Claire McCaskill:

Claire McCaskill: Pitting protesters against police “very unfair” to most police officers

A “narrative” that pits protestors against police in cities like Ferguson has been “harmful” and “very unfair” to most police officers, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Tuesday.

In a wide-ranging interview, the Missouri Democrat told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric that it would be “naïve” to think that years of institutional bias against African Americans could be reversed in the 12 months since Michael Brown’s death in her home state. On Monday, St. Louis County authorities declared a state of emergency in Ferguson after gunfire broke out during the protests marking the one-year anniversary of Brown’s killing.

Yahoo News Video

McCaskill praises police

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) adresses the most recent violence in Ferguson, and calls for more resources for police officers. “Most of them want to be of the community, not in an adversarial position with the community,” she tells Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. “But the system has created this, and now we’ve got to figure out a way to unwind it.”

“This whole narrative of protesters versus police has been harmful in so many ways, and in many ways very unfair to most of the police officers that I’ve had the honor to work with, because most of them want to be of the community, not in an adversarial position against the community,” McCaskill said. “But the system has created this and now we have got to figure out a way to unwind it.”

McCaskill’s comments — in which she expressed frustration that “a few bad actors… have grabbed the headlines” — came on the one-year anniversary of the protests that engulfed the Missouri town of Ferguson and kicked off a national “Black Lives Matter” movement protesting Brown’s death and the disproportionate number of young black men killed in encounters with police.

“I say all this and it sounds like I am trying to minimize what’s going on there — I don’t mean to do that — but I’ve watched in frustration when the narrative has gotten out ahead of itself in terms of what’s really going on on the ground,” McCaskill said.

Signs of progress in Missouri since Brown’s death, McCaskill said, include: An increase in black members on Ferguson’s city council, the installation of an African American at the head of the town’s police department, municipal court reform in St. Louis County and expanded job training programs. But criminal justice system, she said, still needed to be reformed — and that is going to take time.

“This is something that’s taken years to become an institutional bias, we can’t be naive enough to think we’re going to fix it in twelve short months,” McCaskill said.

She also called for increased community policing and for more resources to be directed to departments so they can devote more time to engaging with communities, in addition to responding to 9-1-1 calls.

McCaskill said real fear exists in communities that are currently being underserviced: “These are hard-working, God-loving people who live in neighborhoods where sometimes they feel like their children need to sleep in bathtubs to be safe.”

Black Lives Matter protesters have attracted headlines at several recent events where they have disrupted Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, and while McCaskill did not discuss what sort of impact these issues might have on the 2016 election, she did talk about the emerging Republican field, which she dubbed a “circus.”

Yahoo News Video

McCaskill on Sanders-mania

Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric asks Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) about poll numbers that show Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) statistically tied with Fmr. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. “I think in the long run it’s going to be helpful to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy not harmful,” says McCaskill.

And if that “circus” had a ringleader, it would seem to be billionaire real estate magnate Donald Trump.

Yahoo News Video

Lightening Round with Claire McCaskill

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) gives Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric her quick thoughts on 2016 candidates issues, agendas – and hair styles.

Yahoo News Video

McCaskill critical of Iran Plan

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has yet to announce how she will vote on the Iran Deal. But she lists her concerns about the plan to Katie Couric, and talks about whether or not Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has lobbied for her to vote against it.



The myth of Trump’s angry legions

The myth of Trump’s angry legions

Matt Bai
National Political Columnist
Yahoo Politics
Trumpmania may be telling us a lot less about the dominant mood in the electorate at large than we think. (Photo: Dominick Reuter/Reuters)

Voters of America: Get ahold of yourselves, please.

I know you’re irrational and seething with anger. I know this because I keep reading about it, in every somber piece of punditry about Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or what’s going to drive the 2016 campaign. I hear it on my Twitter feed and in the fundraising emails that batter me all day long.

Apparently the entire country got hit with some kind of gamma ray, and now everybody’s all huge and green and hurling campaign buses willy-nilly across the highway.

Except that when I meet American voters, they don’t generally seem so unhinged to me. They mostly seem bewildered by our politics, and maybe a little too busy to care. Which makes me wonder if this whole year-of-the-angry-voter thing might be one of those instances where we think we’re seeing one thing, when really we’re seeing something else.

The chief exhibit in the case for voter rage, of course, is Trump. In case you haven’t heard, because maybe you’re all about Caitlyn Jenner and can fixate on only one attention-craved reality-TV star at a time, Trump is the clear frontrunner in the Republican field and the instrument of our blinding national outrage.

Also, just by the way, he’s phenomenal to the women.

Democrats and liberal commentators love the Trump story. It underscores, at a glance, how twisted with bile and bigotry the Republican Party must be. The guy excoriates Mexicans and manages to make Megyn Kelly look sympathetic, and still he’s ahead! What does that tell you?

Maybe not as much as you think.

Yes, there’s a sizable segment of enraged voters in the GOP — and on the left, for that matter. The angry vote is a fixture of the modern political landscape and has been, more or less, since at least the 1970s.

But Trump Mania may be telling us a lot less about the dominant mood in the electorate at large than we think. As one of the more astute liberal bloggers, Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum, points out, Trump has been drawing the support of less than a quarter of Republican primary voters, who in turn make up less than a quarter of the voting public.

And not only are Trump’s mad-as-hell voters a fraction of a fraction of the electorate, but they represent even a subset of that small group who are engaged in the campaign at this point and angry enough to actually take a pollster’s call.

In other words, Trump’s summer surge tells you about as much about prevailing political attitudes in America as the line outside the Yogiberry tells you about the state of the American dairy industry.

Here’s something interesting to consider: According to the Pew Research Center, which to my mind does the best polling on public attitudes across a range of topics, anger in the American electorate actually peaked in 2013 (at about 30 percent), after Republicans in Washington decided to turn the budget process into a series of hostage crises. Since then, the number of voters who identify themselves as angry has actually dipped precipitously, to about 19 percent last year.

It’s also worth noting that, according to the latest data from the University of Michigan, consumer confidence in the economy — which is what voters are said to be most angry about — is considerably higher than it was a year or two ago.

In 1989, N.W.A exploded straight outta Compton

In 1989, N.W.A exploded straight outta Compton with their debut release. Now, 26 years later, art becomes history as a biopic of the same name hits theaters Friday. But first, two members of N.W.A—Ice Cube and DJ Yella—the film’s director—F. Gary Gray—and three of its cast members—Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E), and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube)—sit down to talk about how the project came to be; what it’s like to play your dad on the silver screen and who they’re calling if someone breaks into their house.

What was the genesis of Straight Outta Compton?

Gary Gray: I’ve been involved with this project for four years. I got the script from Cube and one of our other producers, and at first I was a little nervous because there’s so much story there—to cover 10 years and five guys—but when I read the first draft that (screenwriter) Andrea Berloff wrote I was like, Okay, there’s something really good there. And then when I talked to Cube and explored what we really could do with this story, I joined the project.

Ice Cube: This has been a dream project forever. Ever since I started producing in 1995, this has been in the back of my mind. When it was looking to become a reality, there was only a few people I would even ask to do a movie like this, and one of them is sitting right next to me.

So by Gary choosing to direct the project, the movie started to take shape and we really started to hone in on what we needed to do to produce this movie and get it on the big screen.

DJ Yella: We didn’t realize 26 years ago, as we were doing Straight Outta Compton (the album), that it was such a good story. There’s a lot to it: Happiness, sadness, business, and all of the issues we went through.

But we kept focused on what we did. Our passion was music, the lyrics, and we didn’t let anything stop us. And it just happened to be a perfect time for the movie.

The movie revealed amazing acting from some new talent. For the three of you who acted in the film, how excited were you to be a part of it?

Jason Mitchell: Super excited. I feel like I hit the lottery. Here I am listening to Cube and Gary say it’s their best film, their dream come true, but I’m literally living all of that right now. The way I feel is… I can’t even really explain it in words. It’s emotional.

Corey Hawkins: It’s crazy. Gary used to say on set for us to keep in mind the power of what we were doing. We’re making history about a group that made history. We didn’t take that lightly. They placed a story into our hands that we wanted to do justice to.

O’Shea Jackson Jr.: It was a huge honor because we were speaking about N.W.A, but at the same time this is my family’s legacy. And I’m just so thankful that the ball was in my hands, and that I was able to cement this in history. It was hard work—two years of auditioning with Gary and things like that—to put it into motion, and with the final product I couldn’t be happier.

O’Shea, being your dad’s son you know his mannerisms, but did you have to learn some nuances to come up with your own version of his character

OJ: Well, if you wanna be technical, I’ve been doing research for 20+ years on this character. [Laughs] I know solo Ice Cube, but I had to dip into how he was hanging around with his friends. So I would look at old interviews and see how they were joking around and get some of his lingo, just to put myself back in that era.

IC: I just wanted to give him all the ammunition he needed to know what I was thinking at the time, and my perception of everybody. I knew Gary wouldn’t go for anybody being a mimic, so all I could do was fill him up with information and then let him do his thing.

Jason and Corey, were you nervous about bringing these real, larger-than-life characters—Eazy-E and Dr. Dre—to life in the film?

JM: I had so many guys who wanted me to hit the mark, making sure I had everything I needed, so it was easy to get comfortable. They had so many people who wanted everything to be right, that somebody is gonna speak up if it’s not. They don’t give you a lot of room to fail. It’s either a hole-in-one or [nothing].

But it’s a great privilege because there are so many people who never met (Eazy-E), and I get to humanize him. There was a dude who got under my bill of my hat and say, “Bro… you’re like seeing a ghost.” That’s incredible, and I will live with that forever.

CH: I just feel humbled, man. I look down this table and I see my idols, including Jason and Shea. We really, from day one, set out to do justice to this story. For me, personally, I was the guy coming from Juilliard, had just done Shakespeare [playing] Tybalt on Broadway, and so I had a moment where everybody’s like, “I don’t know if he’s gonna be able to do this.” [Laughs]

JM: Does Corey even listen to rap music?

CH: [Mimicking] Have you ever heard N.W.A before? [Laughs] But with Dre, I remember the very first time… Gary was like, “So listen, we about to go to dinner with Dre… you good?” [Laughs]

At the end of that day he pulled me to the side and said, “You’re the man for the job. You got this role. Don’t worry about mimicking me or impersonating me.” He said, “I’m just interested in you capturing the essence of what we all represented individually. Our humanity. The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.”

If some of the critics who roasted N.W.A and wanted to crucify them a quarter century ago now end up praising the movie, what would you say to them?

FGG: See? [Laughs] Told you!

IC: It’s a little apples and oranges. I can imagine someone appreciating this movie and still having a problem with the group. [Laughs] But for those that came around, welcome to 2015. We’ve been looking for you since ’89. [Laughs]

The movie depicts the police—particularly the LAPD—and race relations at that time in a certain way. How do you think those issues have evolved since you were dealing with them 25 years ago?

IC: Ultimately in the movie, what we wanted to show was the humiliation, because that is the real issue. You know, we understand that cops have to be a little heavy-handed with criminals, but we don’t understand why they got to be that way with citizens. So we wanted to show the humiliation that we faced, and we wanted the audience to feel that “What if this was happening to you?”

That’s why we did these songs. It wasn’t because we don’t like police. You know, if somebody break in my house I’m calling the goddamn police. [Laughs] I’m not calling the homies. I’m not calling Ren, Yella or Dre.