It’s cold. It’s sleeting. It’s gray. It snowed in Baton Rouge and a few places north of Lake Pontchartrain. I’m officially in and over winter. I can’t seem to get warm. I can’t warm up to anything going on in this country either. I’m sending a dear friend to check out a property on Key Peninsula at least 20 miles from most forms of civilization. There’s a wine store, a dispensary, and a Japanese-owned grocery shop/cafe close with foodstuff. Other than that I’ll have tall trees, a lake, and JoEmma State Park. This one is way doable so I’m hopeful I can head to the blue wall of safety. Oh, and a working fireplace/stove. It’s as bleak as the White House Holiday Decorations or Siberia right now. Take your choice.
I’ll start out with one custom made for our resident psychologist up at WAPO. “I study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump. He tells far more lies, and far more cruel ones, than ordinary people do.”
Nearly two-thirds of Trump’s lies (65 percent) were self-serving. Examples included: “They’re big tax cuts — the biggest cuts in the history of our country, actually” and, about the people who came to see him on a presidential visit to Vietnam last month: “They were really lined up in the streets by the tens of thousands.”
Slightly less than 10 percent of Trump’s lies were kind ones, told to advantage, flatter or protect someone else. An example was his statement on Twitter that “it is a ‘miracle’ how fast the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police were able to find the demented shooter and stop him from even more killing!” In the broadest sense, it is possible to interpret every lie as ultimately self-serving, but I tried to stick to how statements appeared on the surface.
Trump told 6.6 times as many self-serving lies as kind ones. That’s a much higher ratio than we found for our study participants, who told about double the number of self-centered lies compared with kind ones. The most stunning way Trump’s lies differed from our participants’, though, was in their cruelty. An astonishing 50 percent of Trump’s lies were hurtful or disparaging. For example, he proclaimed that John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey, all career intelligence or law enforcement officials, were “political hacks.” He said that “the Sloppy Michael Moore Show on Broadway was a TOTAL BOMB and was forced to close.” He insisted that other “countries, they don’t put their finest in the lottery system. They put people probably in many cases that they don’t want.” And he claimed that “Ralph Northam, who is running for Governor of Virginia, is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities.”
The Trump lies that could not be coded into just one category were typically told both to belittle others and enhance himself. For example: “Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for reelection in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement).”
The sheer frequency of Trump’s lies appears to be having an effect, and it may not be the one he is going for. A Politico/Morning Consult poll from late October showed that only 35 percent of voters believed that Trump was honest, while 51 percent said he was not honest. (The others said they didn’t know or had no opinion.) Results of a Quinnipiac University poll from November were similar: Thirty-seven percent of voters thought Trump was honest, compared with 58 percent who thought he was not.
There are man cruel, inhuman policies on the Republican agenda and in its budget and tax bill. Paul Krugman points out its “War on Children”. I’m not a deist so I can’t speak to how those folks feel on how they believe that they’ll be judged on how we treat the least of us, but I’d say this is a straight to eternal damnation ticket.
What’s the problem? The other day Senator Orrin Hatch, asked about the program (which he helped create), once again insisted that it will be funded — but without saying when or how (and there don’t seem to be any signs of movement on the issue). And he further declared, “The reason CHIP’s having trouble is that we don’t have money anymore.” Then he voted for an immense tax cut.
And one piece of that immense tax cut is a big giveaway to inheritors of large estates. Under current law, a married couple’s estate pays no tax unless it’s worth more than $11 million, so that only a handful of estates — around 5,500, or less than 0.2 percent of the total number of deaths a year — owe any tax at all. The number of taxable estates is also, by the way, well under one one-thousandth of the number of children covered by CHIP.
But Republicans still consider this tax an unacceptable burden on the rich. The Senate bill would double the exemption to $22 million; the House bill would eliminate the estate tax entirely.
So now let’s talk dollars. CHIP covers a lot of children, but children’s health care is relatively cheap compared with care for older Americans. In fiscal 2016 the program cost only $15 billion, a tiny share of the federal budget. Meanwhile, under current law the estate tax is expected to bring in about $20 billion, more than enough to pay for CHIP.As you see, then, my question wasn’t at all hypothetical. By their actions, Republicans are showing that they consider it more important to give extra millions to one already wealthy heir than to provide health care to a thousand children.
Justice in the USA is only available to the privileged. It can also be avoid by the donor class and most violent folks wearing blue and sporting a badge. Russia and now, Wells Fargo, are dodging sanctions for damaging our country.
The new acting head of the U.S. consumer finance watchdog is reviewing whether Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) should pay tens of millions of dollars over alleged mortgage lending abuse, according to three sources familiar with the dispute.
The San Francisco-based bank said in October that it would refund homebuyers who were wrongly charged fees to secure low mortgage rates – a black mark against a lender which has already been roiled by scandal over its treatment of customers.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) had been investigating the mortgage issue since early this year, said one current and two former officials. The agency accepted an internal review from Wells Fargo and set settlement terms in early November, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak about internal discussions.
But that matter and roughly a dozen others are in question now that Mick Mulvaney, the agency chief tapped by President Donald Trump, has said he is reviewing the CFPB’s prior work.
Richard Cordray, the former CFPB director who initiated the Wells Fargo action, approved the terms of a possible settlement before stepping down, said the sources.
That proposal envisions a Wells Fargo payout of tens of millions of dollars but likely short of the record, $100 million payout the bank made to the CFPB last year over a phony accounts scandal, sources said.
The pseudo Justice Department led by the World’s oldest living Confederate Widow is going to waste money investigating Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue. Isn’t great to be obsessed with zygotes while letting thousands of living children die unnecessarily?
The Justice Department is taking steps to investigate Planned Parenthood, The Daily Beast has learned.
The head of Justice’s office of legislative affairs has sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking for documents from its investigation of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices. The Daily Beast reviewed the letter, which says the requested documents are “for investigative use.”
Planned Parenthood for America did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. The organization’s website says that only a few of its affiliates share fetal tissue with researchers, and that criticisms of the practice are a “smear campaign.” In October 2015, after undercover videos highlighting Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue programs generated outrage, the organization announced it would stop accepting any reimbursement from researchers for fetal tissue.
The Justice Department’s request refers to a report that the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans released last December, called “Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy.” That report discusses how biomedical research corporations contracted with Planned Parenthood affiliates for fetal tissue. It mentioned contracts between those corporations and several Planned Parenthood affiliates, including Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Planned Parenthood of Northern California. The report detailed the “specimen service fees” that biomedical researchers charged for tissue from a 20-week-old fetus –– $325 for a fetus’s brain, $650 for two eyes –– and questioned whether the biomedical research corporations ultimately profited from their disbursement of fetal tissue. It called for the Justice Department to investigate the matter.
At the time, Planned Parenthood said Grassley’s report did not demonstrate any wrongdoing.
Next up on the Republican Agenda, availability of tax dollars to train clergy and republican candidates on proper ways to stalk children and assault women.
So, the Jerusalem decision is dragging the world into Kremlin Caligula’s dark chaotic mind. The UN has convened an emergency meeting. Republican Ptomac Fever is now a world wide plague.
The UN Security Council has convened an emergency session to discuss Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that has led to deadly clashes in Palestine and strong condemnation from world leaders.
Eight countries called for the emergency meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, as Palestinians protested across the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip against the US president’s decision throughout the day.
Several countries resoundly condemned the US’ unilateral move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, including Olof Skoog, Sweden’s UN ambassador, who said the decision is fuelling tension and instability in the region.
Trump’s declaration “goes against the plea of many friends of the US and Israel, however it does not affect the position of Sweden, the European Union or the wider international community” on the status of Jerusalem, said Skoog.
Violent clashes have erupted since Trump’s slurry, spit-filled speech. A diverse number of religious leaders have begged the US to reconsider. This includes the Pope. I think he’s hoping for massive terrorist attacks from extremists, frankly.
Clashes erupted in the occupied West Bank and over the Israeli-Gaza border, where one Palestinian was killed.
Tensions are high in the wake of Mr Trump’s announcement. His policy shift was hailed by Israel but condemned across the Arab and Islamic world.
The UN’s Middle East envoy warned of a risk the conflict would escalate.
“There is a serious risk today that we may see a chain of unilateral actions, which can only push us further away from achieving our shared goal of peace,” Nickolay Mladenov told an emergency UN Security Council meeting, by videocall from Jerusalem.
He called on all parties to engage in “constructive dialogue” and “reign in radical elements”.
While the meeting was going on, the Israeli army said it had intercepted a rocket launch from Gaza, but there had been “no casualties and no damage”.
Western allies of the US have disavowed Mr Trump’s move, which reversed decades of US neutrality on the status of Jerusalem.
Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The US became the first country to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital since the foundation of the state in 1948.
The State Department is having none of that or the threats to pull the US Team out of the Winter Olympics in in South Korea.
After the White House and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations weighed in this week on the United States’ participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, the U.S. State Department joined the discussion on Friday.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert tweeted Friday morning: “We have a longstanding and successful relationship with the Republic of #Korea. We support their efforts to ensure that a safe and successful winter games will take place. We look forward to cheering on @Team USA at #PyeongChang2018.”
On Thursday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders sent mixed signals, first saying at a press briefing that, “no official decision has been made” but, “I know that the goal is to do so.” Within the hour, Sanders posted an update on Twitter, writing that, “The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues.”
My guess he’s doing to be in solidarnost with his boy crush Putin.
So, this is a must read. Maternal mortality in the US rivals Banana Republic levels. This is especially true for women of color. “Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving’s Story Explains Why” on NPR. Racial Disparity in outcomes happens across income lines. This is a significant finding.
In recent years, as high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S. have alarmed researchers, one statistic has been especially concerning. According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Put another way, a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 300 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. In a national study of five medical complications that are common causes of maternal death and injury, black women were two to three times more likely to die than white women who had the same condition.
That imbalance has persisted for decades, and in some places, it continues to grow. In New York City, for example, black mothers are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers, according to the most recent data; in 2001-2005, their risk of death was seven times higher. Researchers say that widening gap reflects a dramatic improvement for white women but not for blacks.
The disproportionate toll on African-Americans is the main reason the U.S. maternal mortality rate is so much higher than that of other affluent countries. Black expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan, the World Health Organization estimates.
This is appalling and policy must be swift to change this.
Southern California is burning to a crisp. The Santa Anna’s are making them difficult to contain. I have a friend who has been in a shelter for 4 days with her pets and husband. She let us know this morning that he house was still standing but the homes 2 doors on either side of her were smoldering rubble. I have family in jeopardy also. This is really scary.
Red flag warnings have been extended across much of Southern California through Saturday, and high wind warnings are in effect for mountain and valley areas in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Winds gusted to over 60 mph in Ventura and Los Angeles counties on Thursday, causing embers to spread even more. Gusts were in the 30 to 50 mph range in San Diego County. Much of Southern California is also experiencing humidity levels in the teens or even single digits. Relative humidity in San Diego on Thursday afternoon was just 5 percent.
They will likely join Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as forgotten Americans. Welcome to Dystopia! Welcome to our post-Orwellian nightmare!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
It’s difficult to keep up. I try to set aside interesting items and with in a few minute or hours they are dated! It’s also challenging to keep up with the number of things being passed, signed, and appointed that are hostile to modernity,women, immigrants, civil rights, and science and knowledge in general. Today’s list includes removing Consent Degrees that reform urban police departments, taking funds from all planned parenthood activities, and letting churches become SuperPacs. Oh, and White Nationalists have the sads about Steve Bannon.
Some of the interesting illustrations today come from a Rev. Branford Clarke’s illustration in the 1926 book Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty and another propaganda book called Heroes of the Fiery Cross. I thought it fitting we remind people of what kind of evil can lurk behind religious extremists. The first set of illustrations is aimed directly at Catholicism which shows that there’s an internecine battle between Christian brands .
I’ve also included a Dr. Seuss cartoon from a similar period sending up the idea of the “America First” movement from the WW2 period. I think you can see today’s Deplorables are definitely throwbacks from the darkest parts of our country’s history. Notice the anti-immigrant movement at that time concentrated on sorting out right and wrong type Europeans around WW2. It was the Chinese prior to that. Some of these illustrations are propaganda. Others are political cartoons of the period fighting the same sentiments we see today.
Betsy DeVos is a total nutter. So, why wouldn’t she bring on people who are just like her. This is from ProPublica. “DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White. Candice Jackson’s intellectual journey raises questions about how actively she will investigate allegations of unfair treatment of minorities and women.” I really have a difficult time understanding how upper middle class white people think they’re oppressed by minorities.
The new acting head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights once complained that she experienced discrimination because she is white.
As an undergraduate studying calculus at Stanford University in the mid-1990s, Candice Jackson “gravitated” toward a section of the class that provided students with extra help on challenging problems, she wrote in a student publication. Then she learned that the section was reserved for minority students.
“I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming competence or incompetence based on race.”
Although her limited background in civil rights law makes it difficult to infer her positions on specific issues, Jackson’s writings during and after college suggest she’s likely to steer one of the Education Department’s most important — and controversial — branches in a different direction than her predecessors. A longtime anti-Clinton activistand an outspoken conservative-turned-libertarian, she has denounced feminism and race-based preferences. She’s also written favorably about, and helped edit a book by, an economist who decried both compulsory education and the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Jackson’s inexperience, along with speculation that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will roll back civil rights enforcement, lead some observers to wonder whether Jackson, like several other Trump administration appointees, lacks sympathy for the traditional mission of the office she’s been chosen to lead.
Her appointment “doesn’t leave me with a feeling of confidence with where the administration might be going,” said Theodore Shaw, director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law, who led Barack Obama’s transition team for civil rights at the Department of Justice.
The attack on Women and their Healthcare continues with abandon.
There was a stealth signing of an anti-Planned Parenthood law. The Hyde Amendment has longed banned Federal Funds from supporting any abortion services but many in the religious nut crowd believe birth control is abortion and follow the lies of extremists who insist taxpayer money supports the procedure.
President Donald Trump privately signed a bill on Thursday that allows states to withhold federal money from organizations that provide abortion services, including Planned Parenthood, a group frequently targeted by Republicans.
The bill, which the usually camera-friendly President signed without any media present, reverses an Obama-era regulation that prohibited states from withholding money from facilities that perform abortions, arguing that many of these facilities also provide other family planning and medical services.
The bulk of federal money Planned Parenthood receives, though, goes toward preventive health care, birth control, pregnancy tests and other women’s health services. Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions and Planned Parenthood says 3% of the services it provides are abortions
The signing comes weeks after Vice President Mike Pence, a social conservative who regularly touts his anti-abortion stances, cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate after two Republicans opposed the measure.
“(Women’s) worst fears are now coming true. We are facing the worst political attack on women’s health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women’s health and rights at every turn,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement.
So far, we’ve seen no camera opportunities for signings for the Planned Parenthood funding freeze, undermining gun background checks by allowing the mentally ill easy access, removing transgender protections and a Muslim Ban. We’re also seeing a tax bill that includes a provision to let churches support political candidates. This is a move that most certainly runs afoul of the First Amendment but the religious nuts in this country don’t appear to care about anything but installing christofascism on us.
As Republicans struggle to craft a sweeping tax package — a process already rife with political land mines — they are preparing to add another volatile element to the mix: a provision that would end a six-decade-old ban on churches and other tax-exempt organizations supporting political candidates.
The repeal of the “Johnson amendment” is being written into tax legislation developed in the House of Representatives, according to aides. President Trump has vowed to “totally destroy” the provision at the behest of evangelical Christians who helped elect him.
The inclusion of the repeal in broader tax legislation could bolster its chances. A stand-alone bill would almost certainly face a filibuster in the Senate, where opponents fear the measure would effectively turn churches into super PACS.
There is some indication that Bannon and the out-of-the-linen-closet White Nationalists are despairing of Trump’s latest moves and forays into conventional NeoCon policies.
Politico has spoken with several nationalist Trump supporters who are already feeling disillusioned with what they’ve seen from the president, especially in the wake of former Breitbart editor Steve Bannon’s demotion from the National Security Council.
“It was like, here’s the chance to do something different — and that’s why people’s hopes are dashed,” Lee Stranahan, a former Breitbart News editor, tells Politico. “There was always the question of, ‘Did he really believe this stuff?’ Apparently the answer is, ‘Not as much as you’d like.’”
There is a lot of scuttlebutt and gossip around Bannon these days. This is from the Politico bit on Bannon and his merry band of Bigots. Remember, nutter Rebekah Mercer loves her some Bannon. Will they go rogue?
Meanwhile, Bannon could launder more salacious hits through the tabloids. “You go National Enquirer on them,” said blogger Mike Cernovich, a self-described student of Bannon’s work who said he has discussed the eventuality of Bannon’s firing with people close to him.
“There’s sex scandals people are sitting on,” Cernovich said. “All the gossip and drama and stuff that might be a little more personal is going to get leaked.”
Trump mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, Bannon’s chief patron, spent much of Friday at the offices of Cambridge Analytica — a data firm in which her family is invested and on whose board Bannon sat before joining the White House — exploring potential gigs for Bannon should he be fired, according to The New York Times.
Cernovich speculated that Bannon could, with the help of Cambridge Analytica’s data, move from the personal to the political by identifying his enemies’ most vulnerable allies in Congress and encouraging challengers to run for their seats. “There will be big primary campaigns against them,” Cernovich said. “It will be Eric Cantor-style warfare.”
Several people familiar with Bannon’s modus operandi said he would be unlikely to take on Trump directly, preferring instead to shift blame toward others while leaving the door open to a rapprochement with the president — at least at first.
“In Steve’s dream scenario, he would depart, things would fall apart even more so, and Trump would beg him to come back to fix it,” Bardella said.
Otherwise, Trump could eventually find himself directly in Bannon’s cross hairs, some said.
“We would see House and Senate races in 2018 to, you know, go after Trump’s agenda,” said internet troll Charles Johnson, an ally of Bannon who worked for him at Breitbart. “Everything would slow down. His presidency would essentially be over. Bannon is more than just a man. He is honestly something of an idea because he represents something that both the establishment and the left-wing media hate.”
Some analysts believe that the departure of Bannon would create virtual war on Trump’s blue collar supporters.
If Bannon leaves the White House, his departure might be viewed as the end of Trump as a defender of blue-collar Americans. In fact, though, we are dealing more in perceptions than in reality. Behind the mask, Trump never really showed serious interest in transforming the basic Republican agenda to help struggling Americans.On Wednesday, Trump reversed himself on his tough rhetoric about China when he said that he no longer planned to get rid of the Export-Import Bank. The GOP plan to replace Obamacare, which has failed to gain enough votes to pass the House, would take away benefits from some of Trump’s lower income supporters. And his proposed budget also would have drawbacks for parts of Trump’s base.In many of the rural areas that voted for Trump, residents would experience cuts to senior centers, after-school programs, farm services and infrastructure spending for towns and more.Trump’s plans to weaken government regulation — although a boon to financial services and fossil fuel executives — also may not help his base. The benefits might “trickle down,” but right now the verdict is out.Trump promised to break with traditional approaches to politics so that he could uplift the “forgotten” Americans suffering from the elimination of manufacturing jobs and rising inequality.Trump promised to break with traditional approaches to politics so that he could uplift the “forgotten” Americans suffering from the elimination of manufacturing jobs and rising inequality. But, in fact, he’s behaving like a classic Republican politician.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that consent decrees between the federal government and local police departments on reforming police activities can lower police morale.
Sessions’ comments come after he ordered the Justice Department earlier this month to review all existing consent decrees. The decrees are formal agreements between the federal government and local police departments overseen by a federal court.
Sessions made comments on “The Howie Carr Show,” a New England-based conservative radio program.
“I do share your concern that these investigations and consent decrees have the, can turn bad. They can reduce morale of the police officers,” Sessions said. “They can push back against being out on the street in a proactive way. You know New York has proven community-based policing, this CompStat plan, the broken windows, where you’re actually arresting even people for smaller crimes — those small crimes turn into violence and death and shootings if police aren’t out there.”
“So every place these decrees, and as you’ve mentioned some of these investigations have gone forward, we’ve seen too often big crime increases,” Sessions continued. “I mean big crime increases. Murder doubling and things of that nature. It’s just, we’ve got to be careful, protect people’s Civil Rights. We can’t have police officers abusing their power. We will not have that. But there are lawful approved, constitutional policies that places — New York is — the murder rate is well below a lot of these other cities that aren’t following these tactics.”
At the time, former Attorney General Eric Holder explained his department would attempt to negotiate a “consent decree” with municipal leaders and, in absence of a settlement, sue in federal court to compel action. Seeing no immediate reform–outside of several notable resignations and firings in Ferguson–and demanding an extension that covers all 90 jurisdictions in St. Louis County, social justice advocates were ho-hum when the department released its findings in Cleveland last December and, more recently, announced a similar investigation would be conducted in Baltimore.
The truth is more than 20 U.S. cities are now under a consent decree, meaning they have agreed to work with the Justice Department’s civil rights division to—in effect—reform themselves. The legally binding actions outlined are specific and stem from rigorous fact-finding. In recent days, the city of Cleveland entered a similar agreement, and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch signaled she will lead an investigation into the Baltimore police department after Freddie Gray was killed in police custody.
Cleveland has been embroiled in controversy since the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November and the acquittal of police office Michael Brelo in the fatal shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Brelo was among 13 officers who unleashed a stunning 137 rounds on the unarmed suspects as they sat in their car. The city was already under a “pattern and practice” investigation at the time of both incidents.
So the question remains: how effective are such measures?
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, passed in 1994, has proven to be one of the most significant pieces of justice-related legislation enacted over the last 20 odd years. It is most widely known for its problematic measures, including the so-called “three strikes” law that mandates life imprisonment for three-time offenders. Signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, that aspect has disproportionately fueled the mass incarceration of African American men.
However, the law also handed the civil rights division the ability to pursue police agencies if they demonstrate a “pattern and practice” of violating the Constitutional rights of the people they are sworn to serve and protect—including the use of excessive force, racial profiling, and policing-for-profit schemes. The extraordinary language came just three years after Rodney King was beaten by four LAPD police officers. It was a response to a national outcry that the federal government do more to hold law enforcement agencies accountable when local authorities fail.
The prevalence of third-party videotape, which grew exponentially in the years since Rodney King with the advent of smartphone technology and the ubiquitous nature of surveillance cameras, has afforded investigating agencies with a bevy of tangible evidence. Relying on an officer’s statement, as North Charleston, South Carolina police had initially done in the case of patrolman Michael Slager, is no longer the end of the inquiry. Slager, who was unaware that a bystander recorded him, made a flurry of false statements related to the death of Walter Scott. When a tape emerged of him standing calmly in a footpath and shooting Scott five times in the back, he was arrested and charged.
This is definitely a huge concern for those of us that live in urban areas where police practices have been anything but enlightened. It’s been a major way of putting all levels of government and the communities in a place where reform is possible.
Now it’s in jeopardy along with many other things.
So, the one bit of rumors coming from left wing media that seems terrifically exciting is that there are about to be arrests in the T-Russia Spy-O-Rama.
The claim first came from @SheWhoVotes, a Twitter user who is also a Constitutional lawyer and has a solid track record. She tweeted today that she’s “Hearing from intelligence insiders that [New York State Attorney General Eric] Scheiderman is working closely with intel. They’re going to take out the entire three ring circus” (link). This was then quickly validated with the words “Fact check: true” by Louise Mensch, a former member of British Parliament who is now a political journalist, and whose inside sources have been consistently correct about the FISA warrants in the Trump-Russia investigation going back to last fall.
My feet are doing a jig over this one:
But first, a few world news updates that should be mentioned…
We knew that the call for Assad to step down has been coming, well today the US is leading that global call for Assad to leave Syria. Secretary Clinton: For the Sake of Syrian People, the Time Has Come for President Asad To Step Aside | U.S. Department of State Blog
Today, President Obama called for the President of Syria, Bashar al-Asad, to step aside and took the strongest financial action against the Syrian regime thus far. Following the President’s statement, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the situation in Syria.Secretary Clinton said, “For months, the world has borne witness to the Asad regime’s contempt for its own people. In peaceful demonstrations across the nation, Syrians are demanding their universal human rights. The regime has answered their demands with empty promises and horrific violence, torturing opposition leaders, laying siege to cities, slaughtering thousands of unarmed civilians, including children.”The Asad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the world and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.”This morning, President Obama called on Asad to step aside and announced the strongest set of sanctions to date targeting the Syrian Government. These sanctions include the energy sector to increase pressure on the regime. The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it’s time for Asad to get out of the way.”As President Obama said this morning, no outside power can or should impose on this transition. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders in a democratic system based on the rule of law and dedicated to protecting the rights of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sect, or gender.[…]In closing, Secretary Clinton said, “…The people of Syria deserve a government that respects their dignity, protects their rights, and lives up to their aspirations. Asad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves, and that is what we will continue to work to achieve.”You can read a complete transcript of the Secretary’s remarks here.
Other leaders in the European Union have joined Obama’s call for Assad to step down. Syria: Assad must resign, says Obama | World news | The Guardian
The US president was joined by David Cameron of Britain, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel of Germany, as well as the European Union in demanding Assad immediately resign.
David Cameron issued a joint statement with and Merkel that noted Assad had ignored appeals from other Middle East states, the Arab League and the United Nations security council to end the violent crackdown.
“Our three countries believe that President Assad, who is resorting to brutal military force against his own people and who is responsible for the situation, has lost all legitimacy and can no longer claim to lead the country. We call on him to face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people and to step aside in the best interests of Syria and the unity of its people.”
The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said there had been a “complete loss of Bashar Assad’s legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people”.
I guess the President and other leaders were waiting on a UN report that was just released, as sort of a back up for Assad to step down.
The call from western capitals came as it was revealed that UN human rights investigators have listed the names of 50 regime figures who could be prosecuted by the international criminal court (ICC) for crimes committed against civilians during the violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
The list is believed to contain officials from the president’s inner circle and security agencies. It marks the first time that government insiders have faced the prospect of criminal charges since the five-month uprising began.
A decision on whether to refer the names to the ICC is likely to be made on Thursday.
The UN report accuses officials of torture, summary executions and abuse of children – allegations that could amount to crimes against humanity. It accuses security forces of indiscriminately firing at demonstrators, sometimes from helicopters, and says injured protesters have been killed inside hospitals, sometimes being locked alive in mortuary freezers. It says Syrian officials confirmed that around 1,900 demonstrators had been killed by mid-July, and states that hundreds more have been killed since then.
“Children have not only been targeted by security forces, but they have been repeatedly subject to the same human rights and criminal violations as adults, including torture,” the report said.
The report’s authors were denied access to Syria and spent four months interviewing defectors and demonstrators who had fled the country.
In US Political news…It looks like more and more professional pundits are seeing the light, just wish they would have listened to us a few years ago…George W. Obama? – CBS News
Mitch Daniels told THE WEEKLY STANDARD’s Andy Ferguson that the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues. We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” until economic issues are resolved.
Well, that was back in June, of 2010 … obviously the economic issues must all be resolved today, right?
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said today he will sign a controversial bill that cuts off government funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Indiana will become the first state to take such action.
“I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position,” said Daniels, a Republican.
You can’t trust any of them. They say anything. Way to call a truce, Governor … right on the backs of poor women!
Republicans don’t seem to be able to help themselves any more. They’ve adopted the policy that no public good is a good public good. Shortsightedness appears to rule their doctrine and policy measures. The war on American Women is just one instance. Here’s Agent Orange telling Christian Extremists that defunding planned parenthood is just one “battle’ that’s part of a “war” that he wants to win. Evidently forced pregnancy and death in childbirth appear to be front and center on Speaker Boehner’s list of priorities. I’m warning you that this comes straight from the American christian version of the taliban so venture over to that site at the risk of killing some brain cells.
David Brody: “Can you commit to them that (defunding Planned Parenthood) will stay in the CR no matter what?”
Speaker John Boehner: “The continuing resolution passed 10 days ago did in fact defund Planned Parenthood and that bill has gone over to the United States Senate. They, like the House were out last week. What they’ll do with that bill I have no idea. In the short term CR though our focus is on cutting spending and making sure that we keep the government open. In order to get this through the House and through the Senate and signed by the President by March 4th, we’re not going to take any big chances on the fact that they’re looking for an excuse to shut down the government. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer they’ve been rooting for a government shutdown. We do not want to give them an excuse to do that.”
David Brody: “But then again with Planned Parenthood and this whole situation we know what’s going to happen in the Senate. It’s not going to be part of the CR. The pro-life community wants the GOP leadership to stand firm here in conference and is that a line in the sand?”
Speaker John Boehner: “The goal here again is to cut spending and keep the government open. I met with a lot of religious leaders earlier today to talk about the strategy and I think it’s important that we understand that what we want to do here is win the war not just win a battle and there will be an opportunity sometime in order to win the big war and we’re looking for that opportunity. I don’t think this short term CR is the opportunity that will get us there.”
David Brody: “So in essence you’re saying if it comes to that you’re not going to shut down the government over the defunding of Planned Parenthood.”
Speaker John Boehner: “There are a lot of options on the table but I don’t think in the short term CR (Continuing Resolution) this is the opportunity we’re looking for.”
There is absolutely nothing pro-life about these people. It is merely about out and out ownership of women and their bodily functions. They will not be satistified until they set up a police state whose function it will be to check the results of women’s monthly cycles and enforce breeder status on every functioning uterus. This is seriously sick.
It’s just not reproductive rights that are at stake here. It’s the funding of nearly all services that support the health and well being of women, pregnancies, and children. The speaker is sadly obsessed with one small part of a huge federal budget. This can only be seen through the lens of christianist extremism.
Speaking to the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, Boehner vigorously supported a recent House vote that defunds the organization entirely, a move that would strip it of more than $75 million in government cash.
Currently, the organization is allowed to apply government subsidies to all services except abortion procedures. Critics argue that restriction is too limited, saying that applying the government’s money to other procedures leaves more of the group’s own cash on hand to allocate to abortion-related services.
“The goal here again is to cut spending and keep the government open,” Boehner said of the move to defund the organization, in an interview published Sunday. “I met with a lot of religious leaders earlier today to talk about the strategy and I think it’s important that we understand that what we want to do here is win the war not just win a battle and there will be an opportunity sometime in order to win the big war and we’re looking for that opportunity.”
The defunding vote from the lower chamber came as part of a continuing resolution that included dramatic spending cuts across a range of programs. The Democrat-controlled Senate is set to consider the spending bill this week and is likely to reject a significant amount of the GOP’s spending cuts, including those that affect Planned Parenthood.
We’ve seen the erosion of women’s autonomy and individual liberties now for decades. There has been a method and a madness to the religious zealots who seek to enact specific religious tenets into the laws and funding of our national priorities. This type of thinking has reached a zenith in crazyland. Let me just remind you that Georgia legislature wants every single miscarriage investigated for possible wrongdoing. Rational thought has left the building.
It’s only February, but this year has been a tough one for women’s health and reproductive rights. There’s a new bill on the block that may have reached the apex (I hope) of woman-hating craziness. Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin—who last year proposed making rape and domestic violence “victims” into “accusers”—has introduced a 10-page bill that would criminalize miscarriages and make abortion in Georgia completely illegal. Both miscarriages and abortions would be potentially punishable by death: any “prenatal murder” in the words of the bill, including “human involvement” in a miscarriage, would be a felony and carry a penalty of life in prison or death. Basically, it’s everything an “pro-life” activist could want aside from making all women who’ve had abortions wear big red “A”s on their chests.
I doubt that a bill that makes a legal medical procedure liable for the death penalty will pass. The bill, however, shows an astonishing lack of concern for women’s health and well-being. Under Rep. Franklin’s bill, HB 1, women who miscarry could become felons if they cannot prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever in the causation” of their miscarriage. There is no clarification of what “human involvement” means, and this is hugely problematic as medical doctors do not know exactly what causes miscarriages. Miscarriages are estimated to terminate up to a quarter of all pregnancies and the Mayo Clinic says that “the actual number is probably much higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn’t developing normally.”
We’ve seen this kind of insanity coming out of statehouses and congress for several months now with little pushback by Democratic legislators. What type of people would seriously think and say these things? How have they gotten into positions where they get to make laws?
Every penny spent on Planned Parenthood is a penny well-spent. Unplanned and dangerous pregnancies are bad for children, bad for women,and bad for the society. There exists an incredible amount of evidence that show that every dollar spent to prevent unwanted and dangerous pregnancies save thousands of dollars and lives later on down the road. Seriously, what kind of people live in this country that cheer on actions that would lead to abundant suffering? Again, what kind of a sicko do you have to be to say these things? Speaker Boehner is an embarrassment to the country. The sooner we get his pathetic drunk and emotionally damaged ass out of Washington DC the better off we will all be. Unfortunately, he seems intent on damaging the present and the future as best he can.