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When Roger West first launched the progressive political blog "News From The Other Side" in May 2010, he could hardly have predicted the impact that his venture would have on the media and political debate. As the New Media emerged as a counterbalance to established media sources, Roger wrote his copious blogs about national politics, the tea party movement, mid-term elections, and the failings of the radical right to the vanguard of the New Media movement. Roger West's efforts as a leading blogger have tremendous reach. NFTOS has led the effort to bring accountability to mainstream media sources such as FOX NEWS,CNN and Andy Breitbart's "Big Journalism. Roger's breadth of experience, engaging style, and cultivation of loyal readership - over 49.7 million visitors - give him unique insight into the past, present, and future of the New Media and political rhetoric that exists in our society today. What we are against: Radical Right Wing Agendas Incompetent Establishment Public Coruption Corporate Malfeasence We are for: Global and Econmoic Security Social and Economic Justice Media Accountability Healthy Communities

Sunday, February 1, 2015

CARTOONS AND MUHAMMAD


Cartoonist Mark Fiore takes a look at the Paris terror murders and the "disrespect" of cartoonist to the prophet Muhammad, supposed prophet to God. Is it really disrespect; I guess it depends on who (and when) you ask.







NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Saturday, January 31, 2015

SUDDENLY, THE GOP NOW CARES FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS?


Bill Maher used his New Rules segment this Friday evening to go after Republicans and their sudden new found love for the middle class and for pretending that they actually want to do something about income inequality in the United States. He also took aim at the snowbillie from Wasilla and her long, rambling, incoherent speech at  Steve King's [flat earth society leader] Iowa Freedom Summit last weekend.

Video Courtesy of HBO





The ignorance that is Sarah Palin




When Republicans say they're embracing the Middle Class, I automatically picture the Middle Class encircled in the suffocating coils of a starving boa constrictor.

The wingnuts 'embracing" the middle class, right, and next they'll be meeting immigrants at our borders to welcome them.






NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Friday, January 30, 2015

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN YOU GET CAUGHT BULL-SHITTING ABOUT OBAMACARE



The Republican attorneys general of six states, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia, all signed a brief asking the Supreme Court to gut the Affordable Care Act. Yet one of the central claims in this brief — a claim that cuts to the heart of whether the Supreme Court should shred much of Obamacare or leave it intact — is at odds with a pile of evidence to the contrary. This evidence includes explicitly contradictory statements from the Republican governors of several states, including three of the states represented by these six attorneys general. And the six attorneys general were unable to muster any contrary evidence that supports their central claim.

This weakness in their case is unlikely to be unnoticed by the justices, however, as a brief filed Wednesday by a much larger group of state officials rounds up much of the considerable evidence undercutting the six Republican attorneys general’s claim.

To explain, the Affordable Care Act explicitly says that states should have “flexibility” to decide whether they want to operate health exchanges where their residents can buy health insurance, or whether the federal government should operate an exchange for them. Nevertheless, a lawsuit called King v. Burwell alleges that the residents of states who chose the second option lose access to tax credits intended to help them pay for insurance. If this lawsuit prevails, 13 million people, many of them children, could become uninsured.

To prevail, however, the plaintiffs in King must do more than simply show that they have discovered the best way to read Obamacare’s text. Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, a state cannot be bound by an alleged condition tucked into a federal grant program “if a State is unaware of the conditions or is unable to ascertain what is expected of it.” Rather, when Congress says that it will only pay out money if a state takes a particular action, the Supreme Court insists “that Congress speak with a clear voice.” Thus, if there is uncertainty about how to read the law, that uncertainty must be resolved against the plaintiffs’ reading and in favor of the view that the law does not make tax credits conditional upon anything.

And that’s not all the bad news for the King plaintiffs. Under the Supreme Court’s opinion in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy, the question of whether a state is able to ascertain whether federal money comes with conditions must be evaluated “from the perspective of a state official who is engaged in the process of deciding whether the State should accept . . . the obligations that go with those funds.” Thus, if there is a wealth of evidence showing that state officials did not read Obamacare in the same way the King plaintiffs do — and it turns out that there is — that evidence also cuts strongly against a decision for the plaintiffs in King.

The brief filed by the six Republican attorneys general appears designed to address this weakness in the plaintiffs’ argument. It claims that state officials were “well aware” that the Affordable Care Act “conditioned the availability of tax credits on States establishing exchanges,” although it cites no actual evidence to support this claim.

On Wednesday, a much larger bloc of 22 states plus the District of Columbia filed their own brief opposing the King plaintiffs’ attempt to cut of tax credits. After reading that brief, it is not hard to guess why the smaller group of anti-Obamacare attorneys general were not able to muster any evidence for their position — there are piles of evidence demonstrating that the six attorneys general are simply wrong about how state officials understood the law.

Recall that the six attorneys general who filed in opposition to Obamacare include officials from Nebraska, South Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia and Oklahoma.

In Nebraska, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman explained his decision to allow the federal government to set up his state’s exchange by stating that “[o]n the key issues, there is no real operational difference between a federal exchange and a state exchange.”

In South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley wrote that “[b]y refusing to implement state-based exchanges, the state is ceding nothing,” a statement that is incompatible with the view that the state was actually ceding tax credits for its citizens.

In Georgia, an advisory committee established by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal determined that “Georgians will be eligible for [tax credits under Obamacare] whether the AHBE in Georgia is established by the state or federal government.” When Deal announced that his state would not set up its own exchange, deal made no mention of whether tax credits would be available, though he did complain about “Obamacare’s one-size fits all approach,” an approach which suggests that the law would operate similarly in every state.

In West Virginia, according to the brief by the pro-Obamacare states, “State officials answered ‘yes in June 2012 to the question ‘Will individuals who are enrolled in coverage through a federally facilitated Exchange have access to premium tax credits.'”

Only in Oklahoma is there any evidence that state officials might have thought that tax credits were unavailable in federally-run exchanges. There, Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) brought a similar challenge to Obamacare to the one advanced by the King plaintiffs, and Gov. Mary Fallin (R) cited her support for this lawsuit when she announced her decision not to operate a state-run exchange. Nevertheless, Fallin contradicted herself in a 2013 press release entitled “Governor Fallin Announces Extension of Insure Oklahoma.” That press release explains that “those individuals above 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace and related advance premium tax credits, which will be offered to individuals and families earning up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.”

Nor is this the extent of the evidence showing that state officials were not “well aware” that they risked losing tax credits if they did not set up their own exchange. Virginia’s Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said that he was unaware of any “clear benefits of a state run exchange to our citizens.” Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker said that “there’s no real substantive difference between a federal exchange, or a state exchange.” A brief filed by the governors or attorneys general of 24 states the last time the fate of Obamacare was before the Supreme Court explained that the law can only operate in the manner that Congress intended” if the tax credits are “intact.”

On Tuesday, the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent quoted multiple state officials who explained that the subject of whether a state risked tax credits by opting for a federally-run exchange never even came up. Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a Republican, told Sargent that “the discussion was never about what happens to the subsidies.” Rather, “[h]ad it occurred to us that not doing a state exchange would somehow jeopardize citizens in Kansas being eligible for subsides, we would have made that argument loud and clear. And we never did. It never entered our minds.”

Similarly, Cindi Jones was appointed by Virginia’s McDonnell to lead the governor’s Virginia Health Reform Initiative panel. Jones told Sargent that “there was no discussion at any meeting that one of the reasons we would want to do a state based exchange was that it would be the only way we would get subsidies.”

Now, however, the plaintiffs in King and the six attorneys general who support them want the justices to believe that states were “well aware” that many of their citizens would lose their ability to afford health insurance if the state elected for a federally-run exchange. This claim simply cannot be squared with the clearly stated views of multiple state officials, all of whom were “engaged in the process of deciding whether the State” should set up its own exchange, and many of whom are Republicans.


[h/t thinkprogress]



NFTOS
STAFF WRITER


Thursday, January 29, 2015

“DEFLATEGATE”? SCIENCE GUY TELLS MERICA TO GIVE A FUCK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

SCIENCE GUY BILL NYE TELLS AMERICA TO WAKE THE FUCK ABOUT ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week or so, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the now infamous “Deflategate” controversy swirling around the New England Patriots and the fact that 11 of the 12 footballs they used during the AFC Championship game were found to be under-inflated. Words cannot express how sick and tired I am of hearing about this story. I understand that the Super Bowl is approaching and this isn’t the first questionable thing that’s been tied to the Patriots, but the coverage over this whole situation has been just silly. How many times can reporters ask Bill Belichick or Tom Brady the same questions? They’ve said all they’re going to say. Until some sort of new, concrete information comes out regarding this issue – let it go.

Bill Nye recently debunked Belichick’s claim that the weather might have been the cause of the under-inflated footballs in a video he recorded for Funny Or Die. But what this clip was clearly meant to do was mock the “outrage” and attention people have given this controversy, while often giving a fraction of that attention to “small” things like climate change. We remember climate change, right? It’s just the human-driven phenomenon that threatens to end life as we know it and possibly even make the planet uninhabitable for human beings.

You know that “little” thing. And as pretty much everybody knows, Nye has become quite a spokesman for those of us who know climate change is real and trust the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that says humans are the ones causing it.

It was a bit of a genius move on Nye’s part to take this opportunity to use a sports/pop culture story like Deflategate to emphasize that people need to start caring about climate change as much (if not more) than they do nonsense like under-inflated footballs.
“While we have a few minutes here, I’d like to talk about something else,” Nye said. “Climate Change is real! While we’re all obsessed with Deflategate, let’s keep in mind that’s there’s something about which you should give a fuck! Yes, like Tom Brady, the world is getting hotter and hotter, because we humans are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

This is Nye at his best, perfectly emphasizing a very important issue that we should be discussing every single day, but it was done in such a way to get the attention it deserves. So, what does Nye think we need to do?
“You should vote for congressmen and senators that appreciate the threat of climate change and the rate at which the world is getting warmer, so that we can preserve the Earth for humankind for generations to come,” he said.






NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WAS BEN CARSON REALLY A BRAIN SURGEON?



Ben Carson Suggests That Congress Should Remove Pro-Equality Judges, Which Is Unconstitutional

Federal judges had better make sure that their future rulings don’t conflict with the policy preferences of a President Ben Carson. Otherwise, despite a lifetime appointment, they might quickly find themselves out of a job.

During an interview last week with conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace, Carson, who is considering running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, discussed the wave of recent rulings by federal courts striking down same-sex marriage bans. He argued that statewide ballot initiative results should be the final word, saying it was “unconstitutional” that judges have ruled in favor of equality despite these votes.

Carson continued that, when federal judges make rulings like this, “our Congress actually has the right to reprimand or remove them.”





Setting aside Carson’s premise that the Constitution’s promise of equality should be put up to a vote, he is misguided about what the Constitution provides with respect to judges. Despite his assertion, Congress cannot simply remove a judge for ruling in a way the majority disagrees with. Judges may only be removed for impeachable offenses, which the Constitution defines as “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Under other circumstances, the Constitution declares that “judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior.

Admittedly, there are precedents for reducing a sitting judge’s jurisdiction. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, for example, was split into two courts in 1981. That was not done to punish the judges on that court, however, but rather because the old Fifth Circuit was viewed as too large an unwieldy. It would be something entirely different to strip a judge — and that judge’s court — of all of their authority.

Carson is not the only Republican to propose this type of governing through intimidation. Multiple times during his presidential bid, former Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested eliminating entire courts in order to punish judges he disagreed with.

Of course, it’s not terribly surprising that Carson would propose removing pro-equality judges, given his fervent opposition to LGBT rights. In 2013, he gained notoriety for comparing marriage equality to pedophilia and bestiality. He reiterated this view before eventually backing down and apologizing.



[h/t thinkprogress]



NFTOS 
STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

“HOMOSEXUALITY MORE DANGEROUS THAN TERRORISM”

WING NUT SALLY KERN OF OKLAHOMA


Oklahoma is currently one of the most conservative states to have marriage equality (Alabama just got a two-week delay in holding that title). Same-sex couples are carefully beginning to exercise their new right, like Tracy Curtis and Kathryn Frazier, whose anxiety over every wedding invitation was thoughtfully profiled by the Washington Post this weekend. But conservative lawmakers have expressed their interest in circumventing that freedom to marry in several creative ways.

State Rep. Sally Kern is leading that charge. She infamously insists that homosexuality is “more dangerous” than terrorism, and has attempted to make a martyr of herself over the backlash for saying so. Last week, she filed three separate bills designed to circumvent equality for the LGBT community by either licensing discrimination or outright promoting harm.

Her first bill, HB 1597, specifically empowers businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community. Unlike the slew of bills in other states that use “religious freedom” language to create a carve-out for anti-LGBT discrimination, Kern’s bill explicitly identifies LGBT people: “No business entity shall be required to provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges related to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, group or association.” This bill may be the most blatant “license to discriminate” of any legislation recently proffered by conservative lawmakers across the country.

While several states are considering following the lead of California and New Jersey in banning ex-gay therapy for minors — so that the harmful, ineffective treatment cannot be forced upon them by unaccepting parents — Kern takes the opposite approach. HB 1598 would create the “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act,” insisting, “The people of this state have the right to seek and obtain counseling or conversion therapy from a mental health provider in order to control or end any unwanted sexual attraction, and no state agency shall infringe upon that right.” This includes minors, as the bill specifically empowers parents to obtain ex-gay therapy for their children “without interference by the state.”

Lastly, Kern wants to try to prevent couples like Tracy and Kathryn from getting married even though federal courts have guaranteed them that right. Her third bill, HB 1599 (the so-called “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act”), borrows directly from similar legislation proposed in Texas to prevent government employees from receiving a salary if they issue a same-sex marriage license. “No taxpayer funds or governmental salaries shall be paid for any activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage,” the bill declares. Not only would clerks lose their salary, pension, and benefits, but any judge who issued a same-sex marriage license “shall be removed from office.”

Kern is not alone in trying to block marriage equality at the clerk level. State Rep. Todd Russ has proposed a bill (HB 1125) that would no longer allow clerks or judges to even officiate marriages anymore. If couples do not have a formal ceremony with a religious leader, they would have to file an affidavit of common law marriage instead, and they would never actually receive a marriage certificate. Russ, himself a credentialed Assemblies of God minister, told The Oklahoman that though he joins many Oklahomans in opposing same-sex marriage, “the Supreme Court stuck it down our throats,” but “marriages are not supposed to be a government thing anyway.”

It’s unclear whether lawmakers are willing to get behind these bills that clearly target the LGBT community for harm, discrimination, and unequal access to government services, nor whether they would be upheld in a federal court. Republicans do enjoy supermajorities in both the Oklahoma House and Senate, so passage cannot be ruled out.

Congratulations Sally Kern, you are today's dual award winner. The coveted asshat and worst person in the world are yours today. 




NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Monday, January 26, 2015

TEEN SHOT TO DEATH BY POLICE AT POLICE STATION

Kristiana Coignard

Last Thursday, 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard was shot dead by three police officers in the lobby of the Longview Police Department. Coignard arrived at the station around 6:30 p.m. and asked to talk to an officer. Police say the girl was “brandishing a weapon” before she was shot four times.

The three officers, who have not been identified, have been placed on leave. The investigation of Coignard’s death is now being handled by the Texas Rangers.

The incident, at this point, is shrouded in mystery. Officials could not “confirm the type of weapon Coignard brandished at the officers.” Beyond the alleged, unspecified weapon, virtually no details about the events that immediately preceded Coignard’s death have been released.

Coignard was living in Longview with her Aunt, Heather Robertson. In an interview Robertson raised questions about the circumstances of Coignard’s death. “I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”

Robertson said that her niece had been struggling with mental illness, including depression and bipolar disorder, since her mother died when she was four. She had been hospitalized twice in recent years after suicide attempts. One time, she tried to hang herself. Another time, she drank toilet bowl cleaner. Since arriving in Longview in December, Coignard had been taking medication and regularly seeing a therapist. She had no criminal record and “was only violent with herself, ” Robertson said.

Robertson and Coignard’s grandmother, Holly McGuire, spoke to a Longview police officer on the night Coignard was killed for about 30 minutes. They were provided with few details of what transpired but were told that a video of the incident, including sound, exists. They have not been contacted by the Texas Rangers.

Kristian Brian, a spokesperson for the Longview Police Department, declined to comment further on the case, citing the ongoing investigation by the Texas Rangers. Brian did confirm that a video of the incident exists.

Police officers frequently encounter the mentally ill, but often do not receive training. As a result “rash stigmatization and misinterpretation of the intentions of the mentally ill can cause vital errors and ultimately make the difference between life and death.”

Coignard’s death also raises questions about use of force protocols in the United States. British citizens, for example, “are about 100 times less likely to be shot by police, according to the Economist.”

Officers in Longview were involved in two fatal shootings in 2014, including one involving a 15-year-old. In both instances, the officers were cleared by a grand jury.

With the hiring mentality of police departments, “too smart, application denied”, mixed with trigger happy officers, what else are we to expect?





NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Sunday, January 25, 2015

JAMES INHOFE IS A SPECIAL KIND OF STUPID






Wednesday was a big day for conservative for flat earth society member and wing nut Sen. James Inhofe . In the morning, he officially took the gavel as chairman of the Senate’s Environment Committee. In the afternoon, he took the Senate floor for a long speech about how human-caused climate change is fake.



In sum, the speech has everything. References to the oft-debunked “ClimateGate” stolen e-mail “scandal”, a poster of a Time Magazine cover from 1974 claiming an ice age is coming, and multiple references to former Vice President Al Gore. It has a mention of a survey of weather-casters who think global warming is caused by natural variation, but does not mention that weather-casters are not climate scientists. It even includes the claim that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “started” the whole idea that climate change is happening, even though the idea was conceived about 200 years ago.

The video above actually begins a couple minutes in to Inhofe’s speech, with a quote from Richard Lindzen, a former MIT professor and one of the most-cited voices of scientists who think global warming is fake. Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist, has often been characterized as having contrarian scientific opinions. He has also said that the evidence that cigarettes cause lung cancer is not “so strong that one should rule that any questions were out of order.”

Behind Inhofe in the beginning of the video is a list of climate scientists — Lindzen included — who don’t agree with the vast majority of climate scientists who say human-caused carbon emissions are contributing to climate change. Inhofe says he has compiled a list of 4,000 “renowned scientists” scientists who disagree (“this is all in my website,” he said). Inhofe’s list actually has 650 people, some of whom are television meteorologists, geologists, anthropologists, and even a man with no college degree.

Conversely, one of the most recent peer-reviewed studies on the state of climate science showed that out of 4000 abstracts from peer-reviewed papers published in the past 21 years that stated a position on the cause of global warming — 97 percent of these endorsed the point that it was human-caused. In the video, Inhofe says this is “just not true.”

Inhofe also criticizes climatologist Michael Mann’s famous hockey stick graph, which displayed temperatures going back half a millennium, and cites the controversy it received as a reason to believe climate change is fake. He does not mention that the National Academy of Sciences vindicated the hockey stick graph in 2006 as good science, as have multiple other peer-reviewed studies since.

It’s also worthwhile to point out that even if the hockey stick was wrong, even if it didn’t exist, we would still have enough scientific evidence to prove climate change is real and caused by humans. “Climate deniers like to make it seem like the entire weight of evidence for climate change rests on the hockey stick,” Mann told the Atlantic in 2013. “And that’s not the case. We could get rid of all these reconstructions, and we could still know that climate change is a threat, and that we’re causing it.”

Don’t expect this speech to be the end of climate denial in the Senate. Indeed, Inhofe ended his speech by promising more of it, citing his new position as head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“Now I’m back in that position so we’ll have a chance to have hearings, and Mr. President, we’re going to have hearings with prominent scientists to come in and talk about this thing,” he said. “We’ll be there to be the truth-squad.”
James Inhofe, you are this week's worst person of the week. Congrats numbnutz!

[h/t thinkprogress]



NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Billionaire Buyers Guide To The 2016 Election

ELEPHANT MEN FOR 2016



Bill Maher in his New Rules segment last night roasted the wing nut corporate ass lickers - I mean the GOP 2016 Presidential hopefuls. Maher took time to dissect each of the top ten potential candidates who are courting the Billionaire boys club.

Video Courtesy of HBO










NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West



Friday, January 23, 2015

GUN SENSE KANSAS VERSION




Obtaining a concealed-carry permit in Kansas isn’t exactly a difficult task. A 2006 law made Kansas a “shall-issue” state, meaning that law enforcement does not have discretion to deny permits to people who meet certain qualifications; though people who want to carry concealed firearms also are required to complete a gun-safety class. A majority of the state’s senators, however, believe that it should be even easier to pack heat if you live in the Sunflower State. Twenty-six of the state’s 40 senators co-sponsored a bill eliminating the requirements to take the class and to obtain the a permit.

The bill is labeled a “constitutional carry” bill because of its supporters’ mistaken belief that a permitting requirement and similar restrictions on concealed firearms violate the Second Amendment. As the Supreme Court explained in District of Columbia v. Heller, the right to bear arms is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Nor is this conception of the Second Amendment particularly new. To the contrary, Justice Antonin Scalia explained in his majority opinion, “the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.”

Echoing National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre’s claim that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Kansas State Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce claims that this legislation will “lead to more protection of individuals.” Empirical data, however, does not bear out this claim. A literature review by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center determined that areas with more guns have higher homicide rates, for example. Another study found that, in higher education settings “there were more gun threats at schools that allowed firearms possession than schools that prohibited students from owning guns.”

Other data shows that the premise of the NRA’s good guy/bad guy framework is flawed. In reality, mass shootings — the kind of situation where a “good guy with a gun” might be best poised to end a killer’s rampage — are quite rare. Meanwhile, according to Washington State Sociology Professor Jennifer Schwartz, “nearly half of all homicides, committed by men or women, were preceded by some sort of argument or fight.” Forty percent of male offenders and about one-third of female offenders were drinking alcohol when they committed a homicide offense.

Homicides, in other words, don’t often occur for want of a good guy with a gun. They occur much more often because two guys are arguing at a bar, and one of them happens to be armed.





NFTOS
STAFF WRITER

Thursday, January 22, 2015

IMPLODY AWARDS

JONI ERNST SHOE WEATHER PROTECTOR 



The Daily Show's Jon Stewart had to pick a winner for this year's "Implody Award" given for "unforced response errors" to President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Previous winners included Marco Rubio, Michele Bachmann and Bob McDonnell and Stewart wondered who was going home with the "Implody" this year.

This years contestants were the official response given by "tea party" - the Koch Brothers favorite, Senator Hog Balls herself, Joni Ernst. As Stewart joked, if her job was to humanize the Republican Party, she failed epically.

Next up was Rep. Curt Clawson who gave the "official" "tea party" response, which was apparently filled with lots of basketball talk and immigrant bashing for good measure.

Not to be outshined, next up we had Sen. Rand Paul and his You Tube response, and his whining about how awful "liberal elites" are, which Stewart did a wonderful job responding to.

And finally, not want to be left out of the circus, Mr. Green Eggs and Ham AKA, Ted Cruz with the response he wishes he had back.

Drum roll please, and the winner is……..

Video Courtesy of Comedy Central






NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS 2015 GOP PWNED!

PRESIDENT QUICK WITS REPUBLICANS IN AD-LIB FEST AT SOTU ADDRESS


In front of the new, Republican-controlled Congress, a forceful and determined President Obama used his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night to push for a program of “middle class economics.” With his pitch, also came a slew of zingers – some scripted and some ad-libbed – that received applause, laughter and some GOP scowls. Here’s a look at his five best lines:

1. “I know because I won both of them.” Towards the end of his speech, Obama called for Republicans and Democrats to work together, acknowledging “I have no more campaigns to run.” But when Republicans began to clap, the commander-in-chief shot back, off-the-cuff: “I know because I won both of them” he said, to applause and laughter from Democrats.



2. “Let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.” Obama zinged Republicans for focusing too much on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline – which he has voiced opposition to – and instead urged them to focus on a long-term infrastructure bill. “Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come,” said the president.

3. “Well, I’m not a scientist either.” President Obama took a jab at climate change critics, arguing, “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.”

4. “It’s time to try something new.” Obama addressed his controversial decision to thaw relations with Cuba and asked Congress to begin to lift the embargo against the communist country. “In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new,” he said.

5. Congress: You try living off the minimum wage. In his continued push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, Obama challenged members of Congress who are against the proposal. “And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise,” he said.

Things the Republican Party could not bring themselves to clap for last night - a short condensed list.

· An improving economy

· A soaring stock market

· Americans getting health insurance

· Mention of "solar power"

· Tax cuts for working families (A tax cut Republicans don't like?)"

· Affordable childcare

· Tax cuts for families with children (Another one?)

· Equal pay for women

· "America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined."

· A "free and open internet"

· Rewarding companies that "invest in America" (C'mon, really?)

· "Working Americans"

· A resolution for the use of the force against ISIL

· "Trying something new" with Cuba

· Acknowledging that climate change exists

· Prohibiting Torture

· Not persecuting "people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender."

· Closing Guantanamo

· Making "voting easier for every single American"

To be fair, many of right wing neocons last night seemed confounded at the zingers lobbed their way by Obama - which probably made them incapable of showing support for above short list.

With the freak show that is the republican congress - one never knows what makes them tick.

It was a fun show to watch as far as the SOTU goes, with their sarcastic applause for Obama’s being unable to run again - that Obama’s quick wit left them stewing and fuming for the remainder of the evening, was priceless and a very pleasing sight to this ‘lazy shit bag liberal”. Call it cocky, call it swagger, but I like my President standing up to - and verbally bitch slapping the green slimy toed sloth [GOP] into reality.

It’s a great day when the conservatives are all in a tizzy. Good job Mr. President!




NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

HOLLY FISHER, TEAHADIST , OFFERS UP CHEATING TO LIST OF CHRISTIAN FAMILY VALUES

So much for conservative Christian family values. Remember Holly Fisher, the teahadist gun toting-bible toting star who found internet fame after several of her photos went viral?

HOLY ROLLER, ADULTERER AND GUN NUT HOLLY FISHER

There was the photo of her posed, gun in one hand, Bible in the other, in front of a flag (because "Who would Jesus Kill?") -- the photo that gained even more fame after it was juxtaposed beside an image of terrorist Sherafiyah Lewthwaite, in a strikingly similar pose. There was the photo of her at Hobby Lobby, wearing a "pro-life" t-shirt, to celebrate the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS ruling that allows companies to limit women's reproductive care options.

Eventually, this internet fame translated into real fame, and Holly's star seemed to be rising within conservative circles. And then the rumors started that this family values, god-and-guns-Merica-loving icon had actually been cheating on her military vet husband. With, of all people, another member of the patriotic, family-values crowd: Joel Frewa of Tea Party News Network.

Frewa has since stepped down from his post in TPNN, and Holly has issued a public statement on her Facebook page that details what she describes as "a loss of faith", leading to the affair.
I’ve been married since I was barely 20, most of that marriage was in the army life. With deployment, kids, career changes, etc. we’ve had our ups and downs, like most couples. In the overwhelming mess of the political spotlight and trying to find myself and where I belong, I actually completely lost myself. I lost my faith in my marriage, I lost my faith in this life that not only I’ve chosen for myself, but a life that I promote. Happy military wife with kids and church and happy, happy, happy. False. My life crumbled. My marriage crumbled. I lost my faith in God. I didn’t know where I was going to go next or what I was going to do. For a very short period in the middle of that, I actually believed my marriage was over and found someone else.
Day after day, actually week after week, throughout the late fall, I found myself just trying to figure out what I needed to do to make myself happy and to get my life back on track. (emphasis added)

Now, to be fair to this dipshit, I don't care who Fisher sleeps with; it's her business. The only person who really has a right to be pissed at her is her husband, and he is standing by her. But her hypocrisy is pretty colossal, coming from a woman who has been so very vocal in trying to push her brand of morality, who has crowed loudly over the loss of women's rights because she sees those rights as contrary to her beliefs...and yet who acts in a fashion that is completely at odds with that moral code that she wants to foist on the rest of us.

But, really, it seems that in the conservative world, conservatives are the only ones who don't actually have to live up to conservative values. When they fail to live up to them - that is when someone catches them failing to live up to them (as happened here -- Fisher was at first pretty adamant in her denials) - well, Jesus stepped in and saved them, it's in the past and they're forgiven. For everyone else, of course, it's damnation and hellfire.

In the end, Fisher and Frewa are just the latest in an ever-increasing list of "family values" hypocrites, who piously push an ideology that they themselves are loath to commit to.


Originally posted at Rachel's Hobbit Hole.






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Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Monday, January 19, 2015

WHAT'S IN THIS DAY YOU ASK?

THE GREAT DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING


Rep. Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) civil rights record has been under a media microscope in recent weeks, after a Louisiana reporter discovered that the House Majority Whip had spoken at a 2002 White Supremacist convention organized by a group founded by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. But while his 2004 vote against Louisiana’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day put him in a small minority at the time, he was far from the only legislator who fought against commemorating the slain civil rights leader over the decades-long fight to create a nationwide King Holiday. And several of the opponents remain in legislative office even today.

After King’s assassination in 1968, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the first Congressional legislation to create a federal Martin Luther King Day holiday. In the years that followed, Congress held congressional hearings during which hostile witnesses said “violence was exactly what [King] wanted,” and that King formed a “common front” with the “virulently racist Nation of Islam.”

More than 15 years later, Congress finally enacted such a law. The bill, signed by President Ronald Reagan, passed in the Senate on a 78-22 vote and in the House of Representatives by a 338 to 90 margin. The most vocal opponents included the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), who mounted a 16-day filibuster of the proposal and smeared King as a Communist.

Voting with Helms against the King Holiday were four men who remain in the Senate today: Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Banking Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-AZ). Shelby and McCain were in the House at the time. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and House Judiciary Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) also voted against the proposal. McCain apologized in 2008 for being too slow “to give greatness its due,” and Hatch wrote in 2007 that the vote was “one of the worst decisions” he has made as a senator.

The fight to get a state law in all 50 states took even longer. While some states moved quickly — Illinois enacted its law in 1973 — others lagged behind.

In 1999, New Hampshire’s mammoth state house of representatives (212 to 148) and smaller state senate (19 to 5) finally enacted a law proponents had been pushing for more than a decade, to adopt King day. Since 1993, the state had observed a generic “Civil Rights Day” instead. Two of the state representatives who opposed the change now serve in the leadership of the state senate: Charles “Chuck” Morse (R) is now the Senate president and Gary Daniels (R) is now chairman of the capital budget committee. On his campaign website today, Daniels has an entire section highlighting his support for “States’ Rights” (King observed in a 1960 speech that “Most of the glaring denials, of basic freedoms in the south” were “done in the name of ‘states’ rights.'”) Fifteen opponents still serve in the state House of Representatives including controversial Deputy Speaker Gene Chandler (R), Criminal Justice and Public Safety chair John Tholl (R), Criminal Justice and Public Safety Vice Chairman David Welch (R), Finance Chairman Neal Kurk (R), Ronald Belander (R), David Bickford (R), Lars Christiansen (R), Robert Fesh (R), Jeffrey Goley (D), Mary Griffin (R), Richard Marple (R), Betsy McKinney (R), Sherman Packard (R), Anne Priestley (R), and Kenneth Weyler (R).

A year later, Utah’s legislature agreed to rename its “Human Rights Day” to honor King. The state’s house passed the bill 54 to 17, though current state senator Margaret Dayton (R) and representative Melvin R. Brown (R) were among the no votes. Dayton objected to the idea of naming holidays after individuals and successfully moved to also rename the state’s President’s Day holiday after Presidents Washington and Lincoln.

Rep. Scalise also opposed a resolution in Louisiana in 1996 expressing regret for slavery (now-U.S. Senator David Vitter (R) helped him water down the language but backed the weakened version). A similar measure in Maryland passed in 2007 unanimously in the state senate and with 5 no-votes in the state’s house of delegates. Three of those opponents — Delegates Richard K. Impallaria (R), Patrick McDonough, and Warren E. Miller — are still serving. Reps. Impallaria and McDonough have earned cheers from commentators on a popular white supremacist forum for their anti-immigrant activism and McDonough received bipartisan criticism for comments in 2012 warning of “roving mobs of black youths” near Baltimore’s inner harbor.







[h/t thinkprogress]

Sunday, January 18, 2015

POLICE CHIEF SHOT FOUR TIMES, SHOOTER WALKS SCOTT FREE

POLICE CHIEF LOUIS ROSS


In Oklahoma, a white “survivalist” shot a police chief three times in the chest and once in the arm. The shooting did not result in an arrest or charges and the man, identified by local media as 29-year-old Dallas Horton, has been released.

In a press release, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said, “Facts surrounding the case lead agents to believe the man was unaware it was officers who made entry.” But Louis Ross, the Sentinel, Oklahoma police chief who was shot, said that he entered the home after “Washita County 911 received two calls from a man who identified himself as Dallas Horton, and claimed to have a bomb inside the head start school.”

Ross cast doubt on the credibility of Horton’s claim that he didn’t know officers were present, noting that there was “screaming from five officers of the law announcing our presence, requesting to see hands.” Ross only survived the shooting because he was wearing a bulletproof vest. He has “massive bruises and welts on his body” and the shot that hit his arm “went clean through.”

In a second statement released yesterday the Oklahoma State Bureau Of Investigation said Horton was “fully cooperating with the on-going investigation” and “no traces of explosives were found.”

A Facebook profile identified by Raw Story, that purports to be from a Dallas Horton of Sentinel, contains numerous racist images.

A sign on the front door of Horton’s home says he’s a “Certified zombie killer.” The mayor of Sentinel, Sam Dlugonski, described Horton as a “gun enthusiast” and survivalist. Dlugsonski was familiar with Horton, saying, “I’ve known that kid all of his life.”

So, it's ok to shoot black guys even when they're cops. Right!

Seriously readers, this has really gone beyond the level of farce a long time ago. At what point will we finally be able to call out the racists for what they are and do something about it? Because if the races were reversed, the shooter would be dead right now and the racists would insist he deserved it.






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Roger West

Saturday, January 17, 2015

MAHER VERBALLY BITCH SLAPS LIBERALS FOR NOT BEING 'PROPER"

VIDEO COURTESY OF HBO





Bill Maher in his New Rules segment last night spoke on free speech, free speech for all, not just Liberals.

Liberals, via blogs and Twitter, took umbrage to Maher's attack on their one-sided view of free speech - Maher calling liberals "a part of the problem" and "your not even a proper liberal" for their relentless attacks on Rush Limbaugh and his sponsors.

Often the case, whether Liberal or Conservative, Americans take offense when its them - to which the free speech is intended, and which points to their humanistic failures.

Being one of the most Liberal men that this world has to offer, Maher's comments are spot on. I take no offense, but as repeatedly as honesty does, to those who seek honesty, and to those who the honesty is directed to - offense is taken.

Times are frequent when I disagree with Maher, but I do not go into tirades when our ideologies doesn't align. Liberals often invoke, when it comes to same sex marriage and abortion, that if you don't like them, then don't have one. Rush Limbaugh and as putrid comments are the same. I despise the drugster more than anyone, but he is entitled to blather on with his hate. How do I address it, I never listen to Rush Limbaugh and I silently boycott the advertises who support his smut.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Hey Liberals, if your going to talk the talk, then walk the walk. Put your adult diapers on and act like grown ups - and not be whiny little bitches who are offended because the "fact dart" is being tossed at you and not at the green slimy toed sloth [republicans].

Yes, in your free speech, you are entitled to vent your displeasure at the drugster, but, the drugster, like Charlie Hebdo, are entitled to doll out their version of diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain as well.





NFTOS
Blogger-In Chief
Roger West

Friday, January 16, 2015

COPS USE BLACK MUGSHOTS FOR TARGET PRACTICE




SMH. 
 
Someone recognized her brother among the bullet-riddled mug shots

A Florida woman is outraged after finding that North Miami Beach Police had been using images of black men for target practice—including her brother’s mug shot.

Sgt. Valerie Deant, a musician with the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, arrived at a shooting range with her fellow soldiers just after police snipers had been practicing on the same range last month. Deant was shocked to see her brother’s photograph among the mug shots of black men apparently used as target practice by the police. Woody Deant was arrested in 2000 in connection with a deadly drag race when he was just 18 years old.
“I was like why is my brother being used for target practice?” Deant told NBC Miami in a report published Friday. “There were like gunshots there.”

The incident was confirmed by Captain Jack Young, who oversees the shooting range. He said the targets are selected by whoever is renting the range. Police chief J. Scott Dennis told NBC that the decision to use mug shots of black men may have been a mistake, but that no rules were broken. He said his department includes minority police officers, and said the use of actual photographs for target practice is very common. Requests for further comment from Dennis were not immediately returned.

Woody Deant, who spent four years in prison after his arrest, was disturbed at his sister’s discovery. “Now I’m being used as a target?” he told NBC. “I’m not even living that life according to how they portrayed me as. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work 9-to-5.”
“The picture actually has like bullet holes,” he said.
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis admitted that his officers could have used better judgment, but denies any racial profiling. Could have used better judgment? Are you fucking kidding me?

This an obvious challenge and affront to those with dark skin and their worth as human beings. Just that certain "glow" makes some white folk get crazy, unfortunately as is it - that some just happen to be officers of the law.





NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Thursday, January 15, 2015

NEW CONGRESS TO MAKE LIFE MORE MISERABLE FOR ITS CONSTITUENTS




The 2014 election is ancient history, the lame duck session is a distant memory, and the 114th Congress is ready for work. The 113th Congress was one of the most unproductive and unliked in history. Initial signs that the next two years will be any better are unpromising.

The House and Senate are both devoting significant chunks of time to passing well-worn Keystone XL legislation that the President has threatened to veto. Last week the House voted to approve the Keystone pipeline for the 10th time. This week they’ve moved on to similarly well-tread and unproductive terrain by revisiting and passing another measure that Obama recently threatened to veto: one with much greater potential for harm to the government, let alone the environment.

The Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), which the House passed on Tuesday, is ostensibly aimed at cutting costly regulations imposed by federal and independent agencies, but it would actually make it much more difficult to pass and enforce protective measures overseen by the government.
“It is actually a stealth attack on all the various statutes Congress has passed over the last 40 years.”
“It is actually a stealth attack on all the various statutes Congress has passed over the last 40 years to protect public health environmental quality,” according to Ronald White, director of Regulatory Policy at the Center for Effective Government. The RAA adds at least 70 new procedural steps into a process that already takes years for agencies to navigate through Congress. He said this is part of “a whole slew of anti-regulation legislation” that he expects to see in coming months.
“I think Congress is trying to lay down some political markers and make some political statements,” said White. “A lot of these bills were proposed in the last Congress and we expect many more that will be probably very close to the same.”
The RAA for its part would hamper the rule issuing and enforcing processes currently in place for clean air, clean water, safe food, stable financial markets, safe workplaces, and fair wages, according to the Center for Effective Government.

For one, the measure would require all federal agencies to conduct cost-benefit analyses including speculative estimates of “indirect” costs — even when some agencies are barred from relying on cost-benefit analyses for adopting standards. For instance, the RAA would require the EPA to consider the cost of any new clean air rule, even though the Clean Air Act prohibits the EPA from factoring in cost when adopting new standards.
“The whole point is that these acts all say that costs come into account after you’ve made a decision to protect public health,” said White. “The Clean Air Act says costs should be considered in strategies, but not in what constitutes appropriate levels of air quality. That’s based on science, not cost.”
Furthermore, the RAA would mandate that federal agencies adopt the least costly rule unless the agency can demonstrate that the additional benefits of any alternative justify additional costs. The legislation would also allow any interested party to ask an agency to hold a public hearing to challenge data that the agency used in drafting proposed rules. The only way to avoid the public hearing is for the agency to revoke the information being petitioned. It is not hard to foresee industry lobbyists taking advantage of this to request numerous public hearings relating to information they see as harmful to their goals.
“The goal of administrative procedure is to ensure that the government’s adoption of regulation is accountable and fair, but not at the expense of hamstringing the ability of agencies to fulfill the public interest,” wrote Sidney A. Shapiro, Wake Forest University law professor and Center for Progressive Reform scholar, this week. “The House obviously has no such concern.”

Shapiro writes that agencies already take four to eight years to “promulgate” complex regulations and that the new requirements would add two or three years to the process.

“It’s telling that the newly-empowered Republican majority in Congress has made it its first order of business to protect the profits of its corporate benefactors at the expense of the public interest,” writes Shapiro.

In an analysis for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Celia Wexler, a representative for the Scientific Integrity Initiative at UCS, says this “special-interest interference” jeopardizes the mandates of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. “The RAA emphasizes the costs to businesses, not the long-term benefits to the public,” she writes.

The Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act have offered economic benefits as well over the 40 years since their passage. The Administration has been pursuing an update to the CWA that would protect about 20 million acres of wetland and two million miles of streams. A recent analysis found that the economic benefits of this update would be between $300.7 million and $397.6 million.

The CAA’s track record is even more impressive. A 2013 study by the EPA concluded that between 1970 and 1990, the total monetized health benefits of the Act was between $5.6 and $49.4 trillion. By removing harmful pollutants from the air, the CAA helps people stay healthy — keeping them at work, at school, and out of the hospital


[H/T thinkprogress]




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STAFF WRITER

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

GEORGE W. BUSH, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING


In a recently released poll, Americans by an almost 2 to 1 margin blame the current turmoil in Iraq more on former president George W. Bush than the White House’s current occupant, though giving Obama low marks for his handling of the crisis.

In the survey, conducted between June 24 -30, Quinnipiac University contacted 1,446 registered voters and asked them point blank: “Who do you blame more for the situation in Iraq, President Obama or former President George W. Bush?” Of those polled, 51 percent said the blame rested with the 43rd president, while only 27 percent said Obama is more at fault. In military households, a plurality — 44 percent — still said that Bush is more at fault. Voters also by a sizable margin — 58 to 37 percent — believe that going to war with Iraq in 2003 in the first place was a bad idea.

The result of these questions, however, was highly partisan in nature. On the first question, 54 percent of Republicans inquired preferred to say Obama’s policies are behind the current situation; only five percent of Democrats said the same. And on launching the war in the first place, 56 percent of GOP members surveyed still approve of the war, while 80 percent of Democrats remain opposed.

Despite protestations from conservatives, Americans also back Obama’s decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq at the end of 2011. 58 percent of respondents agree that pulling troops was the right thing, compared to 37 percent who think it was a mistake. Again, the survey breaks down along partisan lines, with a full 90 percent of Democrats supporting the decision, compared to 62 percent of Republicans who believe it was a mistake. Compared to a similar question in late 2011, Quinnipiac found that slightly fewer Americans support the pull out, showing a 16 point drop over the years.

A slight plurality also disagree with the notion that the U.S. should carry out airstrikes in Iraq, an option that remains on the table as the Obama administration determines how best to aid Iraq in pushing back militants allied with the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). When asked if the U.S. should use piloted aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft or cruise missiles, or both, just two percent advocated strikes using just fighter jets, while 20 percent were in favor of solely using drone strikes and missile launches. A full 39 percent said that neither option should be used, slightly edging out the 30 percent who called for both.

The survey also came to a similar conclusion as a previous Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll on the prospect of placing troops on the ground in Iraq. In PPP’s findings, 74 percent of Americans were opposed to the idea of sending in ground troops to help fight against ISIS. Several weeks later, Quinnipiac’s survey says that 63 percent of voters — including 56 percent of Republicans — are against the idea of ground combat troops to help defeat the Islamic militants.

And while Republican hawks like Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain continue to draw comparisons between the Iraq withdrawal and the pending pullout of combat troops in Afghanistan, Americans want Obama to stay the course on ending the longest war in American history. Forty-six percent of Americans, the survey finds, think that based on what they've heard the troop withdrawal rate from Afghanistan is “about right.”

While some of these numbers will be comforting for the White House, the poll isn’t all good news. When asked if they approve or disapprove of the way that Obama is handling the current Iraq crisis, a full 55 percent thought the effort was being mismanaged. Likewise, voters believe that Obama’s foreign policy-making skills are either on par or worse than those of Bush: 25 percent believe the former, while 39 percent believe the latter.


Meanwhile in Iraq, while the Iraqi military has made some gains against ISIS, the political crisis that has been running parallel to the takeover of several cities and towns continues. Iraq’s parliament, which was meant to form a new government after its most recent elections last week, has opted instead to adjourn until August. In the meantime, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s caretaker government is still in place, despite increasing calls for the Shiite leader to step down from his role to help facilitate reconciliation with Iraq’s Sunni population. (HT: TPM)






NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

IN A RARE INSTANCE, POLICE CHARGED WITH ON AN ON-DUTY MURDER

Albuquerque Police Ready Themselves for The Kill of James Boyd


Two officers will be charged with murder in Albuquerque over the March 2014 fatal shooting of a homeless man, the district attorney announced this week. The charges come in a city that has seen a spate of police killings far disproportionate to its size, and a finding by the Department of Justice that the majority of a spate of police killings violated the U.S. Constitution.

As the story goes, police fired on a homeless, mentally disturbed man who appeared to be surrendering at the time. Officers first approached 38-year-old James Boyd while he was sleeping in the Albuquerque foothills to talk to him about illegally camping. Video of the incident appears to show that he had agreed to walk down the mountain with officers, when one of them fired a flashbang device that disoriented him, and deployed a police dog. Boyd then pulled out two knives and started to run away from police, appearing at one point to tell officers he was agent for the Department of Defense, when the shots were fired.

The police department initially said the shooting was “justified,” but later conceded under public pressure that may have been a mistake. The shooting of Boyd was one of two controversial police shootings in a period of less than ten days, and one of more than 37 in the city since 2010, 23 of them fatal. To put this volume in context, New York City saw about the same number of shootings during that period for a population that is 15 times as high, according to the ACLU of New Mexico.

In a demonstration of outrage, the city erupted in protest for 10 hours in late March, escalating into what Mayor Richard Berry called “mayhem” as officers clashed with protesters, donning riot gear and deploying tear gas.

In retrospect, the images coming out of that protest provided a foreboding preview of clashes to come in Ferguson, New York City, and elsewhere, where grand juries ultimately did not file any charges against the officers who killed unarmed victims and illuminated the epidemic failure to hold police accountable for what many perceive as brutality. But this week, the narrative changed course in New Mexico. Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg did not take the case before a grand jury. And she did not find the use of deadly force “justified.” Instead, she will charge two officers with the highest possible charge of first-degree murder, according to the New Mexico Political Report.

A contributing factor may be the role of the federal government in the city. While a federal investigation of the Boyd incident has not yet yielded any civil rights charges, the federal government did exercise its other power to curb police brutality via a citywide investigation of police brutality. The so-called “pattern and practice” investigations that the Justice Department has deployed in some 20 cities over the past five years may have had some of the most sweeping impact in curbing police brutality under Attorney General Eric Holder.

Albuquerque is now under federal monitoring and subject to an agreement known as a consent decree, after the Justice Department investigation yielded scathing findings that a majority of the Albuquerque police department’s 20 fatal shootings between 2009 and 2012 were unconstitutional.

While filing charges is not among the changes mandated in the agreement with the Justice Department, it may have influenced the culture and attitudes of government officials, as the report found that a select number of officers were responsible for a disproportionate number of violent incidents, and that those individuals were not punished or corrected in any way after their actions.

[h/t thinkprogress]


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