MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Cleveland Wants Tamir Rice's Family to Pay $500 for Their Child's Last Ambulance Ride <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Less than two months after a grand jury <a href="" target="_blank">decided</a> not to indict the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the city has filed a claim saying the boy owed $500 "for emergency medical services rendered as the decedent's last dying expense." In response to the claim, a Rice family attorney <a href="" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>Cleveland Scene</em> that the move "displays a new pinnacle of callousness and insensitivity."</p> <p>The mayor's office could not be reached immediately for comment.</p> <p>Here is the full text of the claim:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2709405-City-of-Cleveland-Creditor-s-Claim-Against-the">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2709405-City-of-Cleveland-Creditor-s-Claim-Against-the" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">City of Cleveland Creditor s Claim Against the Estate of Tamir Rice (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">City of Cleveland Creditor s Claim Against the Estate of Tamir Rice (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:41:01 +0000 Jaeah Lee 296571 at The Justice Department Just Sued Ferguson for "Routine Violation" of Residents' Civil Rights <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The US Justice Department has sued the city of Ferguson, Missouri, following months of "painstaking negotiations" with local officials and more than a year of investigating their alleged discriminatory and unconstitutional practices.</p> <p>The Justice Department <a href="" target="_blank">launched</a> its investigation into the Ferguson Police Department after 18-year-old Michael Brown <a href="" target="_blank">was shot and killed</a> by a Ferguson police officer in August 2014, sparking months of protest across the country and public outcry over the use of deadly and excessive force by the police.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch <a href="" target="_blank">announced</a> that the Justice Department was filing a lawsuit against Ferguson<strong> </strong>one day after the city council rejected a proposed settlement that sought to "remedy literally years of systematic deficiencies." The Justice Department spent more than six months negotiating a settlement with local officials after it identified widespread civil rights violations and racial discrimination in the Ferguson Police<strong> </strong>Department's stops, searches, and arrests. It also alleges that local court proceedings <a href="" target="_blank">violated the due process </a>of residents. The city council's rejection of the agreement, Lynch said, "leaves us no further choice."</p> <p>Here is the full text of the lawsuit:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2709268-Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//"></script><script> DV.load("", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2709268-Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit" }); </script><noscript> <a href="">Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit (PDF)</a> <br><a href="">Ferguson-DOJ-Lawsuit (Text)</a> </noscript> <p>Here's the full text of Lynch's remarks:</p> <blockquote> <p>Good afternoon and thank you all for being here. I am joined by Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.</p> <p>Nearly a year ago, the Department of Justice released our findings in an investigation of the Police Department of Ferguson, Missouri. Our investigation uncovered a community in distress, in which residents felt under assault by their own police force. The Ferguson Police Department&rsquo;s violations were expansive and deliberate. They violated the Fourth Amendment by stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without cause and using unreasonable force. They made enforcement decisions based on the way individuals expressed themselves and unnecessarily escalated non-threatening situations. These violations were not only egregious &ndash; they were routine. They were encouraged by the city in the interest of raising revenue. They were driven, at least in part, by racial bias and occurred disproportionately against African-American residents. And they were profoundly and fundamentally unconstitutional. These findings were based upon information received from Ferguson&rsquo;s own citizens, from Ferguson&rsquo;s own records and from Ferguson&rsquo;s own officials. And they demonstrated a clear pattern or practice of violations of the Constitution and federal law.</p> <p>After announcing our findings one year ago, we began negotiations with the city of Ferguson on a court-enforceable consent decree that would bring about necessary police and court reform. From the outset, we made clear that our goal was to reach an agreement to avoid litigation. But we also made clear that if there was no agreement, we would be forced to go to court to protect the rights of Ferguson residents. Painstaking negotiations lasted more than 26 weeks as we sought to remedy literally years of systematic deficiencies. A few weeks ago, the Department of Justice and Ferguson&rsquo;s own negotiators came to an agreement that was both fair and cost-effective &ndash; and that would provide all the residents of Ferguson the constitutional and effective policing and court practices guaranteed to all Americans. As agreed, it was presented to the Ferguson City Council for approval or rejection. And last night, the city council rejected the consent decree approved by their own negotiators. Their decision leaves us no further choice.</p> <p>Today, the Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, alleging a pattern or practice of law enforcement conduct that violates the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution and federal civil rights laws. We intend to aggressively prosecute this case and I have no doubt that we will prevail.</p> <p>The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe. They have waited nearly a year for their police department to accept rules that would ensure their constitutional rights and that thousands of other police departments follow every day. They have waited nearly a year for their municipal courts to commit to basic, reasonable rules and standards. But as our report made clear, the residents of Ferguson have suffered the deprivation of their constitutional rights &ndash; the rights guaranteed to all Americans &ndash; for decades. They have waited decades for justice. They should not be forced to wait any longer.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Politics Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity police Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:27:22 +0000 Jaeah Lee 296556 at Clinton's Surrogates Are Banking on the Gun Issue to Win Over Black Voters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After her sound defeat&nbsp;in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, former Sen. Hillary Clinton is looking ahead to the primary in South Carolina, where she hopes her record and rhetoric on gun control will impress black voters and propel her to victory over <span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">Sen. Bernie Sanders of </span>Vermont.</p> <p>In a conference call Wednesday, Congressman Hakeem&nbsp;Jeffries joined Hazel Dukes&mdash;the former NAACP president<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;"> and current president of the civil rights group's New York State Conference&mdash;</span>and South Carolina state minority leader J. Todd Rutherford to promote Clinton and to cite the inexperience of her rival. The three criticized&nbsp;Sanders as a newcomer to issues important to&nbsp;black voters, and condemned what they called his inferior record on gun control and criminal-justice reform.</p> <p>"I've watched Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail and seen how he only really started talking about issues concerning African Americans&nbsp;in the past 40 days," Rutherford said. "Secretary Clinton has talked about these same issues, and advocated for us, for the last 40 years."</p> <p>They also slammed Sanders for only recently moving over to the Democratic party, for voting <a href="" target="_blank">in favor</a> of&nbsp;the infamous 1994 Violent Crimes Bill, and for voting for an amendment that Jeffries claimed would have allowed Charleston shooter Dylann Roof to obtain a handgun before the completion of a background check.</p> <p>"We know that Hillary Clinton has consistently stood up against the gun lobby, and spoken out against the epidemic of gun violence in the African American community and beyond. The record of Bernie Sanders is very different," Jeffries said.&nbsp;"He's twice voted to shield gun manufacturers, who I often refer to as 'merchants of death;' he voted to overturn a ban on guns on Amtrak trains; he voted to make it harder to crack down on gun dealers who break the law; he even voted for an amendment that would&nbsp;have allowed, or which allowed, of course, the Charleston shooter to get a gun before his background check is completed." If you compare Clinton and Sanders on the issue of gun violence and how it affects the black community, Jeffries added, "it's not even a close call."</p> <p>Jeffries, Rutherford, and Dukes answered reporters' questions about Clinton's own, <a href="" target="_blank">arguably dubious</a>, track record on&nbsp;issues that affect black communities&mdash;including her "<a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiFxf25gu7KAhWIaT4KHQ95CV8QtwIIIzAB&amp;;usg=AFQjCNHuEjLBaiAND2g0eXdPapSfraDWbA&amp;sig2=E6aMfE0Uf2Do-xj28FZQkA&amp;bvm=bv.113943665,d.cWw" target="_blank">superpredator</a>" comments&mdash;with praise of her political experience and her platform for economic justice. But the overarching theme of the call was that Clinton, unlike Sanders&mdash;who represents a <a href="" target="_blank">predominantly white state</a>&mdash;has always been a visible presence in the black community.</p> <p>"It's good to have new friends, but I would rather have true friends," Jeffries said.</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:06:55 +0000 Miles E. Johnson 296551 at The Supreme Court Just Did Serious Damage to the Fight Against Climate Change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The Supreme Court dealt a blow to President Barack Obama's climate agenda Tuesday evening by <a href="" target="_blank">putting his flagship greenhouse gas emissions rules on hold</a>. In a 5-4 ruling, the justices granted the stay in response to a lawsuits by coal companies and two dozen coal-reliant states. The plaintiffs have argued that by setting new limits on carbon pollution from power plants, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is overstepping its authority to control the electricity sector.</p> <p>The ruling is far from a death knell for the Clean Power Plan, as the policy is known. Rather, it allows power companies and state official to hold off on preparing for the new regulations until the courts decide whether the administration went too far. The cases will most likely end up in front of the Supreme Court sometime next year, so there's still plenty of time before the plan's fate is sealed.</p> <p>According to Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, the Court's track record on EPA regulations is pretty favorable for environmentalists.</p> <p>"Every regulation from EPA is attacked legally," she said. "There might be delays, but there is almost always a rule that come out the other end."</p> <p>But in the meantime, the ruling could throw a wrench in the delicate diplomacy surrounding the global climate agreement reached in Paris in December. One defining feature of the Paris summit that made it the most successful round of climate talks in two decades was the leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry and other US officials. It was the Clean Power Plan that gave other countries confidence that the US was finally willing to do something about its own massive carbon footprint. In other words, the plan was supposed to be Obama's proof that the US would follow through on its Paris promises. Now, the trust of other big polluters&mdash;China, India, the European Union&mdash;could be shaken. That could have a chilling effect on climate action around the globe.</p> <p>"I think the stay raises doubts in other countries' minds," said Jake Schmidt, international program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "I'm already getting a lot of questions and confusion [from policy analysts abroad]. There will be a lot of outreach to explain what this really means."</p> <p>Their concerns may well be justified&mdash;even if the Supreme Court ultimately does rule in favor of the administration. That's because, regardless of the case's final outcome, yesterday's stay will make the Clean Power Plan more vulnerable if a Republican wins the presidential election in November. All of the leading GOP candidates have vowed to roll back Obama's climate agenda. (Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both promised to carry it forward.)</p> <p>The problem is the timeline, explained Robert Stavins, director of Harvard's Environmental Economics program. Until yesterday, state regulators and power companies were in the early stages of putting together their plans to comply with the regulation. But with the stay in place, power companies can push off the investments and upgrades required by the plan&mdash;switching coal-fired power plants to natural gas, improving efficiency on the electric grid, building more wind and solar energy, etc. That means that by the time the next president takes office, the power companies will have sunk less capital into implementing the plan, and will have less incentive to see it survive than if they had already made those investments, Stavins said. With that potential roadblock out of the way, a Republican president would have an easier time killing the plan.</p> <p>"That's a subtle chain of causality, but it's the one that&mdash;if understood&mdash;may reasonably cause concern to other countries regarding the ability of the USA to live up to its [Paris promises]," Stavins said.</p> <p>Still, at least in the short term, the US doesn't need the Clean Power Plan to follow through on its initial Paris commitments, Schmidt said. The US will be required to submit its first progress report under the agreement in 2020, a couple years before the Clean Power Plan was originally scheduled to take effect. Moreover, he said, even if countries such as China and India are spooked by the Supreme Court's new ruling, they're unlikely to jump ship on their own climate plans.</p> <p>"When you look at what's happened over the past couple years, it's really hopeful that the US is moving forward," Schmidt said. "But most countries aren't moving forward solely on the basis of what the US is doing."</p></body></html> Environment Climate Change Climate Desk Energy International Supreme Court Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:08:26 +0000 Tim McDonnell 296516 at Coming Soon: The Bush-Kasich Death Match <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>So far, the Republican presidential contest has been like a Quentin Tarantino film in which the main characters end up in a circular firing squad or a multisided Mexican standoff and don't know whom to target&mdash;or from which direction an attack might come. Donald Trump has rotated the target of his volleys, and the other Republican contenders have often seemed puzzled whether to go after the front-runner or focus on a candidate who is a more direct competitor for a certain slice of the GOP electorate.</p> <p>Trump, at different times, has needled Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz. Bush, at one point, attempted&mdash;feebly&mdash; to take a poke at Trump. Bush and Marco Rubio have tangled with each other. Cruz and Rubio have done the same. On Saturday night, in the most consequential clash of the campaign, Chris Christie unloaded on Rubio during the New Hampshire debate, forcing the one-term senator to commit a blunder that may have derailed his campaign permanently. Trump, Cruz, Kasich, and Bush&mdash;especially Bush&mdash;no doubt appreciated this greatly, though the harsh assault did not help Christie, who on Wednesday <a href="" target="_blank">appeared set to suspend his campaign</a>. As the non-Trump field has shifted, the one-on-ones have changed. And with the New Hampshire results, it seems inevitable that a coming matchup will pit Kasich against Bush.</p> <p>This could be an odd battle. Kasich placed second in New Hampshire, Bush came in fourth, and both are governors (Bush is an ex-) who emphasize their policy chops and claim they want to stay positive. (Bush has referred to immigration to the United States as an <a href="" target="_blank">"act of love,"</a> and Kasich, as part of his campaign pitch, has <a href="" target="_blank">called</a> on people to slow down and listen more to each other.) Both are from and pals of the GOP establishment. Both tout their executive experience and claim to have reasonable demeanors. Both seek to win the fancy of moderate, suburban Republicans. Each probably cannot survive long in the race without knocking the other out&mdash;sooner rather than later.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2016/02/coming-soon-bush-kasich-death-match"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics 2016 Elections Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:01:25 +0000 David Corn 296531 at Carly Fiorina Drops Out of the Presidential Race <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After finishing seventh in both the Iowa caucuses and Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced Wednesday that she's suspending her campaign for the Republican nomination for president:</p> <center> <div id="fb-root">&nbsp;</div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="" data-width="500"> <div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"> <blockquote cite=""> <p>This campaign was always about citizenship&mdash;taking back our country from a political class that only serves the big, the...</p> Posted by <a href="">Carly Fiorina</a> on&nbsp;<a href="">Wednesday, February 10, 2016</a></blockquote> </div> </div> </center></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Wed, 10 Feb 2016 20:20:50 +0000 AJ Vicens 296541 at Does Obama Still Have That Old-Time Magic? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In a few minutes President Obama will be back in Springfield making a speech addressed to his supporters. "You've taken on the painstaking work of progress," he says. "You've helped us find that middle ground where real change is won....I hope you'll tune in today at 2:30 p.m. Eastern." <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/Blog_Obama_FDR.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">Andrew Sprung figures this is basically going to be <a href="" target="_blank">an endorsement of Hillary Clinton:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Obama just sent an email to supporters announcing a speech to be delivered this afternoon. I imagine it will be a message "for" Clinton&nbsp;&mdash; both to support her and to model a coherent pitch for incremental change.</p> <p>....Then there's "the painstaking work of progress" and the 'middle ground where real change is won." Those are memes pointed at this moment, in which the frontrunners in both parties are calling for radical, fundamental change.... Incrementalism is a tough sell, but Obama has made it throughout his career, and he does so more effectively than Clinton. He's more successful because he's better at articulating the long-term goal and how the incremental steps move toward them, as well as the historical framework in which those steps fit.</p> </blockquote> <p>But will it work? Personally, I've always viewed Obama as a cautious, pragmatic, mainstream liberal. But his strongest supporters never saw him that way. They really believed he was going to revolutionize Washington DC and end all the bickering. He'd pass universal health care, rein in Wall Street once and for all, and stop climate change in its tracks.</p> <p>But he didn't. And the conventional wisdom says that his supporters from 2007&mdash;when he first went to Springfield to announce his candidacy&mdash;are disappointed in him. He turned out to be just another go-along-get-along guy, and now he wants to foist a go-along-get-along gal on us. Sorry. No sale. We're feeling the Bern these days.</p> <p>We'll see. But I will say this: If Obama really wants to help Hillary Clinton, he can't afford too much subtlety. Any criticism of radical change will be read by liberals as primarily an attack on Donald Trump unless he makes it crystal clear what he's talking about. Tune in at 2:30 and find out!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 19:21:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 296536 at Kasich's Spiritual Adviser Thinks Gay Rights Activists Are Fascist "Thought Nazis" <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After his strong second-place finish in the New Hampshire Republican primary Tuesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is being lauded as the race's most viable compassionate conservative and an antidote to candidates such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Donald Trump who have campaigned on their harshness toward, well, just about everyone.</p> <p>But Kasich's views on social issues aren't so far apart from those of the rest of the GOP field. Take gay rights and gay marriage, issues for which Kasich is considered more moderate than his opponents. Kasich won kudos in August for his <a href="" target="_blank">thoughtful response</a> during a Republican debate to a question about gay marriage. He said that while he doesn't agree with the idea in principle, that didn't keep him from attending the same-sex wedding of a good friend. He also insisted that if one of his daughters turned out to be gay, he would certainly still love her. Kasich called on people to "treat everybody with respect and let them share in this great American dream."</p> <p>Despite his calls for tolerance, Kasich is part of a religious community that was built almost entirely on opposition to liberalized religious views on gays and lesbians. Kasich attends <a href="" target="_blank">St. Augustine Anglican Church</a>, in Westerville, Ohio, a church that was created in 2011 as part of a splinter group, the <a href="" target="_blank">Anglican Church in North America</a>, that broke with the Episcopal Church after it ordained Gene Robinson, a gay man, as a bishop. Kasich's denomination doesn't allow women to serve as bishops or ordain gays and lesbians as clergy, as it considers noncelibate homosexual relationships to be sinful.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2016/02/kasichs-spiritual-advisor-called-gay-rights-activists-fascists"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Elections Gay Rights Religion Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:51:54 +0000 Stephanie Mencimer 296501 at Here's Why Bernie Sanders Doesn't Say Much About Welfare Reform <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Clio Chang and Samuel Adler-Bell want to know why Bernie Sanders hasn't spent more time blasting the Clinton-era welfare reform law and proposing <a href="" target="_blank">concrete ways to address poverty:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>While Sanders frequently repeats and laments the statistic that one in five American children live in poverty, neither he nor Clinton has put forward a specific plan to address it. And neither spends much time talking about food stamps, housing subsidies, or the Earned Income Tax Credit, all essential programs for the poor.</p> <p>Liberal pundits have criticized Clinton for defending her husband&rsquo;s welfare legislation&mdash;and for parroting the conservative caricature of welfare beneficiaries as "deadbeats"&mdash;but so far, it hasn&rsquo;t created any serious problems for her campaign. But this, perhaps, is to be expected from a more moderate Democrat. <strong>The oversight is arguably a more glaring problem for Sanders, who voted against the welfare bill and harshly condemned it in his 1997 book, but hasn&rsquo;t made it an issue in the primary.</strong> In August, he told Bloomberg, with uncharacteristic restraint, "I think that history will suggest that that legislation has not worked terribly well."</p> </blockquote> <p>One reason for this restraint may be simple: perhaps Sanders believes that the best approach to poverty is to enact his broad economic revolution. Once that's done, poverty will start to decrease.</p> <p>But there's another possible reason: maybe welfare reform has turned out not to be an especially big deal. After all, by 1996 the old AFDC program accounted for <a href="" target="_blank">only about $20 billion in spending,</a> a tiny fraction of total welfare spending&mdash;and the difference between AFDC spending and the TANF spending that took its place is <a href="" target="_blank">even more minuscule.</a> The truth is that it's barely noticeable compared to <em>increases</em> in social welfare spending during the 90s from changes to CHIP, EITC, the minimum wage, and so forth.</p> <p>On that score, it's worth taking a look at social welfare spending more broadly. But what's the best way? We spend just shy of a trillion dollars a year on social welfare and safety net programs, but that number bounces up and down when the economy goes into recession and more people need help. That tells us more about the economic cycle than it does about anti-poverty programs. Instead, we need to look at spending per person in poverty. This gives us a better idea of how <em>policy</em> has responded to poverty over the past few decades. So here it is:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_welfare_spending.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 13px;"></p> <p>I chose 150 percent of the poverty level as my metric, but the truth is that it doesn't matter much. This chart looks pretty much the same whether you show total spending, per capita spending, or spending per family below the poverty level. If you remove Medicaid from the mix, the spending increase isn't as steep but otherwise looks little different.</p> <p>There are two obvious takeaways from this. First, overall spending on social welfare programs has increased by 3x since 1980. That's pretty substantial. Second, if the 1996 welfare reform act had any effect on this steady rise in spending, you'd need a chart the size of my house to make it out. Perhaps Bernie Sanders knows this, and understands that in the great scheme of things, welfare reform just isn't worth fighting over anymore.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 10 Feb 2016 18:24:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 296521 at Two Prominent Black Intellectuals Just Delivered More Bad News for Clinton <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>After a crushing loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton may be having an even worse morning. As her campaign turns to South Carolina, where she hopes to win the primary with the support of African American voters on February 27, two prominent black intellectuals issued forceful statements Wednesday morning that could boost her rival, Bernie Sanders.</p> <p>"I will be voting for Sen. Sanders," Ta-Nehisi Coates, a correspondent for <em>The</em> <em>Atlantic </em>and the author of the 2015 National Book Award winner <em>Between the World and Me,</em> said Wednesday in an <a href="" target="_blank">interview</a> on <em>Democracy Now!</em> Coates has written critically of Sanders recently for not embracing reparations for African Americans as part of his economic and social justice platform.</p> <p>A much stronger rebuke of Clinton came from Michelle Alexander, the author of <em>The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness</em>, who blasted the former secretary of state in an <a href="" target="_blank">essay</a> published Wednesday on the website of <em>The Nation </em>titled "Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote." In it, Alexander argued that the economic and criminal justice policies of the Bill Clinton administration, from the 1994 crime bill to welfare reform in 1996, were devastating to African Americans&mdash;and that Hillary Clinton was a force in that administration whose role should be scrutinized and whose current positions on criminal justice and racial equality are not strong enough.</p> <p>Ironically, perhaps, Alexander cites Coates at the end of the essay in also critiquing Sanders.</p> <blockquote> <p>This is not an endorsement for Bernie Sanders, who after all voted for the 1994 crime bill. I also tend to agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates that the way the Sanders campaign handled the question of reparations is one of many signs that Bernie doesn't quite get what's at stake in serious dialogues about racial justice. He was wrong to dismiss reparations as "divisive," as though centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination, ghettoization, and stigmatization aren't worthy of any specific acknowledgement or remedy.</p> <p>But recognizing that Bernie, like Hillary, has blurred vision when it comes to race is not the same thing as saying their views are equally problematic. Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare-reform law. He also opposed bank deregulation and the Iraq War, both of which Hillary supported, and both of which have proved disastrous. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.</p> </blockquote> <p>Coates and Alexander are by no means the first black intellectuals to express skepticism of Clinton and endorse Sanders. Princeton University professor Cornel West, for example, has campaigned with Sanders. On Wednesday morning, Sanders <a href="" target="_blank">traveled to Harlem</a> to have breakfast with the Rev. Al Sharpton.</p> <p>Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="" target="_blank">reported</a> that Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the most prominent black politician in South Carolina, is considering endorsing Clinton. She still has plenty of backing in the black political establishment. But the comments from Coates and Alexander Wednesday are a sign that the degree of support Clinton is counting on from the black community might be slipping away, and that she may not be able to sew up the black vote in South Carolina, as her supporters have long predicted.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Crime and Justice Hillary Clinton bernie sanders Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:55:55 +0000 Pema Levy 296511 at