Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Are you OK with a racist president, Republicans? | Charlotte Observer

"By the Editorial Board July 15, 2019 10:14 AM,

On July 15, 2019, President Donald Trump defended his tweet calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color, who are American citizens and three of which were born in the U.S., to go back to their "broken and crime infested" countries. By
We’re not big believers in public officials being responsible for all the bad things other public officials say or do. It’s become a too-common political weapon to ask lawmakers to condemn members of their own party, even for behavior that’s not representative of anything more than one person’s poor decision. But sometimes that behavior is so troubling that our leaders need to stand up and say something.

So it was Sunday when President Donald Trump tweeted a bigoted attack on four Democratic Congresswomen of color, telling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” This despite three of the four women being born in the United States, and the other, Omar, being a U.S. citizen.

“Go back where you came from” is among the worst of racist tropes. It divides us by ethnicity and skin color. It says that even if someone is a citizen or legal immigrant, they are not part of the rest of us. That runs contrary to who we should be as Americans, and if Donald Trump didn’t know it when he typed the words, he surely did later when people responded with appropriate outrage. But the same president who referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” and said African visitors would never “go back to their huts” once again doubled down on his racism.

It’s dangerous, destructive behavior, and at the least every Republican lawmaker in Congress should declare as much about their president’s outburst. That includes North Carolina’s most senior leaders, Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. We know this isn’t easy politically, especially for Tillis, who is running for reelection and faces a Republican primary challenger in a race to see who can embrace the president more fully. Tillis, of course, has a history of comically wavering on Trump — standing up then backing down on issues that include the Mueller investigation and the president’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

North Carolina’s lawmakers, however, are far from the only Republicans to struggle with Trump’s troubling tendencies. A handful have dared to step forward and criticize the president, only to equivocate when everyone else takes a step back. Most have instead decided that any criticism of Trump — be it for policy or problematic behavior — is not worth the heat that follows.

The result is that the Republican Party is firmly Donald Trump’s party now. It’s the party where insults and other ugliness are just being “rough around the edges.” It’s the party where locking legal migrants in crowded, unhealthy cages is acceptable immigration policy. It’s the party where it’s OK to say racist things so long as the next jobs report is encouraging.

If you don’t believe it, listen to the meekness today from Republicans, including those who represent our state. Instead of standing up for who we should be, they’re bowing to the worst of who we are."

Are you OK with a racist president, Republicans? | Charlotte Observer

Congresswomen Issue Scathing Rebuke To ‘Blatantly Racist’ Trump Attack |...

Opinion | Why Hasn’t the Officer Who Killed Eric Garner Been Fired Yet? - The New York Times

"Reason enough to hate America. America is a racist nation. There is no justice for people of color and after 400 years it is obvious there never will be in this evil land. This happened less than five miles from where I grew up.

"By The Editorial Board
On Tuesday, just one day before the statute of limitations would have run out, the Justice Department said it wouldn’t bring federal civil rights charges against the New York City police officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold that caused a fatal asthma attack in 2014 as Mr. Garner cried, “I can’t breathe.”
A state grand jury declined to indict that officer, Daniel Pantaleo, five years ago, and as departmental disciplinary action has been delayed, he not only remains on modified duty but also received an increase in overtime pay. So far, nobody has been held accountable for Mr. Garner’s death.
After meeting with federal prosecutors, the Garner family stood outside a courthouse in Lower Manhattan, convulsing with pain.
“Y’all watched him kill my father,” Mr. Garner’s daughter Emerald Garner shouted as she stood before the cameras, her voice heavy with anger. “Fire him.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Police Department delayed disciplinary action against Officer Pantaleo because the Justice Department asked them to wait while it considered whether to prosecute him. On Tuesday, the mayor said waiting so long for the Justice Department to bring charges was a mistake.
The Police Department finally began a disciplinary hearing in May, after the Civilian Complaint Review Board brought charges. An administrative judge has yet to decide whether Officer Pantaleo is guilty of departmental charges that he recklessly used a chokehold, in violation of departmental policy, and intentionally restricted Mr. Garner’s breathing.
Standing in the hot sun outside City Hall on Tuesday, Mr. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, implored Mr. de Blasio to fire Officer Pantaleo.
“Do your job,” she said. “Come forward and show yourself as the mayor you were elected to be.” As she spoke, Mr. de Blasio, who won election largely because of support from black New Yorkers while promising to hold the police accountable, was at Gracie Mansion, miles away.
City law seems to preclude the city from firing Officer Pantaleo until the conclusion of the hearing.
Given the facts of the case, it’s hard to see his continued employment by the Police Department as anything but an insult to the people of New York.
Mr. Garner, who was unarmed and supposedly selling loose cigarettes, which is illegal, died because Officer Pantaleo used a chokehold. The Police Department banned the use of chokeholds in 1993 amid a rise in deaths linked to the maneuver.
In searing testimony at the departmental trial this year, the medical examiner said the chokehold triggered an asthma attack that led to Mr. Garner’s death, which he ruled a homicide.
A police internal affairs investigator also testified that he recommended disciplinary charges against Officer Pantaleo in 2015. None came until last year.
While the judge will decide if Officer Pantaleo’s actions violated departmental rules, they clearly violated good sense and demonstrated the kind of overly aggressive policing that has led to many controversial deaths. He chose to escalate an encounter, involving several officers, with an unarmed man over a minor violation, then used a dangerous and banned maneuver. Video of the episode, viewed by millions, shows the officer with his arm across Mr. Garner’s throat.
Even before Mr. Garner’s death, the Civilian Complaint Review Board had substantiated four allegations of abuse against him in previous cases.
Why should an officer like Officer Pantaleo remain on the force, diminishing the trust of New Yorkers?
The Justice Department’s delay is inexcusable.
The city’s deference to federal prosecutors, and lack of urgency, are offensive.
That Officer Pantaleo could remain on the force, after everything, seems unimaginable.
Mr. Garner’s family and supporters held a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday condemning the Justice Department’s decision not to file civil rights charges in his death.Bryan Anselm for The New York Times"

Opinion | Why Hasn’t the Officer Who Killed Eric Garner Been Fired Yet? - The New York Times

House Condemns Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen as Racist - The New York Times

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday before a vote condemning President Trump’s tweets.

House Condemns Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen as Racist - The New York Times

Chris Cuomo ENDED Trump's CAREER in CONTEMPT after House Votes to Condem...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Pelosi Tests Progressives' Patience

Kamala Harris ‘Drops The Mic’ On Trump: He Needs To Go Back To Where He ...

William Barr Makes Final Call Not to Charge NYPD Cop Who Killed Eric Garner. America has not changed. I am so sick of the false narrative. The only thing that changes is the interest of those in control of the economy. American racism is permanent and only a fool would deny it.

William Barr Makes Final Call Not to Charge NYPD Cop Who Killed Eric Garner

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Hears From Mom Whose Daughter Died in ICE Custo...

Chris Cuomo BLASTING Lindsey Graham after He Gives Unhinged Defense of T...

Torture At The Border

Torture At The Border!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe | Zoe Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

"By Jamelle Bouie July 15, 2019

"His racist idea of citizenship is an old one, brought back from the margins of American politics.

If Donald Trump has a theory of anything, it is a theory of American citizenship. It’s simple. If you are white, then regardless of origin, you have a legitimate claim to American citizenship and everything that comes with it. If you are not, then you don’t.

Trump never quite put this theory in writing. But it guides his behavior all the same. That’s the reason he embraced and promoted the deranged conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama’s birthplace — a black president, in Trump’s mind, must be illegitimate somehow. And it’s the reason, as president, he wants fewer immigrants from “shithole” countries and more from northern European nations like Norway. It’s less a practical alternative — there aren’t many Norwegian immigrants to the United States — than it is an expression of his racism.

Trump’s theory of citizenship helps explain some of his unusual behavior, like when he praised a largely foreign-born but nearly all-white hockey team for being “incredible patriots.” And it drove his most recent outburst, a racist attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all),” Trump said on Twitter. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”

Trump continued with a pointed reference to their dispute with the House Democratic leadership. “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

Three of the four congresswomen were born in the United States. One came to the country as a child. They are all American citizens. There is no place to “go back” to. But Trump does not see it this way. He sees four women of color — unworthy of any respect, dignity or fair consideration. It does not matter to him that they are the elected representatives of millions of Americans. He sees nonwhites and he just knows they don’t belong.

It’s tempting in this situation to just condemn Trump and leave it there. But that’s a mistake. With this latest tirade, Trump hasn’t only indulged his racism, he has also usefully — if unintentionally — stripped some racial euphemism from the public discourse. His attacks on the congresswomen stem from the same source as his failed attempt to place a citizenship question on the census.

Ludicrously, the Trump administration told the Supreme Court that this information was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But the true aim, as the files of the man who devised the strategy proved, was a drive to preserve a majority-white electorate by giving state Republican lawmakers the tools and the data they need to gerrymander out noncitizens and nonwhites out of fair representation and fair apportionment. The underlying theory is the same in both cases. If you’re white, you are entitled to full political equality. If you’re not, you aren’t.

Much of Trump’s agenda rests on this idea that the boundaries of rights and citizenship are conterminous with race. Those within Trump’s boundaries enjoy the fruits of American freedom, while those outside them face the full force of American repression. White European immigrants like the first lady, Melania Trump, are welcomed; dark-skinned migrants from Latin America are put into cages and camps.

It is important to say that none of this is new to American life. Americans as early as the founding generation believed whiteness was a prerequisite for the exercise of republican virtue. Before the Civil War, there was a decades-long movement to send free and freed blacks back to Africa based on the theory that black people were unfit for and incompatible with democratic life. America’s most restrictive immigration laws were rooted in the idea this was, as the popular 19th-century phrase had it, a “white man’s country,” inherently threatened by the presence of nonwhites and non-Anglo-Saxons, not to mention women.

Trump, in other words, isn’t an innovator. His theory of citizenship is an old one, brought back from the margins of American politics and expressed in his crude, demagogic style. And it has found a comfortable place in a Republican Party that elevates its narrow, shrinking base as the only authentic America and would rather restrict the electorate than persuade new voters.

With that said, what’s more striking than the president’s blood-and-soil racism is how Democratic Party elites — or at least one group of them — are playing with similar assumptions. No, they haven’t held out the white working property owner as the only citizen of value, but they’re obsessed with winning that voter to their side — convinced that this group is the path to victory. It helps explain the current feud between Pelosi and the four congresswomen, with House Democratic leaders attacking progressives on behalf of moderates in the caucus — some of which represent districts Trump won in 2016, but most of whom represent districts that gave Democrats the majority last November.

Indeed, it is instructive — and frankly disturbing — that top Democrats leaked a poll to Axios showing broad dissatisfaction with Representatives Ocasio-Cortez and Omar. Not from the entire public or Democratic voters, but from “1,003 likely general-election voters who are white and have two years or less of college education.”

Donald Trump wants to make the United States a white country, where the possibility of full citizenship is tied to race. Most Republicans are either silent or supportive. The Democratic Party has the opportunity to oppose this vision with all the moral force that comes with representing a diverse, multiracial coalition. But even as they condemn the president — “I reject @realDonaldTrump’s xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” Speaker Pelosi said on Twitter — there are still too few Democrats who are up for the challenge and too many who would rather go after those who embody that other America."

Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe | Zoe Williams | Opinion | The Guardian

Ocasio-Cortez's fiery response on where she 'comes from'

Opinion | Please, Pelosi, Fight Trump, Not the Squad - The New York Times

"For the last couple of weeks, the House Democratic leadership has been locked in an escalating battle with four left-wing freshmen congresswomen known as “the squad”: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

It started with a dispute over funding for detention facilities at the border, with the squad voting against any new allocations for locking up migrants. There were ugly fights on Twitter, with Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff comparing Democrats who voted for one funding bill to segregationist Dixiecrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belittled the squad to my colleague Maureen Dowd, saying that despite “their public whatever and their Twitter world,” they’re only four people without a following in Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of bullying women of color. A senior House Democratic aide gave an anonymous quote to The Hill ripping Ocasio-Cortez as a “puppet” of “elitist white liberals” who is “only a woman of color when it’s convenient.” It’s been a mess.

Donald Trump may have momentarily smoothed over these divisions this weekend, uniting Democrats in condemnation of his racist Twitter rant against the squad. But the fissures remain, and Pelosi needs to heal them, because this fight is alienating and demoralizing people whom the Democratic Party needs.

On Saturday morning, Pressley, Tlaib, Omar and their fellow freshman congresswoman Deb Haaland spoke on a panel at Netroots Nation, an annual conference for progressives, which this year was held in Philadelphia and drew around 4,000 people. Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People, an organization devoted to mobilizing women of color, moderated.

“For millions of us, these women of color in Congress represent generations of blood, sweat and tears, of struggle for us to have representation,” Allison said in her introduction, to cheers from the audience. “They represent the best of American democracy, and yet if you’ve read the news, they’ve faced attacks all year from the right wing and from Democratic Party leadership.” At this, there were scattered boos and hisses.

When I spoke to Allison later, she argued that by slamming the squad, Democratic leaders were dampening the enthusiasm of the women of color who were working their hearts out organizing in swing states. “The way that Nancy Pelosi’s words have landed, it’s caused anger, frustration, hurt, and I believe it is damaging to the coalition we have to build in order to win the White House,” she said.

Of course, there are plenty of people who believe it’s the squad itself that threatens Democratic hopes. The rift over the foursome is part of a bigger battle over how to take on Trump. Some on the left think that Democrats can imitate Trump’s base-first strategy, winning by inspiring new and infrequent voters with an uncompromising message. Others, usually farther to the right, point out that there are simply fewer self-described liberals than self-described conservatives in this country, particularly in the states that, however unfairly, decide Electoral College victory. That means Democrats need to appeal to a putative center, even at the cost of marginalizing the left.

Pelosi appears to endorse the centrist approach, and when it comes to vote-counting in the House, it makes sense. Ocasio-Cortez’s district will be Democratic no matter what; victories in purple districts gave Democrats their majority. Nevertheless, it’s a mistake to act as if only moderate swing voters hold the key to defeating Trump.

After all, if African-American turnout in 2016 had matched 2012’s, Hillary Clinton would most likely be in the White House. The number of votes cast for the left-wing spoiler Jill Stein exceeded Trump’s margin of victory in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Nine percent of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 voted for Trump four years later, but 7 percent of 2012 Obama voters didn’t vote at all.

You can rail at the apathy and nihilistic demands for purity of people who hate Trump’s politics but didn’t vote for Clinton — I certainly have. But it is simply a fact that leftists, as well as the generally disaffected, need to be courted just as moderates do.

The advantage of winning over swing voters is that they essentially count twice, giving a vote to Democrats and taking one from Republicans. But the advantage of mobilizing new and infrequent voters is that it can be done with less danger of depressing the voters you already have.

These approaches aren’t mutually exclusive; Democrats probably need to balance them. But Pelosi shouldn’t be triangulating against the party’s impassioned young idealists to cultivate voters who are susceptible to right-wing demagogy. Rather than making Democrats seem more centrist, publicizing her contempt for the squad makes the party look weak and riven, and Trump, with his predator’s nose for vulnerability, has charged in to exploit the resulting discord.

Part of me understands the frustration of Democrats who find the squad maddening. Leftist criticism can be uniquely grating to liberals, especially the kind that treats disagreements over strategy as differences of morality. And some of the newcomers’ rhetoric has been stupid and irresponsible. Still, it’s Pelosi’s responsibility — not that of four insurgents who’ve been in Congress for only six months — to bring the party she leads together. She came to power with a promise to go after Trump, not the left. Maybe if she fulfilled it, Democrats would direct their rage at the president instead of at one another."

Opinion | Please, Pelosi, Fight Trump, Not the Squad - The New York Times

WATCH LIVE: Rep. Omar, Tlaib, Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez respond to Trum...

Pressley urges people 'to not take the bait' on Trump's tweets

Pressley urges people 'to not take the bait' on Trump's tweets

Full 'Squad' press conference in response to Trump’s attacks

Full 'Squad' press conference in response to Trump’s attacks

July political cartoons from the USA TODAY network

Slide 1 of 31: Asheville Citizen-Times

July political cartoons from the USA TODAY network

Lindsey Graham: “I Don’t Care” if Migrants “Stay in These Facilities for 400 Days”

In this handout photo provided by the Office of Inspector General, overcrowding of families is observed by OIG at the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station Centralized Processing Center on June 11, 2019 in McAllen, Texas.

Lindsey Graham: “I Don’t Care” if Migrants “Stay in These Facilities for 400 Days”

Trump’s Tweet Was Condemned as Racist. His Response: No, They’re the Racists.

"WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday increased his attacks on four first-term Democratic congresswomen and warned the party about uniting “around the foul language & racist hatred spewed” from the American women whom he recently told to “go back” to their own countries.
Instead of walking back his remarks, Mr. Trump demanded that the four congresswomen, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, issue their own apologies to him and “the people of Israel.” Ms. Omar is the only one of the four who was born outside the United States.
“So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!” he wrote.
Few Republicans have responded to Mr. Trump’s comments, widely seen as racist. On Monday, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, encouraged Mr. Trump to “aim higher,” while also calling Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and the other three lawmakers communists.
“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists,” Mr. Graham said on Fox News. “They hate Israel, they hate our own country.” But he also pushed back against the president’s suggestion that the women are not American.
“They are American citizens,” he said. “They won an election. Take on their policies. The bottom line here is this is a diverse country. Mr. President, you’re right about their policies. You’re right about where they will take the country. Just aim higher.”
Mr. Trump appeared to agree with Mr. Graham, and he tweeted a longer quotation from the senator’s appearance on Fox News. “Need I say more?” the president wrote.
On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the president and suggested he was advocating white nationalism.
“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again,” she said in a Twitter post.
Tensions between Ms. Pelosi and the four liberal representatives have been simmering for months, and last week came to a head when Ms. Pelosi pointedly said they had no following in Congress. The four lawmakers, who call themselves “the squad,” opposed a $4.6 billion aid package for the border, approved by Congress, because, they said, it supported Mr. Trump’s immigration policies.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez on Monday wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s language was common among white supremacists.
“Trump feels comfortable leading the GOP into outright racism, and that should concern all Americans,” she wrote.
Mr. Trump’s Twitter assault also addressed tensions from earlier this year when Ms. Omar sent jolts through her own party for criticizing Israel and suggesting that supporters for Israel were pushing for “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Noah Weiland contributed reporting."

Trump’s Tweet Was Condemned as Racist. His Response: No, They’re the Racists.

Ilhan Omar calls Tucker Carlson a 'racist fool'

"Congresswoman born in war-torn Somalia and spent four years in Kenyan refugee camp before arriving in US.

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver4 days ago

After cable news host Tucker Carlson claimed Representative Ilhan Omar “hates” America and is “dangerous to this country”, Ms Omar responded by calling the pundit a “racist fool”.

During a segment on his Fox News show titled “Dems want you to believe America is an awful place”, Mr Carlson cited the freshman representative as an example of how modern immigration laws have become harmful to America.

Mr Carlson said: "Virtually every public statement she makes accuses Americans of bigotry and racism. This is an immoral country, she says. She has undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people."

"That should worry you, and not just because Omar is now a sitting member of Congress. Ilhan Omar is living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country. A system designed to strengthen America is instead undermining it."

Mr Carlson mentioned a recent profile of Ms Omar in the Washington Post, saying that Ms Omar believes America has "failed to live up to its founding ideals, a place that had disappointed her and so many immigrants, refugees and minorities like her."

The pundit continued, claiming: "After everything that America has done for Omar, and for her family, she hates this country more than ever."

He also pondered if "maybe we are importing people from places who are simply antithetical to ours."

Ms Omar was born in war-torn Somalia, and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before arriving in the United States at 12. Now, at 37, she serves in the House of Representatives as one of the first Muslim women elected to congress.

The politician responded via Twitter soon after the segment aired, saying: "Not gonna lie, it's kinda fun watching a racist fool like this weeping about my presence in Congress", adding two crying emojis.

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

Ms Omar continued: "No lies will stamp out my love for this country or my resolve to make our union more perfect. They will just have to get used to calling me Congresswoman!"

Ilhan Omar calls Tucker Carlson a 'racist fool'

Sunday, July 14, 2019

House Dem calls Pence ‘deaf to humanity’ after his detention center visits. Pence, another phony evangelical.

House Dem calls Pence ‘deaf to humanity’ after his detention center visits

Documentary | What Happened When The Lights Went Out on July 13, 1977. I remember the July 13th 1977 blackout like it was yesterday. I was on the SW corner of 81st and Lexington Ave. I worked for Con Ed, the city's electric company.

Nancy Pelosi’s renewed attacks on AOC aren’t just disrespectful, they’re dangerous | Arwa Mahdawi

Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington DC Thursday.

"Nancy Pelosi’s renewed attacks on AOC aren’t just disrespectful, they’re dangerous

As America grows increasingly brazen in its bigotry, Pelosi should be standing up for her new colleagues – so why isn’t she?

 Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington DC Thursday.

Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

Can progressives please shut up and listen to Nancy Pelosi? The speaker of the House, I would like to remind everyone, is a master strategist, a savvy tactician, and an experienced politician. She knows what’s best for America. And what’s best for America, apparently, isn’t standing up to Donald Trump; no, it’s ensuring four freshman congresswomen don’t get ideas above their station. It’s ensuring , in particular, knows her place.

There have been long-running tensions between Pelosi and the so-called “Squad” of new progressive congresswomen, which consists of Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. Things escalated sharply over the weekend, when Pelosi decided it would be a good idea to demean her colleagues in the New York Times. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn’t have any following,” Pelosi told the Times, referring to a border funding bill the Squad opposed. “They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”

To begin with, Pelosi’s disparaging remarks about the Squad seemed like they were probably strategic. Now, however, the sustained attacks feel increasingly personal. “When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post on Wednesday. “But the persistent singling out … it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful … the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”

AOC expanded on her comments on Thursday, telling CNN she “absolutely” doesn’t think Pelosi is racist. “It’s really just pointing out the pattern, right? We’re not talking about just progressives, it’s signaling out four individuals. And knowing the media environment that we’re operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get … I think it’s just worth asking why.”

As Ocasio-Cortez notes, Pelosi’s attacks aren’t taking place in a bubble; they’re taking place in a media environment where the rightwing have put a target on the Squad’s back. On Tuesday night, for example, Fox host Tucker Carlson launched a racist attack against Omar that could arguably be seen as an incitement to violence against the congresswoman. “[Omar] has undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people,” Carlson told his 3 million viewers. “That should worry you, and not just because Omar is now a sitting member of Congress. Ilhan Omar is living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country. A system designed to strengthen America is instead undermining it.”

America is becoming an increasingly hostile place for women and for people of color. Pelosi’s constant public attacks against the four newly elected women of color aren’t just disrespectful, they’re dangerous. Whether she means to or not, her repeated insinuations that the Squad are rabble-rousing upstarts who are undermining the Democratic party helps bolster the right’s vitriolic narratives about the congresswomen. As America grows increasingly brazen in its bigotry, Pelosi should be aggressively standing up for her freshman colleagues, not trying to tear them down. So why isn’t she?

Well, to put it bluntly, I think it’s because she’s terrified of what her progressive colleagues represent. The Squad doesn’t just consist of four people, as Pelosi condescendingly told the Times; it represents the face of a new America. It represents a challenge to the traditional power structure. That doesn’t just scare bigots like Tucker Carlson, it scares the neoliberal establishment. It scares people who would never call themselves racist (they’d have voted for Obama for a third time if they could have!) but who clearly have a problem with young women of color speaking their mind. It scares people who champion more “diversity” – as long as that diversity keeps its mouth shut or sticks to the party line.

Proud racism advocates for walls to keep brown people out of America. Polite racism builds different sorts of walls; it leverage concepts like “civility” and “unity” to make sure certain voices are kept out of power, or are dismissed as trouble-making and divisive when they try and critique power. What “civility” really means, in all of these discussions, of course, is servility. What unity really means is uniform acceptance of the status quo. Progressives keep being told we shouldn’t criticize centrist Democrats if we want any chance at beating Trump in 2020; and yet establishment figures like Pelosi seem to have no problem criticizing progressive Democrats and the millions of people they represent.

In a press conference on Thursday, Pelosi brushed away questions about her feud with the squad, grandly stating that “Diversity is our strength. Unity is our power.” Is it really? Because I don’t see any diversity or unity from where I’m looking. I just see a lot of old-fashioned hubris."

Nancy Pelosi’s renewed attacks on AOC aren’t just disrespectful, they’re dangerous | Arwa Mahdawi

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tensions Between Pelosi and Progressive Democrats of ‘the Squad’ Burst Into Flame

“They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of a group of freshman Democrats that have challenged her.Tom Brenner for The New York Times

“They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of a group of freshman Democrats that have challenged her.

“They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of a group of freshman Democrats that have challenged her.Tom Brenner for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they have no following in Congress. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York shot back that she and three of her fellow liberal freshmen, darlings of the left known collectively as “the squad,” are wielding the real power in the party.

Six months into the new House Democratic majority, long-simmering tensions between the speaker and the squad — Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — have boiled over in the most public of ways, setting off a flurry of criticism of Ms. Pelosi among liberal activists and reinvigorating a debate within the party about how best to stand up to President Trump.

The fire was lit by a $4.6 billion border aid package passed by Congress that the quartet argued had empowered Mr. Trump’s immigration crackdown. But the forest already was a tinder box, dried by the monthslong debate over impeachment, earlier dust-ups with Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib and over Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, and looming debates over a $15-an-hour minimum wage bill and funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The squabble is all the more notable because it pits Ms. Pelosi, the liberal San Francisco congresswoman who is the most powerful elected woman in American history, against a group of progressive Democratic women of color who have broken barriers of their own as part of the most diverse class ever to serve in the House.

“This is an inevitable tension between a few progressives with one priority, which is their ideology, and a speaker with many priorities, including preserving the majority in the House, electing a Democratic president against Trump, and responding to the consensus of her caucus,” said Steve Israel, a Democrat and former representative of New York. “To the extent that it distracts from Donald Trump and becomes a circular firing squad among Democrats, it can be lethal.”

Others see an old guard defending itself against powerful young voices demanding change.

“Those freshman members are breaking through, and they’re building a movement, and the more power that movement gains, the more persuasive they will be to Pelosi,” said Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for Senator Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton.

The contretemps began when Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist, asked Ms. Pelosi about the squad’s fury over the border aid package. The speaker noted that the group had failed to persuade any other Democrats to join them last month in voting against the House’s version of the bill, which placed restrictions on how the administration could spend the money and demanded standards of care at migrant detention centers.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Ms. Pelosi told Ms. Dowd in an interview published over the weekend by The Times. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, the Queens congresswoman who upset a 20-year Democratic incumbent in a primary and who has carved out a reputation as an outspoken and social-media-savvy firebrand in the halls of Congress, responded tartly in a string of Twitter posts — a public show of defiance to the leader of her party 50 years her senior.

“That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment,” she wrote to her more than 4.7 million followers in a message that was recirculated more than 10,000 times and “liked” by more than 65,000 accounts. “And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”

Ms. Omar chimed in with a tweet of solidarity. “Patetico!” she wrote on her personal Twitter account, with more than one million followers. “You know they’re just salty about WHO is wielding the power to shift ‘public sentiment’ these days, sis. Sorry not sorry.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, went much further, arguing in a series of tweets that his boss and her first-term colleagues were better at leading than Ms. Pelosi was, that Democratic leaders were not willing to fight for their principles, and that the speaker had failed to deliver any Democratic victories while shrinking from impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump.

“Pelosi claims we can’t focus on impeachment because it’s a distraction from kitchen table issues,” Mr. Chakrabarti wrote. “But I’d challenge you to find voters that can name a single thing House Democrats have done for their kitchen table this year. What is this legislative mastermind doing?”

From left, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all Democrats, as well as Ilhan Omar, are the four members of “the squad.”T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

From left, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all Democrats, as well as Ilhan Omar, are the four members of “the squad.”

From left, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all Democrats, as well as Ilhan Omar, are the four members of “the squad.”T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The back and forth has less to do with ideological differences between Ms. Pelosi and the young crop of progressives than their divergent styles and agendas.

Ms. Pelosi, whose legislative triumphs include muscling the Affordable Care Act through the House in 2010, has focused on using the House Democrats’ power to challenge Mr. Trump by advancing legislation that appeals to the broadest possible swath of Democrats, including the more than two dozen moderate lawmakers elected in districts carried by the president in 2016. She has kept the fractious caucus united on measures addressing health care, gun safety, election reforms and immigration, even as divisions persist over whether to impeach Mr. Trump, a step she has so far refused to endorse.

“Look, we wouldn’t have an A.C.A., we wouldn’t have all of the progressive policies that we have if it weren’t for her, and she has molded a caucus that, especially in these last several months, made unbelievable strides in terms of public policy,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, a close ally of the speaker. “We have these young women who have new and great energy and ideas, and I welcome all of that, but the idea that there is some outcry against the speaker of the House? They speak for themselves, but the caucus is squarely behind Nancy Pelosi.”

The speaker is also giving voice to an undercurrent of resentment among Democratic lawmakers toward Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her group, whom they see as using their megaphones to sow intraparty divisions and burnish their own brands without achieving any results for Democrats. On Tuesday, some senior Democrats were working behind the scenes to try to smooth over those raw feelings, according to one lawmaker involved in the effort, recognizing that Ms. Pelosi’s dismissive comments about the squad’s political celebrity could do lasting damage.

But Ms. Pelosi insists she was not trying to take anything away from the group.

“It wasn’t dismissive; it was a statement of fact,” Ms. Pelosi told a reporter in San Francisco on Monday, saying while most House Democrats had “voted to protect the children” by supporting the House’s humanitarian aid bill, the squad had chosen not to. “They were four who argued against the bill, and they were the only four who voted against the bill. All I said was nobody followed their lead.”

“They have a following in the public,” Ms. Pelosi added. “I’m just talking about in the Congress.”

The foursome has helped to redefine their party’s message, pushing multi-trillion-dollar ideas like the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and tuition-free college that have drawn broad rhetorical support, including from Democratic presidential candidates. But they have yet to translate their vision into concrete legislative achievement.

The squad and its allies argue that they are tapping into the real energy in the Democratic base with their uncompromising and unapologetic stances.

“Representing the movement that actually helped to put everyone in Congress into office and give Pelosi her gavel is a critical role, and they’ve been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Congress,” said Leah Greenberg, the executive director of Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group.

Liberal activists tried to use the speaker’s comments to stoke outrage — and to raise money to mount primaries against incumbent Democrats they deem insufficiently liberal.

“AOC and The Squad have changed the entire national debate,” said an email rehashing the spat from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which offered a colorful “I STAND WITH AOC” sticker to anyone who donated to their work “electing more AOC’s to Congress.”

Mr. Fallon, now the executive director of the grass-roots progressive group Demand Justice, said Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated a unique ability to grab the public spotlight for liberal candidates and causes, as she did last week when she visited a migrant detention center in Texas. But Ms. Pelosi has an entirely different mandate, he argued, one that her recent comments may have been designed to subtly convey.

“I think more than anything it’s a challenge to this ascending wing of the party, that if they actually want to move beyond being the protest wing and have leadership follow their strategy, that they need to grow their base of support and leave her with no option,” he said.

On Tuesday, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said she was baffled by Ms. Pelosi’s decision to take issue with her and her three young colleagues, adding that the speaker had repeatedly singled them out for criticism.

“I would understand why you’d want to put an arm’s distance between more progressive members of the caucus and more moderate members of the caucus — I think that’s fine — but it’s explicitly the four of us,” she said.

“I was elected here to do a job,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez added. “But I also respect the fact that she has to do hers.”

Tensions Between Pelosi and Progressive Democrats of ‘the Squad’ Burst Into Flame