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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 45.7 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

Friday, April 18, 2014


Maybe this is not a Hillary ploy - but one of Obama's diabolical schemes to create another diversion from Fast and Furious, IRS scandals and the worst terrorist event in our time, the dreaded Benghazi attack.

Roger West

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Women Need To Be Paid Less So They Can Find Husbands"

Phyllis Schlafly - Radical Right Wing Nut Job

On Sunday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn sought to advance the GOP’s re-branding effort among female voters by suggesting that Republicans have long “led the fight for women’s equality.” The statement came just days after Republicans voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act and sought to downplay the problem of equal pay for equal work by suggesting that Democrats were using the issue to distract from Obamacare.

Now three days later, a prominent member of the Republican movement further undermined the party’s campaign to appeal to women voters by suggesting that the current pay gap isn’t wide enough. In an op-ed published by the Christian Post, Phyllis Schlafly — the founder of the Eagle Forum — maintained that increasing the pay gap will help women find suitable husbands:
Another fact is the influence of hypergamy, which means that women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does. Men don’t have the same preference for a higher-earning mate. 
While women prefer to have a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to be the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap. 
Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate. 
Obviously, I’m not saying women won’t date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all.

The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.

Schlafly has long been crusader for “traditional values” within conservative movement and the Republican party, serving as a member of the National GOP Platform Committee as recently as 2012 and as a delegate to the National Convention. Her Eagle Forum PAC has also donated thousands to prominent Republicans like Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Ted Cruz.

Since losing the presidential election in 2012, Republicans have repeatedly tried to enhance the GOP’s appeal beyond its traditional white male voting base. In 2013, the Republican National Committee published a widely discussed “autopsy,” promising to “addresses concerns that are on women’s minds in order to let them know we are fighting for them,” and held training sessions advising candidates to simply avoid talking about rape. Schlafly’s comments appear to undermine that effort.

Phyllis Schlafly, you are today's worst person in the world. Congratulations!

Roger West

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


A federal judge permanently struck down North Dakota’s six-week abortion ban on Wednesday. The so-called “fetal heartbeat” measure, which used to represent the harshest ban in the nation, had already been temporarily blocked from taking effect while the legal challenge against it proceeded.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled that the law is “invalid and unconstitutional” and “cannot withstand a constitutional challenge,” pointing out that Roe v. Wade guarantees the right to abortion up until the point of viability.

Six week abortion bans seek to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can first be detected, even though that typically occurs so early that some women don’t even realize they’re pregnant yet. This type of restriction is so radical that many Republicans won’t sign onto it, signaling the beginning of a larger split within the anti-choice community. Although lawmakers in at least five different states considered fetal heartbeat bans this year, none have been able to advance.

Arkansas is the only other state that’s been able to pass a harsh abortion restriction based on the fetal heartbeat framing. After widespread outcry, that measure ended up being amended to a slightly less restrictive 12-week ban — but it hasn't fared any better in the courts. Last month, a federal judge struck it down.

The decision is a victory for women in North Dakota, who face huge barriers to abortion services. There’s only one abortion clinic left in the state, which has been struggling to remain open amid anti-choice attacks. Thanks to the hostile environment surrounding reproductive rights, many women in the state actually assume that conservative lawmakers have succeeded and abortion is already illegal.

Although abortion rights supporters have recently won several legal victories against harsh bans, it’s important to remember that other serious threats to women’s access to abortion often fly under the radar. States have successfully enacted a complex web of restrictions targeting clinics and providers that don’t grab as many headlines as more obviously harmful laws do. That’s why anti-choice groups tend to split over six-week abortion bans — the leaders of the movement know they’ll have more success with an incremental strategy to chip away at abortion rights when no one is looking.
“The court was correct to call this law exactly what it is: a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women. But women should not be forced to go to court, year after year in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights,” Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “We hope today’s decision, along with the long line of decisions striking down these attempts to choke off access to safe and legal abortion services in the U.S., sends a strong message to politicians across the country that our rights cannot be legislated away.”


Tuesday, April 15, 2014


With the withdrawal of agents of the BLM and their contractors from Gold Butte and the release of the cattle already rounded up, the right wing “militia” supporters of Cliven Bundy have declared victory over the “tyrannical” U.S. government. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) however, disagrees.

“Well, it’s not over,” Reid told KRNV-TV on Monday. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

While Reid declined to speculate further on the next move, BLM has said it will return to the courts, although that route has proven ineffective against this family, who for the last 20 years, have defied both the BLM and the courts.

Meanwhile, Cliven Bundy and his two sons, defiant as ever, appeared on Fox News with Sean Hannity who asked Cliven for a response to Reid’s remarks
“I don’t have a response for Harry Reid, but I have a response for every county sheriff across the United States,” Bundy said. “Disarm the federal bureaucrats.”

There you have it, a true supporter of the Constitution, as are all of the thugs who traveled across the country to confront and intimidate law enforcement officers doing their job last week.

Bundy claimed that he and the “patriots” who supported him had so badly frightened the federal agents that they backed down.
“Let me tell you how they backed down,” he told Hannity. “They backed down, they run and got on the freeway and went to Mesquite and grabbed their stuff and moved out of the state, now, the state, towards the state of Utah. Utah county sheriffs finish this job that [Sheriff Douglas] Gillespie didn’t do, take the guns away from these federal bureaucrats.”

Cross-Posted from Crooks & Liars

Roger West

Monday, April 14, 2014


Premiums for health care insurance in the Affordable Care Act are lower than the federal government had anticipated, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Monday when it revised its cost estimate for the health care law. The nonpartisan office now believes that the ACA will cost the government $5 billion less than projected in 2014 and $104 billion less for the 2015-2024 period. It also found “no clear evidence” that premiums will surge in 2015, noting that “enrollees in the future will be healthier, on average, than the smaller number of people who are obtaining such coverage in 2014.” The agency estimated that the national average premium for individual silver policy plans would increase by $100 that year.

The CBO attributes the additional savings to government, relative to the CBO’s last assessment from February 2014, to lower-than expected premiums, which in turn lowered the cost for exchange subsidies, and higher-than expected revenues from the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans.
“Despite projecting that slightly more people will receive insurance coverage through exchanges over the 2015–2024 period than they had anticipated previously,” the report says. “CBO and JCT project that costs for exchange subsidies and related spending will be $164 billion (or 14 percent) below the previous projection, mainly because of the downward revision to expected exchange premiums.” The office also predicted that plans offered in the exchanges will provide wider provider networks and higher reimbursement rates to providers as enrollment increases. “That pattern will put upward pressure on exchange premiums over the next couple of years, although CBO and JCT anticipate that the plans’ characteristics will stabilize after 2016,” it found.

The office also concluded that the law’s so-called shock absorbers — reinsurance payments that are distributed to insurers that attract high-cost enrollees — “reduced exchange premiums this year by approximately 10 percent” and will “reduce premiums by smaller amounts in 2015 and 2016.” CBO found additional savings in Medicaid, revising downward government spending per adult enrolled in the program.

Ultimately, 12 million more nonelderly people will have health insurance in 2014 as a result of the law. Twenty-six million more “will be insured each year from 2017 through 2024 than would have been the case without the ACA,” the CBO concluded.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Bill Maher ended his show Friday night going after right-wing talk radio and how, as he views it, the industry purely exists to “bitch” about the government where they can have a “greater effect on influencing stupidity outside of government,” and tear down any Republican who isn’t “the single biggest prick in the room.”

Maher was spurred on by the odd decision of Congressman Mike Rogers to resign for a position in talk radio, and Maher couldn’t figure out why someone who wants to have a bigger impact on policy would leave the very institution where policy is actually made.
“The GOP has kind of become talk radio, an echo chamber where people are not interested in actually legislating or compromising or fixing America, just in screeching about how liberals have ruined it. So why not do it on the radio? The money’s better. And no one can see your toupée.”

Maher argued that this “lucrative business of bitching about government” is so determined to take down any impure Republican that the only one they truly idolize is Ted Cruz, because as Maher put it, he views public office as “just a higher form of talk radio.”

Episode 314 by BillMaher1956

Roger West

Friday, April 11, 2014


We provide armed response,” according to a Montana militia member named Jim Lordy. Lordy traveled to Nevada in order to support a local rancher for believes that he should not have to follow federal court orders. When he arrived there, he told a local reporter that “we need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.”

Lordy belongs to a militia group called Operation Mutual Aid, which provides “defense of public and private property, lives, and liberty to exercise God-given rights, seen plainly in the laws of Nature, and codified in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, at the request of such parties in need of such defense,” according to a website associated with the group. Although only three militia members had arrived at the Nevada ranch by late Wednesday, when the latest reports came out, other militia groups reportedly “inundated the rancher's household with calls and pledges to muster at the site.”

The Oath Keepers, a right-wing law enforcement organization that warns about the government “disarming the American people” and “blockading American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps,” also announced that it will send people to support the defiant rancher.

This conflict arises out of rancher Cliven Bundy’s many years of illegally grazing his cattle on federal lands. In 1998, a federal court ordered Bundy to cease grazing his livestock on an area of federal land known as the Bunkerville Allotment, and required him to pay the federal government $200 per day per head of cattle remaining on federal lands. Around the time it issued this order, the court also commented that “[t]he government has shown commendable restraint in allowing this trespass to continue for so long without impounding Bundy’s livestock.” Fifteen years later, Bundy continued to defy this court order.

Last October, the federal government returned to court and obtained a new order, providing that “Bundy shall remove his livestock from the former Bunkerville Allotment within 45 days of the date hereof, and that the United States is entitled to seize and remove to impound any of Bundy’s cattle that remain in trespass after 45 days of the date hereof.” A third federal court order issued the same year explains that Bundy did not simply refuse to stop trespassing on federal lands — he actually expanded the range of his trespassing. According to the third order, “Bundy’s cattle have moved beyond the boundaries of the Bunkerville Allotment and are now trespassing on a broad swath of additional federal land (the “New Trespass Lands”), including public lands within the Gold Butte area that are administered by the BLM, and National Park System land within the Overton Arm and Gold Butte areas of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.” The third order also authorizes the federal government to “impound any of Bundy’s cattle that remain in trespass.”

On Saturday of last week, the government hired wranglers to round up Bundy’s livestock. As of Wednesday, they’d impounded a total of 352 cattle. That’s when a tense standoff broke out between a group of Bundy’s supporters and federal rangers armed with stun guns and police dogs. In one video, a ranger tackles Bundy’s sister away from a moving vehicle (she later admitted that she was blocking the path of government trucks shortly before this incident). Another video shows rangers using a stun gun on a protester immediately after he kicks a police dog.

Bundy, for his part, claims that “our Constitution didn’t provide for anything like the federal government owning this land.” He’s wrong. The Constitution provides that “the Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.”

Congratulations both oath keepers and Cliven Bundy, you are today's asshats of the day.

Roger West

Thursday, April 10, 2014

With the first enrollment period of Obamacare successfully concluded, despite its disastrous roll-out, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning.
Mr. Obama accepted Ms. Sebelius’s resignation this week, and on Friday morning he will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her, officials said. 
The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, persuade a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall. […] 
The president is hoping that Ms. Burwell, 48, a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy, will bring an intense focus and management acumen to the department. The budget office, which she has overseen since April of last year, is deeply involved in developing and carrying out health care policy. 
“The president wants to make sure we have a proven manager and relentless implementer in the job over there, which is why he is going to nominate Sylvia,” said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff.

Administration officials told The New York Times that the decision was Sebelius's and she wasn't being forced out, that she had been talking with President Obama about her future and about this transition since last month. “What was clear is that she thought that it was time to transition the leadership to somebody else,” McDonough told the paper.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The Daily Show's Jon Stewart took on the likes of Glenn Beck and his buddies over at Faux "news" to task for their carping about the new Noah movie, and the complaint that it's "not a documentary.
" STEWART: So you're telling me, the movie about a man who lives to 950 and loads two of every animal onto a 350 cubit long boat... you're telling me that film won't qualify to submit in the documentary category. That's outrageous. I guess what they're trying to say is this version is a bit different than what's from in the Bible."

Video Courtesy of Comedy Central

Roger West

Tuesday, April 8, 2014



On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch "The Turtle" McConnell honored Equal Pay Day — a day that symbolizes the amount of time it takes women to earn what men make in a year — by accusing Democrats and President Obama of a “never-ending political road show” that merely blows “a few kisses” to their voter base.
“Instead of focusing on jobs, he launched into another confusing attack on the left’s latest bizarre obsession,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “Just think about that. The percentage of Americans in the workforce is at an almost four-decade low, and Democrats chose to ignore serious job-creation ideas so they could blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left.”

McConnell argued the fact that women still earn 77 percent of what men make should take a backseat to more serious Republican priorities. These priorities typically include building Keystone XL pipeline and repealing Obamacare (which Republicans have attempted more than 50 times).

Leading up to Democrats’ latest push for equal pay, Republicans have claimed that the gender wage gap is a “myth” and that it is condescending to discuss. But the reality is that women still earn less even when they achieve the same education and job level, with gender discrimination accounting for as much as much as 40 percent of their pay gap.

In the past, McConnell’s voting record against women has not stopped him from taking credit anyway. He once touted the Violence Against Women Act to women voters, although he opposed it in both 1993 and 2012. McConnell has also opposed both the Lilly Ledbetter Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act. And the very health care law that McConnell wants to repeal prevents insurance companies from charging women more and ensures contraception coverage.

Roger West

Monday, April 7, 2014

'God Almighty Is A Hater' Too

Televangelist Pat Robertson on Monday blasted "gay activists" for forcing out Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich after it was discovered that he backed the California Proposition 8 effort that stripped LGBT people of their marriage rights.
"Here this man at Mozilla, Eich, had given $1,000 about six or seven years ago -- $1,000 -- to a proposition," Robertson explained. "And somebody came around and said, 'Will you contribute?' And he said, 'Here's a grand, get off my back.' I mean, that's probably all that it amounted to." 
"But instead of that, he's being forced out by gay activists, who said that was hate speech to say that the union between a man and a woman is marriage -- that's hate speech."

The TV preacher continued: "Well then, the Bible then is full of hate. If that the way it is, then God almighty is a hater. If that's the way they want to define it. And I, of course, don't agree."

Robertson said that this is the reason that the Internal Revenue Service should not force non-profit groups to disclose donors.

Roger West

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson [SNL's] Explains Science to Fox & Friends

The Fox & Friends gang returned to SNL tonight to take on Obamacare. Brian Kilmeade complained, “It’s tough to sign up for things, I’ve tried for years to sign up for the NAACP!” They also found a typical American (played by host Anna Kendrick) who’s upset that President Obama promised you could keep your doctor, “but because of court order, I am not allowed within 500 yards of my doctor.”

They also took on climate change, with surprise guest Neil DeGrasse Tyson patiently explaining how science works to the confused hosts (including an especially dumbstruck Kilmeade), calmly talking about the seriousness of issues like climate change all while they laughed it off by assuring themselves that polar bears have Coke so their lives can’t possibly be that bad.

They also ran a laundry list of show corrections, including “Malaysia is not the female version of Asia” and “the periodic table is not about ‘lady stuff.’”

Watch the video below, via NBC:

Roger West

Saturday, April 5, 2014


In New Rules last night Bill Maher discusses the middle class and income inequality.

Check it out below.


Episode 313 by BillMaher1956

Roger West

Thursday, April 3, 2014



Attempts to roll back any of the Florida Stand Your Ground law’s most incendiary elements have foundered more than two years after the death of Trayvon Martin. But a bill to expand the law passed Thursday, mere months after it was introduced.

The National Rifle Association-backed bill would expand Stand Your Ground-like protections to those who point a gun at an attacker or fire a gun as a self-defense threat or warning, expanding the scope of the discretion judges and juries retain to exempt shooters from criminal charges for gun violence. The final bill also includes a provision to keep Stand Your Ground records secret.

The “Threatened Use of Force” bill passed the Senate Thursday 32-7, and will become law if signed by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill initially gained traction after Republicans exploited the outrage over the 20-year prison sentence for Marissa Alexander, who fired a warning shot during an altercation with her abusive husband. The bill was then dubbed the “warning shot” bill, because a judge rejected Alexander’s move to invoke the law. But opponents were quick to point out that injustice in Alexander’s case hinged in large part on a draconian mandatory minimum sentence that required the 20-year prison term, insensitivity to domestic violence, and racial disparities that are already baked into the existing Stand Your Ground law.

Rather than protect those like Alexander, the law is likely to expand immunity for violent conduct in as vague and sweeping a manner as Florida’s existing Stand Your Ground law, and could represent the newest mechanism for encouraging even more vigilantism.

A new amendment that made its way into the final bill would also make secret all records from Stand Your Ground cases, meaning that the records would be sealed in cases where charges are later dropped, and those who are granted immunity would have their records expunged. But the law also means that media outlets seeking to document the impact of the law would not have access to any records.

Dream Defenders Legal and Policy Director Ahmad Abuznaid called this a “double standard,” pointing out that no legislation in Florida protects young children arrested for offenses that often amount to disciplinary violations. “If the legislature is concerned with expunging criminal records, they should start with the tens of thousands of students who were arrested in school for minor misbehavior last year or the many people of color unable to vote in Florida because of a broken criminal justice system – not defendants with an itchy trigger finger and unchecked biases against black and brown people,” he said in a statement.

Last summer, Dream Defenders led a sit-in at the Florida Capitol that lasted more than eight days imploring repeal after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin. But those efforts have been summarily rejected, even after a review panel was commissioned to identify flaws in the law. That “farce” panel stacked with many of the original proponents of the law did not even consider studies finding that the law is associated with a significant increase in homicides, has a disproportionate impact on African Americans, and does not appear to deter crime at all. The NRA continued its lobbying on this warning shot bill even as trial was underway for the killing of another Florida 17-year-old, Jordan Davis.

Over the past two years, Florida courts have granted immunity under the Stand Your Ground law to “a man who went back to his car to get a gun, and another who shot an acquaintance for threatening to beat him up.” And just last week, an appeals court ruled that a prison guard could invoke the law to defend allegations that he severely beat an inmate on the job. There is another new compromise bill advancing in the Senate intended to make some reforms to the law, but even that bill would make the legal process even easier for defendants.

Roger West

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Chief Justice John Roberts begins his opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC with a flourish: “[t]here is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.” He then spends the next forty pages explaining why that participation includes the right of rich people to attempt to buy elections. Thanks to the decision Roberts and his four fellow conservative justices handed down today (Though Thomas did not join Roberts’ opinion, he wrote a more radical opinion calling for all limits on campaign donations to be eviscerated), wealthy donors now have a broad new power to launder money to political candidates — they just have to be a bit creative about how they do it.

Prior to Wednesday’s opinion, federal law placed two complementary limits on campaign donors. During the current election cycle, donors may give no more than $5,200 per election cycle ($2,600 for the primary and another $2,600 for the general) to a given federal candidate, and there are also higher limits on how much they can give to party committees and political action committees. These limits remain intact.

What McCutcheon invalidates are aggregate limits on the total amount of money that donors may give to all federal candidates ($48,600) and to all political committees ($74,600). Thus, before Wednesday, donors could spend as much as $123,200 seeking to influence the 2014 election cycle — now they can spend as much as they want. Make no mistake, this decision benefits no one except for a handful of very wealthy donors (and the candidates they give to). Who else can say that they’ve already given more than a hundred thousand dollars worth of donations and that they are upset that they cannot give even more?

A major purpose of the aggregate limits was to prevent money laundering schemes that could enable donors and political parties to evade the cap on donations to individual candidates. In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer lays out what some of these schemes could look like. The Democratic or Republican Party, in one example, may set up a “Joint Party Committee” consisting of all three of their national party committees and a state party committee from each of the 50 states. Under McCutcheon, a single donor may now give as much as $1.2 million to this joint committee, which would then be distributed to the various smaller party organizations.

Once the money is distributed, however, it can legally be redistributed to the races where it is likely to have the most impact. Thus, for example, the Republican Party committees in safe red states like Idaho, Utah or Mississippi — where large infusions of money aren’t exactly needed to win elections — can redistribute their funds to battleground states like Ohio or Florida. Meanwhile, blue state Democratic committees in Vermont and Rhode Island can do the same.

Similarly, the same wealthy donor might decide to write a maximum dollar donation to every single Republican House and Senate candidate in the country — perhaps by writing a single $2.4 million check to the same “Joint Party Committee” which then distributes the funds. Once this money is distributed, candidates in safe seats can then redistribute at least some of it to candidates in disputed seats — and the rest can frequently be used to benefit candidates in tough races through “coordinated expenditures.”

Roberts denies that these money laundering schemes will actually arise, but many of the arguments he raises to defend this point betray his own naivete how modern elections work. The Chief Justice argues, for example, that for these money laundering schemes to work a donor would have to engage in “illegal earmarking” — federal law prohibits a donor from “directing funds ‘through an intermediary or conduit’ to a particular candidate.” But a wealthy donor does not need to earmark his donations for these money laundering schemes to work. Indeed, it is in both the donor’s interest and the party’s interest if the donor does not do so. A donor will typically want his money to go to the candidates who are most likely to benefit from his money — those in closely contested races. By donating to a joint party committee, the donor gives their party more flexibility to redirect their money to the candidates who appear most in need as the election approaches.

Similarly, Roberts claims that “[t]he Government provides no reason to believe that many state parties would willingly participate in a scheme to funnel money to another State’s candidates.” But this argument assumes that each state Democratic or Republican Party is an island. If Republicans control the Senate, Mississippi’s Republican senators have more clout and Mississippi Republicans benefit. The same applies to Rhode Island’s Democratic senators when Democrats control the Senate. America has two national parties and it has a national legislature. When Iowa elects Republicans to Congress, that makes it more likely that Republicans in Mississippi will see their preferred policies enacted into law.

Roberts does, however, raise one fairly strong argument in support of his belief that wealthy donors will not resort to complicated money laundering schemes — thanks to the line of cases culminating in Citizens United, they won’t have to. Before McCutcheon, wealthy donors basically had free reign to spend as much money as they wanted seeking to influence elections, just as long as they give that money to “independent” organizations such as super PACs. In light of this body of law, why would a candidate resort to an elaborate money laundering scheme when they can simply write a check to the super PAC of their choice?

It’s a good question, and not an easy one to answer. But it’s hardly an argument for eliminating even more limits on how far the wealthy can go to influence elections. If allowing a single person to spend millions of dollars to change the outcome of an election is a bad idea, then it is a bad idea no matter what kind of legal regime permits that spending to take place.

cross posted from thinkprogress


Tuesday, April 1, 2014



A tea bagging senator said on Sunday that the lack of details about ObamaCare enrollment numbers suggests the Obama administration has “cooked the books.”

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, made his comments just hours before the Monday deadline to enroll in the Affordable Care Act and was skeptical of the administration’s most recent enrollment figure of more than 6 million Americans.
“I don't think it means anything,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” “They are cooking the books on this.”

Watch below - as only Maddow can present


Roger West

Monday, March 31, 2014


Robert H. Richards IV does not work. He doesn’t have to. The great-grandson of Irénée du Pont, the chemical magnate who provided much of the financial backing to a failed effort to defeat Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the 1930s, Richards lives off a trust fund in a 5,800 square foot mansion he bought for $1.8 million. When he is not staying in his mansion, he might be found in his beach home “in the exclusive North Shores neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach.”

Richards is also a child rapist.

In 2005, Richards started sexually abusing his three year-old daughter. The abuse ended two years later when the girl told her grandmother that she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” When Richards’ former wife confronted him this abuse, Richards admitted to doing so but claimed “it was an accident and he would never do it again.

And yet, Robert Richards, who raped his own child and then told her not to tell anyone so that it could be “our little secret,” will likely not spend a day in prison. Although Richards was originally charged with two counts of second-degree rape of a child — counts that carry a mandatory 10 year prison term — the prosecutor offered him a plea bargain just days before the trial. Richards admitted in open court that he abused his daughter, and he plead to a single count of fourth-degree rape, a much less serious crime with no mandatory minimum.

Though the maximum sentence for fourth-degree rape is 15 years in prison, the prosecution recommended that Richards only receive probation. And Judge Jan Jurden largely agreed. Though she sentenced Richards to an eight-year prison term, she immediately suspended the term in favor of probation. Richards, Jurden wrote in her sentencing order, “will not fare well” if he is sentenced to prison.

I'm not sure which is more troubling - the fact that the judge felt "empathy" toward a child rapist - because he would not fare well in prison due to his wealth and crime, or the fact that the same judge and the same system believes that black males fare perfectly fine in such a system.

Roger West

Sunday, March 30, 2014


When Rohn Neugebauer, an otherwise-healthy 48-year-old man, died suddenly of a heart attack on March 16, his family knew he wanted to donate his tissue and organs to someone in need. Just a few months earlier, he had co-hosted a fundraiser for a local organ donation organization, the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), that had raised several thousand dollars.

At the hospital a couple hours after Rohn died, his sister Sandy Schultheis said she patiently answered nearly 20 minutes of questions from a CORE representative about his health and medical history. Then came the final question: Had Rohn been in a homosexual relationship over the last 5 years?

When she answered that Rohn was a gay man in a long-term relationship, the CORE representative said that, as a result, her brother was not an eligible donor. The interview was over.

There is no blanket prohibition on organ donations from sexually active gay men. Rather, CDC guidelines say that “men who have had sex with another man in the preceding 5 years… should be excluded from donation of organs or tissues unless the risk to the recipient of not performing the transplant is deemed to be greater than the risk of HIV transmission and disease.” That is defined as a circumstance where “emergent, life-threatening illness requiring transplantation when no other organs/tissues are available and no other lifesaving therapies exist.”

Dan Burda, who has been Rohn’s partner for the last 8 years, and who co-hosted the fundraiser for CORE, was very upset with the group’s decision. He started a campaign on Facebook to draw attention to Rohn’s situation. That soon drew the attention of WPXI, the local Pittsburgh NBC affiliate. The station posted an article detailing Rohn’s story, and CORE’s response, on their website on Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 pm. A short segment aired during the 6:00 broadcast.

But just a few hours later, without explanation, WPXI removed the story from the internet. An executive producer at the station who would only identify herself as Betsy said that the story had been removed after Rohn’s father contacted them very upset and asked that it be taken down. Betsy confirmed that WPXI stood by the accuracy of their report, but took the story down because Rohn’s father said some members of the family did not know Rohn was gay and he didn't want them finding out through the article.

Rohn’s sister said that he was an openly gay man and that anyone who knew him also knew of his long-term relationship with Dan.

In the deleted article (available through Google cache) CORE told WPXI they could not comment specifically on Rohn’s situation but cited an FDA guideline that prohibited the donation of human tissue from male donors that “who have had sex with another man in the preceding five years.” That prohibition does not apply to organ donation.

In fact, many groups encourage gay men to register as organ donors. There are currently 121,910 people on the waiting list for organ donations.

The rules on organ donations from sexually active gay men mirror, to some degree, the prohibition on blood donation from that group. The policy, which dates to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, was recently criticized by the American Medical Association as “discriminatory and not based on sound science,” and members of Congress are working to get it overturned. The AMA said decisions should be based on “individual level of risk” rather than sexual orientation.

Footnote: After publication CORE stated that “Sexual orientation has no effect on a person’s eligibility for organ donation.” While not addressing Rohn’s case specifically, the representative stated that an individual who dies from cardiac arrest — as Rohn did — is not able to donate their organs. For tissue donation, CORE again referenced the FDA guideline which “requires CORE to conduct a medical/social history to screen donors for increased risk of transmissible diseases to ensure the safety of grafts for transplant. ” Under those guidelines, a man who has had sex with another man in the preceding five years is considered high risk and is not an eligible donor.