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Leonard Pitts, Jr. “… it’s about treating where it hurts”

Leonard Pitts, Jr. has something to say about #BlackLivesMatter:

This is a column about three words of moral cowardice:

“All lives matter.”

Those words have risen as a kind of counter to “Black lives matter,” the movement that coalesced in response to recent killings and woundings of unarmed African Americans by assailants — usually police officers — who often go unpunished. Mike Huckabee raised that counter-cry last week, telling CNN, “When I hear people scream ‘black lives matter,’ I’m thinking, of course, they do. But all lives matter. It’s not that any life matters more than another.”

As if that were not bad enough, the former Arkansas governor and would-be president upped the ante by adding that Martin Luther King would be “appalled by the notion that we’re elevating some lives above others.”

“Elevating some lives.” Lord, have mercy.

Say His Name: Radazz Hearns

From ThinkProgress:

When Radazz Hearns was shot seven times by police in Trenton, New Jersey earlier this month, police claimed the 14-year-old pulled out a gun and attempted to shoot them while running. Now, the attorney general’s office says those allegations are unsupported, and an eyewitness says Hearns was actually unarmed and trying to pull up his pants as he ran.

According to the attorney general’s office, Hearns was one of three teenage boys questioned by three Targeted Integrated Deployment Effort (TIDE) officers near an apartment complex, after a shooting was reported nearby. An anonymous police source alleged Hearns ran away from the cops and reached for what the officers thought was a gun. At one point, they say, Hearns turned around while running and attempted to shoot at them. The three officers opened fire, hitting Hearns seven times in the legs and butt.

Eyewitness Rhonda Tirado, who watched the chase and shooting from her home, paints a different picture of what happened. Tirado alleges the boys were laughing and joking for 15 minutes before the cops arrived near her house, and agrees that the three males were confronted by the officers. She also contends Hearns tried to flee. But Tirado says the teenager looked like he was trying to pull his pants up — not grabbing a weapon.

Those police were amped and they didn’t give that little boy a chance,” she explained to NJ.com. “There was no room for no chase. They just shot that little boy right there.”

Radazz Hearns is “lucky” … he was released from the hospital on Monday and is expected to recover from his wounds.

Unlucky: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Samuel DuBose, Christian Taylor …

Deal me in!

Friday night, Hillary Clinton, along with the other 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidates, spoke at the Wing Ding Dinner, an Iowa Democratic Party fundraiser in Clear Lake, IA.

There is a lot at stake in the 2016 presidential election, an election where the contrasts between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party could not be more stark. On the environment, climate change, diplomacy rather than war, women’s rights, income inequality, racial justice, poverty, access to affordable health care, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and more … on issue after issue one party stands firmly on the side of the people and one stands firmly on the side of the special interests and those who do not value the dignity of human life.

One such issue is the full on assault on women’s health. In 2016, all of the the declared Republican candidates have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and many of them have declared their support for new abortion restrictions: no exceptions for any reason including to save the life of the mother. That restriction is not just ignorant (in an ectopic pregnancy, for example, neither the pregnant woman or the fetus would survive) but so out of the mainstream view on abortion that only 9% of Americans support it. Even their refusal to exempt the cases of rape and incest are at odds with most Americans as a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll (PDF, pg 15) showed that 83% support keeping abortion legal when the physical health of the mother is at risk or in cases of rape and incest.

In 2012, after losing the presidential election, and women’s votes by 12% (including a whopping 38% of unmarried women), the Republican National Committee conducted a post-mortem. One of the “shocking” discoveries was that people believed that Republicans are completely out of touch with women’s issues including equal pay, family leave, and reproductive rights. The RNC boldly declared that they would change their language (but not their policies) and in 2014, they Etch-a-Sketched away their Senate candidates’ extremist positions on fetal personhood laws and gained a majority in the U.S. Senate and in the 114th Congress.

Fast forward to 2015 where their current crop of candidates make cavemen look like feminists.

Secretary Clinton had this to say about women’s issues Friday night:

“… when it comes to women’s health and women’s rights, Mr. Trump’s words are appalling, but so are the policies of the other candidates. Senator Rubio brags about wanting to deny victims of rape and incest access to an abortion. Governor Bush says $500 million is too much to spend on women’s health. And they all want to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Well, why don’t they try telling that to the mom who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening. Or the teenager who avoided an unintended pregnancy because she had access to contraception. Or anyone who was protected by an HIV test.

Now, this might work in a Republican primary, but it sure doesn’t work in 21st century America. I am so tired of politicians shaming and blaming women. I am tired of Republicans dismissing the contributions women make to our economy and ignoring the obstacles that hold so many back from contributing even more. We cannot afford to leave talent on the sidelines. Women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying every day about how they’re going to take care of their child or what happens when a family member gets sick. That is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and it’s also an economic growth strategy.

“This isn’t complicated. When you shortchange women you shortchange families, and when you shortchange families you shortchange America. And I know when I talk about this some people think, “There she goes again with the women’s issues.” Like, Mitch McConnell said recently I’m playing the gender card.

“Well, if calling for equal pay and paid leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in. Let me add, if helping more working parents find quality, affordable childcare is playing the gender card, then I’m ready to ante up.

Hey, deal me in, too! Let’s take this fight to the Republican Party in 2016 and let’s take this fight to them with the strongest candidate on women’s issues that we have: Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton: If this feels like a full on assault on women’s health, that’s because it is.”
Support and Stand with Planned Parenthood

A refuge of love & peace during the debate (for AIDS Walk Austin)

Hi. This morning, when I thought about that debate, my heart just wanted to curl up & hide in a corner. I can’t stand all the awful things that will be said, the horrible ideas, etc. So I used to be a preschool teacher & was raised by a preschool teacher — I can’t deal with meanness & petulance. I need to start raising money for the AIDS Walk, so I thought I’d create a diary filled with niceness — happy music & stuff like that. And links where you can donate to my AIDS Walk page

Weekly Address: President Obama – Celebrating 50 Years of Medicare and Medicaid

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President celebrated the fiftieth birthdays of Medicare and Medicaid, which together have allowed millions to live longer and better lives. These programs are a promise that if we work hard, and play by the rules, we’ll be rewarded with a basic measure of dignity, security, and the freedom to live our lives as we want. Every American deserves the sense of safety and security that comes with health insurance. That’s why the President signed the Affordable Care Act, and that’s why he will continue to work to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid, programs that are fundamental to our way of life, stay strong.

Why I’m Tuning in to the Hillary Channel

Why I'm Tuning in to the Hillary Channel

If it hadn’t been for DailyKos front-pager Greg Dworkin’s link the other day, I would never have known about a statement in that diary. As a rule I don’t have time to read the APR when it’s fresh and hot; on this particular morning, however, Younger Son was late bringing the baby to my house, so I had time to look around the site and read whatever caught my fancy.

And this statement in a diary about Hillary and Bernie definitely caught my fancy:

Meanwhile, it is difficult for him [Bernie Sanders] to make inroads among women who are understandably excited about finally getting a woman president.

HillaryCircle

Yes.

As much as I like Bernie Sanders—in fact an online test showed me that I agree with his policy positions 94 percent of the time—I plan to vote for Secretary Clinton in the primary (if we can call George W. Bush by his previous title of “President,” I can certainly call her “Secretary Clinton”) . If you’ll bear with me for a few minutes I’ll tell you why.

President Obama Announces 46 Commutations in Video Address: “America Is a Nation of Second Chances”

From the White House blog, Neil Eggleston, Counsel to the President

As a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and criminal defense attorney, I’m well acquainted with how federal sentencing practices can, in too many instances, lead nonviolent drug offenders to spend decades, if not life, in prison. Now, don’t get me wrong, many people are justly punished for causing harm and perpetuating violence in our communities. But, in some cases, the punishment required by law far exceeded the offense.

These unduly harsh sentences are one of the reasons the President is committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy unfairness in our criminal justice system. Today, he is continuing this effort by granting clemency to 46 men and women, nearly all of whom would have already served their time and returned to society if they were convicted of the exact same crime today.

In a video released today, the President underscored the responsibility and opportunity that comes with a commutation:

In taking this step, the President has now issued nearly 90 commutations, the vast majority of them to non-violent offenders sentenced for drug crimes under outdated sentencing rules.

While I expect the President will issue additional commutations and pardons before the end of his term, it is important to recognize that clemency alone will not fix decades of overly punitive sentencing policies. Tune in tomorrow as the President, [in an address to the NAACP], shares additional thoughts on how, working together, we can bring greater fairness to our criminal justice system while keeping our communities safe.

Eugene Robinson: “This emblem of hatred and oppression is finally coming down”

Eugene Robinson, son of South Carolina, on today’s removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House grounds:

For most of my life, a flag representing white supremacist violence against black people flew at the capitol of my native state. It is a very big deal that this emblem of hatred and oppression is finally coming down. […]

In the South, William Faulkner wrote, the past isn’t even past. The flag represented, for some white South Carolinians, a past that was invented out of whole cloth — a past in which something other than slavery was the cause of a conflict Southerners called the “War Between the States.”

In truth, the Civil War only was about states’ rights in the sense that the Confederate states feared losing one specific “right” — to own human beings and compel their labor. No amount of Spanish moss can obscure this basic fact. No paeans to the valor of Confederate soldiers can change the fact that they were fighting for slavery.

And no amount of revisionist claptrap can change the fact that the flag was hoisted at the capitol in Columbia in 1961 and kept flying not to honor some gauzy vision of Southern valor but to resist the dismantling of Jim Crow segregation. The flag meant whites-only schools, whites-only public accommodations, whites-only voter rolls. It represented white power and privilege over subjugated African Americans. It was used by the murderous terrorists of the Ku Klux Klan — and by an ignorant young white supremacist who allegedly took nine innocent lives at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

… it still took hours of contentious debate, but the House passed the bill around 1 a.m. and Haley signed it into law Thursday afternoon.

Rep. Jenny Horne (R) makes impassioned plea to vote to remove the flag