Obama Briefed On Ferguson Riots, Dances The Night Away

Briefly briefed

(The Hill) President Obama was briefed by top administration officials Wednesday night as protests over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager turned violent in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Then, party time!

President Barack Obama attended a birthday celebration for Ann Jordan at the Farm Neck Golf Club in Martha’s Vinyard on Wednesday night where, as the official press briefing puts it, the Obamas “danced nearly every song” and “a good time was had by all.”

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The president was slammed by his critics for attending the lavish party as unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, seemingly neared a boiling point as police and protesters clashed for the fourth night in a row following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

There’s actually a press release from Team O regarding the party. People were not impressed

Lest you think this is just some Glenn Beck The Blaze Outrage, neither the Huffington Post nor Vox were impressed by Obama partying.

Meanwhile, several reporters were arrested in Ferguson, in what looks to be an abuse of power by the Ferguson police. Salon’s usually unhinged Joan Walsh makes an interesting point

The news and images from the conflict between a stunningly militarized police force and peaceful community protesters in Ferguson, Mo. were horrifying Wednesday night, even before reporters from the Washington Post and Huffington Post were arrested, and MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee was tear gassed and terrorized.

Let’s be clear: Michael Brown’s killing remains the horror here, but the cops’ continued brutality, against peaceful protesters and reporters, has been appalling. Every news anchor should broadcast from Ferguson on Thursday. (snip)

But (Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund) also made the important point that the militarization of the Ferguson police is something entirely new and enormously disturbing. The images Wednesday night should wake all of us up to the alarming militarization of local cops all over the country. How did a local police department get tanks and trucks and body armor that look like it all was designed for the streets of Baghdad and not a little city outside St. Louis?

Good questions. Here’s where Joan runs off the rails a bit

Michael Brown’s killing was awful enough, but the Ferguson police department’s crude and brutal crackdown on protest reminds us that the so-called war on terror is now terrorizing innocent people – in this country too.

I do have to ask, what are the police supposed to do when citizens are in the streets rioting, stealing, vandalizing, breaking into stores, throwing Molotov cocktails, etc? One of my favorite liberal blogs, The Maha Blog, asks a good question

As Walsh says, political leadership seems entirely absent, and the out-of-control cops are arresting reporters guilty of charging up their laptops at a McDonald’s. Yep, this should wake all of us up. Probably won’t, though.

While the police certainly have a duty to respond, and wear protective garments, it is very concerning that so many police forces have so much military grade materials, weapons, and vehicles. To paraphrase what I wrote in her comments, this is not a Left or Right issue, it is something we should all be concerned with. But, will anything come of that concern? What was the end result of the Snowden releases regarding domestic spying? Has anything actually been fixed?


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Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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