October 21, 2017

NO ONE HATES JUST MEXICANS:

John Kelly's Lies About Frederica Wilson Are Part of a Pattern of Not Believing Black Women (Shaun King, October 21 2017, The Intercept)

Not once did Wilson ever mention getting funding for the building; it was funded years earlier. She never even broaches the subject of money; she never mentions this $20 million line or getting funding from Obama. It never happened. Period. It's so dishonest that it's bizarre.

Instead, Wilson, who was thanked by FBI Director James Comey for helping the building be named posthumously after fallen officers, told the comical bipartisan story of how she and House Speaker Paul Ryan and so many others rushed to get the naming through Congress in record time, because the ribbon-cutting had already been scheduled. She thanked her colleagues in her congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats, by name. She honored the fallen officers and their families. She honored the FBI agents in the audience, then took her seat.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and others attend the April 10, 2015, opening of a new FBI South Florida field office named for office is named for two agents who were killed in an April 11, 1986, shootout with heavily armed bank robbers south of Miami. Photo: Wilfredo Lee/Pool/AP
WILSON WAS PROUD. She should've been. At a time where Congress gets nothing done, and partisan bickering jams up even routine business, that was put aside and the building was dedicated on time in the honor of the officers. It wasn't saving the world, but she never made it out to be. Her remarks were witty, beautiful, warm, and gracious. And they were filmed.

The actual speech makes Kelly's remarks all the more disgusting. That he started off his recollection of Wilson by calling her an "empty barrel" is beyond the pale. Beyond being a member of Congress, she is a hero in her community. She helped mentor Johnson, the soldier who died in Niger, and has done the same with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young people in Florida. She has a doctorate. She was a celebrated school principal. No woman should be called an "empty barrel" -- that Kelly used that as his launching point was a gross insult to a woman with a distinguished life of public service.

What Kelly did followed a week in which the trusted words of black women were repeatedly called into question.
Second, Kelly lied. The man did not misunderstand her. He lied - not once but over and over again. He fabricated an entire story about what she told the audience that day. Wilson didn't brag about raising money or securing funding. It simply never happened. The lies from Kelly were so specific that one must wonder if he, like Trump, is either a serial liar, or if his mental faculties should be called into question.

Or, perhaps, the story he told is a disturbing insight into how his mind works. Consider that Kelly watched Wilson give the remarks she gave in the video. If by some chance he isn't lying, and he truly believes that's what he heard, then think about how her speech was transformed by Kelly's perception of her. He saw her tell, in real life, an amusing story about parliamentary maneuvering to name a building. Yet Kelly heard, in his mind, a story about a money-grubbing, credit-hogging grandstander. And consider that Wilson has been overcoming perceptions like that her entire life.

'Trump is messing with the wrong woman' : The president has never feuded with a politician quite like Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson. (MARC CAPUTO 10/20/2017, Politico)

[T]he technicolor clothes and flashy demeanor belies the grim legacy that made her an icon in the African-American community in Florida and, now, the nation: her advocacy for young black men, particularly those who end up dead. Since her time in the Florida legislature, Wilson's political identity has been forged by fights - often with a white, male-dominated establishment -- to figure out what happened to them and why.

More than 11 years before Sgt. La David Johnson was killed with three other soldiers in Niger, a 14-year-old named Martin Lee Anderson died after he was beaten by guards at a boot camp in Panama City, a Deep South city in northern Florida.

The sheriff's office ran the boot camp and was slow to investigate. So was the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Wilson, however, joining with other a bipartisan team of legislators, helped forced an independent investigation and an exhumation of the child's body for a second autopsy. While the boot camp guards and a nurse were acquitted of charges, the state legislature ultimately changed boot camp laws and compensated the family for the teen's death.

For the Anderson's family attorney, Benjamin Crump, the public relations tactics that snagged statewide headlines -- from a second autopsy to organized marches featuring Al Sharpton -- became a template for drawing national attention to another death of another 14-year-old seven years later, Trayvon Martin, who was shot by a neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman.

Wilson stood by the side of the parents of Trayvon, who hailed from her district based in the heavily African-American city of Miami Gardens in the shadow of the stadium where the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes play.

"Black men are targets. The system has the scope aimed directly at our backs and Frederica Wilson has devoted a life to exposing that," said Crump, who has allied with her in yet another case involving the shooting death of motorist Corey Jones by a Palm Beach Gardens police officer.

"From our first case with her, with Martin Lee Anderson, she was vocal. She would begin every press conference by saying, 'it's murder.' She would not be quiet. She demanded the truth," Crump said. "And it's similar to La David Johnson's case. She will not be quiet ... Trump is messing with the wrong woman."

Unlike all of the other high-profile cases Wilson has been involved with, Johnson's death after an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger had a deeply personal dimension.

Johnson had enrolled in Wilson's nonprofit, 5000 Role Models of Excellence, a program for at-risk African-American kids. His father had been a student when Wilson was a principal at a local school decades before. Johnson's mother is a constituent, as well as a bus driver with the school district where Wilson has deep roots.

When the congresswoman and the family tried to find out what happened, Wilson said, the Pentagon gave no answers. She joined with her fellow Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, a Democrat and fellow member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and penned a letter seeking answers. Still nothing. Wilson said she wanted to know not just why Johnson and his fellow soldiers were so at risk, but why Johnson appeared to have been left behind when the others were evacuated shortly after the attack.

"Why was he separated?" Wilson asked. "Was he kidnapped? Was he lost? Was he already expired? What happened to him? Why, 48 hours later, did we still not know where he was?"

Johnson's family, meanwhile, had not heard from the president with a condolence call, either. When reporters finally asked about the attack in Niger, Trump, who had not acknowledged the deaths publicly, responded by inaccurately criticizing President Obama and suggesting his predecessor never called Gold Star families of the fallen.

"Throughout all this time, Trump had been tweeting and carrying on about NFL football players taking a knee and not one damn time did he say a word about Niger," Hastings said.

Posted by at October 21, 2017 9:48 AM

  

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