended training and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition. Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.

You can see why this scared the Walker Administration: education, search for truth, public service. Not welcome in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin! The Walker Way overrides the Wisconsin Way and the Wisconsin Idea.

The outcry was fierce and Walker had to back down … the change was withdrawn (and blamed on a staffer, which is also the Walker Way).

Lesson learned, right? No. It. Was. Not.

On Thursday night, right before the long holiday weekend, Walker’s GOP legislature snuck a provision into the omnibus Budget Bill they were “crafting”, a provision that would essentially repeal the state’s Open Record Law. When this change was exposed by the Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee and questioned by the press, the Republican leaders refused to identify who had asked for the change. But you don’t have to dig deep to realize that the Open Records laws were behind the surprising interest of the normally docile press in Wisconsin, in investigating irregularities in WEDC, an agency set up by Walker to pick winners and losers in the economy with a special focus in including Walker campaign donors in the winners circle.

The outcry was even more fierce this time and came from some surprising places: the teaparty Attorney General and the right-wing talk show radio hosts in Milwaukee who created Scott Walker as an empty vessel to fill with their ideology. There had been signs that the right-wing talkers were realizing they had used Abby Normal’s brain when they built their Frankenstein and this time they Tweeted their dismay and spoke out in editorials, one on the front page of the normally pro-Walker Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Working Towards Our More Perfect Union: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

The act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin and gave the federal courts jurisdiction over enforcement, taking it out of the state courts where justice was uneven at best.

The Civil Rights Act had political ramifications as well. Its adoption caused a mass exodus of angry racists from the Democratic Party in the old south to the Republican Party. And the politics born of hatred of The Other gave the not-so-Grand Old Party the presidency for 28 out of the next 40 years.

Good Government: Updating Fair Labor Standards – UPDATED with Transcript and Photos

The President will travel to La Crosse Wisconsin this afternoon to officially announce an update to the Fair Labor Standards Act that will go into effect next year.

President Obama: “This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve — since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t.”

From La Crosse, Thursday afternoon:

(TRANSCRIPT ADDED BELOW THE FOLD)

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez:

On June 25, 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act to, in his words, “end starvation wages and intolerable hours”. In addition to establishing the first-ever national minimum wage (a modest 25 cents per hour), the FLSA enshrined the 44-hour work week, later reduced to 40, mandating time and a half overtime pay for anything beyond.

But the overtime regulations haven’t been meaningfully updated in decades. An exemption from overtime eligibility originally meant for highly-compensated, white-collar employees now applies to workers earning as little as $23,660 a year — below the poverty line for a family of four. In 1975, 62 percent of full-time salaried workers were eligible for overtime pay; but today, only 8 percent of full-time salaried workers fall below the salary threshold and are automatically eligible for overtime pay.

Today, 77 years and five days after FDR signed overtime pay into law, President Obama announced the release of a new proposed rule that, once final, would extend overtime protections to roughly 5 million workers. As proposed, it would set the new salary threshold at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers, projected to be about $970 a week (or $50,440 a year) in 2016, more than double its current level. And by automatically updating the salary threshold to keep pace with inflation or wage growth, the proposal would guard against erosion of overtime pay in the future and provide more certainty for businesses and employees.

(Full Department of Labor blog post below)