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British and American hostages removed before "successful" raid

An anti-terrorist force member from the Ministry of Interior in training near San'a, in Yemen. Yemeni security forces were involved in raids on al-Qaida militants along with US special forces

Al-Qaida escapes with British and American hostages before US special forces raid in Yemen

Associated Press

US and Yemeni forces rescue eight hostages from mountain cave – but al-Qaida captors escaped days earlier with Briton and US citizen.

US operation forces took part in a rescue mission that freed eight hostages in a remote corner of Yemen, but a Yemeni official said on Wednesday that it did not liberate five others, including an American journalist and a Briton who were moved elsewhere by their al-Qaida captors days before the raid.

Eight hostages including a Saudi were liberated in the joint US-Yemeni operation, a rare instance of American forces intervening on the ground in Yemen.

A member of the Yemeni anti-terrorism forces was quoted on a website connected to Yemen’s defence ministry, saying that the mission searched for a group of hostages from several nations in an eastern province, but when the commandos arrived at the cave where al-Qaida militants had chained and covered the hostages in blankets, the American and four others were already gone.

A senior US official had earlier confirmed US involvement and said no American was rescued, without elaborating whether the operation had intended to free one.

The mission was carried out in a vast desert area dotted with dunes called Hagr al-Saiaar, an al-Qaida safe haven where local tribes offer them protection near the Saudi border.

The operations come as US drone strikes target militants amid a Shia rebel power grab in the politically unstable, impoverished nation and fierce battles between al-Qaida and Shia rebels.

Yemenis initially gave no mention of American involvement in the operation and said its special forces and anti-terrorism units carried out the raid alone.

However, a Yemen special forces member identified only as Abu Marouf gave a detailed account of the operation to the semi-official Yemen defence ministry online portal, named Sept 26.

He said that his unit received intelligence information about al-Qaida militants moving hostages chained in shackles and covered with blankets in pickup trucks to Hagr al-Saiaar where they kept them in caves.

He added some 30 troops, including snipers, were deployed in the early hours Tuesday some seven kilometers (four miles) from the caves, which he described as 10 meters deep and 30 meters wide.

Divided into four groups, he said he was among the main group that stormed the entrance of the cave then engaged in a shootout that ended with the killing of all seven kidnappers.

“We found the eight hostages chained. We found al-Qaida cellphones and documents,” he said, adding that the hostages said five of their companions had been moved out to an unknown location.
 
US Special Forces funding "hibernation" research

The US Special Operations Command plans to use the drug to put injured soldiers into a 'survival window' low enough to reduce blood loss, but high enough to prevent brain injury.

US Special Forces funds drug that can put soldiers injured on the battlefield into HIBERNATION until they can be treated.

By Mark Prigg for MailOnline

Drug aims to raise the heart and blood pressure into a 'survival window' low enough to reduce blood loss, but high enough to prevent brain injury

...............................

Experts say the drug therapy they're working on may be the first big advance in treating battlefield casualties since the Vietnam War. 

Professor Geoffrey Dobson and Research Associate Hayley Letson from James Cook University's Division of Tropical Health and Medicine have spend seven years developing the technique.

The treatment targets what battlefield surgeons call the 'platinum ten minutes' after a soldier is wounded . 

He said the better known 'golden hour' is a meaningless concept in far-forward military environments.

'During the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 87 percent of all deaths among allied soldiers occurred in the first 30 minutes, before they could get to a hospital. 

'Nearly a quarter of these, almost a thousand people, were classified as having potentially survivable wounds. Time was the killer,' he said.

'The problem is, after a soldier suffers catastrophic blood loss and brain injury, what is a good treatment for the body is not good for the brain and vice versa,' said Dr Dobson.

'If you aim for too high a blood pressure, the casualty will bleed to death, and if you aim too low the brain will be irreversibly damaged. 

'It's a double-edged sword. 

'But if we can dial in the right blood pressure it will be a world first and has the potential to save many lives on the battlefield.'

 
How immigration killed the tax deal

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pictured.

How immigration killed the tax deal

GOP didn't want to aid new class of immigrants; Obama balked

How could a major tax deal brokered by the top Senate Democrat die so quickly at the hands of a Democratic president?

Immigration politics and Democratic infighting came together to doom the $400 billion deal even before it had made it into print. The brinksmanship threatens to disrupt the lives of millions of taxpayers who rely on the mishmash of expired provisions the plan was trying to revive.

The collapse highlights the fragile coalitions in Congress, where even leaders of opposition parties agreeing to a deal can’t bring it home. It also shows the newly found boldness of President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the midterm elections, where the looming takeover by Republicans has him tilting back toward the liberal base.

Interviews with the key players showed that the two tax-writing panels in the Senate and House had for weeks been making solid progress toward a final tax package that looked like it would include the breaks for low- and middle-income people sought by the president.

But the deal fell apart just as it seemed to be coming together.

The immigration executive order soured the GOP on the tax cuts for the working poor and middle class sought by Democrats. Republicans worried undocumented immigrants targeted by the order would begin claiming the credits in droves. They found a friend in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who reluctantly agreed to drop his party’s demands to extend expiring parts of the earned income tax credit (EITC) and its companion, the child tax credit.

The decision infuriated Reid’s colleagues.

...............................

“Everyone felt that Reid had suddenly given the store to Republicans and not gotten much in return,” said a Democratic House aide.

The president, with liberal Democratic backing on the Hill, issued the veto threat and the plan imploded, making the tax deal the first major collateral damage of the White House’s immigration action.

The internecine fight comes at the lowest point of the Obama’s relationship with Reid and the Senate’s soon-to-be disempowered Democratic leadership. White House officials — from Obama on down — have been feuding with Reid’s brash chief of staff, David Krone, and The New York Times has reported that Obama took the extraordinary step of asking Reid to exclude Krone from White House meetings.

Until late last week, Senate Finance, Ways and Means and leadership met regularly and were making progress on the package of tax breaks known as tax extenders. The group of some 55-plus tax breaks have expired, and many lawmakers in both parties want to renew by the end of the year, amid warnings from the IRS that failing to act would disrupt the upcoming tax filing season. They include everything from a major business research credit to one for teachers to be reimbursed for buying supplies.

...................................

By last Friday, Democrats on the Hill not party to the new talks caught wind of the secret negotiations between Reid and Camp by outside sources. The rank-and-file Democrats were confused: This “came out of no where,” as one Senate Democratic aide said.

By the time The New York Times on Monday reported that the tax credits might be left out, the reality had set in that they’d been undercut.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew quickly weighed in with an abrupt statement — warning that the administration wouldn’t accept a deal it saw as giving away too much to Republicans and their allies in the business community.

But news of the deal kept coming.

Rank-and-file Democrats on both side of the aisle were furious with Reid’s office. They, like the White House, hadn’t conceded that the tax credits were out of the question.

What’s more, the concessions Reid had won raised eyebrows among some Democrats.

“The whole reason the state and local sales tax was in there was because of Harry Reid,” said a Democratic staffer who didn’t wish to be identified.

The provision allows Americans to write off what they pay in sales tax from their federal taxes. It’s particularly important to states that have no income tax and rely on sales tax — like Nevada, Reid’s home state.

Likewise, Democrats noted that the mass transit break was particularly important to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The White House was also furious, the Democratic aide said: “It was pretty clear that the White House feels like Reid and Schumer were trying to lock in some provision’s they care very much about … agreeing to a deal that’s overall very poor for Democrat priorities.”

Wyden’s staff set to work preparing a batch of demands for Republicans to make the deal sweeter for Democrats.

And that’s when the White House swept in.

 
White House hones immigration defense while GOP plans attack.

President Barack Obama is pictured. | Getty

Executive reaction

By Carrie Budoff Brown, Seung Min Kim and Jake Sherman

White House hones immigration defense while GOP plans attack.

In his immigration speech last Thursday, President Barack Obama challenged Republican critics of his executive action to just “pass a bill.”

Now, the president’s allies have been holding urgent private sessions to make sure that any GOP bill — one of which could come to the floor next Thursday — doesn’t undo all of what the president has done.

The White House, congressional Democrats and advocacy groups plan to launch a coordinated campaign to portray Obama’s decision to give up to 5 million undocumented immigrants a reprieve from deportation as good policy and dispel the notion that its benefits will mainly be felt in the Latino community.

Since Obama announced the plan, Democrats have quietly been developing a strategy to defend it on Capitol Hill, sell it to voters and sign up the almost 5 million undocumented immigrants who could be shielded under the new actions.

The closed meetings reflect Democrats’ anxiety that they could lose the battle for public opinion and bungle the implementation just as they did with the health care law. If that happens, supporters worry that the incoming Republican Senate majority could peel away enough Democrats to pass a bill that weakens the executive actions, setting off a potentially damaging showdown with Obama.

Indeed, House Republican leadership is tentatively reserving time on the floor next week to respond already to the executive actions on immigration, according to sources involved with planning.

.................................

The House Republican Conference will hold a closed meeting Tuesday morning when it returns from the Thanksgiving recess, and if there is consensus early in the week on a way to respond, a bill could come to the floor as early as Thursday, an aide said.

Speaker John Boehner has several options: The leadership team is considering trying to pass a government funding bill that could target some immigration enforcement funding, or it might directly respond to the executive action in a standalone bill.

Early polling shows that Americans agree with Obama’s decision to allow millions of undocumented immigrants with family ties to stay in the country, but they don’t like the way he did it. This gives an opening for Republicans to chip away at support for the executive move.

“We’re gearing up to defend this win,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice. “Our work is clear: Lobby Democrats to stay strong, try to make Republicans pay a price for attacking it, persuade the public that it’s good policy, make sure the people directly affected are heard by the American people and challenge the strident voices on the far right who seem intent on denying the humanity of those who will be able to come forward. We like our chances.”

 
Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid

Ferguson and the Evidence of Things Unsaid

Violence works. Nonviolence does too.

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a recent dispatch from Ferguson, Missouri, Jelani Cobb noted that President Obama's responses to "unpunished racial injustices" constitute "a genre unto themselves." Monday night, when Barack Obama stood before the nation to interpret the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, he offered a particularly tame specimen. The elements of "the genre" were all on display—an unmitigated optimism, an urge for calm, a fantastic faith in American institutions, an even-handedness exercised to a fault. But if all the limbs of the construct were accounted for, the soul of the thing was not.

There was none of the spontaneous annoyance at the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, and little of the sheer pain exhibited in the line, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." The deft hand Obama employed in explaining to Americans why the acquittal of George Zimmerman so rankled had gone arthritic. This was a perfunctory execution of "the genre," offered with all the energy of a man ticking items off a to-do list.

 ......................................

Barack Obama is an earnest moderate. His instincts seem to lead him to the middle ground. For instance, he genuinely believes that there is more overlap between liberals and conservatives than generally admitted. On Monday he nodded toward the "deep distrust" that divides black and brown people from the police, and then pointed out that this was tragic because these are the communities most in need of "good policing." Whatever one makes of this pat framing, it is not a cynical centrism—he believes in the old wisdom of traditional America. This is his strength. This is his weakness. But Obama's moderation is as sincere and real as his blackness, and the latter almost certainly has granted him more knowledge of his country than he generally chooses to share.

In the case of Michael Brown, this is more disappointing than enraging. The genre of Obama race speeches has always been bounded by the job he was hired to do. Specifically, Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America. More specifically, Barack Obama is the president of a congenitally racist country, erected upon the plunder of life, liberty, labor, and land. This plunder has not been exclusive to black people. But black people, the community to which both Michael Brown and Barack Obama belong, have the distinct fortune of having survived in significant numbers. For a creedal country like America, this poses a problem—in nearly every major American city one can find a population of people whose very existence, whose very history, whose very traditions, are an assault upon this country's nationalist instincts. Black people are the chastener of their own country. Their experience says to America, "You wear the mask."

In 2008, Barack Obama's task was to capture the presidency of a country which historically has despised the community from which he hails. This was no mean feat. But more importantly, it was not unprecedented. And just as Léon Blum's prime ministership did not lead to a post-anti-Semitic France, Barack Obama's presidency should never have been expected to lead to a post-racist America. As it happens, there is nothing about a congenitally racist country that necessarily prevents an individual leader hailing from the pariah class. The office does not care where the leader originates, so long as the leader ultimately speaks for the state. On Monday night, watching Obama both be black and speak for the state was torturous. One got the sense of a man fatigued by people demanding he say something both eminently profound and only partially true. This must be tiring.

Black people know what cannot be said. What clearly cannot be said is that the events of Ferguson do not begin with Michael Brown lying dead in the street, but with policies set forth by government at every level. What clearly cannot be said is that the people of Ferguson are regularly plundered, as their grandparents were plundered, and generally regarded as a slush-fund for the government that has pledged to protect them. What clearly cannot be said is the idea of superhuman black men who "bulk up" to run through bullets is not an invention of Darren Wilson, but a staple of American racism.

....................................

The fact is that when the president came to the podium on Monday night there actually was very little he could say. His mildest admonitions of racism had only earned him trouble. If the American public cannot stomach the idea that arresting a Harvard professor for breaking into his own home is "stupid," then there is virtually nothing worthwhile that Barack Obama can say about Michael Brown.

 
The Race to Be Hillary’s Karl Rove

The Race to Be Hillary’s Karl Rove

Bereft of a competitive 2016 primary, Democrats are backing candidates for Clinton campaign manager. How the top three—Obama-style, classic Clinton, true left—would shape her run.

Wherever two or more Democrats are gathered these days, there is only one thing they talk about.

“Who is going to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager?” asked one political operative in the hallways of a Midtown Manhattan hotel where some of the party’s top strategists and donors had gathered last week for the annual meeting of the Ready for Hillary super PAC finance committee. “That is all everyone wants to know.”

“As you can imagine, this is not the first time I have had this conversation,” said another Democratic strategist, who added that even on a post-midterm vacation with fellow politicos, it was a constant source of discussion.

In a series of interviews with operatives inside and outside the Clinton orbit, most professional Democrats said the current favorite was Robby Mook, a well-traveled veteran at 35 who last served as the campaign manager for close Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe’s successful bid to become governor of Virginia in 2013. Prior to that, he was executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, leading the party to a net gain of eight seats in the House in 2012. Mook did stints on Howard Dean and John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaigns, and helped elect would-be Hillary rival Martin O’Malley as Maryland governor in 2006. But what really caught the eye of Democrats was his work on behalf of Clinton in 2008, when he led the campaign’s efforts in Nevada, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Indiana—all Clinton victories.

The next most likely campaign manager is thought to be Guy Cecil, who is just wrapping up a stint as the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Cecil, too, is a Clintonista, having worked as the national political and field director for Hillary’s 2008 primary. What brought Cecil to prominence, though, was his work as the DSCC political director in 2006, when he helped the party retake the Senate and returned to the job after the Clinton primary loss, helping the Democrats retain the majority despite the tough climates of 2010 and 2012. The worse-than-expected showing by Democrats in this month’s midterms is believed to have sunk his stock, however.

Other names in the mix include Ace Smith, a longtime California-based political operative; Marlon Marshall, another former Clinton aide who now works in the White House; and Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List.

“You need someone who understands Hillary, who understands the voters, who understands that this is a professional job,” said Peter Rosenstein, a Ready for Hillary fundraiser who traveled to New York for last week’s finance committee meeting. “I think all of them bring a newness, which is good.”

 
In chairman fight, Jeff Sessions is battling his perception on immigration debate

In chairman fight, Jeff Sessions is battling his perception on immigration debate

Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) were elected to the Senate on the same day in 1996, but Enzi holds seniority over his longtime friend through a totally random feature of party rules: They drew names out of a hat.

That quirk of history has led to a showdown over the chairmanship of the Budget Committee that has caused a backlash among conservatives, who say Enzi is unfairly laying claim to the powerful position at the behest of party leaders.

Sessions has been serving as the top Republican on the committee for the past four years and was in line to take the chairmanship after the GOP won control of the Senate this month.

But since then, Sessions has undercut party leaders with his strident opposition to President Obama’s immigration action, even raising the specter of another fiscal showdown that resembles previous confrontations with the White House. Party leaders are eager to fight back against the president, but in a more measured way in line with their desire to show that they are up to the task of governing.

That has provided an opening for Enzi, whose name-out-of-a-hat seniority gives him the standing to challenge Sessions and who is pitching himself as a less-confrontational alternative.

................................

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other members of his team have publicly stayed out of the contest, but conservative activists nevertheless say they are quietly backing Enzi because he would be a more reliable party man.

Gaston Mooney — who served as an aide to former senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who often clashed with McConnell’s leadership team — wrote in an article last week in Conservative Review: “If Sessions loses the chair of the budget committee, it is only under the orders and direction of McConnell.”

.................................

Sessions has spent his three terms in the Senate advancing a conservative agenda and has become one of the most reliable voices opposing Obama. He can be every bit as confrontational as his much-better-known colleague Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), with the key difference being that Sessions actually holds power and position within the Senate.

On immigration, Sessions has been the leading voice among Republicans who want to use the budget process to try to force Obama to back off his unilateral decision to offer protections to illegal immigrants.

Republicans who disagree with that strategy think that a better counter to Obama’s action would be to pass a border-security bill and other conservative immigration legislation and send it to the White House, rather than cutting off the budget and risking even a partial shutdown of government agencies.

................................

Enzi is no moderate, but he has worked with Democrats, including the late Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the former senator who is now ambassador to Beijing. His head-down approach has not earned him praise in the tea party era of confrontation, and for a brief time he drew a primary challenge from Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president.

Enzi fought back hard and eventually cruised to reelection. He has been setting up one-on-one meetings with members of the budget panel in what is the most insidery of insider races in Washington.

“Jeff and I are talking,” Enzi said late last week, unclear whether the issue would go all the way to a rare vote on who gets the gavel. “I don’t know. We’ll keep working on it. We’re good friends.”

His public selling point has been that he holds a more senior post on the committee and that two years ago, when Republicans were still in the minority, he passed on asserting his seniority and allowed Sessions to maintain his perch.

But that seniority is based entirely on the quirky GOP rules. A handful of Republicans won their first Senate term in 1996 without any prior experience as a governor or member of the House, so under party rules seniority was determined by drawing names from a hat.

 
Hillary Clinton’s paid speaking career

Plans for UCLA visit give rare glimpse into Hillary Clinton’s paid speaking career

When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?

The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.”

That e-mail exchange and other internal communications, obtained this week by The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request, provide a rare glimpse into the complex and meticulous backstage efforts to manage the likely 2016 presidential candidate’s lucrative speaking career.

At UCLA, efforts to book Clinton and then prepare for her visit were all-consuming, beginning almost immediately after she left her job as secretary of state on Feb. 1, 2013, until she delivered her Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership speech on March 5, 2014.

The documents show that Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency exerted considerable control over her appearance and managed even the smallest details — from requesting lemon wedges and water on stage to a computer, scanner, and a spread of hummus and crudité in the green room backstage.

Top university officials discussed at length the style and color of the executive armchairs Clinton and moderator Lynn Vavreck would sit in as they carried on a question-and-answer session, as well as the kind of pillows to be situated on each chair. Clinton’s representatives requested that the chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows — and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.

After a lengthy call with a Clinton representative, UCLA administrator Patricia Lippert reported to campus colleagues, “She uses a lavalier [microphone] and will both speak from the audience and walk around stage, TED talk style. We need a teleprompter and 2-3 downstage scrolling monitors [for] her to read from.”

During a walk-through of Royce Hall five days before the lecture, the e-mails show, Clinton’s team rejected the podium planned for her use during her 20- to 30-minute speech, setting off a scramble on campus to find a suitable podium and rent a new university seal to match.

In the nearly two years since stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton has made dozens of paid appearances across the country at industry conventions and Wall Street banks as well as at universities. Her UCLA fee, like those at other universities, went to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s nonprofit group.

But critics have argued that the carefully staged events and high speaking fees could complicate Clinton’s ability to run a populist campaign built around the economic struggles of the middle class.

Versions of Clinton’s standard speaking contracts have surfaced publicly this year — including her luxury travel requirements — but the contracts do not contain the extensive detail seen in the UCLA communications.

It is unclear how personally involved Clinton was in the UCLA negotiations and whether the requests from her agency were being directed by her or merely from underlings anticipating her preferences.

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment on the speaking arrangements.

It is commonplace for celebrity speakers to request special accommodations — and Clinton was no exception. Her representatives asked for a case of still water, room temperature, to be deposited stage right. They also asked that “a carafe of warm/hot water, coffee cup and saucer, pitcher of room temperature water, water glass, and lemon wed­ges” be situated both on a table on stage as well as in another room where Clinton would stand for photos with VIPs.

For the green room, Clinton’s representatives requested: “Coffee, tea, room temp sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudité, hummus and sliced fruit.” They also asked for a computer, mouse and printer, as well as a scanner, which the university had to purchase for the occasion.

By contract, Clinton’s approval was needed for any promotional materials. Clinton gave permission for the university to record the event, but “for archival purposes only.” For public distribution, Clinton’s speaking agency approved only a two-minute highlight video to upload to YouTube. “Please make sure it is available only for one (1) year from the date of posting,” a Harry Walker Agency official added.

Clinton posed for individual photos with 100 VIPS, or 50 couples — “We get a total of 50 clicks,” one university official explained — as well as two group photos. Lippert wrote to colleagues that Clinton’s representatives wanted the group shots “prestaged,” with participants assembled and ready to take the photographs before Clinton arrived “so the secretary isn’t waiting for these folks to get their act together.” Reiterating the request, Lippert added, “She doesn’t like to stand around waiting for people.”

......................................

Days after the lecture, administrators discussed an e-mail that had arrived from graduate Charles McKenna, a lawyer who said he was concerned that the university was charging more than $250 for a ticket to hear a public official speak.

“In effect, this is a campaign appearance, as Ms. Clinton is undeniably looking into a presidential run in 2016,” McKenna wrote. “Why is a public university charging the public for the pleasure of providing Ms. Clinton the benefit of a high profile platform?”

One UCLA official advised against responding to McKenna’s e-mail “unless he pushes.” Another UCLA official then looked up the man’s giving record and responded that while he was a donor, he had not given large amounts.

In an interview Wednesday, McKenna said he never received a response to his e-mail. “If you’re a big shot, you get attention,” he said. “I’m not a big shot, by any stretch of the imagination.”

 
The Curious Case of Jim Webb

The Curious Case of Jim Webb

By Josh Kraushaar

Webb's long-shot presidential campaign says as much about the evolution of the Democratic party as it does about his qualifications.

If Jim Webb announces he's running for president and no one is there to hear it, does he make a sound? Yes, but primarily as a lesson in how dramatically the Democratic Party has changed during the Obama administration.

It's hard to imagine Webb as a credible Democratic presidential contender. As a candidate, he hated the chore of campaigning, the main reason that he left the Senate after serving only one term. His announcement was decidedly low-tech, a video featuring a 14-minute speech by the candidate speaking in front of a blue screen, with the URL of his presidential website plastered on the screen throughout. Most significantly, there's no space for candidates appealing to working-class white voters anymore in the party, even though they played an essential role throughout the Democratic Party's history.

In a vacuum, Webb would be a compelling candidate. While independent-minded groups like No Labels obsess over liberal Republicans or independents (Jon Huntsman, Michael Bloomberg) as credible third-party candidates, Webb's profile better fits that bill. He's one of the few politicians who caters more to the populist grassroots than to elite public opinion. He has angered Democrats by expressing skepticism about increased immigration and has been downright critical of affirmative-action policies, but he is passionate about the issue of income inequality. He's ticked off Republicans over their foreign-policy interventionism, with his outspoken opposition to the Iraq War fueling his 2006 Senate campaign. He's skeptical of the free-trade deals that most Republicans champion, and is so at odds with the ascendant environmentalist wing of the Democratic Party that the online magazine Grist headlined its profile: "Jim Webb sucks on climate change."

In a Democratic Party that's been shedding white working-class voters during the Obama era, leaders would be wise to pay closer attention to Webb's views on economic and cultural issue—and consider co-opting some as their own. On paper, his resume is first-rate: decorated Vietnam War veteran, secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, swing-state Democratic senator, and an acclaimed author. At a time when economic anxiety is a defining feature of American politics, Webb's record on the subject is as impressive as Elizabeth Warren's. That he's treated more like a fringe figure these days is a testament to how far his party has drifted from its roots.

Consider: There will be only five red-state Senate Democrats left in the next Congress if, as expected, Sen. Mary Landrieu is defeated in next month's runoff. Even more striking, there will be only five House Democrats left representing districts that Mitt Romney carried in 2012. The once-influential Blue Dog Caucus of fiscally hawkish Democrats is all but extinct. Republicans now boast twice as many blue-state senators (10) and five times as many blue-district representatives (25) than their Democratic counterparts in red territory.

While lots of ink has been spilled charting the GOP's drift rightward, the Democratic Party's move toward ideological homogeneity has been shorter and swifter. In 2006, the year Webb was elected to the Senate, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel elected dozens of moderate-minded representatives across the country with conservative views on gun control and immigration. Even in 2008, when Barack Obama headed the Democratic ticket, House Democrats won deeply conservative districts in northern Mississippi, suburban Louisiana, and rural Alabama. Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who lost by 17 points in his bid for a third term, didn't even face Republican opposition six years earlier. This isn't ancient history.

The base of the Democratic Party now finds itself united by cultural issues, not economic ones—and Webb is badly out of step with the changed sentiment.
 
David Frum: The Next Amnesty

The Next Amnesty

David Frum

President Obama's move to legalize millions of immigrants isn't a conclusion—it's likely to be the start of even more changes.

President Obama’s executive action last week is only an interim step. More amnesty is coming, much more. It must.

More amnesty is coming, first, because the president’s action creates an unsustainable status quo. Millions of people are about to obtain work permits and Social Security numbers—but not (or so the president says) any right to health coverage or other social benefits. What happens if they get sick? What if they lose their jobs? Suffer a debilitating injury at work? According to Obama, these people are “as American as Sasha and Malia” except for the small technical complication of lacking “the right papers.” The president denounced as “cruel” the expectation that illegal aliens return to their native countries. If these people are to stay here, though, how is it not also “cruel” to deny them the same protections enjoyed by other Americans? Almost six in 10 illegal-immigrant adults had no health insurance in 2007. Is it really plausible that they will passively accept this status quo after they regain residency rights? Almost as soon as the working papers are issued, expect a new round of demands for a second action—one that will enroll the newly documented aliens in social programs.

Obama’s disavowal of social benefits for the newly legalized will not long remain Democratic Party policy. The precedent is President Clinton’s tactical maneuvering on his children’s-health program, SCHIP, back in the 1990s. To gain Republican assent to the program, Clinton agreed that it would exclude new immigrants, people who had lived in the United States for less than five years. Having made the agreement, Democrats almost immediately chafed against it. As a senator, Hillary Clinton sponsored legislation to make all immigrants eligible for SCHIP. Defeated during the George W. Bush years, SCHIP extension was one of the very first priorities of the new Obama administration, and the president signed it into law in February 2009.

Obama’s successors will likely reverse him on social benefits for migrants just as Clinton’s successors reversed him on SCHIP. They might not even have to: The courts could make the decision for them even before the Obama administration ends. In the 1982 case of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that illegal immigrants of school age must receive a K-12 education at full public expense. The court held that distinctions based upon immigration status, including illegality, should receive “intermediate” scrutiny, the same degree of scrutiny as distinctions based upon sex. By this time next year, immigrant advocates will be queuing at courtrooms across the nation to argue that the denial of a disability pension, of health coverage, of food stamps violates the standard set in Plyler.

The battle for benefits will be the first of the next amnesties, but not the last. Millions of illegal aliens will not benefit from this round of presidential amnesty. Their advocates in Congress and the White House are content to accept one slice of relief today. They reserve the right to return for more tomorrow. In its press release applauding Obama’s action, the National Council of La Raza cautioned: "We also note that this is just the beginning.” So it is. The Senate “Gang of Eight” bill from 2013 would have legalized 8 million. We’ll soon hear a lot more about the unamnestied 3 million.

And after them, will come new influxes of illegal immigration in the years to come. Obama insisted that his executive action will "not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future.” Brave words, but the president’s deeds contradict them. Illegal immigration, like everything else, responds to incentives, both economic and legal. When the job market falters, as in 2008-2009, illegal immigration slows. When prospective illegal immigrants perceive that law enforcement has relaxed, they seize the apparently proffered opportunity. Suspension of enforcement in June 2012 against the so-called Dreamers—illegal aliens who had entered the country as children—was promptly followed by a surge of illegal immigration by 14- and 15-year-old border crossers.
 
Unrest in Ferguson lets Moscow score points against Washington

Ferguson solidarity protests in Atlanta

Unrest in Ferguson lets Moscow score points against Washington

Shaun Walker in Moscow

Schadenfreude from Moscow unmistakable, but officials seize opportunity to take revenge for US State Department’s hectoring statements regarding Russia’s internal politics.

Social tension, police brutality and public disorder – and all of it in the heart of the United States. For the Kremlin and its mouthpieces, who have long accused Washington of outrageous hypocrisy and double standards, unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, come like manna from heaven.

The schadenfreude from official Moscow and pro-Kremlin bloggers has been unmistakable, and the favoured lens through which to view Ferguson is as a comparison with the Maidan protests in Kiev which began a year ago and ended in February with the overthrow of the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Events in Ferguson could be the start of “Obama’s Maidan” some Russian tabloids suggested, while others simply claimed there was a double standard in Washington supporting the protesters in Kiev but clamping down on them at home.

Most of all, events in Ferguson gave the opportunity to score points against Washington and take revenge for all the hectoring statements released by the US State Department with regard to Russia’s internal politics.

The Russian foreign ministry released a statement by its human rights ombudsman, which in content and tone read like a parody of the missives from Washington about Russia’s internal problems.

Social tension, police brutality and public disorder – and all of it in the heart of the United States. For the Kremlin and its mouthpieces, who have long accused Washington of outrageous hypocrisy and double standards, unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, come like manna from heaven.

The schadenfreude from official Moscow and pro-Kremlin bloggers has been unmistakable, and the favoured lens through which to view Ferguson is as a comparison with the Maidan protests in Kiev which began a year ago and ended in February with the overthrow of the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Events in Ferguson could be the start of “Obama’s Maidan” some Russian tabloids suggested, while others simply claimed there was a double standard in Washington supporting the protesters in Kiev but clamping down on them at home.

Most of all, events in Ferguson gave the opportunity to score points against Washington and take revenge for all the hectoring statements released by the US State Department with regard to Russia’s internal politics.

The Russian foreign ministry released a statement by its human rights ombudsman, which in content and tone read like a parody of the missives from Washington about Russia’s internal problems.

 
Darren Wilson 'should get a medal'

Darren Wilson 'should get a medal'

 By Sara Malm for MailOnline

British columnist sparks outrage by saying Darren Wilson 'should get a medal' for shooting 'thug' Michael Brown.

Katie Hopkins has sparked controversy once more by saying Ferguson police Darren Wilson should 'get a medal' for shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who she called 'a thief and a thug'.

Ms Hopkins, whose post has been favourited 306 times and had 264 retweets so far, is not the first person to tweet her opinion on the controversial case.

 
Will Obama Pull the Plug on Wind Energy?

Will Obama Pull the Plug on Wind Energy?

By Tim McDonnell

The president has threatened to veto a tax package that includes a lifeline for wind.

Yesterday President Obama threatened to veto a $440 billion package of tax breaks negotiated by a bipartisan group of legislators led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The bill, a White House spokesperson said, disproportionately benefits businesses over families. The bill excludes a child tax credit for the working poor that had been a top goal for Obama, but makes permanent a group of tax incentives for big businesses that had been provisional.

But if Obama does kill the deal, he'll also create a casualty that seems odd for a president who in recent weeks has made climate change a central issue: The tax credit for wind energy, which Reid's bill would resuscitate for a few years before phasing out in 2017.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) provides wind energy developers a tax break of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour of energy their turbines produce for the first ten years of operation, which industry supporters say is a important lifeline to help wind compete against heavily-subsidized fossil fuel power sources. For over a decade, wind power has been locked in a boom-and-bust cycle as the PTC expires and then is re-upped by Congress: Every time the credit stalls or looks like it might disappear, contracts dry up, manufacturers shut down production, and jobs get cut. The same could happen again soon: The PTC expired again last year, and so the fate of Reid's tax bill will be the fate of a cornerstone of America's clean energy economy.

Any project that broke ground before the PTC expiration last year still got to keep the credit, so the wind industry is still on an up cycle. So far this year, wind accounts for 22 percent of new energy capacity, second only to natural gas, according to federal data. And with or without subsidies, wind is now one of the cheapest electricity sources out there. Those are critical pieces of the puzzle if the US is to meet President Obama's new goal to reduce the nation's carbon footprint 26-28 percent by 2025.

But wind's halcyon days won't last unless the PTC is extended soon, said Daniel Shury, a market analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

"The momentum will peak next year, and then we'll start to feel the effects," Shury said. "Without the PTC extension, the main US manufacturers are going to start running out of orders by 2016."

 
What's Next for the Democrats?

What's Next for the Democrats?

The party is still trying to cope with this month's brutal electoral losses.

By Molly Ball

I was talking to Ted Strickland, the former governor of Ohio, when Nick Hanauer approached. "What did you call it again?" Strickland asked Hanauer, a Seattle-based tech zillionaire who has become a celebrity on the left for his advocacy of wealth redistribution.

"Feckless corporate stooges," Hanauer said, enunciating each word with a broad grin. In his speech earlier in the day at a summit hosted by the Center for American Progress, the Washington-based liberal outfit where Strickland now works, that was how Hanauer had described the way voters perceive Democratic candidates. According to Hanauer, it was this perception that lost the Democrats this month's elections.

"Ah, that's right," Strickland said. "I'm going to have that put on a T-shirt."

There's a predictable debate after every election, as the losing partisans cycle through rationalizations for why they lost. This time, it's the Democrats, who were slaughtered at an unexpected scale on November 4 and now must reckon with what went wrong and how to move forward.

When Republicans went through this two years ago, they were heckled constantly—by both the media and many of their own—about the need to moderate their positions if they ever wanted to win another election. But Democrats today are convinced there's nothing wrong with what they stand for—if anything, they just need to stand for it louder and more aggressively.

"The Democratic Party's message is not being heard from us. It's being heard from others," Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California who's widely viewed as a rising star in the party, told me. She and many other Democrats point to the success of minimum-wage ballot initiatives in several states as proof that the same voters who chose Republican representatives actually wanted Democratic policies.

This is a selective reading of the midterm results, to say the least. But to Harris, there was no question of changing the party's positions. "We need to stick to our values," she said. "Some would argue that when we don't do that, we lose."

This refrain could be heard over and over from the progressives who spoke at the summit—from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to climate-focused billionaire Tom Steyer. "Our agenda is America's agenda," Warren told the crowd. De Blasio said the Democrats who lost had failed to acknowledge and address "the inequality crisis." The Democratic brand, he said, had lost all meaning: "We're literally unidentifiable to the public." he said.

 
Hagel’s Departure Bears Little Likeness to Rumsfeld’s Removal

Hagel’s Departure Bears Little Likeness to Rumsfeld’s Removal

With his party in a shambles after a disastrous midterm election and his administration ensnared in a messy war in the Middle East, the president stood in the East Room and showed his defense secretary the door.

History seemed to repeat itself this week when President Obama dismissed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, much as President George W. Bush sacked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld eight years ago this month. But beyond the eerie echo, Mr. Hagel’s removal bears little resemblance to that of Mr. Rumsfeld.

The ouster of Mr. Rumsfeld signaled a fundamental change of thinking about the United States’ war strategy and a profound shift in power inside Mr. Bush’s administration as it came to the end of its sixth year. The departure of Mr. Hagel, on the other hand, augurs no such pivot for the Obama administration and seems to cement the current approach to national security.

Mr. Hagel fell short in the president’s eyes because he was passive and quiet in Situation Room deliberations, hardly the commanding figure needed when the country is in a new war against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria. To the White House, he seemed a captive of the generals and not in sync with the president’s team.

“The clear suggestion is that the White House does indeed still want a doormat — Hagel just forgot whose doormat he was supposed to be,” said Rosa Brooks, a former Obama administration official at the Pentagon. “So it’s sure looking like this move presages a White House doubling down on existing ways of doing business, not a White House interested in making real changes.”

Others pointed to Mr. Hagel’s pushback on budget cuts and a recent memo he wrote criticizing the White House strategy for Syria. “With Hagel, President Obama is firing the guy who wants to change the policy,” said Stephen Biddle of George Washington University, who advised Mr. Bush’s White House on Iraq strategy. “With Rumsfeld, Bush was firing the guy who had opposed changing the policy and was widely seen as a barrier to new thinking.

“So whereas the Rumsfeld firing cleared the way for a policy reversal,” he added, “the Hagel firing appears to be reinforcing a continuation of the pre-existing strategy by removing one of its critics.”

 
Does anyone want this job?

President Barack Obama, left, reaches over to touch Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left. | AP Photo

Does anyone want this job?

By Austin Wright and Michael Hirsh

Who can follow Chuck Hagel? Who would want to?

At least two leading contenders have already ruled themselves out. Michèle Flournoy, the former undersecretary of Defense for policy who now runs the Center for a New American Security, dropped out Tuesday. And a spokesman for Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said he “does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other Cabinet position.”

To understand why Flournoy and others are dropping out of the running for secretary of defense, just think about the job description:

You’ll be working for a president who once declared that he was elected to end wars but who now finds himself stuck, reluctantly, in a new one in Iraq and a prolonged one in Afghanistan — and who badly wants to finish up both in two years, though that’s probably impossible. He’s also a president who won’t listen much to you, since he apparently has little intention of altering the White House’s tight grip on the national-security apparatus, which was the bane not only of Hagel but his two Pentagon predecessors, Leon Panetta and Bob Gates.

Flournoy “doesn’t want to be a doormat, and I think they want a doormat,” said one former Defense Department official who worked there during Flournoy’s tenure. “I do not think they’re looking for someone more aggressive and independent.”

Added a Washington think tank expert who has worked with Hagel: “It sounds like the White House just wants a cheerleader for what’s going on.”

 
Darren Wilson testimony raises fresh questions about racial perceptions

Darren Wilson testimony raises fresh questions about racial perceptions

By Patrik Jonsson

Darren Wilson's characterizations of Michael Brown in his grand jury testimony have led to renewed questions about how white cops' perceptions of black suspects plays into use of force.

 His comments to the grand jury paint a portrait of a man fearful for his life, and courts have repeatedly acknowledged the danger of police work by giving wide latitude to officers when life may hang in the balance.

Yet some of his characterizations of the incident have raised red flags among experts who study race and policing.

For example, Wilson describes Mr. Brown as looking like a rage-filled “demon” as he geared up to charge the officer. Wilson said that he felt like a kid trying to wrestle Hulk Hogan during their altercation, despite being roughly the same height as Brown. And he characterized Canfield Drive, where Brown was shot, as an area “hostile” to police, meaning his guard was already up when he approached Brown about a stolen box of cigarillos.

The broader question for policing is not necessarily one of overt racism, rather it is a question of whether unexamined perceptions of black people and black neighborhoods creep into the so-called use-of-force matrix an officer turns to in times of crisis. In a country where black people are up to 21 times more likely to be shot by police than whites, according to a ProPublica analysis of FBI statistics, the issue is of enormous importance, experts say.

“These are very much the issues at play: you do have to be careful about scrutinizing why people make certain judgments about people being threatening,” says Jens Ohlin, a professor at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, N.Y.

 
Chuck Hagel's exit hints at Obama's widening military ambitions

Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel's exit hints at Obama's widening military ambitions

Dan Roberts in Washington and Spencer Ackerman in New York

Rumours abound that Hagel was forced out because his job of winding down US military engagement was rapidly becoming one of winding it back up again

When his criticism of US strategy in Syria leaked last month, the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, said it was important he remained “honest and direct” in his advice to the National Security Council. The long-winded but brutal response he received from the White House on Monday seems to have been anything but that.

It was clear, at least, that Hagel was being sacked, but it was death by platitude: a showering of public praise designed to make it as hard as possible for outsiders to discern precisely what he had done wrong.

“Chuck has been an exemplary defense secretary,” said Obama in an awkward White House departure ceremony. “He is somebody who has served ably and he is somebody in whom the president has the highest respect,” added the press secretary, Josh Earnest, in a public briefing for reporters.

But behind the scenes, senior administration officials did nothing to counter rumours of a more troubling explanation. Hagel was forced out because his job of winding down US military engagement in the Middle East was rapidly becoming one of winding it back up again.

“The priorities of the department, or at least of the new secretary, have changed given changes in the international community,” said Earnest in one of his more candid explanations. “It doesn’t mean that Secretary Hagel hasn’t done an excellent job of managing these crises as they have cropped up but it does mean that as we consider the remaining two years of the president’s time in office that another secretary might be better suited to meet those challenges.”

Privately, one official confirmed that Hagel’s departure was all “about the politics” of national security during the final phase of the Obama presidency. Susan Rice, the national security adviser, was the recipient of Hagel’s memo criticising the Syria strategy last month and appears to have been behind the ousting.

 
Obama, Ferguson, and the Torments of Liberalism

Obama, Ferguson, and the Torments of Liberalism

By Jonathan Chait

President Obama’s remarks last night on the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, will not be recorded by history as a stirring piece of rhetoric. But in a small way, it managed to capture the narratives swirling around the tragic events. And it encapsulated the eternal dilemma of the liberal, carefully balancing ideological pressure, which is always more acute in furious times.

The competing realities Obama was attempting to balance include the following:

  1. There is a wide-scale, if not universal, problem with racially biased policing. Those problems can and must be addressed politically.
  2. While Ferguson has a demonstrable record of racially biased policing, the shooting of Michael Brown may or may not be a case of this in action. (Obama elided any factual judgment of the Brown case, the specifics of which are murky.)
  3. Violent rioting, as opposed to peaceful protest, is both wrong and counterproductive.
I find all those points compelling. Many liberals expressed dismay at the president’s equivocation

One can find a parallel dynamic on the right, which has been unable or unwilling to face up to the systemic racial biases at work around St. Louis. Conservative columnist Dennis Prager makes an incredibly revealing admission about the right’s inability to handle intellectual complexity. Prager’s column about Ferguson endlessly repeats the phrase “moral truth,” flaying liberals for their inability to grasp it. “For every black and every white unwilling to condemn the protests over Michael Brown's killing that took place before any relevant facts came out — their halfhearted condemnation of the riots notwithstanding — truth doesn't matter,” writes Prager, “The protests, riots and liberal condemnations of the white officer began when no one knew anything about the killing.

But, of course, while black residents of Ferguson lack perfect knowledge of how Brown’s killing unfolded, they have deep experience with years of brutal racism at the hands of the authorities. (If you haven’t read Radley Balko’s masterful, infuriating deep-dive overview, please do so.) The very idea of moral complexity is the literal target of Prager’s anger.

It is also true that some elements of the left have had difficulty facing up to the problem caused by rioting.
 
Bill Cosby, UVA, Penn State, Catholic Clergy, and Beyond

Bill Cosby, UVA, Penn State, Catholic Clergy, and Beyond

By Catherine McCall, MS, LMFT

We have been deluged with news reports about sexual assault allegations regarding Bill Cosby this week, and at the same time reports of the mishandling of brutal rape at UVA have been emerging. RAINN reports a 50% increase in calls to its sexual assault hotline as a result of these topics in the media. How can all of this help survivors of childhood sexual abuse?

 
Chuck Schumer joins criticism chorus

Chuck Schumer is shown. | Getty

Chuck Schumer joins criticism chorus

By Burgess Everett

Backlash ensues after top Dem bashes Obamacare strategy.

Democrats’ top message man Chuck Schumer criticized how his own party handled Obamacare’s political strategy on Tuesday, joining a list of prominent Democrats who’ve chastised their own party in recent days as they struggle to come to terms with a crushing defeat earlier this month.

Schumer commented at an event in Washington that Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” by concentrating on health care during the teeth of the recession in 2009 and 2010, calling it a focus on “the wrong problem.”

Already this week Terry McAuliffe accused Democrats of flubbing the midterm elections. Bill Clinton siad the party lacked a “national advertising campaign.” And the White House and Democratic leadership started trading volleys just hours after the polls closed.

The self criticism from high-profile Democrats comes right after a bruising election season that cost them the Senate, seats in the House and has left the party debating what their message should be ahead of 2016.

The timing of the comments from Schumer particularly stung as the party prepares to wave goodbye to several more defeated Democrats who voted for the health care bill.

“It’s a gut punch for a member of leadership who’s supposed to be our message guy to throw his colleagues under the bus like this purely for self-promotion,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide after Schumer’s speech. “There’s no question the politics of ACA have been challenging, but millions of people now have health care who didn’t have it before and that’s something Democrats should be proud of and working together to defend – not using as a backboard to score cheap self-promotional points.”

 
Mike Huckabee Defies Assumptions About GOP 2016 Field

Mike Huckabee Defies Assumptions About GOP 2016 Field

  • By Patrick O'Connor

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has been something of an afterthought in the early coverage of the emerging Republican presidential field.

That might be a little shortsighted, according to the results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released last week.

Mr. Huckabee, who defied expectations in 2008 by winning the Iowa caucuses, is viewed more positively by fellow Republicans than nine potential rivals, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

The numbers alone aren’t enough to nudge the former Arkansas governor into the top-tier of Republicans considering a bid, but they do serve as a reminder that many assumptions about the GOP field are dangerously premature. The Republicans generating the most headlines aren’t necessarily the ones who excited GOP primary voters.

Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, for example, created plenty of buzz by winning re-election in a pair of Rust Belt swing states, but the poll found that more Republicans know (and like) Ben Carson, the retired pediatric neurosurgeon whose criticism of President Barack Obama and the 2010 health law won a devoted following of conservative activists.

Support for all three is bound to fluctuate once the race gets under way – provided each runs – because half of the country doesn’t know them. In fact, at this point, the emerging field can be divided into three tiers: Republicans most Americans know, Republicans Americans are still getting to know and Republicans Americans are meeting for the first time.

Mr. Huckabee counts himself among the first group. Roughly four-of-five American adults know the former Arkansas governor well enough to form an opinion about him. Overall, 25% viewed him positively, on par with the 24% who viewed him negatively.

 
Ferguson violence broke the mold in three ways

Ferguson violence broke the mold in three ways — one of which is just unfolding now

A young man kneels before a line of Los Angeles police officers about to charge at protesters reacting to a grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict a white police officer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo.

Even as the president, live from the White House, said “there is inevitably going to be some negative reaction, and it will make for good TV,” the news channels split their screens to show police shooting tear-gas canisters at protesters in Ferguson, Mo. — a presidential appeal for calm competing against frightening scenes of angry confrontation.

Monday night’s reaction to a grand jury’s decision not to indict the Ferguson police officer who killed an unarmed young black man in August consisted of peaceful protest in some places and vandalism and looting in others — a burst of violence so widely and persistently predicted that it seemed as much self-fulfilling prophecy as organic expression of rage.

Spontaneous or organized, riots have sporadically pierced the social compact through two and a half centuries of this country’s struggles over equality and opportunity. But August’s violence in Ferguson broke the mold in three important ways — one of which is just unfolding now. These were rare suburban riots, racial violence coming to the very place where many Americans — both white and black — had fled after the urban unrest of the 1960s. These were the most significant explosions of racial frustration since the election of the nation’s first black president, and so Ferguson forced the country out of the fantasy that America had entered a “post-racial” era.

Finally, what distinguishes Ferguson from the crowded historical catalogue of racially-motivated street violence is what has happened in recent weeks: The unseemly buildup to the announcement of the grand jury’s conclusion that no crime was committed in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has produced an expectation of ugliness. What occurred Monday night — and may continue in the days ahead — is rioting as planned event, so pervasively predicted, so extensively prepared for as to obscure the power and meaning of the protests.

 
After Ferguson Announcement, a Racial Divide Remains Over Views of Justice

After Ferguson Announcement, a Racial Divide Remains Over Views of Justice

Paul McLemore, the first African-American to become a New Jersey state trooper, was on the streets of Newark in 1967 when riots following a police beating of a black taxi driver left 26 dead. He spent decades as a civil rights lawyer and years as a municipal judge in Trenton. His wife and children have gone on to enjoy accomplished careers.

“Of course, there’s been a lot of progress” since Newark’s days of rage, he said in an interview on Tuesday. But asked whether a young black man today could find the justice that was believed to be absent in Newark 47 years ago, he gave a response that was starkly different.

“No, period,” he said. “There’s pervasive racism — white racism.”

For whites and blacks alike, that duality may be the takeaway from a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a young black man: Much has changed, and nothing has changed.

A nation with an African-American president and a significant, if struggling, black middle class remains as deeply divided about the justice system as it was decades ago. A Huffington Post-YouGov poll of 1,000 adults released this week found that 62 percent of African-Americans believed Officer Wilson was at fault in the shooting of Mr. Brown, while only 22 percent of whites took that position.

In 1992, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 92 percent of blacks — and 64 percent of whites  — disagreed with the acquittal of the Los Angeles police officers involved in the videotaped beating of a black man, Rodney King.

“What’s striking is just how constant these attitudes have been,” said Carroll Doherty, the director of political research for the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in Washington.

In Pew polls, black mistrust of the police and courts is far more pervasive than it is toward other institutions. However, a Pew poll taken earlier this year suggests that African-Americans under age 40 — the demographic that made up most of the people who took to the streets in Ferguson in August — are much less likely than their elders to believe that racism is the main force blocking blacks’ advancement. 

That whites and blacks disagree so deeply on the justice system, even as some other racial gulfs show signs of closing, is perhaps not as odd as it seems. Decades of changing laws and court decisions mean that the two races now work together, play sports together, attend school together. But they frequently go home to separate worlds where attitudes and experiences toward the police and courts not only are not shared, but are not even understood across the racial divide.

 
Giuliani’s claim: 93 percent of blacks are killed by other blacks

Giuliani’s claim: 93 percent of blacks are killed by other blacks

Giuliani faced major backlash by critics for his comments during a “Meet the Press” segment on the anticipated grand jury decision on whether to indict officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Giuliani’s comment sparked a heated exchange with Georgetown Professor and MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson over policing and crime in black communities.

Referencing a Washington Post analysis, host Chuck Todd asked Giuliani about ways to address discrepancies between the racial makeup of cities’ police forces and the communities they serve. Giuliani pivoted to discuss intraracial homicide in the black community.

After noting how he diversified the New York City police force, Giuliani said it was very disappointing that “we are not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks are killed by other blacks.” The implication was that the so-called black-on-black crime was far more common than white-on-black crime, so the attention should be paid on the former.

It quickly became personal. Giuliani and Dyson talked over each other for most of the 2-minute banter. Eventually, Giuliani uttered the line that went viral almost immediately (“White police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.”) and Dyson fired back at the “defensive mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind, sir.” (That comment also was picked up widely by Dyson’s critics.)

.....................................

Showing a map of cities with the greatest discrepancy between the police racial makeup and the community they serve, Todd asked: “All of those could be future Fergusons. How do you make a police force that looks like the community they serve?”

Giuliani responded by citing a statistic from a 2010 Bureau of Justice Statistics report which did, indeed, conclude that 93 percent of black homicide victims from 1980 through 2008 were killed by black offenders. The statement implied that intraracial violence in black communities is uniquely bad. Giuliani later repeated this statistic in a FOX News interview.

The statement lacks significant context.

As our colleague Philip Bump at The Fix noted, Giuliani omitted the comparable statistic in the report for white homicide victims: 84 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders.

The rate of intraracial homicide in the black community is the reason for the heavy police presence, Giuliani said, and it should be the subject of discussion because it’s so much more prevalent than the shooting of a black victim by a white police officer.

Dyson fired back, calling Giuliani’s explanation “false equivalency” and that police should be held to a higher standard, as they are acting as agents of the state.

In an interview with The Fact Checker, Giuliani agreed that most murders, black or white, are intraracial. Asked why he didn’t note the other half of the statistic in his interview, Giuliani said there “are very few” white intraracial murders compared to black intraracial murders.

It is true that the rate of black homicide victims and offenders were disproportionately represented compared to the general population, the 2011 BJS report found. The black victimization rate (27.8 per 100,000) was six times higher than the white victimization rate (4.5 per 100,000). Black offending rate (34.4 per 100,000) was almost eight times higher than whites (4.5 per 100,000), according to the report.

....................................

“The danger to a black child in America is not a white police officer. That’s going to happen less than 1 percent of the time. The danger to a black child … is another black,” Giuliani said. “If my child was shot by a police officer, I would be very, very frustrated. I’d also be frustrated if my son was shot by a gangster in the street. But if the chances were — that my son would be shot by the gangster in the street — nine times out of 10, I’d spend an awful lot of time on the nine times out of 10.”

 
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