Tuesday Reads: Fight Back against the War on Women


Good Morning!!

I’m still spending much of my time thinking and reading about the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. I know we’ve already been discussing it for days, but I just can’t get past the horror of what is happening to women’s rights.

Even Democratic politicians aren’t standing up for women’s rights to control our own bodies these days. They are too intimidated by the hate speech that Republicans and religionists have been spewing for decades. But there’s no excuse for this cowardice.

Women are suffering and dying because of the acts of fetus fetishists who harass women who try to get prenatal care, general health care, treatment for STDs, and legal abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics and other women’s health centers.

I’m mad as hell about this. It’s time for American women to rise up and take back control of their bodies from anti-choice extremists who tacitly encourage harassment of women who are simply seeking health care.


At MSNBC, Irin Carmon gathered public statements from anti-choice groups who claim to oppose violent attacks while at the same time demonizing Planned Parenthood and the women who go to them for health care. Some examples:

The National Right to Life Committee said it “unequivocally condemns unlawful activities and acts of violence regardless of motivation,” and Americans United for Life said, “We categorically condemn this violence.” But in interviews with MSNBC, some grassroots abortion opponents across the country also pointed the finger at legal abortion itself.

“After all these years and millions of babies that have gone to their death, violence is to be anticipated,” said Judie Brown, president of American Life League, in a phone interview with MSNBC. “Because it’s acceptable to violently kill a baby, so why isn’t it acceptable to violently kill other people?”

“We never approve of violence against anybody, whether it’s the unborn babies or the clients of Planned Parenthood or anybody else,” Ann Scheidler, vice president of the Pro-Life Action League, told MSNBC. But, she added, “it’s not the fault of the pro-life movement that someone found out that Planned Parenthood is doing these things. It’s the fault of Planned Parenthood for selling the baby parts.”


Of course no one is “violently killing” babies and Planned Parenthood is not “selling the baby parts.” How can anyone believe that kind of language is not encouraging violence? According to Ann Scheidler,

vice president of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, bristle. “Planned Parenthood is a villain,” she said. “They undermine the integrity of families and the morality of young teen girls and kill babies on a regular basis, day after day. We’re not going to say, ‘Oh, poor Planned Parenthood, we should never say anything negative about what they call ‘services.’ Because they are a blight on our culture.”

The Christian Defense Coalition’s Mahoney said, “Our movement utterly condemns violence.”  Asked about the fact that Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger was convicted of conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic, Mahoney said, “Cheryl Sullenger did time in prison for her actions. She now works peacefully to end the violence of abortion.” (Operation Rescue did not return a message requesting an interview but condemned the attack on their website.)….

Scheidler’s Pro-Life Action League is among the organizations that publishes the names, faces, and addresses of abortion providers. Asked if such disclosures could make providers feel unsafe, she replied, “We don’t pose any threat, we in the mainstream pro-life movement…. If they feel threatened, they can always get out of that business, I suppose. It’s not something that would make us back off on our mission.”

Believe it or not, there’s even more violent hate speech at the link.


At New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore discusses the ways inn which GOP presidential candidates have been using the anti-choice extremist tactic of linking legal abortion to historical outrages and injustices like slavery and the Holocaust.

Mike Huckabee is by far the least inhibited presidential candidate when it comes to American Holocaust rhetoric, despite repeated warnings from groups like the Anti-Defamation League. Here was a characteristic Huckabeeremark about a year ago, delivered to a group of conservative Christians practically in the shadow of the Auschwitz death facilities:

If you felt something incredibly powerful at Auschwitz and Birkenau over the 11 million killed worldwide and the 1.5 million killed on these grounds, cannot we feel something extraordinary about 55 million murdered in our own country in the wombs of their mothers?

Another 2016 presidential candidate frequently described as “genial” by mainstream media observers, Dr. Ben Carson has embraced both the Holocaust and slavery analogies for abortion, and has wrapped both in a conspiracy theory that treats American liberals as a sinister and deceitful quasi-totalitarian force plotting to rob the people of fundamental liberties.

During the recent Republican campaign to “defund” Planned Parenthood, Senator Ted Cruz sent a letter to ministers around the country referring to legalized abortion as an “ongoing holocaust.” His father, Reverend Rafael Cruz, who frequently warms up crowds at his son’s political events, is fond of citing legalized abortion (and, for that matter, same-sex marriage, Obamacare, and climate-change regulation) as an example of creeping totalitarianism in America, sometimes comparing it to Communism and sometimes to Nazism.

Senator Marco Rubio has not gone over the brink into Holocaust analogies for abortion, but he has used the slavery meme.

And virtually every Republican presidential candidate has supported the mendacious campaign to accuse Planned Parenthood of “barbaric” practices involving illegal late-term abortions and “baby part sales.”


Kilgore goes on to highlight GOP candidates statements about how people with guns would have been safe from attacks–including concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust!

It’s not difficult to see how toxic these arguments become when combined. If legalized abortion (and its alleged extension into open infanticide via the “barbaric” practices of government-subsidized Planned Parenthood “baby-killers”) represents government-sponsored mass extermination and/or a perversion of the Constitution comparable to slavery, and there is a fundamental right to violent resistance against this and other acts of tyranny, then it could definitely cross the minds of conscientious gun-owning anti-choicers to emulate John Brown or the conspirators against Hitler. After all, the two greatest wars in American history were undertaken to destroy the Slave Power and Nazism. Why not a small individual war against their contemporary equivalent?

Rebecca Traister argues that the terrorist attack in Colorado Springs may convince Democrats to forcefully stand up for women’s reproductive rights. I’m not so sure, but you can read her take on it at NY Magazine’s The Cut: How the Planned Parenthood Attack Could Reverse the Politics of Abortion.


Traister begins by noting that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the barbaric Texas abortion law Whole Women’s Health vs. Cole. She also points out that the next President could appoint as many as three new Supreme Court justices, and she discusses the extreme views of the GOP presidential candidates on women’s reproductive rights.

It all seems pretty grim, until you notice a crowd of besuited Democrats charging into this dystopian future, swords waving. After decades of treating abortion as a third rail to be gingerly sidestepped, with downcast eyes and sighing exhortations about tragic rarity, at least some on the long-ambivalent left have decided that fighting for better access to abortion is an issue on which they can actually win.

While the topic was not raised by moderators in the Democratic debates, Hillary Clinton went out of her way to bring it up, bellowing with vigor about how Republicans “don’t mind having big government interfere with a woman’s right to choose!” She also regularly includes references to reproductive rights — often using the word abortion and not just the soft-lit language of choice — in her stump speech. Clinton said via a spokesperson that the closing of clinics in Texas is “bad for women in that state and a preview of what every Republican candidate wants to do to women across America.”

Bernie Sanders may bring up reproductive rights less frequently than Clinton, but when he does, he comes out swinging, promising the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council in November, “We are not going back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end an unwanted pregnancy.” A Sanders ­campaign aide also told me that the senator supports the EACH Woman Act, which would mandate insurance coverage for abortion services for any woman who requires them, since “abortion care is a part of women’s health care.”

The EACH Woman Act, which stands for Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance, was introduced by Representative Barbara Lee of California as a radical, if long overdue, challenge to the Hyde Amendment, which prevents women who rely on government health insurance from using public funds for abortion. The act surely won’t make it through the Republican-led House anytime soon, but it has 108 co-sponsors and represents a major step in acknowledging the relationship between restricting abortion access and economic inequality. “The Hyde Amendment denied a full range of access to reproductive-health services and care to low-income women, primarily women of color,” says Lee. “It’s about time we fight back.”

Meanwhile, Senate candidates Tammy Duckworth and Donna Edwards have spoken publicly about their youthful reliance on Planned Parenthood, and House candidate Nanette Barragan has described how her sister turned to the organization for an abortion when she was a teen. “Having more women ­candidates talking about their personal experiences with abortion, or with Planned Parenthood, or even family ­planning in general, has done a tremendous amount to center reproductive rights as an economic issue,” says Jess McIntosh of EMILY’s List. “The decision of when and whether to become a mother is the most important economic decision most Americans will ever make.”

I’ll add a few more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?

Lazy Saturday Reads: Another Domestic Terrorist Attack

People are escorted away after a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman opened fire at the clinic on Friday, authorities said, wounding multiple people. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP)

People are escorted away after a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman opened fire at the clinic on Friday, authorities said, wounding multiple people. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP)

Good Morning!!

A terrorist is in custody after he attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado yesterday, but not before he murdered a policeman and two “civilians” and injured nine more people. As we’re all aware, Colorado Springs is a hotbed of right wing “Christian” evangelical groups.

Here’s the latest from Reuters: Police name suspect in Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was named on Saturday as Robert L. Dear, 57, the Colorado Springs Police public affairs’ section said in a Tweet.

The gunman who stormed the clinic on Friday killed three people and wounded nine others before surrendering to police after a bloody siege lasting several hours inside the facility, authorities said.

Local news media reported that Dear was being held without bail.

Robert L. Dear mugshot

Robert L. Dear mugshot

As police traded gunfire with Dear, people in local businesses were told to shelter in place.

The rampage, which took place at a clinic that provides women’s health services including abortions, was believed to be the first fatal attack on a U.S. abortion provider in six years. Police have not discussed the suspect’s motives.

The assailant in Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city, was armed with a rifle when he entered the clinic – a site repeatedly targeted for protests by anti-abortion activists – and opened fire shortly before noon on Friday, authorities said.

Police swarming the scene pursued the assailant into the building, trading gunfire with the suspect as authorities tracked their movements from room to room by watching live video feeds from security cameras mounted inside.

Officers closing in on the gunman managed to finally talk him into giving himself up inside, and he was taken into custody more than five hours after the violence began.

Planned Parenthood released a statement in response to the terrorist attack on their clinic in Colorado Springs.

“The heart of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is broken tonight as we try to make sense of the horrific tragedy that struck our beloved health center in Colorado Springs, today. Our thoughts are with the all those who were impacted and particularly the families of the two civilians and one heroic law-enforcement officer whose lives were lost. We are grateful to report that all our staff are safe and accounted for and are hoping for the best possible outcomes for the others wounded in this attack.

“We are thankful to our security personnel and to the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, and the UCCS campus officers, who came to our aid and served with such selfless valor. Their fast response, strength, and bravery undoubtedly saved countless lives today. We also appreciate that our Colorado Springs staff responded quickly following our security protocols.

“The information regarding the gunman’s motive remains unknown as does whether Planned Parenthood was targeted deliberately. PPRM’s top priority will always be the safety of our patients and staff. We maintain strong security measures and always work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure our very strong safety record.

“We share the concerns of many Americans that the continued attacks against abortion providers and patients, as well as law enforcement officers, is creating a poisonous environment that breeds acts of violence. But, we will never back away from providing critical health care to millions of people who rely on and trust us every day.

Robert L. Dear in handcuffs after shooting rampage.

Robert L. Dear in handcuffs after shooting rampage.

Read the rest at the link. I think we can guess Dear’s motive, but I suppose we’ll have to wait to know for sure.

President Obama also released a statement.

Business Insider: ‘This is not normal’: Obama releases emotional statement on Planned Parenthood shooting.

President Barack Obama released a statement on Saturday calling for gun control in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the day before.

“This is not normal,” Obama said. “We can’t let it become normal.”

He then called to curtail the “easy accessibility of weapons of war” for some people.

“If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them,” Obama continued.

“Period,” he added. “Enough is enough.”

Unfortunately these mass shootings have become regular events in the U.S. That is our “normal” now.


The media has been uncharacteristically hesitant to speculate on Dear’s motive.

USA Today: Gunman’s motive in Planned Parenthood shootings unclear.

Police were trying to determine Saturday why a middle-aged gunman in hunting gear allegedly went on a wild shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people, including a police officer.

The suspect, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of North Carolina, surrendered to officers after a five-hour ordeal Friday in which he fired randomly at people in the clinic and roamed the halls shooting through walls with an assault-style rifle.

“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,”

You’d think by this time reporters could have found out some information about this guy, wouldn’t you? Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of good information in the USA Today article.

One Republican Congressman demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood head Vicki Cowart while the attack was still ongoing. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Police have finally taken a shooter into custody after the five-hour siege at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs that has left at least three people dead, including one police officer. 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.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

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 [see Planned Parenthood statement excerpted earlier in this post] 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’s some background on Garrett Swasey, the police officer who was killed in the shootout. CNN via KTXS ABC 12: Slain officer was once champion skater.

Swasey, 44, was one of three people killed Friday when a gunman attacked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

The married father worked for the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and was on campus Friday morning when the shooting started 10 miles away. He rushed to the scene to support a city police officer who was under fire, the university said in a statement….

Officer Garrett Swasey

Officer Garrett Swasey

Swasey had been with university police for six years, authorities said. But long before that, he was a junior national couples ice dancing champion, The Denver Post reported.

He and his partner won the junior national championship in Orlando in 1992, the paper cited university spokesman Jared Verner as saying. A few years after the championship win, Swasey performed in a musical skating show in Maine.

As the community mourns the fallen officer, the University of Colorado football team will observe a moment of silence during its game Saturday.

I’ll end with this piece from Mother Jones: The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers.

Three people were shot dead and nine injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widelydebunked—videos.

While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.

Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.

The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress’ videos.

“Since the series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers” says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been tracking violence against providers since the 1970s.

“We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw” on Friday, she added.

Please go read the whole thing at Mother Jones.

What else is happening? I hope to see your thoughts and links in the comment thread.

Thanksgiving Day Reads

The Thanksgiving Turkey, by Sharon Eyres

The Thanksgiving Turkey, by Sharon Eyres

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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.

Folk art landscape by Vered Cohen

Folk art landscape by Vered Cohen

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.

Blue Heron Thanksgiving by Thomas Swopes

Blue Heron Thanksgiving by Thomas Swopes

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.

Reuters: Chemical teams attend Brussels mosque after powder found.

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.

vegetables autumn season fruits food thanksgiving cornucopia 1600x1200 wallpaper_www.knowledgehi.com_15

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.

Thanksgiving Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes

And of course there’s Donald Trump. The media folks are starting to complain now that he’s targeting them.

The Hill: Reporter: Trump camp requiring bathroom escorts for press.

“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.

Politico: New York Times slams Trump’s mocking of reporter as ‘outrageous.’

Ezra Klein: Donald Trump beats Marco Rubio in a head-to-head matchup among Republicans.

Los Angeles Times: Sanders’ pledge illustrates how plans to curtail mass incarceration fall short.

Sky News: Suspects Named In Minneapolis Rally Shooting.

USA Today: Cop in Chicago shooting had history of complaints.

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!

Tuesday Reads

Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Good Morning!!

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.

Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark

More details from The Washington Post:

“Tonight, white supremacists attacked the ‪#‎4thPrecinctShutDown‬ in an act of domestic terrorism,” Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said on Facebook. “We won’t be intimidated.”

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.

Vigil for Jamar Clark outside police precinct

Vigil for Jamar Clark outside police precinct

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.

Laquan McDonald

Laquan McDonald

CNN: Video of police shooting that could shock Chicago.

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.”

Drawing from autopsy of Laquan McDonald

Drawing from autopsy of Laquan McDonald

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….

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares “You’re fired!” at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick

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.

AP photo of Russian jet shot down by Turkey

AP photo of Russian jet shot down by Turkey

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.


Lazy Saturday Reads

I really do not want to see a repeat of this.

Boston buried in snow last winter. I really do not want to see a repeat of this.

 Good Morning!!

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.

Snowfall reports so far

Snowfall reports so far

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.

el-nino-typical-winter-pattern 2

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.

The Guardian: Brussels in lockdown after terror threat level is raised to maximum.

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.

Brussels metro on Saturday (from The Guardian)

Brussels metro on Saturday (from The Guardian)

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.

 A security officer gives instructions to security forces inside the hotel Photograph: Mali TV ORTM/AP

A security officer gives instructions to security forces inside the hotel
Photograph: Mali TV ORTM/AP

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.

UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, after speaking to disappointed opponents of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court's decided to uphold the law, voting 5-4. (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

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?

Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

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.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud

Abdelhamid Abaaoud

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.

Roanoke VA Mayor David Bowers

Roanoke VA Mayor David Bowers

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.

George Takei Appears On "The Morning Show"

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.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Carson officially launches bid for the Republican presidential nomination in Detroit

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.

Duane Clarridge

Duane Clarridge

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!

Wednesday Reads: Intolerant of the Intolerant Bigoted Hypocritical Christian Conservatives


Am I…..intolerant?

Nigel Powers: There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.

Goldmember: What?

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.

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -


11/15/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

This next cartoon is also from Heller, but from October 7th of this year:

10/07/2015 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -


I am a little behind on this one:

Free Speech vs. Safe Space: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Free Speech vs. Safe Space

More of these Safe Space cartoons later.

A message to ISIS: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - A message to ISIS


11/17/2015 Cartoon by Charlie Daniel

Cartoon by Charlie Daniel -


11/17/2015 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -


Digital Threat: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Digital Threat


Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Clay Bennett


Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon


11/17/2015 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -


11/18/2015 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

11/17/2015 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -


How to tell the difference between ISIS and Muslims: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - How to tell the difference between ISIS and Muslims

11/17/2015 Cartoon by Phil Hands

Cartoon by Phil Hands -

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Scott Stantis

Cartoon by Scott Stantis -


11/18/2015 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -


Je Suis Paris: 11/16/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Je Suis Paris


The Pinata: 11/15/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - The Pinata

A Call to Harams: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - A Call to Harams

Prince of Darkness Roast: 11/13/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - Prince of Darkness Roast


From Cagle Cartoons:


Critical Thinking Needed by Tom Purcell

Anchor Baby Battle by Will Durst

Donald Trump dropping by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund

Stuff Happens by Political Cartoonist Kevin Siers

ISISsssss by Political Cartoonist Bill Day

Strategy to destroy ISIS by Political Cartoonist Paresh Nath

Russian Doping Scandal by Political Cartoonist Jimmy Margulies

Syrian refugees and Rep King by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund

Jumpstarting the Jeb! Bush Campaign by Political Cartoonist R.J. Matson

Refugees by Political Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons

Muslim Refugees by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

Terror in Paris by Political Cartoonist Christo Komarnitski

Paris Terror by Political Cartoonist Bob Englehart

Daesh Target by Political Cartoonist Stavro Jabra

Terror in Paris by Political Cartoonist Mike Keefe

ViVe La France by Political Cartoonist Milt Priggee

France Weeps | DarylCagle.com

Paris Attack by Political Cartoonist Nate Beeler

Signe Wilkinson: City of Darkness – Signe Wilkinson – Truthdig

Nick Anderson: Safe Space – Nick Anderson – Truthdig

11/18/2015 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

Relax?: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Eric J Garcia

Cartoon by Eric J Garcia - Relax?


11/18/2015 Cartoon by John Branch

Cartoon by John Branch -

War Near Christmas: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Steve Artley

Cartoon by Steve Artley - War Near Christmas

Radical Islam Death Wish: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Monte Wolverton

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton - Radical Islam Death Wish


Bruce Plante Cartoon: Syrian refugees: 11/18/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Syrian refugees

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Wages are too high?: 11/17/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Wages are too high?


11/18/2015 Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -


11/18/2015 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -














Let’s end it with a cartoon that is from October 6th:


Exhibition by Political Cartoonist Pavel Constantin

169683_600And that is all folks…this is an open thread.