Supplemental: Two approaches after Charleston!

TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2015

“More cooperative political tone” versus list of demands:
In this morning’s New York Times, Blinder and Fausset offer a fascinating portrait of black political thinking in South Carolina in the wake of Charleston.

We don’t know what will and won’t occur in South Carolina. Because of something we read yesterday, we were struck by the outlook of Robert Brown, am experienced member of the state legislature.

Rep. Brown is a black Democrat. He thinks additional change may be on the way in the Palmetto State:
BLINDER AND FAUSSET (7/21/15): With the lowering of the battle flag, black South Carolinians are wondering whether this moment might augur a new, more cooperative political tone that could help the state, one of the nation’s poorest, begin to address the longstanding racial disparities in income, education, health care and quality of life.

A handful of black leaders are indulging in an unbridled optimism after South Carolinians of all races rallied to condemn the massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, which the authorities have described as a hate crime, and after a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers voted to take down the divisive battle flag. A few hours after the vote in the House, which came after a contentious, 15-hour debate, Representative Robert L. Brown, a black Democrat, closed the door to his legislative office in Columbia. Then he faced a corner and sobbed.

“The flag is just part of it,” Mr. Brown said through his tears, invoking the notion of a South Carolina that for once offers “prosperity for all.” He added: “I think it’s going to happen.”
Other blacks are less optimistic about the prospects for additional change. But in the passage shown below, Representative Joseph Neal, an African-American minister and a veteran state legislator, explains where he’d like things to go in the state.

Rep. Neal seems to think well of Governor Haley. His idea for the next advance is Medicaid expansion:
BLINDER AND FAUSSET: In their meeting, Mr. Neal pressed Ms. Haley on the Democratic priority of broadening Medicaid eligibility. Some 194,000 South Carolinians fall into the so-called coverage gap, meaning they make too much to enroll in Medicaid but not enough to qualify for tax credits to buy health insurance. Minorities make up 57 percent of the state’s poor, uninsured, nonelderly adults.

Ms. Haley has said in the past that she worried a Medicaid expansion would wreak havoc on the state’s budget. In the meeting, Mr. Neal said, the governor told him that someone would have to persuade her that the state could afford such a shift.

“That’s something I’d like to try to do,” Mr. Neal said.

Mr. Neal and other black leaders will have to persuade many more people than Ms. Haley, who has a difficult relationship with the legislature. But the governor is seen as a potential ally who could prove critical.
Brown and Neal seem to think the “improved political tone” could produce additional progress. We were struck by their hopeful outlook, mainly because we had read Kevin Drum’s post about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Last weekend, demonstrators from the group interrupted speeches by Candidates Sanders and O’Malley. Right on cue, Gwen Ifill clucked on Face the Nation about how poorly the two candidates had handled the hissing and yelling.

(We have a dream today! We dream we’ll see a cadre from BLM invade the set of The NewsHour, interrupting Ifill as she reads the news. We’re eager to see the masterful way she handles all the confusion!)

Black Lives Matter was on the march! To some extent, we can’t help recalling the way this type of thing, from white and black protest groups alike, helped create a whole generation of Nixon and Reagan the last time around.

We especially suffered those non-acid flashbacks when Drum produced the movement’s current list of demands. At the BLM web site, Drum had clicked on a button labeled, "Learn About Our Demands.” Below, you see the first five:
Demands from Black Lives Matter
We demand an end to all forms of discrimination and the full recognition of our human rights.
We demand an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of Black people and all oppressed people.
We demand full, living wage employment for our people.
We demand decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings and an end to gentrification.
We demand an end to the school to prison pipeline & quality education for all.
At least they aren’t non-negotiable demands, we incomparably said.

In his post, Drum mentioned the vagueness of the dozen demands. It’s hard to oppose “the full recognition of someone’s rights.” It’s also hard to know what to do to satisfy such a demand.

“We demand quality education for all?” It’s almost painful to read that demand, which skips the obvious question:

How do we accomplish that task? For academically struggling kids from low-income, low-literacy backgrounds, what do we actually do to guarantee the “quality education” the BLM cadre demands?

These are the two Americas as we sit typing today:

In South Carolina, two experienced Democratic pols sense a hopeful political tone. As experienced pols, they have a specific, definable goal in mind—Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act!

Out in Arizona, the youngsters were shouting the candidates down, and their list of demands seems like what it is—a list compiled by well-intentioned people who are also young and inexperienced.

We read the comments at Drum’s post. Some commenters criticized the demonstrators. Other commenters were more upbeat.

We were struck by the comment which nobody wrote:

By and large, the people involved in this movement are young and inexperienced. They aren’t sophisticated policy mavens; very few people are. Almost surely, they aren’t political geniuses. Almost nobody is.

They’re well-intentioned, but inexperienced. There’s no particular reason to expect good results from the judgments they’re going to make.

What do we see in this situation, as we look at their strategies and read their list of “demands?” We see the lack of intelligent adult leadership which virtually defines the liberal/progressive world.

As with Occupy, so with Black Lives Matter. It isn’t fair, it doesn’t make sense, to expect young people to fill the void left by our dearth of adult leaders.

But look around at our adult leaders, such as they are. On the national level, our adult leaders simply aren’t there, not unlike Bergman’s god.

Our professors are a horrible joke. They seem to be living the silly good life, not unlike our pols.

Our mainstream “press corps?” They’re only able to get upset if they think that someone has insulted McCain. Otherwise, nothing matters.

We’re asking young people to pick up the slack. The last time this started, it went rather badly. That isn’t the fault of young people.


  1. "Quality education for all" I presume means higher salaries for fewer white teachers and free breakfast/lunch year-round.

    "We end to gentrification." is the better question. I guess Section 8 for every fifth house on the block or until no one is rendered safe from crime simply by virtue of their planning and hard work.

    Both of these things constitute the platform of the Democrats BTW, so by all means continue to disrupt and agitate that.

    1. The gaudier the patter, the cheaper the troll.

    2. Definition of troll is: someone who holds opinions different from my own. The modifier "cheap" indicates the troll holds a differing opinion to my own on a free-to-view website.

    3. Definition of Anonymous @ 3:53 - cheap wingnut troll. The modifier "wingnut" identifies a thought process that substitutes bulls**t for fact that bigots can then use to infect the other tribe's free-to-view websites.

    4. Clearly when Al Gore initiated creation of the Internet he did not envision inter-tribal website intellectual intercourse without protection. You kids use protection, heah? The whole planet's melting and we don't have time, much less the adult supervision, for you kids to get sick.

    5. It's all a matter of who's grabbing whose dick.

    6. "...the other tribe's free-to-view websites."???

      So Clinton/Gore/Kerry/Obama voters who happen to object to new-wave AFFHA and BLM crap are out of the tribe now? Seriously, I want to know. Are we banished to the Rebublican side by order of the new Progressives?

    7. Seriously, what do Clinton/Gore/Kerry/Obama voters have to do with you and your National Review garbage?

    8. Pardon me. I am an old wave king of guy. To me AFFHA is a foundation that aids Africa. Can you tell me what the new wave AFFHA is?


  2. You want an adult leader? A helpful professor? How about a senior citizen, a professor emeritus ...

  3. Our kids are whack. Our adults are slack.

    No wonder people are hanging themselves and jumping off bridges in apparent fuzzy numbers.

  4. If only Jack, Martin, and Bobby hasn't been killed.

    If only Love Story had been modeled on me.

  5. Good thing Drum is around to provide links for Somerby. Adult leadership in action!

  6. "Supplemental: Two approaches after Charleston!"

    Minor Point Missed By Great Sage Somerby

    Charleston Murders: June 17, 2015

    BLM Demands Posted: January 22, 2015

    Most Recent Post on BLM Website: April 20, 2015

    Possible Causes:

    Average Age of 2 Bloggers Covering BLM: 62
    Average Race: Believed to be White

    1. Minor point missed by Anonymous the Exalted One

      BLM Demands posted by Kevin Drum of Motherjones in article to which Bob is responding: July 20, 2015

      Possible Causes: Trollin' Hard and White Privilege

    2. Yep. It took 56 year old Kevin Drum six months to find it and find it and link to it. And 68-69 year old Bob Somerby 24 hours to paste it, post it, piss on it, and pass it along. I think I referenced that the first time.

      But your defense of Bob was lovely. A real dick grabber.

    3. @6:06 You sir, are an idiot but I do concede on the beauty of this shred of poetry:

      "(It took) Bob Somerby 24 hours to paste it, post it, piss on it, and pass it along."

    4. And it only took Somerby 24 hours to find it after Drum found it six months later because Somerby didn't find it six months ago.

      He was too busy then covering the critical issue of the mainstream media coverage of Deflategate, and the mean things those bullies were saying about Tom Brady.

    5. Tom Brady is the handsomest. Bob Somerby is the smartest. And Pac-12 Football is the bestest. IMHO.

      But you know, given the low test scores of many college athletes, how do they expect them to do better in math when they call conferences things like 12, 10, and Coast
      when anybody that can count or read a map knows better?
      Well, I guess maps aren't math, but your opinion may differ.

  7. The United States is a very large country. Whatever you want to talk about, you can probably find it happening somewhere pretty much every day—or at least every week, or possibly every month.

    1. Usually every 28 hours!

    2. In a country with 58 states!

    3. @6:39: B-O-R-I-N-G is much more interesting.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. @ 6:48

      Here is another video of Obama claiming he is the first POTUS to make booze in the White House. since George Washington. The Constitutional law professor is as shaky about American history as he is about the Constitution.

    6. You're so weak. You need to troll much harder to earn your fifteen cents.

    7. cicero - If you don't have anything intelligent to say, why don't you just keep quiet. We don't really want to hear what you think of Obama today.

    8. cicero,
      What do you expect from a center-right corporatist who said he admired Ronald Reagan?

    9. @ 12:18

      YouTube video of POTUS Obama making a fool of himself is responsible for the spontaneous hysteria of Howler libs.

  8. I think gyrfalcon eventually posted the comment Somerby was looking for. He used to comment here before the trolls came.

    1. Someone wrote the same comment you just wrote about gyrfalcon being driven away by trolls not quite a year ago @ 8:28.

      Then this appeared in the comment box:

      "gyrfalcon September 6, 2014 at 12:27 AM

      A-Men. But Bob doesn't do positive, he only does anger and snark and sneering. In that, he reminds me of nothing so much as Fox. The difference, of course, is that Fox knows which side it's on.

      Somebody should also clue Bob in to the face that Rachel Maddow doesn't decide who gets prosecuted for what. All she's doing is indulging in a good bit of well-deserved schadenfreude over McDonnell's fall. Nothing wrong with that. I indulge in it myself

      (disclaimer: I am NOT a fan of Rachel Maddow. I can't stand the woman. But she was 100 percent right, early, about McDonnell's sleaze. That's what Bob doesn't like.)"

      Yep. It was them trolls all right. Lazy, dumb, immoral liberals who can't stand Maddow love their Somerby but just can't abide by trolls.

    2. I said he used to comment here before the trolls came. Your post is from 2014. I think that is before the trolls came.

      If you are assuming I said the trolls drove him away, perhaps you have a guilty conscience.

    3. I see. You are merely using the coming of the trolls as a marker date and not a causal factor in the disappearance of commentary by the person known as gyrfalcon.

      Alas, opinions may differ on the exact date of the appearance of the trolls. Some spotted the meltdown of intellectual culture before others did as well. Others do not see it yet.

  9. Generational gap here. I'm 25. Can someone please fill me in on how "this type of thing, from white and black protest groups alike, helped create a whole generation of Nixon and Reagan the last time around."?

    1. Somerby went looking for America and couldn't find it.

      It was a hippie thing. You had to be smoking the right thing at the right time to dig it, man.

    2. Anon @ 9:51 poses a reasonable question.

      At 25 she/he was a mere 9 year old when the War on Gore broke out and probably finds true tales of time in the Land of the Gatekeepers rather hard to understand.

      I will explain, but keep in mind you need at least another ten years under the belt before you can credibly write any of this down, much less cover current events.

      Liberals used to be kind, smart, energetic people who were very inclusive and an all powerful majority in the time of the Gatekeepers. The basic period in question was the period following the Second World War.

      The Gatekeepers were the wrinkled powdered-up old white men who read the nightly national network news on black and white television for thirty minutes a day. The Gatekeepers kept the thoughts and views of crazy people from being heard anywhere but on what you youngsters might think of as niche blogs or rarely followed twitter feeds. We called them street corners back in the day, but that is not important.

      During the time of the Gatekeepers the Civil Rights Movement began. The wise Liberal Tribe, which did not act like a tribe, sided with the peaceful non-violent black tribe seeking equality under law in the segregated south. Their movement was led by saint like people whose like we have not seen since. The Gatekeepers covered this struggle and, with adult leadership from white people of both parties, good triumphed over evil and legal segregation fell through national legislative action. All was well in the land. This triumph peaked about 1965.

      Unfortunately, black people in the north and west did not fully appreciate the victory. The ingrates looked around and saw no laws holding them back like their brothers and sisters in the old slave states but yet their living conditions were, to use a blunt but apt term, fucked up.

      Meanwhile the elders, again crossing tribal lines, decided to start another war, or more accurately join in one that had already started in Vietnam. It went badly and they had to forcibly order hundreds of thousands of young men to give up two years of their lives to government service and fight a war that was to use a blunt but apt term, fucked up.

      The black people unhappy with living in fucked up conditions rioted and the young people being sent off to a fucked war protested in the streets, sometimes violently.

      The Gatekeepers showed this on everyone's TV sets. In 1968, Richard Nixon, who barely lost to the beloved leader of the liberals, Jack of Camelot in 1960, barely beat Hubert Humphrey.

      It was all the hippies and black panthers fault. It was an ugly two decades that followed. It eventually led to the War on Gore. But as a Somerby reader you know all about that since he recovers it daily, almost weekly, and monthly. Usually at least every 28 hours.

      Thanks for asking. It is a big country and you young ones are not to blame. We adults failed you. Sorry. But nobody knew we had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. We all thought it was the damn acid flashbacks.

    3. You left out the white protesters who got frustrated with non-violent protest and started planting bombs and robbing banks in the name of peace and social change, and don't forget Hanoi Jane. They too inspired the backlash.

    4. I hate to break the bad news to you. But Somerby blaming the yippies, hippies, Panthers or other protestors for Nixon in 1968 is almost as specious as Republicans who blame Perot for Clinton in 1992.

      That would also include our friend who wants to add Hanoi Jane to the mix. You see Nixon actually got 2.4 million fewer votes in 1968 than he did in 1960 and his percentage of the vote went from 49.5% in 1960 to 43.4%.

      Hubert Humphrey also lost votes and vote percentage that year compared to John Kennedy in 1960. But one has to realize that Kennedy won by a whisker, less than 1/10th of 1 percent in the popular vote, and Humphrey lost by 7/10th of 1%.

      Someby devoted several posts making the point that Democrats began their effort toward universal health care coverage 70 years ago under Truman. That was when the Democrats began the process of losing the 1968 election as well, when Truman embraced civil rights, began to integrate the military, and in the process turn the south from a one party Democratic region to a one party Republican region, both dominated by whites.

    5. The main blame was the Civil Rights Act which lost Democrats their majority because the Southern Democrats left the party.

    6. "In 1968, Richard Nixon, ......... barely beat Hubert Humphrey."

      Don't be obtuse man.

      And then he destroyed McGovern in a landslide in '72. TDH is clearly referring to that debacle.

    7. Somerby did not distinguish at what point the "generation of Nixon and Reagan" began. It is unfair to overlook Nixon's first term.

      Nixon created the EPA and opened relations with China.

      Democrats nominated a guy described by a leading liberal publication popular with protestors as having "the economic know-how of a Bulgarian shoe factory manager, the grasp of world affairs of a Bolivian schoolteacher, and the decisiveness of a bed of kelp." Then he picked a mental patient as a running mate.

      Black Democrats, please recall, were for Shirley Chisholm.

      Sorry bud. To ignore Nixon's first term accomplishments as if they were a cruddy ditch in a godforsaken burg, and to pin the Democratic nominee on young protestors instead of older white primary voters is a serious error.

    8. McGovern was nominated under a "new" system that reduced the influence of the old "smoke filled rooms" that were used to select candidates and replaced them with open primaries. Democracy is messy. Which method do you prefer? The Democrats did not make a mistake, they lost. The nation suffered as a result.

    9. mm if Somerby were clearly referring to something he wouldn't need you to come along and fill in the blanks of his fuzzy presentation.

    10. The key to understanding some of this, and where I think Somerby is wrong to place so much blame at McGovern's doorstep, is that the Johnson landslide of '64 really did owe itself both to the emotional response to the JFK assassination and the fact that the Republican Goldwater was easy to depict as outside the mainstream- not to a resurgent New Deal coalition.

      The 1968 election results ahead of the 1972 Nixon landslide win suggests that Humphrey and the Democrats were a victim of circumstances that saw them lose the national election narrowly. However, if you look back, the 1966 midterms saw big Republican gains in the House and three added seats in the Senate, though leaving Democrats in control of both legislatures.

      More tellingly, however, a segregationist third party candidate and his running mate, the most likely of any prominent public figure to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam if given the chance, polled 13.5% in 1968 and their presence on the ballot probably saved Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the state of Washington for Humphrey. Wallace/LeMay made Humphrey look competitive in what otherwise would have been a shellacking by Nixon.

      There are sometimes overlooked factors led to Nixon's landslide win in 1972 starting with the damage to the Democratic party's image when Edward Kennedy drove off that bridge in 1969. Four years after the McGuiness book, The Selling of the President, 1968 [LINK], when Nixon was running for reelection, both the money advantage and the marketing sophistication backing the GOP candidate had reached new heights of superiority vis a vis the Democratic candidate.

      After disastrous developments for the Republicans in Nixon's second term which was completed by the bland Gerald Ford (stagflation, bugging out in Vietnam and the subsequent collapse of Thieu regime, and Watergate), Jimmy Carter was only able to muster 50.08% of the vote in his win. In 1980 Carter, as the sitting president, only gets 41% of the vote (a third party candidate gets 6%, I'm not sure where those voters might otherwise have gone).

      In 1984, Mondale, who is the closest thing to the smoked filled room choice for the Democrats, only gets 40.6% of the vote.

      The FDR coalition was built with a solid South in its ranks. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 forfeited that, not the McGovern candidacy. In 1944 FDR vote percentages were 81% in Alabama, 69% in Arkansas, 70% in Florida, 81% in Georgia, 81% in Louisiana, 93% in Mississippi, 66% in North Carolina, 87% in South Carolina, 60% in Tennessee, 71% in Texas, and 62% in Virginia.

    11. Let me try that again:

      In 1984, Mondale, who was the closest thing available to what would have been a smoked filled room choice for the Democrats, only gets 40.6% of the vote.

    12. Very thoughtful analysis CMike.

  10. "These are the two Americas as we sit typing today."

    So the two Americas are two black Democratic pols in South Carolina and a small group of protesters at a left leaning blogger convention.

    Somerby. A man with his very rough thumbs on the pulse of the nation.

  11. The seed money given by the federal government for the states to plan implementation of Medicaid expansion was used at Haley's direction to plan how not to implement it.

  12. Not A Troll, Really!July 22, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    Race? Race and politics? Liberal pretense?


    The REAL problems liberals face are microbloggers who won't admit that reactionary conservatism is the only issue that matters.

    1. That and sleeping in the woods while lazy and dumb.

      And don't forget pleasuring themselves with dick grabbing stories while dreaming of bridges to jump off of instead of caring about black children who are doing remarkably better but can't get into four year colleges.

      Wait, if you included that you would be a microblogger instead of Not..Really.

      BTW you remind me of Not Sure, who was the smartest man on the planet.

  13. Kevin Drum's graphs (based on the Washington Post data) show that black people, armed or not, are not being disproportionately killed by police. Whipping up hysteria over false statements is irresponsible and cruel to African Americans, not to mention unfair to cops. Support for a legitimate cause can be undermined by this kind of thing.

    1. The legitimate cause is this is all shitty police work,. Officers who should NEVER be given a badge and a gun, treat the citizens like they are in a war zone. It's the police officers duty to de-escalate a situation. That's what they should be trained to do.

  14. "To some extent, we can’t help recalling the way this type of thing, from white and black protest groups alike, helped create a whole generation of Nixon and Reagan the last time around."

    True that. Whitey isn't giving up his privilege easily.