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Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 72,095

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Sad, Ron Dellums isn't with us anymore

________________________________

...the former congressman was an inspiration at a time when I first began looking to see who in government actually represented me and my interests.

Repeating an old narrative of mine... when I was a young adult, there were just a few black legislators in Congress, including Ron Dellums, who died Monday at age 82. I still recall the mere handful of blacks I found in Congress when I first explored the Capitol. That didn't change quickly or a great deal over my subsequent years visiting there.

It wasn't until 1990 that we actually saw a significant influx of minorities elected to Congress, enabled by the 1990 census Democrats fought to reform and manage (along with their earlier fight for an extension of the Voting Rights Act which Bush I vetoed five times before trading his signature on the bill for votes for Clarence Thomas) which allowed court-ordered redistricting to double the number of districts with black majorities.

At any rate, I distinctly remember seeing the Rep. Ron Dellums and his nice fro, ever present on the nearly empty House floor, bouncing around here and there with a sheaf of papers in his hand. I had imagined at the time that there were many more like him in the wings, however, there were only a dozen or so black congressmen and women from the 70's to the 90's, including Rep. Dellums.


13 founding members of the newly formed CBC (Ron Dellums, the tallest)

Advantaged by redistricting gains, about 90 African Americans have been elected to Congress since 1971. So, Rep. Dellums was in quite an elite group of groundbreakers and pathmakers.

Rep. Dellums had position on the House Armed Services Committee, and he was a strong advocate at the time for reductions in the military budget, and organized against U.S. war crimes in Vietnam in '71. Dellums also sued George W. Bush over his 1991 military invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Dellums also introduced the first bill calling for sanctions to confront South African apartheid.

It's remarkable just how confident, capable, and determined many black folks like Ron Dellums were in that still dark, but emerging period in our history as they kept their heads well above the water; making leaps and bounds in their personal and professional lives, then, turning right around and giving it all back to their communities in the gift of their expertise and labor.

Ron Dellums was from a generation where the fight for 'civil rights' was an actual and active defense of his rights of citizenship. He grew up in an era where those rights were under daily denial and attack, and emerged as a primary defender of those rights for all Americans; as a marine; as an activist; as a legislator.

That's a beautiful thing, and something we can all emulate in our own lives. Inspire the next generation as Mr. Dellums sought to, by dedicating ourselves to bettering our communities, even as we endeavor to better ourselves.

RIP, Congressman Dellums.



Progressive politics should not be given short shrift in Democratic elections

...reposted from another thread.


I'm sympathetic to the concerns of managing the right wing voters in conservative majority states. Winning is important, and even more so today.

What I'm not understanding is the way primary challenges are being received here. Maybe it does have something to do with the need to mollify conservatives in red states. I'll take folks' word for it.

But here's the thing. Treating progressives in your state like unwanted stepchildren, while giving fealty and political room for conservatives, means that you'll have an increasing reliance on conservative votes, and lessened support from progressive voters.

It's a needless cycle of unnecessary and self-actualizing compromising on Democratic values. That's likely why there are challenges from the left (if they're occurring in your red state). At some point, Democrats need to decide what their party and leaders stand for, outside of getting elected. Even in this perilous moment in history, those values translate into real life consequences for those who can't get their needs represented by their legislators, and transcend elections.

People aren't going to allow their needs to be held hostage to someone's cynical political agenda. Put your political formula for holding a red state seat in front of someone who wanted their Senator or rep to vote for a progressive concern not supported by a conservative electorate. Tell them where in those paragraphs their needs are going to be addressed.

I'd be more concerned, as a candidate, with those in our party who feel our leadership has made political compromises on their lives, than with the prospect that some conservative might not vote for me. That's the way I'd organize my politics. Maybe these conservative state's pols can find a way to assert progressive values and garner support from voters.

It's a mistake, folly to regard progressive challengers as a threat, while giving credence to the idea of mollifying conservative voters. Perhaps the progressive challengers can help advance those progressive ideals in your state, even if they don't prevail over their Democratic challenger, even if they manage to defeat them in the primary.

If they do generate more of a following, it would behoove 'moderate,' conservative Dems to recognize the concerns of their supporters. That's how you build political coalitions and expand your voter base with progressives, not just holding a crap shoot every election hoping appealing to unprincipled and discredited conservative politics and policy for votes wins the day.

Trump's trampling all over Barack Obama's success in increasing NATO spending in 2014

...Merkel and Obama organized an increase in NATO spending in 2014 at the summit in Wales.

The clincher here is that it was in response to Putin's Russia invading and annexing Crimea. Russia was kicked out of what was the G8 for the invasion and occupation.

Of course, Trump was reported in June privately telling G7 members that Crimea belonged to Russia because everyone speaks Russian there, and questioned why the U.S. supported Ukraine, calling the country 'corrupt.' He was also publicly calling for Russia to be readmitted to the world economic body.

Kind of puts his blathering at the NATO dinner about Germany's oil deals with Russian in a curious light. Aside from his strange outburst at dinner about the relationship, what are the organizing principles behind asking our ALLIES to spend more on defense?

It's not as if our own spending on weapons, soldiers, and war is going to decrease as NATO countries' spending rises. That's not even remotely likely to happen. Our nation's military spending is intractably determined by our own interests - public and private appropriations and investments keep America at the pinnacle of every other nation's spending on their defense.

Here's the thing: Trump's pulling away from the decades-long alliances with NATO members without any understanding given to the body that it's part of some U.S. initiative, or some clear shift in policy. It's baffling why he's doing this, except as some kind of corrupt power play, posturing against our allies while sidling up to Russia.

I don't think it's just happenstance, either, that Russia and the key measures of U.S. resolve against Putin's aggression are being trampled all over by Trump's public badgering of our NATO allies. I also don't think he's finished trying to rehabilitate the Russian dictatorship, despite clear evidence they attacked our election process.

The contrast with the manner Pres. Obama went about encouraging more from our allies, to Trump's belligerent display is stunning. Here are his remarks in Wales, in 2014:

Excerpt Remarks by President Obama at NATO Summit Press Conference, 2014

_____We’ve met at a time of transition and a time of testing. After more than a decade, NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan is coming to an end. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine threatens our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. In the Middle East, the terrorist threat from ISIL poses a growing danger. Here at this summit, our Alliance has summoned the will, the resources and the capabilities to meet all of these challenges.

First and foremost, we have reaffirmed the central mission of the Alliance. Article 5 enshrines our solemn duty to each other -- “an armed attack against one…shall be considered an attack against them all.” This is a binding, treaty obligation. It is non-negotiable. And here in Wales, we’ve left absolutely no doubt -- we will defend every Ally.

Second, we agreed to be resolute in reassuring our Allies in Eastern Europe. Increased NATO air patrols over the Baltics will continue. Rotations of additional forces throughout Eastern Europe for training and exercises will continue. Naval patrols in the Black Sea will continue. And all 28 NATO nations agreed to contribute to all of these measures -- for as long as necessary.

Third, to ensure that NATO remains prepared for any contingency, we agreed to a new Readiness Action Plan. The Alliance will update its defense planning. We will create a new highly ready Rapid Response Force that can be deployed on very short notice. We’ll increase NATO’s presence in Central and Eastern Europe with additional equipment, training, exercises and troop rotations. And the $1 billion initiative that I announced in Warsaw will be a strong and ongoing U.S. contribution to this plan.

Fourth, all 28 NATO nations have pledged to increase their investments in defense and to move toward investing 2 percent of their GDP in our collective security. These resources will help NATO invest in critical capabilities, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and missile defense. And this commitment makes clear that NATO will not be complacent. Our Alliance will reverse the decline in defense spending and rise to meet the challenges that we face in the 21st century.

Fifth, our Alliance is fully united in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and its right to defend itself. To back up this commitment, all 28 NATO Allies will now provide security assistance to Ukraine. This includes non-lethal support to the Ukrainian military -- like body armor, fuel and medical care for wounded Ukrainian troops -- as well as assistance to help modernize Ukrainian forces, including logistics and command and control.

Here in Wales, we also sent a strong message to Russia that actions have consequences. Today, the United States and Europe are finalizing measures to deepen and broaden our sanctions across Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors. At the same time, we strongly support President Poroshenko’s efforts to pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict in his country. The cease-fire announced today can advance that goal, but only if there is follow-through on the ground. Pro-Russian separatists must keep their commitments and Russia must stop its violations of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity...

full remarks: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/05/remarks-president-obama-nato-summit-press-conference


Barack was all about organizing our allies against Russian aggression. That's a good part of what he relied on to motivate our allies to heightened defense, against Russian aggression, not just U.S. self-interest.

We can be as certain that this president is doing his best to dismantle our NATO alliances, ostensibly, transparently to further Trump's mission to lower our nation's guard - and that of our allies, as well - against continuing, active, possibly escalating Russian interference and aggression in our nations.
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