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Marissa Janae Johnson doesn’t ‘give a f*ck’ if protest at Seattle Bernie Sanders rally drives people away

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On Monday, 24-year-old Black Lives Matter protester Marissa Janae Johnson told Elon James White and Imani Gandi of This Week in Blackness that she doesn’t “give a fuck” if her strident interruption of a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle has hurt her cause in the eyes of white people.

Last Saturday, Johnson and fellow Black Lives Matter of Seattle protester Mara Jacqeline Willaford disrupted a rally in support of Medicaid expansion in Washington state as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was getting up to speak. When the two women grabbed the microphone and screamingly insisted they were being reasonable by refusing to let the rally proceed, Sanders left the stage.

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The stunt has left many on the left at odds. Johnson and Willaford’s supporters claim that the two women are acting with the urgency required in a situation where black people’s lives and bodies are being destroyed by police on a daily basis.

Critics say that the interruption amounted to little more than a clownish tantrum that drove as many people away from the Black Lives Matter cause as it could have attracted.

Johnson says she doesn’t care, ultimately, whether the tactics are alienating.

“I feel good,” she said by phone. “I helped launch a national conversation around race and electoral politics and respectability that’s still going strong two days later. I could not be better.”

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Going after Bernie Sanders is “super important,” Johnson said, because “Sanders is supposed to be as far left and progressive as you can possibly get and in Seattle’s political context? I know that really, really well, right? We have hordes and hordes of white liberals and white progressives and yet we still have all the same racial problems. So for us locally in our context, confronting Sanders was the equivalent of confronting the large, white, liberal Democrat leftist contingent that we have here in Seattle who not only has not supported BLM in measurable ways but is often very harmful and is upholding the white supremacist society that we live in.”

Johnson said she and her group have not disrupted any Hillary rallies because “Hillary has better Secret Service than Obama.”

“She’s doing these private dinners that are invite-only,” agreed Gandi. “It’s positively ludicrous for people to think that these activists would not be protesting Hillary if they could get to her.”

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“The work that I do in particular is agitation work,” Johnson said, when asked why she never contacted the Sanders campaign to ask for a spot in the rally’s program. “People are having these conversations, people are forced to do their own work and do their own reforms because of work that I’ve done on the ground.”

“Well, what would you say to the people who say that you’re hurting your cause?” White asked.

“I don’t give a fuck about the white gaze,” Johnson replied. “I don’t. I literally don’t.”

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When asked about her admission that she once supported former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Johnson explained that her parents, an interracial couple, are Tea Party supporters and that she was a supporter of the former vice presidential candidate when she was a high schooler in 2008.

“Clearly that’s not where I am, because people leave high school and go to college and [change their views],” she explained, adding that she was a “devout evangelical Christian.”

“So, yes, I did run up there and confront Bernie Sanders because of my religious conviction, absolutely. Are they right-wing religious convictions? No.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘I can’t analyze that’: Ex-ambassador confesses he’s unable to make sense of Trump’s Denmark and Russia rants

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Former American Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, confessed Thursday that not even he could figure out what happened to make the president want to get into a verbal war with Denmark.

"What is the president talking about?" asked MSNBC host Craig Melvin.

"I can't analyze that. I honestly do not — there is no logic to what he says," McFaul said in a panel discussion. "As you said at the top, he insults or allies, right when he's about to meet with them and embraces Putin. And I want to be clear, if there were some outcome to this strategy that led to better outcomes for the American people, right -- enhanced our security, enhanced our prosperity, I could applaud it. But there is no connection to these kinds of inane statements that he makes and advancing our national security interests."

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‘Hypocritical’ Republicans busted for disappearing now that Trump has exploded the deficit

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In a "Reality Check" segment on CNN on Thursday morning, contributor John Avlon called out GOP fiscal hawks who have suddenly disappeared from the public square now that a Republican president has exploded the national debt.

Introduced by host John Berman, who asked, "This morning new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirm it: The national debt and deficit are much worse than thought. So where is the party of fiscal responsibility in times like these?" Avlon broke it down.

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‘Something wrong’ with Trump’s mental health — and he needs an ‘intervention’: Dem lawmaker

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Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) told CNN's John Berman that President Donald Trump's mental health should be a cause of deep concern for all Americans.

In particular, Deutch pointed to Trump's string of strange statements on Wednesday, in which he favorably quoted someone who called him "The Second Coming of God" and then flat-out referred to himself as "The Chosen One."

"If you or I had an uncle who went on social media and started making claims or tweeting claims about being the 'King of Israel' and the 'Second Coming; and then went out into public and talked about being the 'Chosen One,' you know what we would do?" he asked rhetorically. "We would gather our family members and figure out how to have an intervention because there's something clearly wrong there."

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