Sunday Reads: “Passing prejudice off as faith” and other thoughts from the “internets” and shi…stuff.Posted: November 29, 2015
I know I am beating a dead horse here, albeit a corn-fed…free-range horse at that…but this piece from David Mochel at HuffPo is coming from the direction I have been speaking of the past few weeks.
I do not consider myself religious in any traditional sense, nor would I say that I am deeply patriotic, but I am tired of “American” and “Christian” being used as descriptors of what is happening in the popular discourse.
I am tired of letting the loudest among us be those who call for un-American behavior in the name of patriotism. I am tired of letting the dialogue be monopolized by those who pass off prejudice as faith. Compassion matters. Dignity matters. Exercising self-discipline when we are scared and angry matters.
Human beings are biological creatures with lots of biological impulses. But we also have the capacity to see beyond our temporary urges for violence and oppression. We have the ability to anchor ourselves in, and act out of, enduring and inspiring principles. If we do not use the wisdom we have access to, then what exactly makes us human?
This feels like a moment in time when we are collectively trying to decide how to move forward. In the face of terrorist attacks, racial tension and conflicting world views, where shall we go for guidance? Shall we just go with what we feel and call it what we want? Shall we lash out and call it Christian? Shall we segregate and call it American? Or shall we consult some principles that were written down precisely so that we would remember them in times such as these?
The second paragraph of the Declaration of the Independence begins with these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
A plaque mounted on the base of the Statue of Liberty carries these lines from a poem by Emma Lazarus:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
He also goes on to quote from the prayer of St. Francis and New Testament, only to ask…
What am I missing? Where is written that we should block access, imprison, blame and malign those who we do not understand, who look different, or who live outside our borders? Does being American or Christian represent any fundamental principles or are these nothing more than titles that we get simply by living in this country and going to a fancy building on Sunday?
I propose that these words which are thrown around quite a lot lately actually do stand for something. I propose that the privileges of living in this country come with the responsibilities of being inclusive, of speaking for those without a voice and representing the rights of those who are denied access. I propose that the privileges of being Christian come with the responsibilities of showing compassion and generosity for those in need and mercy toward those who have offended.
Uncertainty can trigger anxiety and self-defensiveness. We can respond by being reactionary, rigid, and exclusive. But this is not our only choice. We also have the choice of compassion, inclusivity, and peaceful resistance.
Of course, it is challenging to make this choice in the face of senseless violence and vehement disagreement. Standing for something worthwhile is rarely easy.
No it isn’t easy, and to quote someone who seems a bit strange to quote in this discussion…as “Dubya” said so often, “It’s hard work!”
I will get to the Planned Parenthood Shooting in a few moments, but in response to the link above, remember, these people are fleeing…the murder and terror. They are refugees. Six children drown as refugee boats sink off Turkey – Al Jazeera English
More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]
At least six children have drowned in two separate incidents when boats carrying refugees to Greece sank off Turkey’s coast, Turkish state media has said.
A vessel carrying 55 Syrians and Afghans capsized due to bad weather off the town of Ayvacik, a main crossing point for refugees trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, the Anatolia news agency reported on Friday.
Turkish coastguards have so far recovered the bodies of four Afghan children, it added.
Two more children, two sisters aged four and one, drowned early on Friday when their wooden boat carrying some 20 people to the island of Kos sank because of heavy rains and stormy weather, the agency said.
The European Union and Turkey have agreed in principle to a refugee action plan, which is expected to be finalised at a summit on Sunday.
I will put up some links in the comments on the details of this summit, but take a look at that link for a little info on it, there is also more discussion here:
And two links from Irish Times:
For a video look into the refugee experience via Al Jazeera English: Why on earth would anyone do this?
Follow the journeys of three refugees who are risking everything in hopes of reaching Europe.
That title alone is sufficient enough to give you a picture of what the video is about.
Meanwhile back in the United States:
The question of Life is back in the news…
I think it must be said again:
Life begins at arousal!!!!
And to hell with fluoridation in water systems!
Who needs the “guvment” anyway?
As of Saturday evening: 2016 Republican Contenders Silent On Planned Parenthood Shooting
Republican presidential hopefuls were noticeably silent about a fatal shooting that took place at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.
All three of their Democratic counterparts tweeted in support of the organization during and after Friday’s attack, which left three people dead and nine others injured.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the only one of the major GOP candidates to comment:
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul instead tweeted about his own Black Friday sales:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush published an opinion piece about Obama’s foreign policy:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted about his campaign’s new cold-weather gear:
Ben Carson was off Twitter and in Jordan visiting a refugee camp.
All of the major 2016 Republican hopefuls describe themselves as anti-abortion. Some, like Paul, Rubio and Cruz, have attempted to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood, citing heavily edited videos that emerged earlier this year claiming to show the nonprofit’s employees selling fetal tissue for profit. A congressional inquiry into the videos did not find any evidence of wrongdoing.
“We know that police officers and civilians have been targeted and lost their lives and our prayers are right now are with the families,” Cruz said.
Many of the party’s candidates have come out strongly against Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail as they seek to secure conservative votes.
Republican presidential candidates still haven’t said anything about the Colorado Planned Parenthood shootings, with the exception of Ted Cruz (in a tweet, as I noted in my last post) and now John Kasich:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the other GOP contender to discuss the attacks, offering his prayers for the affected families and saying “senseless violence has brought tragedy to Colorado Springs.”
This seems odd:
Republicans hate abortion and hate Planned Parenthood. They hate gun control, and the shooting has already led to another call for new gun laws by President Obama. These hatreds are much more important to the right than love of the police, even when the dead police officer was also a Christian minister. In this case, blue lives don’t matter, and this wasn’t part of the war on Christianity. The killer wasn’t a member of any group conservatives hate, and his main target was a group conservatives absolutely hate.
So hate wins. Therefore, the right is never going to denounce this incident with any enthusiasm.
The Democrats did tweet there thoughts: 2016 Democrats React To Planned Parenthood Shooting
As usual, Hillary is on top of it…check out the time of her post.
I wonder…what was tweeted after the news of this: Man Kills Waffle House Worker Over Smoking Ban, Cops Say
Johnny Max Mount, 45, was allegedly smoking in a Biloxi Waffle House when the 52-year-old employee asked him to put it out, according to the Sun Herald. Mount is accused of refusing and instead removing a 9mm handgun hidden under his shirt, WMC reports. Police allege he shot the woman, who has not yet been identified, once in the head early Friday morning. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Back to the Planned Parenthood Shooting:
TBogg at Raw Story: Domestic terrorism and the evil that men do
at happened at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on the Friday after Thanksgiving was inevitable. After the deceptively-named Center for Medical Progress released the equally deceptively-edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal parts, someone had to die in the end.
Of all the phony attacks and accusations made against Planned Parenthood by a new generation of anti-choice activists like James O’ Keefe and Lila Grace Rose, the videos created by former O’Keefe confederate David Daleiden raised the bar — or lowered it depending on how you view them — on over the top accusations intended to fire up Christian conservatives and embolden lawmakers to do all they can to destroy Planned Parenthood.
Images of fetal tissue being sorted by technicians became a bloody flag to be waved by people who seem to believe that medical procedures are magically free of the kind of things most people are unfamiliar with because they’re not medical professionals who are undeterred by the sight of body fluids, viscera and bones. Those who view abortions as a repellent medical procedure became even more appalled by seeing people who deal with such matters on a daily basis act like … people who deal with such matters on a daily basis.
Where Daleiden really hit one out of the park for the anti-choice crowd was when he accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue — used by researchers looking for cures for Alzheimer’s, among other things — and making a profit off of it.
Which turned out to be a lie.
On a certain level — with the aid of the media which uncritically ran with his narrative — Daleiden was more than modestly successful. Republican lawmakers in conservative states were able to cut some funding for Planned Parenthood, while GOP presidential candidates had yet something else to grandstand about in order to woo the evangelical base.
With so much heat thrown off by Daleiden’s anti-abortion project, it is no surprise — and it absolutely cannot be to him — that someone somewhere would take his lies to the extreme and try and do something about it. With extreme prejudice.
According to NBC, Robert Lewis Dear — who killed three people including a cop,making him a hero to these “pro-life” folks while shooting up a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood — reportedly told investigators “no more baby parts” after he was arrested.
As they say: Who could have predicted that?
To all appearances, Dear appears to be either mentally unstable or an anti-social kook who, despite a history of run-ins with the law including domestic violence, was able to easily obtain a gun or guns. For that you can thank the NRA later.
There is no indication that Dear was or is religious, but a predisposition to being either anti-choice or anti-woman certainly was a factor.
Unlike Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller in a Wichita church, one needn’t act as the hand of God taking holy vengeance to “save the children.” You just need a motive –imagined or not — to pull the trigger.
So it appears that Robert Lewis Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood because he was familiar with David Daleiden’s videotape lies. This is not to say that this is something that Daleiden was hoping for. But when Daleiden published his videos with great fanfare, he primed more than a few future domestic terrorists to take the law — God’s or their own — into their own hands.
David Dalieden didn’t pull the trigger — he just showed Robert Lewis Dear where he needed to aim the gun.
Robert L. Dear Jr. was a man who lived off the grid.
On this lonely, snow-covered patch of land in a hamlet ringed by the Rocky Mountains, his home was a white trailer, with a forest-green four-wheeler by the front door and a modest black cross painted on one end.
As police officers surrounded it on Saturday, looking for clues to what they said had sent its owner on a rampage at a Planned Parenthood center that left three dead and nine wounded, neighbors said they barely knew him, beyond one man’s memory of his handing out anti-Obama political pamphlets.
Van Wands, 58, whose wife owns a local saloon, said there were two types of people in the area: the old-timers who put in time getting to know their neighbors, and newcomers who wished to be left alone. Mr. Dear, he said, fell solidly into the second category.
That article has lots of background on Dear…
In Black Mountain, N.C., Mr. Dear had lived in a small yellow house reachable only after miles of driving on mountain roads and, ultimately, along an unpaved and winding street. Two sticks, forming a cross, were attached to a padlocked shed that was filled with bedding, gas canisters and worn boxes of beer. He bought it without running water.
More at the link.
As Dak said yesterday in the comment section of Boston Boomer’s post:
Cannonfire-A brief discourse on faulty logic — or: Meet the Fukers!
The right-wing media has spent years demonizing Planned Parenthood, one of the most useful and virtuous institutions in this country. A white maniac from a Deep Red state shoots up a Planned Parenthood clinic, and what happens? The right-wing press instantly politicizes the situation, while simultaneously accusing the left of politicizing.
It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist:
“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”
That was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be. Here’sthat statement in full:
Statement from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains:
“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”
As with every tragedy, there will be lots of virtual ink devoted to chronicling the many stupid, crass, offensive things that people did and said as this tragedy was unfolding, but this one deserves a special mention, and here’s why.
Kinzinger, a “pro-life” Republican, has demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood if it turns outthat the women’s health organization was not the target of this apparent terrorist murderer. Therefore, if by some magical confluence of events it turns out that Planned Parenthood was the target, then Planned Parenthood does not owe Kinzinger an apology. Kinzinger has conditionally accepted the blame for this violence on behalf of the unhinged anti-abortion right. If he’s allowed back on CNN after that, it should be to ask him if he’s ready to apologize to Planned Parenthood.
This past week, my cousin David visited us…he meets with the head Bishop of the Florida Archdiocese tomorrow…and finds out in January if he has been accepted into the seminary to become a priest. He mentioned the Pope calling this mess of a world…World War III in “piecemeal”.
Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’ – BBC News – 13 September 2014
Pope Francis warns ‘piecemeal’ World War III has begun-NBC.news- Saturday, 13 Sep 2014 | 7:06 AM ET
Because according to CNN: How is this not World War III? – CNN.com-Updated 3:16 PM ET, Wed November 25, 2015
…it’s getting hard to avoid analogies to World War I — strange bedfellows, conflicting agendas, alliances of convenience
Remember this…because in a related op/ed on CNN: No, it’s not ‘World War 3’ – CNN.com-Updated 9:03 AM ET, Tue November 17, 2015
Note the dates on those links.
The jealous husband of a young Russian lawmaker killed himself and his wife after detonating a hand grenade as he forced her to have sex in the backseat of their car Thursday, according to local reports.
Dammit, that is, ugh…no words, but there are some assholes out there think there is no way to force sex when you are married to the woman. I wonder what that person feels about hand grenade murder/suicide? (Although I am sure because the woman was very modern and working as a law maker…he would find some way to justify it…to far? Possibly.)
But let’s move on to the poor, another one of said asshole’s champions: It’s simply harder to eat well when you are poor | Barbara Ellen | Comment is free | The Guardian
You can read about the austerity factor at the link.
And we will end it with history:
The Viking raids across Europe brought them into contact with other cultures, including Muslim Arabs. Although there are no known Viking settlements in the Arab lands, both cultures interacted with each other through their respective exploration of Europe. Contact between Vikings and Arabs occurred mainly in the area of what would become Russia. While there is scarce evidence that Arabs visited the homelands of the Vikings, or as they called them, the “people of the North,” artifacts found across Scandinavia, and especially in Sweden, point to an extensive long-distance trade exchange between the two very different cultures. It was the promise of access to much needed and coveted silver that set off the Viking exploration into Europe, and brought Viking raiders into contact with the Arabs. In their quest for silver, the Vikings discovered and accessed valuable trade routes to Constantinople that led to an extensive trade exchange with the Arab world. Seizing upon the opportunity to enrich themselves, the Vikings came into contact with Arabic wealth and treasures through their raids, and soon realized the potential of a peaceful trade exchange.
The Vikings came into contact with Muslim Arabs during their exploration of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the first contacts occurred with Muslim Spain in 844 when a Viking fleet of fifty-four ships sailed from their base in Brittany to Spain in order to raid the Caliphate’s treasures. The raiding campaign was successful, as the Vikings conquered Lisbon and Seville, destroyed numerous other towns, and even threatened the capital of al-Andalus, Córdoba. However, the Muslims were able to drive back the Viking invaders and built “an effective coastal defence against new attacks.” Having seen the riches of the Caliphate, the Vikings were determined to return, and embarked on a second raiding campaign in 859, this time with a much bigger fleet of sixty-two ships. Again, the raiding campaign itself was a success, as their ships were “so fully laden with plunder that they sat low in the water.”
However, on the Vikings’ journey back to their home base in Brittany, the Muslim naval fleet attacked and destroyed the majority of the Vikings’ ships. With that, Viking exploration of and interaction with Muslim Spain ended. The two raids gave both cultures a first glimpse at each other’s military capabilities and characteristics. Prior to the Vikings’ invasion of the Caliphate, the Arabs had no interaction with the “people of the North.” To the Muslim Arabs, the Vikings appeared “as a sudden, mysterious, military threat.” The Vikings for the first time were confronted with an enemy that was well organized on land as well as on the sea, where Vikings were used to supremacy.
Well, what are you all up to today? I will post those updates on the EU/Turkey Refugee Agreement below as they become available.
Refugee images from Pinterest: J.J. Lopez Minkoff on Pinterest
Otherwise, please post some of your thoughts today.
I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing day with family, friends, or by yourself–whatever works for you. I’m not a big fan of “the holidays,” and I’ve spent many of them by myself in the course of my life. In recent years, I’ve mellowed and come to be more appreciative of the joys of getting together with family and friends. However you spend this day of thanks, I hope you nurture yourself as you join with or reach out to those closest to you.
There is actually quite a bit of news today, so I’m going to share some of the stories I’ve been reading this morning. Please comment and share your own recommended reads if you find the time, and have a lovely day.
Sadly, some people cannot stop themselves from spreading their hatred and rage–at the moment much of it is directed at Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism or terror plots.
In Irving, Texas, armed anti-Muslim extremists have been trolling a local mosque and following individual Muslims in a threatening manner. One of these horrible people posted the names and addresses of members of the mosque on line. From The Houston Chronicle: Armed group publishes home addresses of Muslims in North Texas.
David Wright III, who organized a protest at the Irving Islamic Center last Saturday, posted the list on Facebook. Members of the group believe a Paris-style terrorist attack is imminent in the U.S. Before publishing the list, according to the Morning News, Wright posted on Facebook, “We should stop being afraid to be who we are! We like to have guns designed to kill people that pose a threat in a very efficient manner.”
The list includes the names and addresses of local Muslims who opposed a bill that sprung up after fabricated rumors accused the mosque of practicing Sharia law. The Sharia court rumors – spread partially by Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne –have repeatedly been proven false.
I guess we should be grateful no one has been killed–yet. But shouldn’t these “protesters” be reined in by authorities? Apparently the police there aren’t particularly concerned, according to a post by Avi Selk at The Irving Blog:
Anthony Bond, an Irving activist who spoke against the state bill before the City Council, said he was shocked to find his name on the Facebook list.
“We have a right to disagree, but we do not have the right to target and cause … harm just because we differ in our beliefs,” he said. “That is the goal of this post: to put a bulls-eye on the back of all the people that stood up against the so-called anti-Shariah law bill.”
Bond said he had reported his concerns to Irving police.
Irving police spokesman James McLellan said he was unaware of any complaints about the list.
“If we do receive any contacts or concerns from anyone involved, then of course we will respond appropriately,” he said.
Um . . . Anthony Bond says he complained to police. Does that not count? A number of other Irving residents are quoted in the post as expressing concerns.
You may recall that Irving is the town in which a young boy was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. From The Guardian: Family of Texas boy arrested over clock demands $15m in damages.
The family of a Texas Muslim teenager arrested for bringing a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb to school demanded $15m in damages and an apology from the city of Irving and its schools to avoid a lawsuit, lawyers said on Monday.
The lawyers represent the family of Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a student who dabbles in robotics and attended a Dallas-area high school. His arrest in September sparked controversy, with many saying he was taken into custody because of his religion.
In separate letters to the city of Irving, located west of Dallas, and the Irving independent school district, lawyers said the ninth grader was wrongfully arrested, illegally detained and questioned without his parents.
The Mohamed family is asking for $10m from the city and $5m from the school district or they will file civil lawsuits within 60 days, the letter said.
“Understandably, Mr Mohamed was furious at the treatment of his son – and at the rancid, openly discriminatory intent that motivated it,” attorneys said in one of the letters.
Ahmed’s family subsequently moved from Texas to Qatar where he accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation to study at its Young Innovators Program.
Muslims are being targeted in Belgium too, CNN reports: Suspicious powder packages found at Brussels mosque.
Suspicious packages with white powder were discovered Thursday at a prominent mosque in Brussels, a spokesman for the Brussels Fire Brigade and Emergency Medical Service said.
The news comes amid heightened security in Brussels in the wake of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Brussels remains at the highest terror alert level, and much of the city has been shut down for the last several days.
Police in Belgium have conducted several raids connected to the terror attacks. Investigators have focused particular attention on a Brussels suburb, Molenbeek, witha history of links to terrorism.
Additional information about the suspicious packages at the mosque was not immediately available.
Firecrews and decontamination teams attended a major mosque in Brussels close to the European Union headquarters on Thursday after a suspect powder was found that the fire service said was feared to be anthrax.
Reuters journalists saw about a dozen emergency vehicles, including police, outside the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium, a large Saudi-established institution including a mosque situated 200 meters from the European Commission.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said it had taken a call from the mosque from a person saying they believed that they had found anthrax powder, prompting the deployment of specialist crews. There was no immediate word on what the substance was.
The GOP candidates are continuing to spread hate. Marco Rubio actually claimed that the Supreme Court should have nothing to say about anti-gay discrimination because “God” can overrule them. From The Hill: Rubio: ‘God’s rules’ trump Supreme Court decisions.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says religious believers are called to “ignore” laws that violate their faith.
“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio said in an interview with CBN on Tuesday.
“So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win,” he added.
“God’s rules” apply to discrimination against women too, according to Rubio. (But only the Christion version of god, of course.)
Rubio said Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision creating a constitutional right to abortion, is open to revision.
“It’s current law; it’s not settled law,” he said. “No law is settled. Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”
The Republican presidential candidate, who is rising in the polls, encouraged the faithful to work within the political process to change laws that violate their conscience.
And of course there’s Donald Trump. The media folks are starting to complain now that he’s targeting them.
“Trump campaign now requiring media to have bathroom escorts at his rallies when leaving ‘the pen,’ ” NBC News reporter Katy Tur tweeted late Tuesday alongside the hashtag “#watchthemedia.”
“Media told they aren’t allowed to leave ‘the pen’ while Trump is in the room,” she continued. “It’s now official policy that the secret service is enforcing.
“Let’s be clear — this is even happening after the event,” Tur added.
Trump’s campaign has regularly clashed with the press, but the latest report comes amid growing tension between the media and the GOP front-runner.
The five leading U.S. television networks arebanding together in the hopes of changing the Trump campaign’s press guidelines, according to reports.
Senior managers from ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC
News spoke with Trump aides last Monday to address their grievances.
Good luck with that.
Also from The Hill: Trump: Report your neighbors for suspicious activities.
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said late Tuesday that everyday Americans should monitor their neighbors for questionable behavior.
“The real greatest resource is all of you, because you have all those eyes and you see what’s happening,” he told listeners in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“People move into a house a block down the road, you know who’s going in,” Trump continued. “You can see and you report them to the local police.
“You’re pretty smart, right?” he asked his audience. “We know if there’s something going on, report them. Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK.
“That’s the best way. Everybody’s their own cop in a way. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it.”
Wow. This is the kind of talk that is leading more and more people to accused Trump of creeping fascism.
Sorry about all the negative news. I’ll give you the rest links only.
Associated Press via ABC News: Federal Authorities Still on McDonald Case.
The Atlantic: How to Beat Donald Trump.
Los Angeles Times: Sanders’ pledge illustrates how plans to curtail mass incarceration fall short.
Sky News: Suspects Named In Minneapolis Rally Shooting.
New York Times: Pope Says ‘Catastrophic’ if Interests Derail Climate Talks.
Los Angeles Times: Turkey releases recording of ‘warnings’ to Russian plane
Again, Have a great Thanksgiving Day, and I hope you get and give lots of hugs!
Police shootings of black men are back in the news, with a vengeance. In Minneapolis yesterday, five protesters of the killing of Jamar Clark were shot, allegedly by white supremacists who have been interfering with the protests.
TwinCities.com: 5 shot near Jamar Clark protest in Minneapolis; suspects sought.
Five people were shot late Monday near the site of an ongoing protest over the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, Minneapolis police said. None of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.
The shootings occurred about a block from the police department’s 4th Precinct, where protesters have been demonstrating since the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15.
Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said in a news release that officers responded to the sound of gunshots around 10:40 p.m., and 911 calls shortly after reported five people had been shot. Dozens of officers assisted victims and secured the scene, the statement said.
None of the victims had critical injuries, but three were taken to the hospital with wounds to legs, arm, and stomach.
Oluchi Omeoga, who has been participating in the protests since last Monday, witnessed the incident.
Protesters saw three people wearing masks who “weren’t supposed to be there,” Omeoga said. Eventually, the three people left the crowd and began walking down the street, and a few protesters followed.
When they reached a corner, the three people pulled out weapons and gunshots rang out, Omeoga said.
Though Clark’s family called for the protests to come to an end following the shooting, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis vowed to return to the police station for another demonstration on Tuesday.
A video recorded by a journalist at the scene showed people fleeing from the shooting — then screaming for an ambulance. A young African American man was seen writhing in pain with an apparent gunshot wound to the leg while fellow protesters — then police and paramedics — tried to help….
“A group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights,” Miski Noor, a Black Lives Matter organizer, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Police have not confirmed or denied Noor’s claim.
Here’s some background on the Jamar Clark shooting from The Atlantic (November 18): How Did Jamar Clark Die?
How did Jamar Clark end up with a bullet hole above his eye?
The 24-year-old black man was shot by a Minneapolis police officer early Sunday morning under unclear circumstances. His family says he was taken off life support Monday, and died that evening.What’s agreed on is that Clark was shot by an officer after police and ambulances responded to a domestic-violence call. Police said Clark was a suspect in the domestic assault, and interfered with responders. From there, things get murky. A number of people watched the incident unfold—it was across the street from an Elks Lodge—and several of them say that Clark was handcuffed when he was shot in the head. Police insist he was not cuffed.
“The young man was just laying there; he was not resisting arrest,” a man named Teto Wilson who said he saw the incident was quoted as saying by the local NAACP chapter. “Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”Police claim that Clark was not handcuffed when he was shot, according to dashboard video that they haven’t released.
Authorities…initially wouldn’t even say if there was footage, either from dashboard cameras or from body cameras. (A September report by a city police-oversight commission recommended that body cameras be activated during all community contact.) Bystander footage from shortly after the shooting is available. On Tuesday, the BCA said it has obtained several videos but that “none … captured the event in its entirety.” ….
Even if Clark was not handcuffed, there is a separate question of whether the use of deadly force was appropriate in the situation. Just as the death of Freddie Gray brought new scrutiny on a Baltimore Police Department with a long, troubled history with its citizens—and particularly citizens of color—the police in Minneapolis are about to come under new scrutiny.
“We’ve been saying for a long time that Minneapolis was one bullet away from Ferguson. Well, that bullet was fired last night,” Jason Sole, an associate professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and a member of the local NAACP chapter, told the Star Tribune.
Read the rest at The Atlantic. In Chicago another police shooting has resulted in a murder charge against a policeman, but it took a whole year for the case to get to this point.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge has ruled that police must release dashcam video showing the death of 17-year-old old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in October 2014.
The video is expected to show the officer shooting McDonald even as he lay on the ground.
Police say McDonald had PCP in his system when he died and was refusing police commands to drop a 4-inch knife.
The judge, Franklin Valderrama, not only ordered the video released by Wednesday, he also denied a motion from the city to appeal the decision, which all but assures this will happen.
Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently claimed, along with the Chicago Police Department, that release of the video might compromise an ongoing investigation. But last week, the mayor’s office released a statement suggesting that even Hizzoner is conflicted about the video: “Police officers are entrusted to uphold the law, and to provide safety to our residents,”the mayor said.“In this case unfortunately, it appears an officer violated that trust at every level.”
Much more at the link. And from the WaPo: Reports: Chicago police officer to be charged with murder of black teen shot 16 times.
A white Chicago police officer is expected to be charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of an African American teenager caught on dash-cam video,individuals close to the investigation told the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times Monday night.
Unnamed officials told the news organizations that Officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to appear at a bond hearing at noon Tuesday, at which time he is also expected to be charged with murder. His lawyer has said that the officer’s actions were lawful.
“He believed in his heart of hearts that he was in fear for his life … he was concerned about the lives of [other] police officers,” Daniel Herbert told reporters last week.
According to the Chicago Tribune, if Van Dyke is indicted, it would be the first time a Chicago police officer “has been charged with first degree murder for an on-duty fatality in 35 years.”
In presidential politics, it’s looking more and more like Donald Trump will actually be the GOP nominee. Hillary Clinton could be the only thing standing between us and a crude, narcissistic fascist becoming President of the U.S.
I guess we all know that Trump loves himself too much, but Vanity Fair actually asked some experts for their opinions on whether he could have a clinical diagnosis: Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!
For mental-health professionals,Donald Trumpis at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologistHoward Gardner,a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologistBen Michaelis.“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologistGeorge Simon,who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”
That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. AsDr. Robert Klitzman,a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master’s of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual’s mental state without examining him personally and having the patient’s consent to make such comments….
But you don’t need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you’ve just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past—grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one’s superiority; a lack of empathy—are writ large in Mr. Trump’s behavior.
“He’s very easy to diagnose,” said psychotherapistCharlotte Prozan.“In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He’ll doanything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn’t like her looks. ‘You’re fired!’ would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants.” Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump’s desire to deport immigrants: “This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?”
Mr. Trump’s bullying nature—taunting SenatorJohn McCainfor being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has “low energy”—is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. “In the field we use clusters of personality disorders,” Michaelis said. “Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served—and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one’s own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it’s antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That’s what he’s doing.”
Head over to Vanity Fair to read the rest.
In world news, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border. From ABC News: Vladimir Putin Calls Turkish Attack on Russian Fighter Plane a ‘Stab in the Back.
The Russian Su-24 jet was hit by rockets fired from Turkish F16s as it conducted airstrikes on militants in northwest Syria. Turkish officials have said the plane violated Turkey’s airspace and that its jets had warned the Russian plane repeatedly to leave.
“Today’s losses is connected with a blow, that was delivered as a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today in any other way,” Putin said during a televised meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan.
Turkish officials told the United States they shot down the plane after it entered their airspace, two U.S. officials told ABC News. No U.S. forces were involved in the incident, both officials said.
Putin said the Russian plane was operating less than a mile inside the Syrian side of the border when it was hit and Russian officials have said it never crossed into Turkish airspace. Putin said the plane had been striking ISIS militants and had posed no threat to Turkey, which he said was “an obvious fact.”
Putin’s words showed Russia had determined it would not let the incident pass without complaint. Initially, Russian officials had said the plane had likely been hit by ground-fire from inside Syria.
It seems there are too many cooks involved in Syria. It’s getting scary.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday.
To my horror, a good-sized winter storm is working its way across the middle and upper Midwest. A previous storm already dropped a lot of snow on Colorado and Nebraska. This one is more widespread.
Associated Press via ABC News: Storm Blankets Parts of Midwest With More Than Foot of Snow.
The first significant wintry storm of the season blanketed parts of the Midwest with a foot of snow and more was on the way Saturday, creating hazardous conditions as some travelers prepared to depart for the Thanksgiving holiday.
While winter has not officially begun, the shovels and snow blowers were out from South Dakota through southern Minnesota, Iowa and southern Wisconsin to northern Illinois and Indiana. The National Weather Service said the snow would continue in Illinois and Indiana on Saturday and move into Michigan. The front will head northeast to Canada late on Saturday and into Sunday.
Selfishly, I really hope it heads to Canada and skips New England entirely.
The Weather Channel reports in depth: Winter Storm Bella Dumps Up to 18 Inches of Snow in South Dakota; First Snow of Season For Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit.
Winter Storm Bella will continue to bring the first, not to mention locally heavy, accumulating snow of the season for some in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Saturday after dumping up to 18 inches of snow in the Missouri Valley Friday.
Parts of the Sioux City, South Dakota metro area picked up over a foot of snow in an intense snowband Friday. Snow has since ended, there, but has now spread into the Great Lakes, with some totals over 10 inches already coming in from parts of Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Winter storm warnings continue from parts of eastern Iowa into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, including the Quad Cities, Madison, Rockford, Milwaukee and Chicago.
In the much of the Upper Midwest, this means a likelihood for at least 6 inches of snow in 12 hours, or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours.
Winter weather advisories are posted for much of Lower Michigan and far northern Indiana, including Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing, where somewhat lower snowfall totals are expected.
When I spoke to my mom this morning, she was headed out to the grocery store, because they are expecting snow and then heavy rain this afternoon. This much snow this early is pretty rare in much of the Midwest. Can you believe even Arkansas got a small amount of snow from this storm?
One factor in how much snow will fall this winter could be El Nino. The Weather Channel: The Impact of El Niño on Seasonal Snowfall.
El Niño, the periodic warming of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean, can have a number of effects on weather around the world, from heavy rain to extreme drought, persistent warmth to stubborn cold, and inactive versus hyperactive tropical cyclone seasons.
Does El Niño also influence how snowy your winter is?
To answer that, we examined NOAA seasonal snowfall data for 51 U.S. locations for which sufficient data exists and snowfall is at least typical once a year.
We grouped these seasonal snowfall totals into El Niño, La Niña (its opposite, namely, a cooling of the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean) and neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) seasons.
Since no two El Niños/La Niñas are alike and the intensity of each matters for impacts, we further examined moderate and strong El Niño seasons, based on the categorization by Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services.
For most of the 51 locations, we had 23 El Niño, 20 La Niña, and 22 neutral seasons of snowfall data. One admitted drawback to this study is the rather limited sample size of strong El Niño seasons (five such cases), given NOAA’s Oceanic Niño Index dates only to 1950.
Finally, given El Niño/La Niña is not the sole driver of the atmosphere at any time, we thought it would be interesting to examine another atmospheric influencer during the winter months, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
Put simply, a positive NAO typically means cold air will drain from west to east across Canada, rather than plunging into the eastern U.S. Conversely, in a negative NAO, more blocking of the upper atmospheric pattern over the north Atlantic Ocean sends cold air deep into the eastern two-thirds of the nation.
Read the results of the Weather Channel study at the link. As you can well imagine, I’m hoping that Boston will not get a repeat of last winter–the worst one on record with more than 100 inches of snow.
So….I decided to write about the weather so I could stave off the even worse news of the day. Here’s a sampling.
Brussels has been blanketed with security after the Belgian government raised alert levels on terrorist threats to the maximum, warning of the “serious and imminent” possibility of a Paris-style attack involving firearms and explosives.
The city’s metro system was closed down on Saturday until Sunday afternoon at the earliest as shops shut, shopping malls were partly shuttered, professional football was cancelled, concerts were called off and music venues, museums, and galleries closed their doors for the weekend.
The heightened alert level followed meetings of the national security and counter-terror services late on Friday, which concluded, on the basis of undisclosed evidence, that a major attack was being planned in Brussels. The rest of the country was put on a level three alert, one level short of the maximum.
“Following a new assessment, the terror alert level has been raised to level four, very serious, for the Brussels region,” said a government statement. “Analysis shows a serious and imminent threat that requires taking specific security measures as well as specific recommendations for the public.”
People were told to avoid rail stations and airports, shopping centres, concerts, and other public events where people congregate.
“We’re mobilising very strong security capacities,” said Charles Michel, the prime minister. “There’s a threat of attack by several individuals in several places. The [crisis centre] took this decision following information on a risk of attack similar to Paris.”
I sure hope this is a false alarm, but it will probably make Republican politicians even more panicked than they already are.
Another terrorism report from ABC News: Mali Hotel Attack Survivor Barricaded Himself as Gunmen Stormed Grounds.
Mukesh Chellani, a businessman from Indian, said he and his employees locked themselves in a room at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital of Bamako on Friday. The country’s Ministry of the Interior said 21 people were killed — 18 hotel guests, a Malian policeman, and two attackers.
“We covered the door with lot of heavy stuff,” Chellani recalled. “At some point of time, we heard someone is knocking the door and lots of bullets.” ….
President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.
“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorismthreatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.
President Obama condemned the attack while travelingin Malaysia.
“This is another awful reminder that the scourge ofterrorism threatens so many of our nations,” he said. “And once again this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge.
Slate reports: Obama Meets With Refugees: “They’re Just Like Our Kids.”
President Obama tried to put a human face on the global crisis that has become a political battle back back home as he sat down with migrant children in Malaysia on Saturday, vowing that the US would keep its doors open to refugees “as long as I’m president.” Obama met with elementary-school-age children in Kuala Lampur at a humanitarian center who had already been cleared to enter the United States. “They’re just like our kids,” Obama said.
“They were indistinguishable from any child in America,” Obama said. “And the notion that somehow we would be fearful of them, that our politics would somehow leave us to turn our sights away from their plight, is not representative of the best of who we are.” The words were clearly directed at the politicians—including governors, lawmakers, and Republican presidential candidates—who have spoken about the possibility of blocking the arrival of Syrian refugees into the US after the Paris terror attacks.
Of course, Obama’s words will have no effect on Republican politicians. Here’s the latest ugly example from Buzzfeed: Steve King, Citing Obama’s Time In Indonesia, Says Obama Is Filling U.S. With Terrorists.
Republican Rep. Steve King, while discussing on Thursday the Obama administration’s plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, said President Obama is “filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us” and cited Obama’s upbringing in Indonesia as giving him an entirely different idea of what America should be like.
“We just should remember that, when — where we grew up is — when we were in our grade school that’s when the world was right and we tend to want to recreate that idyllic scene in our adulthood thinking that’s the best thing for America. And in my case, it is. I grew up with ‘Fun with Dick and Jane,’” said King onBoston Herald Radio. “Wonderful. But you know, while I was going on, he was going to a school in Indonesia, so his idea of America is entirely different than the idea that most Americans have of what we ought to be like, and he’s filling our country up with people that will continue to attack us.”
What a sweetheart Steve King is, bless his heart.
I’ll have more links in the comments. What stories are you following today?
I’m sure you’ve heard that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected “ringleader” of the Paris attacks, was killed during an intense siege by French police. NBC News reports: Abdelhamid Abaaoud Killed in Saint-Denis Raid.
PARIS — The Belgian jihadi suspected of being the ringleader of the Paris terrorist attacks was killed during a raid on a suburban apartment, officials said Thursday.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, died during Wednesday’s operation in Saint-Denis, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office. He was identified by his fingerprints. His body was riddled with bullets, according to officials.
Abaaoud died along with a woman who blew herself up with a suicide belt when elite police forces stormed the scene. Eight other people were arrested.
In addition to being the suspected ringleader of Friday’s coordinated assaults, he had been linked to the thwarted attackson a Paris-bound high-speed trainand a church near the French capital earlier this year.
Abaaoud boasted in ISIS propaganda about avoiding capture and claimed he had been able to travel between Europe and Syria without being noticed.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later said that Abaaoud was involved in four of the six attacks foiled by French intelligence since this spring.
Go to the link to read the rest. There’s quite a bit of background on Abaaoud in this article at The New York Times that I can’t copy and paste from. I’m sure we’ll be learning much more about him.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. the public assault on Syrian refugees continues in the U.S., and there have been multiple attacks on muslims since the Paris attacks, thanks to the ugly hate speech that has been spewed by childish and decidedly unpresidential GOP presidential candidates and other politicians looking for attention. Unfortunately, the worst example so far comes from the Democratic mayor of Roanoke, Virginia. From USA Today:
A Roanoke mayor is getting national attention after citing the use of internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II to justify suspending the relocation of Syrian refugees to his city in Virginia.
After requesting that all Roanoke Valley agencies stop Syrian refugee assistance, Mayor David Bowers, a Democrat, wrote in a statement: “I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”
The comment has sparked outrage on social media from citizens of Roanoke and the rest of the country — including celebrities.
The Japanese internment camps, which detained about 120,000 Japanese-American men, women and children, are widely remembered as one of the U.S. government’s most shameful acts. More than four decades after World War II, the U.S. government issued a formal apology and paid reparations to former Japanese internees and their heirs.
Actor George Takei, whose family was interned with other Japanese-Americans after World War II responded on Facebook. Here’s Takei’s post, From Vox:
1) The internment (not a “sequester”) was not of Japanese “foreign nationals,” but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.
2) There never was any proven incident of espionage or sabotage from the suspected “enemies” then, just as there has been no act of terrorism from any of the 1,854 Syrian refugees the U.S. already has accepted. We were judged based on who we looked like, and that is about as un-American as it gets.
3) If you are attempting to compare the actual threat of harm from the 120,000 of us who were interned then to the Syrian situation now, the simple answer is this: There was no threat. We loved America. We were decent, honest, hard-working folks. Tens of thousands of lives were ruined, over nothing.
I’m not going to quote the garbage that has come out of the mouths of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruze, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. I’ll just stand with President Obama and his calm insistence that we be true to our principles as Americans. From Newsweek: Obama: Republicans Blocking Syrian Refugees ‘Scared of Widows and 3-Year-Old Orphans.’
President Obama continues to push back against governors and lawmakers who want to block Syrian refugees from entering the United States. On Tuesday, speaking from the Philippines, Obama said those who seek to shut the door on refugees fleeing the ever-expanding violence in Syria are “scared of widows and 3-year-old orphans.” ….
Obama said shutting the door on refugees and treating Christian refugees differently plays into the hands of the Islamic State militant group, known as ISIS or ISIL, which French media has blamed for the attacks. “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate,” the president said. “ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.”
Sadly, a new Bloomberg poll found that most Americans now want to refuse to accept Syrian refugees. You can read the details at the link.
Ben Carson’s campaign could be in trouble after The New York Times published remarks made by Carson’s foreign policy advisers: Ben Carson is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say. Again, I can’t copy and paste, but I hope you’ll read it if you haven’t already. David Corn has a fascinating article about this at Mother Jones: The Spooky and Scandalous Past of Ben Carson’s Top National Security Adviser.
On Tuesday, theNew York Timespublished astorythat had the politerati abuzz. The headline was bold: “Ben Carson Is Struggling to Grasp Foreign Policy, Advisers Say.” The piece reported that the GOP presidential candidate’s “remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject,” and it noted that “two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.” Duane Clarridge, a top adviser to Carson on terrorism and national security, told theTimes, “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.” Ouch.
The Carson campaign immediately blamed the messengers. Carson’s spokesmancalledthe article “an affront to good journalistic practices” and claimed that theTimeshad taken “advantage of an elderly gentleman.” Clarridge—known to his pals as Dewey—is 82 years old. But the damage was done. Clarridge’s observations reinforced the impression that Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is in over his head when it comes to national security issues.
A particularly intriguing aspect of this dustup was that Carson had turned to Clarridge for foreign policy advice. Often portrayed as a veteran spymaster in the media, Clarridge has indeed had a long career in intelligence, but it has been a checkered one.
Carson is being advised by one of the main people behind the Iran Contra scandal.
Clarridge first achieved public notoriety during the Iran-contra affair—the doozy of a scandal in which President Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms to the terrorist-supporting regime of Iran in order to free American hostagesandin which his national security crew used these ill-gotten proceeds to secretly finance the CIA-backed contras who were trying to overthrow the socialist government of Nicaragua. Clarridge, then a top CIA official, played a role in both sides of the conspiracy. He helped White House aide Oliver North use a CIA front company to ship US-made HAWK missiles to Iran. According to the independent counsel who investigated the scandal, he also sought funding from the apartheid regime of South Africa for the contras, after Congress had cut off assistance for the contras. Clarridge retired from the CIA in 1987 after being formally reprimanded for his involvement in the Iran weapons deal.
But there was worse blowback to come. In 1991, independent counsel Lawrence Walsh charged Clarridge for lying to congressional investigators and a presidential commission about his role in the trading-arms-for-hostages skullduggery. Essentially, after news of the clandestine deal with Tehran broke, Walsh alleged, Clarridge had repeatedly lied to investigators, claiming that he had not known that the shipments he had helped North arrange contained weapons. Clarridge had stuck to the cover story that these shipments involved oil drilling equipment. Walsh asserted, “There was strong evidence that Clarridge’s testimony was false.”
Walsh also pointed out that Clarridge had falsely testified when he had told government investigators that he had not known about Reagan administration efforts (arguably illegal) to seek secret financial aid from other countries for the contras and and that he himself had not sought such funds for the contras.
Much more at the Mother Jones link.
A new poll by WBUR (NPR) in Boston shows Carson’s support dropping in New Hampshire and a new Fox News poll has Carson in fourth place there, according to CNN. Unfortunately, that leaves Donald Trump securely in first place in the first primary state.
Two more important stories:
ABC News The Note: Democrats Take Center Stage on National Security.
HILLARY CLINTON SET TO LAY OUT ISIS STRATEGY:This morning, Hillary Clinton will unveil her plan to combat ISIS during remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York,ABC’s LIZ KREUTZnotes. According to her aides, her speech will focus broadly on three objectives: “1) Defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and across the region. 2) Disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing, arms, and propaganda around the world. 3) Harden our defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats.” Earlier this week Clinton called the rhetoric from the GOP who don’t want Syrian refugees coming to U.S. “a new low” and said not allowing them would undermine “who we are as Americans.”
—BERNIE SANDERS DETERMINED TO BE HEARD ON FOREIGN POLICY: During a whopping 32-minute interview Tuesday, Yahoo’s Katie Couric asked Bernie Sanders simply, “What about those who say you’re not that strong on foreign policy?” The Vermont senator scoffed. “Oh, really? Well, compared to whom?” he said with a little guttural gruff. “Many of the serious problems we face in the Gulf region and the Middle East are, in fact, attributable to the war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into. And it is not only that I voted against it – and Secretary Clinton voted for it – I helped lead the opposition against it.” Such a response, in a nutshell, is the crux of Sanders’ argument for why he is fit to be commander in chief, and he’s sticking to it. it would have been easy for the independent Sanders, 74, to shy away from this topic, his perceived weakness, in the days after the head-to-head debate in Iowa. But he has done the opposite. The bellicose rhetoric from Republicans on the other side has offered the progressive an excuse to hit the airwaves, opening himself up to interviews focused on foreign policy.ABC’s MARYALICE PARKShas more.http://abcn.ws/1X0AoDa
–HAPPENING TODAY:The Sanders campaign says the Vermont senator will address his vision for responding to ISIS as a part of a major speech he has scheduled at Georgetown University this afternoon.
The Washington Post: O’Malley’s presidential campaign is perilously close to financial collapse.
The Democratic hopeful this week began asking the roughly 30 staffers at his Baltimore headquarters to redeploy to Iowa and elsewhere, a tacit acknowledgment that he will need a surprisingly strong showing in the first caucus state to stay in the race.
And the campaign is now planning to seek public matching funds, a move that could help pay bills in the short term but undercut the candidate’s ability to compete once the voting begins. In recent cycles, major candidates have opted out of the antiquated matching system because it imposes state-by-state spending caps now considered impractical.
“You might get the plane off the ground, but then you quickly run out of gas,” said Joe Trippi, a veteran Democratic operative who served as the co-manager of the 2008 campaign of John Edwards, the last major Democratic candidate to accept matching funds and the accompanying spending limits.Given the meager amount O’Malley has raised to this point, “it’s not a dumb thing” to seek matching funds, Trippi said. But, he added: “You die now or die later. Either way, it’s not going to end well.”
Other observers greeted the decision this week by O’Malley to move headquarters staffers to Iowa as the likely beginning of the end for a candidate who still lags far behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the polls and is rapidly running out of opportunities to change the narrative of the race.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great Thursday!
Nigel Powers: There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.
Yes, I am intolerant.
Of the Intolerant Bigoted Hypocritical Christian Conservatives.
The ones who play the victim when someone confronts them about their “beliefs” or as I did recently, what and who they support in the political arena.
I don’t know, maybe I took it too far, but as you saw yesterday…even Boston Boomer was using the “F” word in her post ;) .
This entire scene regarding the Syrian immigration has us all very upset. I went from discussing the refugee situation in an intelligent manner with my old friend of 35 years, Jose, who is the brother-in-law of Aasif Mandvi….to being patronized and having my words twisted to play into the conservative Christian victimization routine by another old friend of 22 years, who now lives among the cornfields of Iowa.
It is all so depressing.
In response, all I can muster today is a heavy cartoon post.
This next cartoon is also from Heller, but from October 7th of this year:
I am a little behind on this one:
More of these Safe Space cartoons later.
From Cagle Cartoons:
Let’s end it with a cartoon that is from October 6th: