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Obama Fetes Black Lives Matter Leaders at White House Summit

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Anyone doubting the influence of the loosely-knit band of demagogues known as Black Lives Matter couldn’t have been in the vicinity of the White House last Thursday.  That’s where President Obama hosted a meeting with top black officials and civil rights leaders on the subject of race and criminal justice.  Among the attendees were National Action Network’s Al Sharpton, National Urban League President Marc Morial, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Black Lives Matter activists DeRay McKesson and Brittany Packnett.

Obama defends the presence of the latter pair as reaching across generations.  Yet the root assumption of the whole summit is that white lives don’t matter.  Whatever “reforms” that result are likely to make the nation’s streets meaner for everyone. 

National Legal and Policy Center early in January described the origins and motives behind Black Lives Matter (BLM).  The group was launched in July 2013 by three black female community activists in the immediate wake of a wholly justified decision by a Florida trial jury not to convict a white neighborhood crime patrol volunteer, George Zimmerman, for murder in the death of a black teenaged attacker, Trayvon Martin.  In short order, Black Lives Matter has rewritten the rules of racial agitprop.  Having learned the lessons of the maestros of chaos, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, the organization, now with nearly 30 chapters nationwide, has applied those lessons at hundreds of highly inflammatory protests in cities and on college campuses across the country.  The intent is to punish acts of “white racism” that otherwise would go unpunished.     

Black Lives Matter has no official headquarters.  The decentralized group frames its appeal mainly to young, excitable and gullible blacks adept at navigating social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  BLM played a central role in organizing and escalating street protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the August 2014 fatal shooting of a local 18-year-old, Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer, Darren Wilson.  Evidence overwhelmingly showed that Brown, far from an “unarmed” gentle giant shot from behind while attempting to surrender, twice had tried to murder Officer Wilson only moments before.  That’s why a grand jury did not indict Wilson.  Having heard and reviewed evidence for some three months, the jury realized there was nothing to prosecute.  Al Sharpton, having arrived in the St. Louis area for an extended stay, saw his “peacemaking” efforts go for naught.  A number of protestors did not more than make their views known; they also rioted.  Around midnight as a rally in March 2015 was about to break up, a protestor, supposedly “not with the group,” shot and wounded two cops.           

In a real sense, Black Lives Matter is “Sharpton 2.0.”  Though their weapon of choice is the smart phone, members operate on the premise blacks in this country are facing extermination.  This is paranoid nonsense, of course, but it isn’t all that different from statements that Sharpton and his peers have been making for decades.  BLM activists regularly cite the recent deaths of blacks such as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant and Freddie Gray while under police custody or during an attempted arrest.  In each of these cases, the groupthink-driven assertions of murder collapsed under the weight of willful fabrications and/or omissions.  Unable or willing to apply cause-and-effect reasoning, Black Lives Matter leaders have demanded the arrest and conviction of white police officers on the flimsiest of pretexts.  These activists cannot accept facts that contradict their overarching narrative of “white oppressor, black victim.”  Their application of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in a criminal case apparently only applies when the defendant is black; if the defendant is white, all bets are off.  Racial loyalty, not evidence, is what matters to these people.  Black Lives Matter claiming they are trying to defuse tensions.  In reality, they have lit matches to an already incendiary political climate.

If the tactics of Black Lives Matter are more menacing than those employed by established black activists, the views of each are similar.  It thus makes sense that BLM has won friends in high places.  Some of these friends have bestowed substantial sums of money on the group.  This past February 5, hip-hop recording artist/entrepreneur Jay Z donated $1.5 million from his music streaming service, Tidal, to more than a dozen “social “justice” organizations, Black Lives Matter among them.  That’s small change compared to the $33 million that multibillionaire financier George Soros showered upon various radical groups, including BLM, to keep Ferguson on high boil during the latter months of 2014.  While Soros reportedly was dissatisfied with the manner of which some of that money was spent, he still believes in the protestors’ goals.  That is why he wrote monthly checks of $5,000 to any number of them.      

Black Lives Matter also has acquired something far more valuable over the long run:  political access.  And it’s political access at the highest level.  In this, the group is following the trajectory of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, each of whom ran for U.S. president and subsequently became Democratic Party political and policy kingmakers.  Becoming an insider rather than remain an outsider can yield enormous benefits.  That’s why BLM activists were present at the White House confab last Thursday.  They were there to make an impact on the roundtable discussion with President Obama and about 15 black activists which, in addition to Sharpton and other persons listed earlier, included NAACP President Cornell Brooks, University of Missouri student organizer DeShaunya Ware, top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson.  The event, intended as a prelude to the annual White House gala celebration of Black History Month, gave BLM activists DeRay McKesson and Brittany Packnett, both in their early 30s, an opportunity to vent.  A Chicago-based BLM activist, Aislinn Pulley, also was invited but refused to attend, believing the event was a “false narrative” that would provide a sound bite for the president and nothing more.  The meeting, she huffed, would detract from expressing solidarity with black freedom fighters.

Actually, Ms. Pulley would have been right at home at the summit meeting.  For well over an hour President Obama conducted an “intergenerational” meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, soliciting ideas from attendees on such subjects as police-community relations, criminal justice, voting rights, and a successor to deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  The summit amounted to a sneak preview of where the administration wants to go during its remaining months.  Ms. Packnett explained to Time magazine:  “We had a conversation that lasted over 90 minutes.  The president actually extended himself because he wanted to continue to conversation.  We had a lot of opportunity to elevate various strategies that are happening on the ground as far as criminal justice reform, working on police violence, and systemic educational inequities.”  In other words, it was standard Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson boilerplate.  And nobody was around to offer dissenting voices.  That was the way it was planned.  

Packnett, a self-described educator, already has had a taste of access to the top.  She served on the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, whose final report, released last May, proposed various ways to defuse tensions between police and black residents.  As for DeRay McKesson, like Packnett, an educator – he’s a Teach for America alumnus and a former school administrator – early this month declared himself a candidate for mayor of Baltimore.  He’s young and inexperienced.  And the field is crowded, what with fully 29 candidates.  But getting elected isn’t out of the question.  He’s a Baltimore native.  He has instant name recognition.  And given the contents of his 26-page platform, it’s fair to say that he is very much in synch with the city’s black majority.  McKesson is far more vocal about explosive crime rates than about police officers who try to protect the public from the people who commit the crimes.  In addition to being a Black Lives Matter organizer, he is co-founder of a group called Campaign Zero, whose tag line is “We can end police violence in America.”  Granted, it’s hard to imagine current Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, also black (and not running for re-election), doing worse in light of last year’s rioting in the city.  But McKesson, a skilled professional organizer, likely would make things even worse.     

After the meeting broke up, President Obama praised the event as a necessary exercise in black self-empowerment.  “There’s no better way for us to celebrate Black History Month,” he said.  He expressed particular gratitude toward the youth contingent; i.e., Black Lives Matter:

Overall, what I am most encouraged by is the degree of focus and seriousness and constructiveness that exists not only with existing civil rights organizations, but this new generation.  They are some serious young people.  I told them that they are much better organizers than I was their age, and I am confident that they are going to take America to new heights. 

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