Friday, November 28, 2014

Last Call For Meanwhile, Out In The Rest Of The World

Other things out there besides Black Friday sales, shifty grand juries, and movie trailers, folks.  Some of it is pretty unrelentingly awful.

Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at the main mosque in north Nigeria's biggest city Kano on Friday, killing at least 81 people, witnesses and officials said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants.

Blasts from the coordinated assault rang out as scores of people packed into the ancient building's courtyard for afternoon prayers. "These people have bombed the mosque. I am face to face with people screaming," said local reporter Chijjani Usman.

The mosque is next to the palace of the emir of Kano, the second highest Islamic authority in Africa's most populous country and a vocal critic of Boko Haram. The emir, former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, was not present.

Boko Haram, a Sunni jihadist movement which is fighting to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria, regards the traditional Islamic religious authorities in Nigeria with disdain.

It has attacked mosques that do not follow its radical ideology in a bloody near six-year campaign that has also targeted churches, schools, police stations, military bases and government buildings.

"After multiple explosions, they also opened fire. I cannot tell you the casualties because we all ran away," a member of staff at the palace told Reuters on Friday.

After the attacks, angry youths blocked the mosque's gates to police, who had to force their way in with tear gas.

Not a fan of religion, even less so when it's used as a basis for murdering dozens of people.  Boko Haram is a problem, and while it's not our war to fight, pretending that they'll just give up and go away is also not an option.  President Goodluck Jonathan says he won't rest until all these militants are dead, but that hasn't exactly been the case when it came to the girls these bastards kidnapped earlier.  They've created nearly a million refugees alone from the fighting and terror campaigns in Nigeria's north.

Puts things here in harsh perspective, right?

The War On Women, Post 2014 Midterms Edition

Democratic voters stayed home in 2014, and as a result, Republicans at the state level are more powerful than ever.  Their first order of business?  Making it even harder to get a safe, legal abortion procedure in a number of states.

Republicans now hold two-thirds of the state legislative bodies, after winning control of 11 more chambers. They completely control the legislature in more than half the states, adding Nevada, New Hampshire and West Virginia to that list earlier this month. And they gained two more governor’s seats, so they will hold 31 next year.

Republican leaders who will control the U.S. Senate come January say they want to take up abortion this year, perhaps on a House-passed bill that would limit the procedure after 20 weeks. But the reality is that Senate Republicans will still fall a few votes shy of the 60 needed for controversial major legislation. It’s the states where Republicans can enact more abortion limits.

“We came out of Nov. 4th with a lot of momentum,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the research and education arm of Susan B. Anthony List, which is dedicated to electing candidates who oppose abortion. He expects the number of anti-abortion measures proposed in the states to reflect that. “I think we’re about to get another uptick.”

Thirteen states have passed bans on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — so-called fetal pain bills — and a couple have enacted earlier limits tied to when a fetal heartbeat is first detected, which can be six or seven weeks into a pregnancy. Several of these state laws are being contested in court, and the arguments may eventually end up in the Supreme Court. But that hasn’t deterred more states from eyeing such legislation; in Ohio, a House panel approved a fetal heartbeat bill just a few days ago.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards predicts that 2015 will bring more attempts to enact restrictive state laws. She said she expects “state legislative attacks on women’s health, even though the vast majority of the public wants elected officials to protect and expand access to safe and legal abortion, birth control and preventive health care.”

So yes, these laws are going to end up in front of the Roberts Court.  There's no reason to believe that they will rule in favor of women here, and "small government conservatives" and "libertarians" are going to be pushing for even stricter regulation of women's reproductive systems.

But that's what YOU voted for, either in truth, or by sitting home and saying "there's no difference between the two parties, why should I care?"

Thursday, November 27, 2014

More Turkey For Thanksgiving

Karoli at Crooks and Liars makes this catch of Lawrence O'Donnell's analysis of the Darren Wilson grand jury proceedings, and those proceedings were nothing short of shocking.




This is how the Grand Jury arrived at their verdict. Early on in the proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Alizadeh handed out copies of a law that was ruled unconstitutional in 1985. In essence it set the bar for use of excessive force lower than is permissible. Simply put, ADA Alizadeh told the jury that it was permissible to shoot a fleeing suspect.

Tennessee v. Garner made the statute Alizadeh distributed to the Grand Jury unconstitutional, but that didn't stop her from distributing it to grand jurors at the outset in order to set their minds in a place where Darren Wilson was justified in what he did.

Then, at the very end of the proceedings on November 21st, Alizadeh "corrected" the record. Sort of.

For the entire proceeding, jurors weighed the evidence in light of a law that was deemed unconstitutional almost 30 years ago. Then they corrected the record at the very end, but by then it was too late.

Alizadeh only tells the grand jurors that the law they've been using for over two months in order to assess the legality of Darren Wilson's shooting of Michael Brown isn't the law on the final day of the proceedings.

And she passes off using a law ruled unconstitutional in 1985 as a mistake.

A law that just happened to exonerate Darren Wilson of any wrongdoing using his version of events, a law that said a fleeing suspect can still be shot without penalty, ruled unconstitutional nearly 30 years ago.

But I'm supposed to trust the system.

OK.  Sure.

Thanksgiving Turkeys In Congress

The chief goal among Republicans in Congress right now is not jobs, or healthcare, or even "the will of the American people", but punishing President Obama like he's an errant child.

Congress returns to Washington Dec. 1, just 10 days before government funding is set to expire, and Boehner and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) say they are intent on avoiding a government shutdown. Obama’s executive action has inflamed conservatives, who believe he has overstepped his constitutional authority. Some hard-line GOP lawmakers are calling for a showdown with Obama, but Boehner and McConnell have no desire to relive the October 2013 government shutdown. McConnell, Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that the Republican-controlled Capitol Hill would stop governing by crisis. Boehner last week, however, said that he has plenty of energy to fight Obama.

Some conservatives have called on Congress to choke off funding for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, but those employees are funded by fees, not congressional appropriations.

GOP aides and lawmakers say they expect the leadership to consider additional legislation to address the executive order, but there have been no decisions made on what those bills would look like. There are lots of ideas: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has signaled he would hold up some of Obama’s executive branch nominees, others privately have been musing about shutting the government down, refusing to invite the president to give his State of the Union address or censuring the president. Many in congressional leadership think these ideas are nonsensical, since it will not serve any practical purpose.

To recap, Republicans in Congress are so utterly petty and hateful that they're falling all over themselves to see who can be the biggest asshole to President Obama.  That's what they are worried about right now.

And that's all that matters.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Last Call For No Lessons Learned

National Review carbuncle Rich Lowry gets a slot over at Team WIN THE MORNING Magazine, and goes beyond his usual simpering semi-clueless stupidity directly into pure evil territory

The bitter irony of the Michael Brown case is that if he had actually put his hands up and said don't shoot, he would almost certainly be alive today. His family would have been spared an unspeakable loss, and Ferguson, Missouri wouldn't have experienced multiple bouts of rioting, including the torching of at least a dozen businesses the night it was announced that Officer Darren Wilson wouldn't be charged with a crime. 
Instead, the credible evidence (i.e., the testimony that doesn't contradict itself or the physical evidence) suggests that Michael Brown had no interest in surrendering. After committing an act of petty robbery at a local business, he attacked Officer Wilson when he stopped him on the street. Brown punched Wilson when the officer was still in his patrol car and attempted to take his gun from him. 
The first shots were fired within the car in the struggle over the gun. Then, Michael Brown ran. Even if he hadn't put his hands up, but merely kept running away, he would also almost certainly be alive today. Again, according to the credible evidence, he turned back and rushed Wilson. The officer shot several times, but Brown kept on coming until Wilson killed him.

To believe this version of events, you have to be completely and with purpose, blind to basic human instinct to the point of malice.  Or you could be Rich Lowry, same thing.  You would have to believe that A) Wilson knew that Brown committed a crime, B) that Brown would go for Wilson's gun, and C) that after Brown was shot and ran away that he changed his mind and charged the guy who just shot him.

And on top of all that, you have to believe that there was no probable cause whatsoever to dispute this.  None.  Come to think of it, nine other Rich Lowrys on that grand jury did just that, didn't they?

This is a terrible tragedy. It isn't a metaphor for police brutality or race repression or anything else, and never was. Aided and abetted by a compliant national media, the Ferguson protestors spun a dishonest or misinformed version of what happened—Michael Brown murdered in cold blood while trying to give up—into a chant ("hands up, don't shoot") and then a mini-movement.

Yes, because the media killed Mike Brown.  Barring that, what's one more dead black person shot by a cop and left on the street for 4.5 hours?  Race has nothing to do with it, you see, because we all know those people are all thugs and criminals, so it's just one more insane savage beast being put down like the beast he was.  America!

When the facts didn't back their narrative, they dismissed the facts and retreated into paranoid suspicion of the legal system. It apparently required more intellectual effort than almost any liberal could muster even to say, "You know, I believe policing in America is deeply unjust, but in this case the evidence is murky and not enough to indict, let alone convict anyone of a crime."

How is policing in America unjust, I wonder, if Lowry sees no injustice in this?

Oh yeah, evil.  It's always the ni-CLANG!s fault.

Air Apparent In The Supreme Court

With the Supreme Court upholding their 2011 ruling that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions last June, the latest ploy by energy companies to kill regulatory pressure to clean up their acts is to now go after mercury regulations, and the Supreme Court will indeed hear a challenge to those regulations.

The twist this time?  The regulations are too expensive, according to Big Energy.  You know, some of the most profitable companies on Earth.

The basic question in the new case is whether and when the E.P.A. must take regulation costs into account. The agency’s interpretation is that the Clean Air Act, which requires regulations to be “appropriate and necessary,” does not demand that costs be taken into consideration early in the regulatory process.

In the Supreme Court term that ended in June, the justices heard cases filed by industry groups against two of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations — one aimed at limiting power plant pollution that wafts across state lines, the other at cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The E.P.A. won the first case and largely prevailed in the second, though the Supreme Court indicated that it remained prepared to impose limits on the agency’s regulatory authority.

The case against the mercury pollution rule is likely to be followed by more fights. The E.P.A. on Wednesday will release a regulation to cut ozone pollution. Next year, the agency is scheduled to finalize rules that would slash greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Environmental law experts say the Supreme Court’s decision in the mercury case may provide some hints about how those other rules might fare.

“Is this part of a larger trend of the Supreme Court exerting greater authority over E.P.A.’s regulations?” asked Roger R. Martella Jr., a general counsel at the agency during President George W. Bush’s administration. The new case is a challenge by more than 20 states, along with industry groups and energy companies.

The problem here is that a broad ruling in favor of corporations could blow a hole in any regulations issued by the Executive Branch, depending on what SCOTUS defines as "appropriate".  The energy companies (and 20 red states) say that at most, the regulations will only generate a couple million dollars in benefits at the cost of nearly $10 billion.  The EPA says it will save 11,000 lives a year.

We'll see how much of a price tag SCOTUS puts on this, with a ruling expected in June.

Taxing Our Patience Again

Ahh, the lame duck session after a midterm election.  Where the truly nasty business goes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has reached a compromise with House Republicans on a package of tax breaks that would permanently extend relief for big multinational corporations without providing breaks for middle or lower-income families, individuals with knowledge of the deal tell ThinkProgress. 
Under the terms of the $444 billion agreement, lawmakers would phase out all tax breaks for clean energy and wind energy but would maintain fossil fuel subsidies. Expanded eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit would also end in 2017, even though the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that allowing the provisions to expire would push “16 million people in low-income working families, including 8 million children into — or deeper into — poverty.” The proposal would help students pay for college by making permanent the American Permanent Opportunity Tax Credit, a Democratic priority. 
Meanwhile, two-thirds of the package would make permanent tax provisions that are intended to help businesses, including a research and development credit, small business expensing, and a reduction in the S-Corp recognition period for built-in gains tax.

The costs of the package will not be offset.

So roughly $300 billion for businesses, and the middle class gets hosed in the deal.  Nice.  The big loser, green energy, the big winner, oil.

Same as it ever was, too.  Question is will Obama sign it? 

The answer, thankfully, appears to be "no".

Obama objected and responded in an unusual way yesterday. The White House issued a veto threat before lawmakers released the plan publicly, siding with progressive groups and advocates for a lower budget deficit over his own party’s Senate leaders.

“The president would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,” Jen Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, said in an e-mail yesterday.

Good.  We'll see how well this deal holds up now.

StupidiNews!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Last Call For No Justice

And I know, twice in one day, but Rand Paul is that much of an embarrassment.

Reforming criminal justice to make it racially blind is imperative, but that won’t lift up these young men from poverty. In fact, I don’t believe any law will. For too long, we’ve attached some mythic notion to government solutions and yet, 40 years after we began the War on Poverty, poverty still abounds. 
When you look at statistics for the white community alone, you see that we’ve become two separate worlds in which the successful are educated and wait to have children until they are married, and those in poverty are primarily those without higher education and with children outside of marriage. 
This message is not a racial one. The link between poverty, lack of education, and children outside of marriage is staggering and cuts across all racial groups. Statistics uniformly show that waiting to have children in marriage and obtaining an education are an invaluable part of escaping poverty. 
I have no intention to scold, but escaping the poverty and crime trap will require more than just criminal justice reform. Escaping the poverty trap will require all of us to relearn that not only are we our brother’s keeper, we are our own keeper. While a hand-up can be part of the plan, if the plan doesn’t include the self-discovery of education, work, and the self-esteem that comes with work, the cycle of poverty will continue.

Get a job, poor people.  The government's not responsible for you.  Unless, ironically, you end up in prison.  Which Rand Paul is trying to prevent, see.  Classice Rand Paul here, there's no government solution to a system that was never designed to help black people.

Bonus No Intention To Scold Scolding:

I will continue the fight to reform our nation’s criminal justice system, but in the meantime, the call should go out for a charismatic leader, not a politician, to preach a gospel of hope and prosperity. I have said often America is in need of a revival. Part of that is spiritual. Part of that is in civics, in our leaders, in our institutions. We must look at policies, ideas, and attitudes that have failed us and we must demand better.

Why can't your African-American church leaders take care of it?  I'm a politician, and it's not my job to fix your poverty, but I'll sure as hell shame and scold you for it.

Nice.

Red In Tooth And Claw

Can we officially take West Virginia off the map now for Democrats, and stop pretending it's anything but South Carolina with mountains?

Election night was bad for Democrats all over the country, but arguably there were few states where it was worse for their future — and better for Republicans — than in West Virginia. 
Democrats in the state, long accustomed to controlling virtually every part of the government, lost a Senate race and two competitive House races. They secured a majority in the state legislature’s lower house for the first time in eight decades, and after a postelection party switch gave up control of the state Senate as well. Come January, Republicans will hold all of West Virginia’s congressional House seats for the first time since 1921. They even elected the nation’s youngest legislator, 18-year-old Saira Blair, to the state house
Like Arkansas in 2010, West Virginia seems to have turned a corner from being a Democratic-dominated state to a Republican one. The switch started years ago, when Republican presidential candidates were able to win the state by appealing to its socially conservative voters, regardless of their party affiliation. But in state politics, Republicans struggled to win key offices, or even to field candidates. As recently as 2008, two statewide posts held by Democrats, auditor and treasurer, were uncontested in the general election. 
Republicans deserve much of the credit for the current situation: They had a strong, popular candidate for this year’s Senate race, Shelley Moore Capito, who represents the state in the House of Representatives and is the daughter of a former governor. Evan Jenkins, the candidate they fielded against Nick Rahall II, the longtime Democratic congressman from the southern portion of the state, was a former Democrat who represented part of the area in the state Senate. 
In addition, Republicans capitalized on an electorate resentful of President Obama’s environmental policies, which have received little support in a state where coal mining has long played a big part in the economy and in politics. Even with an open race for the presidency in two years, it’s doubtful that any Democratic hopeful could sway a large number of voters in state contests.

Let's put this out there right now, kids:  Hillary Clinton is not going to magically win West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, or Georgia in 2016, so let's stop pretending the South is in play, other than North Carolina and Virginia.

There's not a state that Obama didn't win in either 2008 or 2012 that Hillary will somehow be able to pull off an upset in.  Period.  Not happening.  Will Hillary get more of the white vote?  Yes.  It's going to come at the expense of the black vote however, because we remember the games Hillary played in 2007 and 2008.  And I think 2014 is proof enough that not every Democrat is going to vote blue just to keep Republicans from winning.

Stand With Rand In Quicksand, Con't

Please tell me again how Rand Paul won't be like other Republicans if elected as President, especially because of his hands-off foreign policy.

In a draft of the resolution obtained by The Daily Beast, Paul states that “the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State has declared war on the United States and its allies” and that ISIS “presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region, including our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and consulate in Erbil, Iraq.” 
The Obama administration has justified the bombing campaign against ISIS by claiming that it is enabled by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. Paul’s resolution would terminate the latter and place an expiration date on the former, one year after the passing of his resolution. 
Perhaps most surprisingly, Paul’s resolution will allow for limited use of boots on the ground “as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger [posed by ISIS]… for limited operations against high value targets,” and “as necessary for advisory and intelligence gathering operations.”

So yeah, President Paul would send us into a ground war in Iraq and possibly Syria.  But please tell me how horrible Democrats are on this issue, yadda yadda libertarian freedom.

I will say this until people get it through their thick skulls:  Rand Paul is a right-wing Tea Party Republican, and so are the people who support him.

StupidiNews!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Last Call For Justice

No true bill of indictment.

Darren Wilson has gotten away with the murder of Michael Brown.

This is America in 2014.  Black lives are meaningless.

Good night, those of you who will be able to sleep tonight.

A Noun, Some Racism, And 9/11

America's Mayor(tm) lets the mask slip and exposes the truly ugly stuff that was always, always there just under the surface.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) got into a heated argument about race and crime with Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson during a discussion on Ferguson, Mo. 
"But the fact is, I find it very disappointing that you're not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We're talking about the exception here," Giuliani said on NBC's "Meet the Press" while discussing whether police forces reflect the demographics of the communities they serve.

Dyson called this a "false equivalency."

Which it is.  Dyson has plenty of "you boys need to pull up your pants and be respectable-lookin to white folk" moments, but here he's correct.  Giuliani on the other hand...

Later in the argument Giuliani argued that while police officers are only present in certain communities because black people are committing crimes. 
"It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community," he said. "White police officers won't be there if you weren't killing each other 70 percent of the time."

Because we're violent, sub-human savages who need to be caged or better yet, gunned down.  Former mayor of NYC and one-time Presidential candidate saying this, just so you know.

No, he won't apologize for it, either.

"Here's what I'm very frustrated about with Ferguson, and all these situations," he told "Fox and Friends" co-host Steve Doocey. "These things happen and they are exceptions." 
“The danger to a black child in America is not a white police officer. That’s going to happen less than one percent of the time," he later added. "The danger to a black child -- if it was my child -- the danger is another black.” 
Giuliani went on to suggest that Ferguson protestors ("these people") should spend more time "trying to straighten out" crime in the black community
"I used to look at our crime reduction, and the reason we reduced homicide by 65 percent is because we reduced it in the black community," Giuliani said of his time as mayor. "Because there is virtually no homicide in the white community."

The FBI would like to disagree with Mr. Giuliani on that last point.  I'll disagree with him everywhere else.

Yes, he's just another hateful Republican and always has been.

Two Buck Chucked

The first post-midterm Obama cabinet head to roll is apparently going to be that ofDefense Secretary Chuck Hagel. NY Times:

The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said. 
The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration. 
But now “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave. 
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years term as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis to the threat posed by the Islamic State militant group.

Take that as you will. Holder resigning, now Hagel out. Looks like the GOP Senate is going to be able to cause a lot of damage blocking cabinet appointees with the President no longer able to make recess appointments except for a narrow window after the midterm lame duck session.
Related Posts with Thumbnails