Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ferguson residents in the aftermath of Mike Brown murder

Eleven days after another police officer murders another unarmed African American male, tensions continue to run high amid calls for peace and a halt to the unrest by Ferguson officials, residents, and even President Obama.

The family and Ferguson residents want justice for eighteen year-old, Michael Brown, who was shot, execution style, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Brown's body lay in street for several moments, with no attempts to revive him, and no ambulance dispatched to the crime scene.

A posting and picture of Darren Wilson from his father's Facebook page.
Witnesses took to their camera phones to record their account of the incident. 

Many say Brown and a friend were approached by Wilson who pulled Brown into the police car and as Brown struggled to get away, Wilson shot him.   It was still unclear why the two men were approached by Wilson, even though reports indicate the pair was impeding traffic.  (No reason to lose a life, though).

It was several days, eight to be exact, after the murder before Ferguson law officials named Wilson as the shooter, and just recently an autopsy report was released showing Wilson shot Brown at least six times from almost thirty feet away.

Despite this gruesome crime, support for Wilson grows, as friends call him the "nicest person in the world."

If killing unarmed kids is nice, then what is mean?

Actual armed, white criminals and mass murderers live another day, 
while unarmed Black men and boys are gunned down and attacked by police for doing nothing).

See also, more rogue cops in African American neighborhoods:
[Mentally impaired African American man beaten by 20 cops].  [Cop slaps 58 year old African American mother]  [Eric Garner case to go to grand jury] [Outrage over cop beating woman on side of roadway]

Ferguson National Guard pull weapons on unarmed Black youth during protest for Mike Brown.
The Mike Brown murder has sparked a nationwide symbolic protest with many using two raised hands prompting the Twitter handle #handsupdontshoot, as seen by the young man in the above picture.   It was this gesture that Mike Brown used to Darren Wilson to show that he was unarmed.

The solidarity gesture caught on nationwide when students from Howard University posed for a picture showing students with their hands up, like Mike Brown.

The murder and the protest has prompted the Justice Department to open an independent federal civil rights investigation, and Attorney General Eric Holder is traveling to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with community leaders, FBI agents and DOJ personnel.

Said the president, who returned from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard for one day to address the situation in Ferguson:

"So to a community in Ferguson that is rightly hurting and looking for answers, let me call once again for us to seek some understanding rather than simply holler at each other.  Let’s seek to heal rather than to wound each other.  As Americans, we've got to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity that's been laid bare by this moment -- the potential of a young man and the sorrows of parents, the frustrations of a community, the ideals that we hold as one united American family. I’ve said this before in too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement.  In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear.  Through initiatives like My Brother’s Keeper, I'm personally committed to changing both perception and reality.  And already we're making some significant progress as people of goodwill of all races are ready to chip in.  But that requires that we build and not tear down.  And that requires we listen and not just shout.  That's how we're going to move forward together, by trying to unite each other and understand each other, and not simply divide ourselves from one another.  We're going to have to hold tight to those values in the days ahead.  That's how we bring about justice, and that's how we bring about peace."

Actually, and to the contrary, we suggest that when the harassment and murder of African Americans by white police officers cease, and the justice systems works in favor of African Americans, and boundless opportunities for advancement become available in urban areas across the nation, then we may have peace.

Also related
AP chronicles MikeBrown/Ferguson timeline
Black Lives Matter 
Support for victims like Michael Brown page created |
Rapper Nelly visits native St. Louis, starts scholarship in honor of Brown
Sean Combs to President Obama: "Get on a plane" to Ferguson  

Representatives Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz, Stand With Rick Perry

Friends of Rick Perry are "standing by their man."

Emails from Representatives Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal show their support for embattled Texas governor, Rick Perry, who was indicted this week on felony charges alleging abuse of power.

Perry tried to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after she was charged with a DUI, and threatened to hold district funds if she did not.  (See also Lehmberg called 'unfit' to serve).

Travis County police mug shot of Texas governor Rick Perry.

While both Cruz and Jindal state their belief that the indictment is the action of "liberal politicians", both also expressed their individual opinions.

Writes Cruz in an email to constituents, "Unfortunately, there has been a sad history of the Travis County District Attorney's Office engaging in politically-motivated prosecutions, and this latest indictment of the governor is extremely questionable. Rick Perry is a friend, he's a man of integrity – I am proud to stand with Rick Perry. The Texas Constitution gives the governor the power to veto legislation, and a criminal indictment predicated on the exercise of his constitutional authority is, on its face, highly suspect."

Jindal also sent out an email where he writes, "The facts are clear. Governors have the right to exercise veto authority, and my friend Rick Perry exercised his constitutional authority and stood up for responsible government when he vetoed funding for a Texas agency run by someone who pled guilty to DWI and served 45 days in jail. One only needs to see a few highlights from the video of District Attorney Lehmberg’s arrest – during which she spits at law enforcement and is restrained in a Travis County jail – to see why she wasn’t fit for her job as head of the Public Integrity Unit!

Perry, who many believe has aspirations for a 2016 presidential run, insists he is innocent and says he will fight the charges "with every fiber of his being."

VA governor Bob McDonnell corruptiontrial continues.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Former Reagan Press Secretary James Brady Dead

James Brady, the press secretary who was shot as he tried to shield President Ronald Reagan from an assassin's bullet has died.   

Brady was left paralyzed after the 1981 incident. President Reagan survived the attack by John Hinkley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton hotel.  The hotel serves as the present venue for the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.  

The assassination attempt would later spawn the Brady handgun control bill (signed by President Bill Clinton) which, under law, meant prospective gun purchasers must wait at least five days while a background check was done before they could legally purchase a handgun.  The bill gave way to backlash by those who say the bill trampled upon a person's Second Amendment rights.

James Brady gives reporters a thumbs up sign, circa 2005.   Photo/Reuters.
That was thirty-three years ago, and the same gun control debate prevails today even in the midst of school, neighborhood, theater shootings, and other random acts of gun violence around the country.  

President Obama called Brady "a legend at the White House for his warmth and professionalism for the strength he brought to bear in recovering from the shooting... and for turning the events of that terrible afternoon into a remarkable legacy of service through the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence." 

The White House briefing room was renamed the James Brady Briefing Room.  A plaque on the wall in his honor reads, “May his courage and dedication continue to inspire all who work in this room and beyond.” 

Brady's death prompted a co-joined statement by several White House press secretaries today to include current Press Secretary Josh Earnest,  former press secretaries Jay Carney, Robert Gibbs, Dana Perino, Scott McClellan, Ari Fleischer, Jake Siewert, Joe Lockhart, Mike McCurry, Dee Dee Myers, Marlin Fitzwater, and Ron Nessen whose remarks state:

"Jim Brady defined the role of the modern White House Press Secretary. With his passing we lost a friend and mentor, and the country lost a selfless public servant who dedicated his life to service, even in the face of tragedy. Jim always did his job with the highest integrity. He had a true affection and respect for the press, relished a good sparring with the front row, and was an unfailing defender of the President and the value of a free press. Jim set the model and standard for the rest of us to follow. It's been a genuine honor for each of us to stand at the podium in the briefing room that will always bear his name. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s wife Sarah and his children Scott and Melissa."

Current press secretary Josh Earnest added that Brady was, "Somebody who I think really revolutionized this job.  And even after he was wounded in that attack on the president [Reagan], was somebody who showed his patriotism and commitment to the country by being very outspoken on an issue that was important to him and that he felt very strongly about, and that "Brady's legacy is one that all future press secretaries aspire to live up to."

Brady also served as press secretary for former Delaware senator, Bill Roth. Brady is remembered by Vice President Joe Biden as a "dear friend".

Remarked the Vice President today, "It’s been three decades since he nearly lost his life to an assassin’s bullet fired at President Reagan from a gun bought with no background check. But through his paralysis and daily physical struggle, Jim and his wife Sarah showed a dignity, grace, and fierce determination to turn tragedy into action.  Still healing himself, Jim would reach out to survivors of gun violence and other tragedies with a message of encouragement and hope on their own road to recovery. I was proud to have worked with Jim and Sarah in the 1980s and 1990s as they persevered privately to publicly lead the bipartisan consensus for commonsense efforts to keep guns out the hands of those who would use them to harm themselves or others. And I am grateful for their ongoing, rational, and heartfelt guidance as our nation continues to experience devastating gun violence tragedies, like the one at Newtown and in towns and cities across America."  

Brady passed at a nursing home in Alexandria, Virginia. He was 73.

Brady death ruled a homicide.  What this means.