Gray Matters

Rich Lowry, in WIN THE MORNING Magazine, with the candlestick, on #BlackLivesMatter.

Let’s be honest: Some black lives really don’t matter. If you are a young black man shot in the head by another young black man, almost certainly no one will know your name. Al Sharpton won’t come rushing to your family’s side with cameras in tow. MSNBC won’t discuss the significance of your death. No one will protest, or even riot, for you. You are a statistic, not a cause. Just another dead black kid in some city somewhere, politically useless to progressives and the media, therefore all but invisible.

The same Memorial Day weekend during which there were nearly 30 shootings and nine mostly young people were murdered in Baltimore, demonstrators were out in force, blocking traffic — not to protest the shootings, of course, but the state of Maryland funding a youth jail in a city that rather desperately needs a youth jail.

When April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Tuesday what can be done about violence in places like Baltimore, Earnest first suggested passage of more gun-safety laws — even though Baltimore already has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country.

When Ryan followed up with a query premised on more summer jobs and rec centers as a short-term answer to the shootings, Earnest referred her to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as those of Labor and Education. It was the blind questioning the blind.

Le sigh, le moan.



Pretty sure Starburst Rich here has the full card covered by the halfway point in the tirade, but then again, I think that was his point.

A Hard Shove To The Left

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is gearing up for a new national progressive agenda based on what he’s been able to do so far in the Big Apple, and he’s expected to announce it next week.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, using his muscular perch to try to nudge the national Democratic Party to the left, next week will unveil a 13-point progressive agenda that he hopes will be the left’s answer to the Contract with America, which helped propel Newt Gingrich and the Republican revolution of 1994.

On Tuesday, de Blasio will hold a 3 p.m. news conference outside the U.S. Capitol with labor leaders, Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists to unveil his “Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality.”

The manifesto includes the ideas of economist Joseph Stiglitz and dozens of other leaders and thinkers consulted by the de Blasio team.

Among the planks is a universal pre-kindergarten program, DeBlasio’s signature policy since he took office on Jan. 1, 2014. Other elements are aimed at helping working people ($15 minimum wage) and working parents (paid family leave), and proposals for “tax fairness” (increasing the tax on carried interest, a huge issue for private equity).

De Blasio convened a group of a dozen national progressives at Gracie Mansion on April 2, and they discussed ideas for addressing income inequality. Among the advisers present was John Del Cecato of AKPD Message and Media, who made de Blasio’s campaign commercials, including the famous “Dante” ad.

Then the conversation extended to others — economists, elected officials and activists.

De Blasio advisers say that more than 60 big names have signed on, including Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.); Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.); Marian Wright Edelman and Howard Dean; national labor leaders; and actors Susan Sarandon and Steve Buscemi.

Rolling Stone has a preview of de Blasio’s new drive in the forthcoming May 21 issue, which has a 7½-page spread, “The Mayor’s Crusade: Bill de Blasio is trying to remake America’s biggest city — and he doesn’t plan to stop there.”

I’m actually very glad to see a concerted effort to push the Overton window to the left. Right now American politics seems to consist of “And how shall we choose to punish the poors this time around, m’lord” and a big effort to reframe the entire debate is way overdue.

The pushback on this is going to be enormous, but putting these issues into the 2016 arena is absolutely necessary.

More of this, please.  This is how we can help get both more and better Democrats elected at the state and national level.

Nadir Of The Nameless One

Reminder: This man is somehow not in prison and is happily giving interviews to WIN THE MORNING.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney says President Barack Obama is the worst commander in chief the United States has ever had, in view of the recent Iranian nuclear agreement.

Asked about the deal by conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, the former vice president said the Iranian regime is “one of the most radical” in history and that “Obama’s about to give them nuclear weapons.”

I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing,” Cheney said when asked whether he thought the president is naïve or something else.

Funny, I would have made the same argument about Shrub/Penguin.  So would millions of others in the Middle East, except they’re dead as a result of these two meatballs.

Why is Dick Cheney tolerated in polite society and not repeatedly smashed in the balls with a mallet made out of quantum lava bees whenever anyone sees him? The guy who ignored intelligence to get us into one war and falsified intelligence in order to take us into another does not get to make judgments on who is the worst anything of anything.

Put him in stocks, place the stocks in Baghdad’s largest public square, hand out three tons of moldy durians, and play O Fortuna over loudspeakers. The people will figure out what to do from there.

The Spirit Is Willing But The Orange Is Weak

Team WIN THE MORNING on Orange vs. Turtle and how it’s all Obama’s fault.

The Senate majority and minority leaders cut a deal that did not have Boehner’s blessing, sources say, and now the speaker is weighing whether to go down without a fight. House Republican leaders are strongly considering amending the Senate’s “clean” DHS funding bill and dumping it back on McConnell’s doorstep. That would complicate the fraught negotiations on the eve of a funding deadline for the domestic security agency and illustrate a new level of dissonance between the top two Republican leaders, according to multiple lawmakers and aides involved in the deliberations.

The discussions on whether to accept a Senate plan, which would fund DHS through September and allow President Barack Obama’s immigration policies to stand, are still in their early phases. And Boehner may ultimately back down if he runs out of time. But the fact that Boehner is initially distancing himself from the emerging bipartisan Senate deal underscores his conundrum — and the stiff challenge confronting the new Republican Congress in attempting to appease tea party conservatives and an uncompromising White House.

Please note that Republicans are “cutting a deal” but the White House is “uncompromising”.  Even when GOP petulance blows up in their faces and puts the country in danger, the Village is forever wired in favor of the Republican party, and it always will be.

Making Boehner’s plight more challenging is the uncompromising position of Senate Democrats and the White House. Reid (D-Nev.) has said his caucus would not accept any changes to the Senate’s proposed standalone bill to fund DHS, which is expected to be approved by that chamber imminently.

Orange Julius is the real victim here of mean old Harry Reid and mean old Barack Obama.

Jesus wept.  You’d never know that this whole idiotic mess was a direct result of Republicans willing to destroy the government over executive actions involving immigration enforcement that Reagan, Poppy Bush, and Dubya all took in the past, actions that WIN THE MORNING describes as “unilateral”.  (They’re executive orders, guys.  By definition they are unilateral.)

But it wouldn’t be complete without Tire Swinging:

Emerging from a tense closed-door Senate GOP lunch, Republican senators signaled they were ready to move on from a fight that has paralyzed the new GOP Congress in just its second month in power.

There are some that object,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), “but I hope that we have convinced them that this is not a good idea — right now — to shut down the Department of Homeland Security.”

McCain, ever the voice of moderate reason.


That’s The Sound Of The Police

Team WIN THE MORNING declares Bill de Blasio over or something, because Cops.

Just over a year after sailing into office with 72 percent of the vote on a message of transformational change, de Blasio found his mayoralty subsumed by a torrent of anger, unleashed by the murder of two police officers in Brooklyn Saturday by a troubled gunman who said he was killing “pigs” to avenge the deaths of two men by cops in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri. By Monday, de Blasio was lashing out at the press corps that covers him, trying to paper over public divisions with his own police commissioner and coping with what friends described as the emotional blow of facing public rejection by many in the nation’s biggest police force. “He’s pretty badly shaken” by the murders, one told us.

That a civic tragedy would so quickly devolve into a full-blown political crisis for the new mayor was testament to the vehemence of anti-de Blasio elements in the police union – and the mayor’s mistaken belief that his 2013 victory gave him the right to shred an old Gotham political playbook that dictated a mayor show deference to the NYPD.

You can’t be big-city mayor and alienate the cops – and that’s just as true now as it was under three-term New York City Mayor Ed Koch, or even a century ago.

And by “alienate the cops” they mean de Blasio remarking that maybe going around choking unarmed black men to death on smartphone video is something New York’s Finest might want to refrain from doing.  You can’t do that, you see. Or at least de Blasio can’t.  I wonder why?

But de Blasio’s unpopularity with the historically white-dominated NYPD parallels his increasing struggles with white New Yorkers, who now disapprove of him by a nearly two-to-one margin in public polling. When confronted with similar polling numbers over the last year, de Blasio allies have repeatedly said that the mayor retains the strong backing of non-white New Yorkers and the Democratic base – and claimed the mayor’s private polling showed a much more modest racial disparity.

The blue rage isn’t rooted in any one statement de Blasio has made against cops – in fact, he has been universally supportive of the rank-and-file in his public utterances. But in his past roles as a public official, he’s often sided with the victims of police brutality, and recently told an interviewer that he has told Dante, his teenaged mixed-race son, not to reach for a cellphone around officers because it might put him in danger as a “a young man of color.” He took the unusual step — unimaginable under the mayoralties of Rudy Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg — of inviting Sharpton to City Hall, seating him opposite Bratton at a table where the activist proceeded to strongly denounce the police. (“If Dante wasn’t your son, he’d be a candidate for a chokehold. And we got to deal with that reality,” Sharpton said to de Blasio as Bratton looked on.) Last week, de Blasio privately met with organizers of the Garner protests, another moment that antagonized police.

Gosh, Team WIN THE MORNING certainly is implying a number of reasons why the NYPD doesn’t like de Blasio, and very few have to do with the NYPD and everything to do with de Blasio’s family.  The article starts out comparing de Blasio’s “mistakes” to Obama’s (as in treating the NYPD as rational actors the way Obama did with the GOP in his first year when they clearly wanted to destroy him from day one) and notes that de Blasio hasn’t actually said any “anti-police rhetoric” other than “Hey, there are laws you guys need to follow too, like not murdering people.”

I don’t like like the implication.

I like it less because I think for once Politico is right, and the awful part is the advice here of “Know your role and shut your mouth” would probably be best for the Mayor and his family.  But it’s not the best advice for the people of New York and America.  Somebody needs to remind the cops who they work for, and if de Blasio doesn’t stand up to these assholes, nobody else is going to do it for him.

That’s what being the mayor of a big city means.