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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, Breitbart's "Big Journalism. Roger's breadth of experience, engaging style, and cultivation of loyal readership - over 92 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 Donald J. Trump Corporate Malfeasence We are for: Global and Econmoic Security Social and Economic Justice Media Accountability THE RESISTANCE

Friday, February 28, 2014

From Virginia Attorney General To Sleaze Bag

Four months ago, former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli thought he was going to be the next governor of Virginia. Now his opponent, Gov. Terry McAuliffe is comfortably nestled in the state’s governor’s mansion — and Cuccinelli is trying to make a buck by offering financial piece of mind to gun owners who might shoot people.

The way it works is this: gun owners who think they may someday use their weapon in “self defense” against another human being pay “as little as $8.33 a month” to Cuccinelli and his three partners. In return, the firm will provide legal defense for no additional charge if the gun owner faces charges after shooting someone in what they claim is self-defense. As a bonus, the firm will also defend clients who claim they were “harassed by law enforcement for lawfully carrying their weapon.”

Although one of Cuccinelli’s partners claims that this is not an insurance plan for people who anticipate facing gun charges in the future, this arrangement resembles an NRA endorsed insurance program for people “involved in an act of self-defense.” That program provides that “Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.”

Cuccinelli’s firm differs in one important way from the NRA endorsed plan, however.

According to Torrey Williams, an attorney with Cuccinelli’s firm has said their business model, “when someone contracts with our legal services, we provide them regardless of outcome.” Thus, if someone like Michael Dunn, who was convicted on three counts of attempted second degree murder for firing at four black teens in an SUV, had been a client of Cuccinelli’s firm, the firm could wind up covering his legal costs despite the guilty verdict.

The one caveat to this rule is something Cuccinelli describes as a “sex, drugs, rock-n-roll clause.” If a client is engaged in illegal activity, such as a drug sale, during the shooting, then the client’s pre-paid fees will not cover the cost of representation. (Notably, neither sex nor rock-n-roll are illegal. Although, if it were up to Cuccinelli, many kinds of sex would be.)

Williams acknowledges that there will be “grey areas” where it is not immediately clear whether their client was engaged in criminal activity at the time of the shooting. In those cases, he said the firm would “make a determination” as to whether they take the case or not, but he emphasized that because of their ethical obligations as attorneys, they would not drop out of a case if it turned out that the client was indeed a criminal so long as the client did not mislead them about their actions. “Once we make a determination, we’re going to stick with it,” said Williams. “Ethically, as attorneys, we can’t leave our client hanging.”

The practical effect of this new legal service, in other words, will be that gun owners will enjoy fairly broad certainty that they will not be hit with massive legal bills if they shoot someone. That’s one less thing they’ll have to worry about when they are deciding whether to squeeze the trigger.


Thursday, February 27, 2014



On January 31, the Mississippi Senate unanimously passed SB 2681, a bill that adds “In God We Trust” to the state seal. It also contained language just like that in Arizona’s freshly-vetoed bill that would allow people to use religious beliefs as a defense in civil cases — thereby instituting the same “license to discriminate” that prompted a national backlash in Arizona. The bill passed under the radar, without any discussion about whether it was anti-LGBT, but thanks to pressure from the ACLU, the bill is receiving a significant rewrite.

Late Wednesday night, the Mississippi House Civil Subcommittee voted to strike all of the problematic language that would have protected discrimination. Instead, the bill will resemble the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) that 18 other states have. These laws, along with their federal counterpart, help protect individuals’ religious practices from government intrusion without allowing them to be imposed on others.

Mississippi is only the latest state to scrap, stall, or defeat a “license to discriminate” measure disguised as “religious liberty.” In addition to the veto in Arizona, bills were defeated this week in Ohio, Indiana, and Georgia and last week in Kansas, Maine, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Idaho. Missouri is currently the only state where such a bill is still on the table.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Texas Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that Texas’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the equal protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. According to Judge Orlando Garcia, a Clinton appointee, the state’s marriage laws deny same-sex couples the right to marry, and therefore “demean their dignity for no legitimate reason.” Garcia stayed his decision pending appeal, so same-sex couples cannot begin marrying yet.

The case was brought by two couples: Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss, who want to marry in Texas, and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, who want their Massachusetts marriage recognized. Dimetman and De Leon are raising a child together. The ruling would prevent the state from enforcing its 2003 law and 2005 constitutional amendment that limited marriage to opposite-sex couples. Voters passed that amendment by a 3-to-1 margin, but a plurality of Texans now support marriage equality.

According to the ruling, not only are these families denied benefits under the law, they are also subjected to “state sanctioned discrimination, stigma, and humiliation,” explaining: “In this case, it is clear that Plaintiffs suffer humiliation and discriminatory treatment under the law on the basis of their sexual orientation, and this stigmatic harm flows directly from Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.” Garcia cited Windsor, the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, noting that not recognizing same-sex marriages “demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects.”

Garcia also dismissed the state’s arguments that banning same-sex marriage was somehow worthwhile to protect children or promote procreation. Echoing the similar ruling in Utah, he ruled that the ban only hurts the children of same-sex couples while doing nothing to affect whether heterosexual couples marry or how they raise their children.

Preempting responses from conservatives accusing him of judicial activism or overturning the will of the people, Garcia concluded by pointing out that he is simply enforcing the U.S. Constitution:
Today’s Court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the United States Constitution and Supreme Court precedent. Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution. Furthermore, Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from passing legislation born out of animosity against homosexuals (Romer), has extended constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals (Lawrence), and prohibits the federal government from treating state-sanctioned opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently (Windsor).

Garcia is the seventh federal judge to rule against a federal ban on same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act last summer, following rulings in Illinois, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah.

The dominoes are starting to fall.

Roger West

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he hasn't installed a secret email system in the governor's office for conducting campaign business and that he's followed the law when it comes to separating his gubernatorial duties from campaigning, but:

Walker once again refused to say whether as county executive he knew of or used a secret email system set up in his office to avoid public scrutiny.
On Monday he called it a "slippery slope" to answer specifics about the more than 27,000 records released last week, because "once you start on one thing, then there's hundreds of questions on each of those."
Walker would not say whether he favored releasing all the documents that the Journal Sentinel and other outlets are seeking to obtain.

So far, six people, three of them former Walker aides, have been convicted in the investigation - of his time when Walker was a Milwaukee County executive. But other than claiming that he's running a clean ship as governor, Walker won't talk about that investigation.

Last week, thousands of emails from the investigation were released, including racist jokes emailed in his office. About those emails, Walker now says they were "stupid things that people said along the way."
"Obviously anybody that says something that's out of character with who I am and the people that surround me would concern me. I would guess that any office or any business that had 27,000 emails (released) would probably have a few that people would be less than pleased with out there."
So, if we read the Koch whore correctly, he was concerned about those emails because people were "less than pleased with" them? Makes sense I guess - but it does explains why he doesn't want to talk about, let alone release, whatever other emails might be out there related to this investigation.

Roger West

Monday, February 24, 2014



A pregnant woman is just a "host" that should not have the right to end her pregnancy, says Virginia State Sen. Steve Martin, (Tea Bagger) who wrote in a Facebook rant defending his anti-abortion views. [...]
"I don't expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive," Martin wrote. "However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it."

Martin is a person-hood advocate who invokes, that a "host" loses her person-hood the minute the sperm and the egg hook up. This doesn't bode well for the "host" in Virginia.

If you're in Virginia like me, then this mouth breather [Martin] is one of the people in charge of our laws, which is exactly why Virginia RWNJ's concoct shit like mandatory ultrasound laws - and is a partial explanation for why Ken Cuccinelli was not seen by fellow pasty white Virginia Republicans as hopelessly nuts. We voted this asshat out [Cuccinelli], but the amount of right wing nut jobs is never ending.  It would appear to a logical thinking human that these lunatics are practically cloning themselves.

Congratulations Virginia State Senator Steve Martin, you are today's worst person in the world! 

Roger West

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Writing in the Daily Caller, Matt K. Lewis ponders why conservative advocates and journalists are so quick to get excited–or at minimum, come to the defense of–conservative celebrities, even when those famous people are less-than-articulate, or downright counterproductive advocates for conservative causes. “Like the girl who always falls for the guy who’s bad for her, conservatives keep trusting the wrong people and making the same mistakes. One such mistake goes like this: The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” he writes, going on to discuss in particular, reality star and perpetual potential political candidate Donald Trump and actor and anti-gun regulation advocate Ted Nugent.

The perception of a celebrity gap between liberals and conservatives has long been vexing for many on the right, frustrated by the roster of entertainers who hit the campaign trail for Democrats, turn out for left-leaning causes, the perception (which I’d contest) that entertainment better reflects liberal values than conservative ones, and the grumblings that conservative figures in Hollywood are stuck in some sort of closet. As a result, when a celebrity is willing to advocate for conservative candidates and issues, no matter how poorly they might articulate those messages, or whatever Pigpen-like cloud might surround them, I think some on the right have a tendency to feel that they have to take what they can get. But if conservatives want famous advocates who won’t call the President of the United States a “subhuman mongrel” or throw temper tantrums when they get actual media coverage, they need to start acting more like liberals.
Don’t Get Starstruck: The whole point of putting an extremely famous person on stage with a politician, or out in the field with campaign workers or advocates, is to get the folks who will have contact with that celebrity excited, and to draw media coverage to the politician or program that person is associated with. But just because you’re trying to elicit a giddy reaction from your audience doesn’t mean that you should let yourself get starstruck. Sure, it’s exciting when an artist of Clint Eastwood’s stature says he’s willing to speak at your nominating convention. But if you’re a strategist, think clearly about whether it’s a wise move, empty chair or no empty chair. And if you’re watching and commenting, be clear-eyed about whether the celebrity in question is actually doing a good job (or making sense). Defending silliness, ugliness, or incomprehensibility is a quick route to damaging the public perception of your own taste–and it makes it harder in the future to turn down wannabe celebrity endorsers who aren’t cut out to comment on public policy or elections.
Help Them Build Political Bonafides: One thing my colleagues at the Enough Project have done well, I think, is to get celebrities, most notably George Clooney, out into the field. When Clooney writes South Sudan, he does so from the position of someone who’s actually been to the country. Actress Martha Plimpton wears pro-choice symbols on the red carpet, but she’s an articulate advocate in part because she does actual advocacy work. Rosario Dawson spends a lot of time working on Latino participation in politics. This sort of experience often has an inoculating effect: rather than hitting the trail with platitudes, or pandering to audiences by saying the most extreme things possible, entertainers can speak in specific terms about their work. And because they’ll have seen what it takes to do the work, they’re more likely to have some sense of strategy, and to avoid imperiling a cause or a candidacy by grandstanding.
Demand Message Control: There’s no point in recruiting a celebrity spokesman if you’re going to end up constantly apologizing for horrible things they say. Ted Nugent may have a constituency–there’s a reason he remains on the National Rifle Association’s board–but he makes many more headlines for racial remarks about President Obama than for articulate arguments against gun regulation that convince mass audiences. If what you want from celebrities is an opportunity to double down on the worldview your constituents already share, that’s one thing. But if you want to use their public profile to draw in people who aren’t already acquainted with your message, then for goodness sakes, don’t be afraid to talk about what the most effective version of that message might look like! It’s important to remember that the entertainment industry gets just as much out of appearing engaged in politics and policy as politicians and policymakers do from recruiting them. So in keeping with my first piece of advice, it’s smart for conservatives who are dealing with celebrities to remember that they have messaging expertise and policy knowledge that’s genuinely valuable to their more-famous soon-to-be mouthpieces.

 Cross-posted from thinkprogresss

Roger West

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Bill Maher ended his show Friday night taking on the internet and how it’s allowed us to avoid reading anything that just isn’t in our interests, explaining that “only seeing the stuff that confirms the opinions you already have isn’t news, it’s Fox News.”

He railed against “microtargeting” and sites like Facebook that are making it easier than ever for people to only consume the news they want to hear about. Back in the old days, people on the subway read the newspaper “and no one’s masturbating,” but now too many people are on their phones playing Angry Birds instead of reading the news.

Maher took on climate change specifically, and how people have been so misinformed on the issue because they listen to Fox, Glenn Beck, and Matt Drudge, or as Maher called them, “the cracker trifecta.” He bemoaned how no one will care that jellyfish are taking over the ocean “unless a jellyfish shows up on a beach and exposes its nipple.”

Watch the video below courtesy of HBO:

Episode 308 by BillMaher1956

Roger West

Friday, February 21, 2014

God Wrote The Constitution?

Tom Delay, that bastion of sound political commentary, crawled out from under his rock long enough to toss some republican Jesus bullshit into the news cycle and further confuse already confounded and ignorant conservatives.


DeLay said that Americans have forgotten "that God created this nation [and] that He wrote the Constitution, that it's based on biblical principles," but he is also optimistic that the tide is beginning to shift, noting that when he was in Congress, he sealed off the rotunda in the Capitol building so that leaders from Congress could come together for three hours to get on their knees and seek the face of God.

If God indeed write the constitution, the why prey tell did it need amending? For Tom's sake, maybe we can clear it up, based on Biblical principles.

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Men wrote the US constitution, and did it with the express intention of not allowing this country to be a theocracy.

Why this asshole isn't in an orange jumpsuit putting nuts and bolts in a bag for twenty cents a day at some for profit prison created by his best friends is proof that god does not exist in this world.

To Tom DeLay I say: "nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Congrats Tom, you are today's asshat of the day! 

Roger West

Thursday, February 20, 2014


The Virginia High School League, which oversees athletics across Virginia’s 313 public high schools, has approved a new policy that claims to let transgender students play on the team they identify with. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly unlikely that any student will ever actually qualify to participate, and those who do will have to make a significant sacrifice.

According to the policy, the only trans students who count as trans are those who have “undergone sex reassignment,” which means “surgical anatomical changes” including “external genitalia changes and gonadectomy” (removal of testes or ovaries). Otherwise, “a student-athlete will compete in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment.” And Virginia only grants birth certificate changes to individuals whose sex “has been changed by medical procedure.”

It is unlikely — if not impossible — that any student would ever qualify for this. That’s because most doctors who assist individuals with physical transitions follow the Standards of Care outlined by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health. According to those standards, genital surgery should not be made available to minors:
Genital surgery should not be carried out until patients reach the legal age of majority to give consent for medical procedures in a given country, and (ii) patients have lived continuously for at least 12 months in the gender role that is congruent with their gender identity. The age threshold should be seen as a minimum criterion and not an indication in and of itself for active intervention.

The age of majority in Virginia is 18, which means that 18 is the youngest age that any Virginia student could obtain sex reassignment surgery, at least from a licensed professional surgeon.

Moreover, most trans people do not actually pursue surgical options. One of the reasons for this is financial, as surgery can be incredibly costly. Others simply decide that they do not need to change their bodies in that way to realize their gender identity. They may also want to preserve their reproductive ability, which is permanently lost with the surgery.

Though claiming to do the opposite, Virginia has effectively banned transgender students from participating in athletics. In addition to subjecting them to harassment if they choose to play on the team they do not identify with, the policy will also deprive them of the academic benefits associated with participation in athletics. Trans students in Virginia schools experience alarming rates of harassment (74 percent), physical assault (35 percent), and sexual violence (23 percent).


Wednesday, February 19, 2014



Newly released emails and records from a former deputy Chief of Staff to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker [Koch Whore] suggest that the governor may have been involved in — or at least aware of — illegal coordination between his 2010 gubernatorial campaign and his Milwaukee County Executive office. The release comes as a second probe continues, examining Wisconsin’s 2012 recall elections.

A now-closed probe by Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm resulted in a 2012 felony conviction of Kelly Rindfleisch, who served as deputy chief of staff to then-County Executive Walker, as well as convictions against several other former Walker staffers. Rindfleisch pled guilty to a charge of misconduct for doing campaign work for a lieutenant governor candidate while at her government job, but is now appealing the conviction on the grounds that thousands of pages of emails from her computer should not have been admitted as evidence in her prosecution. As part of her appeal, a judge released thousands of pages of evidence Wednesday, including those emails.

Investigators in the probe found that Thomas Nardelli, Walker’s chief of staff in the County Executive Office and later his administrator of Wisconsin’s Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services, emailed Rindfleisch and other Walker county and campaign staffers in 2010 from his private Yahoo address. The email said that Walker asked that they conduct a daily 8:00 AM conference call to coordinate efforts and and responses to “events of the day,” as good coordination would help resolve issues before they blew out of proportion.

Walker’s 2010 campaign manager, Keith Gilkes, wrote back with a call-in number for the daily call. Wisconsin law prohibits public employees from political activity while on the job.

Rindfleisch and other top aides to the governor also allegedly brought personal laptops, not connected to the county computer network, into the Walker’s county executive’s office and used a secret wireless router for campaign communications. Darlene Wink, Walker’s constituent services director, resigned in May 2010 when she was caught anonymously posting political comments online while on the clock for Milwaukee County — and she later pled guilty two misdemeanor charges for that misconduct.

When the story broke, Walker himself emailed Tim Russell, another former deputy chief of staff who had become city housing director, noting that Wink felt terrible and instructing him, “We cannot afford another story like this one. No one can give them any reason to do another story. That means no laptops, no websites, no time away during the work day, etc.”

Soon after, the campaign router was removed from the office. An instant message conversation between Russell and Rindfleisch noted that “Dorothy,” apparently Walker’s executive assistant Dorothy Moore, had moved back to the regular wireless network.

If, as the chief investigator believed, Walker knew about the secret wireless network, it could mean trouble for Walker, who has previously denied any knowledge of his aides’ wrongdoing. Walker will face Wisconsin voters again this November, as he seeks a second term as governor, and has been held up as a possible 2016 presidential candidate.

A special prosecutor was appointed last year in a second investigation, probing into possible illegal activity in the 2012 Wisconsin recall campaigns. Rindfleisch is reportedly also a subject in that still-secret investigation.

This all comes at a rough time for prominent tea bagging governors who were once considered rising stars and possible White House contenders. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is currently under investigation for the Bridgegate scandal and former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were indicted on 14 felony counts last month relating to their gifts scandal.

Synopsis - give a GOPer enough rope and they will indeed hang themselves.

Roger West

Tuesday, February 18, 2014



In newly released audio of phone calls made by Michael Dunn while in jail, the man who shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis after a loud music dispute claiming self-defense said he was both the “victor” and the “victim,” compared himself to a rape victim, and made racially charged comments about his fellow inmates.

Recordings of nine calls from December 2012 released by the State Attorney’s Office Monday follows the earlier release of letters from Dunn disparaging African Americans. In one, he said, “The more time I am exposed to these people, the more prejudiced against them I become.” A jury found Dunn guilty Saturday on several counts of attempted second degree murder for shooting ten rounds into a car full of teens, but the jury was deadlocked on the question of whether Dunn was guilty of first degree murder for shooting and killing Jordan Davis.

In a call to his fiancée Rhonda Rouer, Dunn said:
I was the one that was being preyed upon and I fought back. It’s not quite the same but it made me think of like the old TV shows and movies where like how the police used to think when a chick got raped going, “Oh, it’s her fault because of the way she dressed.” I’m like, “So it’s my fault (laughing) because I asked them to turn their music down. I got attacked and I fought back because I didn’t want to be a victim and now I’m in trouble. I refused to be a victim and now I’m incarcerated.”

Dunn doesn’t explain how he was “attacked.” The shooting occurred after Dunn pulled up in a Jacksonville convenience store next to a sport utility vehicle with several teen boys. Tension erupted after he asked the boys to turn down their music. Dunn says he shot into the vehicle in self-defense because Davis threatened to kill him from within his vehicle and held up a gun, but no gun was found anywhere at the scene.
“I’m the fucking victim here,” he said, laughing, during one of the phone calls. “I was the one who was victimized … I’m the victor, but I was the victim too.”

During the call with Rouer, he also complained about being in a jail cell by himself, saying, “But I guess it would be better than being in a room with them animals.” He added a short while later, “I was in a room with three black guys,” CBS News reports.

At a trial that aped that of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin, Dunn claimed self-defense and invoked the state’s Stand Your Ground law. “If Michael Dunn was in a public place where he had a legal right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force,” his lawyer said during closing arguments. One recent study found that white defendants with black victims are far more likely to have their killings deem “justified” under the Stand Your Ground law.

Prosecutors plan to seek a retrial on the first degree murder charge.

The reality, with Dunn facing decades behind bars, is that rape is a high probability for this murderer while he isStab in prison. How apropos it is!

Roger West

Monday, February 17, 2014


America’s First President Was The Tea Party’s Worst Nightmare

Five years after General George Washington took command of a revolutionary army, he believed that the revolution was on the verge of collapse.

The Articles of Confederation, which bound the thirteen former British colonies together prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, were fundamentally flawed. Congress, under the Articles, could not directly tax individuals or legislate their actions. Delegates to Congress had little authority to exercise independent judgment, as they both owed their salaries to their state government and could be recalled “at any time.” Of particular frustration to General Washington, the Articles also gave Congress no real power to raise troops or to provide for them once they were assembled under Washington’s command. Congress could request recruits or money, but it was powerless if the states denied these requests.
“Unless Congress speaks in a more decisive tone,” Washington wrote in 1780, “unless they are vested with powers by the several States competent to the purposes of war . . . our Cause is lost.”

The Revolutionary War taught our first president the value of a strong central government. And this understanding was not limited simply to the need to provide a capable army. As Washington wrote a young former aide named Alexander Hamilton shortly after the war was won, “unless Congress have powers competent to all general purposes, [] the distresses we have encountered, the expences we have incurred, and the blood we have spilt in the course of an eight years’ war, will avail us nothing.”

National Problems, National Solutions

As both Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin and the Constitutional Accountability Center have explained, this concern about a too-weak national government provided much of the impetus for the new Constitution. When the framers of the Constitution met in Philadelphia, with Washington serving as president of this Constitutional Convention, they adopted a resolution declaring that the new federal government’s powers should be quite expansive indeed. Congress, in the framers’ vision must be able “to legislate in all cases for the general interests of the Union, and also in those to which the States are separately incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.”

The framers understood, in other words, that there will be problems that face the entire nation, and that these problems require a government powerful enough to address these national concerns — Congress may legislate “in all cases for the general interests of the Union.” Though the framers could not possibly have anticipated the way new innovations would weave the nation together into one grand community (decades after the Constitution was ratified, for example it still took nearly a third of a year to travel from New York to California. The transcontinental railroad reduced this to 6 days). They had the foresight to build a central government that was robust enough to tackle the problems presented by an interconnected nation and multinational corporations.

To implement the framers’ resolution, a committee of the Constitutional Convention drafted the list of powers Congress is permitted to exercise, such as the power to “raise and support armies” or to “establish a uniform rule of naturalization” that are now contained in Article I of the Constitution. Arguably the most significant of these powers are Congress’ authority to “regulate commerce . . .among the several states,” which gave Congress broad authority to regulate the nation’s economy and the power to raise taxes and spend money in ways that advance “the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” As railroads, highways, telephones and the Internet caused our nation’s economy to become more and more interconnected, the Constitution’s broad grant of power would grow to touch more people’s lives, but this outcome flowed naturally from the text of the Constitution of 1787.

The First Great Constitutional Fight
Though the text of the resolution adopted at the Constitutional Convention suggests that there was a consensus around the need for robust federal power, the Founding Fathers soon divided into two factions. Broadly speaking, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton led a faction which supported Congress’ broad constitutional authority to regulate the economy, to fund public works, and to otherwise spend money for the benefit of the nation. On the other side, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and his ally, Virginia Congressman James Madison, led a faction that would have almost certainly viewed anything resembling a modern welfare and regulatory state as unconstitutional.

These two visions collided in 1791 over Hamilton’s proposal to create the First Bank of the United States. Hamilton envisioned the bank as both a place to deposit federal tax revenue and a way to ensure access to credit. Should the new government experience a temporary shortfall in revenue, the bank could offer a short term loan to cover the gap. More broadly, bank loans would enable both the federal government and private interests to fund public works. Thus, Hamilton viewed the power to create such a bank as implicit in Congress’ broad authority to tax and provide for the new nation. As he explained to President Washington,
the very general power of laying and collecting taxes, and appropriating their proceeds — that of borrowing money indefinitely — that of coining money, and regulating foreign coins — that of making all needful rules and regulations respecting the property of the United States. These powers combined, as well as the reason and nature of the thing, speak strongly this language: that it is the manifest design and scope of the Constitution to vest in Congress all the powers requisite to the effectual administration of the finances of the United States. As far as concerns this object, there appears to be no parsimony of power.

Jefferson offered a very different view of the bank, and of the Constitution itself. If the Constitution permitted Congress to incorporate a national bank merely because doing so would enable it to carry out its other duties more effectively, then Jefferson feared the federal government’s powers would expand without limit. “If such a latitude of construction be allowed,” Jefferson told Washington, “it will go to everyone, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other . . . . It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power.”

Jefferson offered a very different view of the bank, and of the Constitution itself. If the Constitution permitted Congress to incorporate a national bank merely because doing so would enable it to carry out its other duties more effectively, then Jefferson feared the federal government’s powers would expand without limit. “If such a latitude of construction be allowed,” Jefferson told Washington, “it will go to everyone, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other . . . . It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power.”

Jefferson, in other words, believed that the primary goal of the Constitution was to restrain federal power, and thus it should be read narrowly to limit Congress ability to act. Hamilton, by contrast, understood the new Constitution to empower the United States to confront challenges it was powerless to address under the Articles of Confederation. The battle over the national bank posed a fundamental question about what kind of nation the United States would become: would we be governed by a national government fully empowered to meet national problems with national solutions, or did we fear central power so much that we were willing to risk impotence to ward off centralized tyranny?

George Washington chose the first option. He sided with Hamilton and signed the bank bill into law.

The War That Never Ends

President Washington, however, was not able to calm this fight over how to read our Constitution for long. To the contrary, the history of American constitutional law has, to a large extent, been a never ending fight between Hamilton’s vision and Jefferson and Madison’s. Though Washington, the Supreme Court, and ultimately, even Madison himself would eventually concede that a federally charted bank is constitutional, the nation’s seventh president never did. President Madison signed a bill authorizing a Second Bank of the United States, but President Andrew Jackson allowed this bank’s charter to expire — to disastrous results.

Less than a quarter century later, President James Buchanan vetoed the land grant college act, relying in part on adistinctly Madisonian interpretation of the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln would later reject this interpretation, and sign a very similar bill into law.

In the late Nineteenth Century, the nation’s leading opponent of a strong government spoke of Washington’s decision to side with Hamilton over Madison as if it were America’s original sin. Justice Stephen Field — who led an economically libertarian insurgency within the Supreme Court even as he voted to uphold both Jim Crow segregation and laws with such extravagantly racist names as the “Chinese Exclusion Act — campaigned for president in 1880 against a chain of evils he traced all the way back to Alexander Hamilton. “The old Constitution,” one of Field’s campaign pamphlets claimed, “has been buried under the liberal interpretations of Federalist-Republican Congresses and administrations, grasping doubtful powers and making each step towards centralization the sure precedent of another.”

Though Field was never really a viable candidate for president, he would live long enough to see his radical libertarian understanding of the Constitution largely embraced by a majority of his colleagues on the Supreme Court. A few years before President Grover Cleveland appointed Melville Fuller as Chief Justice of the United States in 1888, Fuller published a revealing analysis of American political history:

Two great parties have always divided the people of this country . . . the doctrine of the one is that all power not expressly delegated to the general government remains with the states and with the people; of the other, that the efficacy of the general government should be strengthened by a free construction of its powers. The one believes that that is the best government that governs least; the other, that government should exercise the functions belonging to Divine Providence, and should regulate the profits of labor and the value of property by direct legislation. The leader and type of one school of thought and politics was Thomas Jefferson; and Alexander Hamilton was the leader and type of the other.

After joining the Court, Fuller revealed himself to be a proud member of the Party of Jefferson. In a single year, Fuller’s Court declared the income tax unconstitutional and it gave a nationwide sugar monopoly immunity to anti-trust law on constitutional grounds. Chief Justice Fuller also presided over the odious Lochner decision, which led to numerous laws protecting workers from rapacious employers being struck down.

Zombie Constitutionalism

So, while Washington rejected Jefferson and Madison’s vision of a Constitution fundamentally distrustful of government power, that vision did not die in 1791. It may never die. It was the vision that animated the Supreme Court’s conservatives to stand athwart the New Deal yelling stop. It was the vision that led Barry Goldwater to label a federal ban on whites-only lunch counters unconstitutional. And it was the vision that drove the nearly successful lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.

The mistake that most constitutional lawyers made — the mistake that I made — in treating the constitutional case against Obamacare as a joke is that we thought the eternal struggle between Hamilton and Jefferson had finally come to a close. The legal theory in that case was a joke, if you took the Constitution’s text and precedent seriously. Indeed, no less of an authority than Judge Laurence Silberman, a prominent conservative who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, proclaimed that the case against the Affordable Care Act has no basis “in either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent.”

But it is firmly rooted in the skeptical view of government that George Washington rejected in 1791.

Jefferson and Madison’s vision of the Constitution is a vision that would declare not just Obamacare, but Medicare and Social Security unconstitutional. It is a vision that is wholly unsuited to a modern nation that must respond creatively to a complex and vibrant national economy. Yet, to borrow from Justice Antonin Scalia, it rises again and again “like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad after being repeatedly killed and buried.”

But it is also not the vision that drove the Constitutional Convention. And it is not the vision that won the support of our first president. Today is the day when we celebrate George Washington’s Birthday. If the Tea Party fully understood what Washington did for this country, they would treat today as a day of mourning.

Written by Ian Millhiser thinkprogress


Sunday, February 16, 2014



A Florida jury could not reach a verdict on the most serious charge facing Michael Dunn, a first degree murder charge for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis after a dispute over loud music at a Jacksonville convenience store. Nevertheless, Dunn is all but certain to face a lengthy prison sentence as he was convicted on three counts of attempted second degree murder — one for each of three of Dunn’s friends who were also in the line of fire as Dunn fired ten rounds into their sport utility vehicle.

The judge declared a mistrial on the first degree murder count, leaving prosecutors the option of seeking a new trial.

The Florida shooting was the most prominent fatal shooting of a teen in self-defense since the death of Trayvon Martin drew national attention to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The law was also cited in Dunn’s trial.

The shooting occurred after Dunn asked the boys to turn down their music while parked next to him in a Jacksonville convenience store parking lot. His fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, says the last thing she heard him say was, “I hate that thug music.” Rouer was in the convenience store when she heard gunshots, and when she ran outside, he told her to get in the car and they drove away.

Dunn claimed he saw a gun and believed the boys were armed and dangerous. But police found no gun in the car. He said he heard Davis threaten to kill him, and responded by rolling down the window of his car and asking, “Are you talking to me?” Dunn and Rouer spent the night in a hotel, as planned, and their testimony differed about what happened that night, and in the days that followed. Dunn’s friends testified that they knew him as a calm and non-violent man.

During closing arguments, prosecutor John Guy told jurors, “Jordan Davis didn’t have a weapon. He had a big mouth. And that defendant wasn’t gonna stand for it. And it cost Jordan Davis his life.”

Dunn’s lawyer Cory Strolla cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in his closing argument, “His honor will further tell you that If Michael Dunn was in a public place where he had a legal right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” As in the George Zimmerman trial, the Stand Your Ground law was included in the jury instructions.

Alluding to public controversy of the law, Strolla added, “It’s not because I wrote it. It’s not cause I like it. We’re not here to change it and we’re not here to fight it. We’re here to apply it.”

When asked about the relevance of the law to this case during a press conference, Strolla told reporters that he “strategically” decided not to seek a separate Stand Your Ground hearing that could have given Dunn immunity before trial, because of the national media attention. He claimed the law was therefore not relevant to the case. But the jurors were nonetheless advised to consider the law when deciding Dunn’s guilt, by both Strolla and in the jury instructions.

Just prior to the trial, the State Attorney’s Office released a set of letters Dunn sent from prison revealing significant animus toward blacks. “The more time I am exposed to these people, the more prejudiced against them I become,” he said in one. “This jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs,” he said in another. The letters did not come into play during trial. But they reveal the sort of racial undertones that have been prominent in many Stand Your Ground cases. One study found that white defendants with black victims are far more likely to have their killings deem “justified” under the Stand Your Ground law.

How apropos - the jail he lives in now is filled with, in his words 'blacks that act like thugs' - says the guy who murdered a person because their music was too loud.

Bottom line, if your African American in Florida, be wary, be very, very wary of whites toting guns!

Roger West

Saturday, February 15, 2014


In his show-ending New Rules Friday night, Bill Maher revealed the secret to presidential campaign success: run as soon as you can, because the longer you wait, the more baggage you have, and the more sick and tired people are of you. Maher said this is why President Obama won in 2008, because he was a “blank canvas” upon which people could project their hopes and dreams.

Why? Because parties that nominate the “older guy who’s waited his turn,” like Al Gore or Mitt Romney, they lose, because there’s no “romance” or “mystery.” Or in the case of John McCain, “a pulse.”

Maher brought up Hillary Clinton‘s baggage, though mostly to mock how Republicans are making Monicagate a big deal, as if Hillary was “in on it.” He also took a few swipes at Chris Christie, who was a shining and well-respected candidate in 2012, but is now “350 pounds of toast.”

Maher concluded, “Politicians are like suede jackets. There are cheap ones and expensive ones, but once they get rain on them, they all look like shit.”

Watch the video below, via HBO:

Roger West

Friday, February 14, 2014


Ruling by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen sets the stage for a possible Supreme Court showdown, though cases from Utah and Oklahoma also are headed that way.

So at least theoretically, Virginia is for lovers - and marriage:

A federal judge in Virginia has struck down the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage, joining a growing list of state and federal courts that have granted gay and lesbian couples the right to marry following two landmark Supreme Court rulings in June.

U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen's ruling had been expected since the case was heard in her Norfolk courtroom last week. Also as expected, she blocked it from taking immediate effect until appeals are heard. As a result, gay marriages in Virginia cannot begin yet.

"Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships," Wright Allen said. "Such relationships are created through the exercise of sacred, personal choices — choices, like the choices made by every other citizen, that must be free from unwarranted government interference."

Her decision follows similar rulings in Oklahoma and Utah, even more conservative states, where federal judges recently struck down gay marriage bans. Those cases are scheduled to be heard a week apart by a federal appeals court panel in April; the Virginia case now joins them in a race toward the Supreme Court.

And in recent days, Nevada state officials decided they could no longer defend the state's same-sex marriage ban, and a judge in Kentucky ruled that the state must recognize gay marriages from other states.

Roger West

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Good Thing' James Holmes Had 100-Round Magazine


A Republican state senator in Colorado stunned the father of one of the victims of the Aurora theater shooting when he claimed that it was "a good thing" that James Holmes had a 100-round magazine.

During a Wednesday hearing about overturning the state's ban on magazines larger than 15 rounds, Democratic state Sen. Irene Aguilar pointed out that Holmes would have never been able to legally buy the arsenal he used to slaughter 12 people and injure 70 others.
“My understanding is that James Holmes bought his 100-round capacity magazine legally,” Aguilar told Republican state Sen. Bernie Herpin. “So in fact, this law would have stopped James Holmes from purchasing a 100-round magazine." 
“I was wondering if you agree with me," she asked. 
“Perhaps, James Holmes would not have been able to purchase a 100-round magazine,” Herpin admitted. 
“As it turned out, that was maybe a good thing that he had a 100-round magazine, because it jammed," he added. "If he had four, five, six 15-round magazines, there’s no telling how much damage he could have done until a good guy with a gun showed up.”

Of the 76 shell casings found by investigators after the shooting, 65 were fired from Holmes' .223 caliber assault-style rifle with the 100 round magazine.

Tom Sullivan's was also at the Capitol on Tuesday to oppose repealing the high capacity magazine ban because his son, Alex, was one of the victims of the theater shooting.
“I’ve had a lot of thoughts since July 20, 2012, but never once did I think anyone was better off because the shooter brought a hundred round drum into that theater,” Sullivan insisted. “Alex never had a chance. He was watching a movie one second and the next he was dead. The fact is, if the shooter had to change his magazine that would have been a chance for Alex to survive.”
“The lack of empathy and compassion is shocking,” Sullivan later told KDVR. “Not just to me and my family, but to all of the families who have lost loved ones to gun violence and to all the people of Colorado."

Sullivan observed that it was almost unthinkable that voters had decided to replace former Senate President John Morse with Herpin in a recall election over the new gun control laws.

But with public support beginning to once again swing back in favor of the gun control measures, Democrats suggested that the issue was backfiring on Republicans.

“Thanks for giving us back your seat,” one Democratic staffer was heard saying at the hearing on Wednesday. Herpin is up for re-election in November.

These gun nuts - The guy with the small magazine is always a well trained Olympic level shooter who can switch magazines in a blink of an eye; The guy with a large capacity drum is a buffoon ready to shoot himself when his gun slips out of his hand; and there is always a John McClane good guy who can persevere regardless of injuries who will always show up if we just make sure we don't screw him up by making him register his gun.

Roger West

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a law Tuesday to allow those with concealed carry permits to bring their guns into bars and other establishments that serve alcohol. But that was just the tip of the iceberg for Haley. As she signed the bill, she said she’d like to see another Senate proposal passed to eliminate the permit requirement entirely and allow open carry in the state.
“Criminals are dangerous, and I think that every resident should be allowed to protect themselves from criminals,” she reasoned.

Permit requirements are typically separate from laws that govern who can buy and possess guns in the state. In South Carolina, as in most states, the permitting requirement actually makes it harder for those with criminal backgrounds to be the ones toting the guns. While some crimes — violent felonies — bar individuals from buying or possessing a gun in the first place, a larger list of crimes bars individuals from carrying those guns outside their homes. What’s more, those who seek a permit are required to undergo firearms training. And permits must be re-issued every few years, allowing the state an opportunity to check for new crimes committed after an individual initially purchased a gun. Ending the permit requirement would eliminate both firearms training and the more probing, follow-up background checks that now exist.

South Carolina current prohibits open carry of guns, and sponsors say the bill would remove that limitation also.

Until 2007, Vermont was the only state that had a law eliminating permit requirements. But in the past few years, model legislation known as the “Constitutional Carry Act” has been introduced in many states, and become law in Wyoming, Arizona, and Alaska. Arkansas also passed a “Constitutional Carry Act that seems to dispense with the permitting requirement, although it is still distributing permits.

South Carolina is one of the deadliest states for gun violence. The state sees a gun death every 14 hours. Police officers and women victims of domestic violence are particularly likely to be killed by a gun in the state.

The “Constitutional Carry” bill was introduced by State Sen. Lee Bright, who is running for U.S. Senate. Even with Haley’s support, the South Carolina bill faces significant opposition from state legislators and is unlikely to survive the Senate this time around, according to the State.

What's next Nikki, do away with police departments? Congratulations Nikki Haley, you are today's asshat of the day.

Roger West

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


In a new report released on Tuesday, the House Armed Services Committee concludes that there was no way for the U.S. military to have responded in time to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya to save the four Americans killed that night. In doing so, the report debunks entirely a right-wing myth that says the White House ordered the military not to intervene.

For months after the attack that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, conservative media was awash in reports that on the night of the assault the Obama administration at some point ordered the military not to take action that would have saved lives. This supposed “stand down order” led to a bevy of right-wing conspiracies about why the President and his administration had let the Americans die.
“Who told the SEALs to stand down?” Rep. Steve King asked in Nov. 2012, in just one of many interviews with Republicans referring to the response to Benghazi as “worse than Watergate.”

As Media Matters reports, Fox News cited reports of a stand-down order no fewer than 85 times during prime-time segments as of June 2013. As the new report — which the Republican majority of the committee authored –makes very clear in its findings, however, no such order ever existed. “There was no ‘stand down’ order issued to U.S. military personnel in Tripoli who sought to join the fight in Benghazi,” the report says, noting that the military was not positioned to respond to the attack.

“Given the military’s preparations on September 11, 2012, majority members have not yet discerned any response alternatives that could have likely changed the outcome of the Benghazi attack,” the report concludes.

This tracks with the repeated insistence from the White House and Pentagon over the months that everything possible had been done once the military assets in the region had mobilized. Then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in the first Senate hearing on the military response, told panel members that it’s impossible to prepare for every possible contingency when planning, accusing the panel of believing the military was akin to a “911 service.”

While Senate Republicans chided Panetta at the time, it seems Republicans on the HASC now agree with the secretary’s assessment. “Majority members believe the regional and global force posture assumed by the military on September 11, 2012 limited the response,” the report continues. “Majority members recognize, of course, that it is impossible for the Department of Defense to have adequate forces prepared to respond immediately to every conceivable global contingency. Ensuring that preparations exist for some likely possibilities is not to be confused with the ability to anticipate all prospective circumstances, especially in highly volatile regions.”

The night of the attack, the United States had few military assets within the region, the report reads, requiring the transport of soldiers from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) stationed in Germany to Libya, a trip that took several hours. Once there, the majority of the reinforcements were given the order to remain in Tripoli to prevent a possible attack on the U.S. Embassy itself, a distinct possibility in the eyes of the Pentagon. The Pentagon also confirmed to the HASC that there were no AC-130 gunships or armed drones within the region that night, another topic of speculation from right-wing media outlets.

The Democrats on the panel asked their Republican colleagues if they could finally move on from Bengahzi. “This report, produced by House Armed Services Committee Republicans, should finally bring an end to the politicization of the heinous attacks on brave Americans in Benghazi,” HASC Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith and Rep. Niki Tsongas, the HASC Oversight and Investigations subcommittee’s ranking member, said in a statement. “It is time to move forward, take the real conclusions we have arrived at and establish how to best protect our citizens around the globe. It is our hope that today’s report, which was authored by Republicans, finally brings this attempt to manufactured scandal to an end.”

Cross-posted from thinkprogress


Monday, February 10, 2014


Sen. Ted Cruz announced Monday that he plans to introduce an omnibus energy bill that will focus on scaling down regulation and scaling up production in the oil and gas industry.

Cruz, speaking at the Heritage Action for America’s Conservative Policy Summit in D.C., said he was introducing the American Energy Renaissance Act to stop the federal government from preventing America’s “energy renaissance” — the ability to access underground natural gas and oil stores that Cruz said is “providential blessing” for the country. The announcement heralds a change of focus for Cruz, who has devoted much of his attention over the last few months to Obamacare and gun rights.
“The energy revolution didn't come from the U.S. Department of Energy,” Cruz said during his speech Monday. “It didn't come from a grant program picking, ‘this is how were going to transform energy.’ It came from entrepreneurs.”

Here’s what Cruz said the American Energy Renaissance Act will do, if it’s passed:

Prevent the federal government from regulating fracking. Fracking is excluded from many federal environmental laws, leaving it up to the states to develop their own regulations on the practice. Cruz’s bill would prevent the federal government from ever imposing regulations on fracking, which has been linked to earthquakes (including in Texas) and has been found to produce billions of gallons of toxic waste-water.
Approve Keystone XL. Cruz said that Keystone XL should be a no-brainer for all of America, even the “Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging Greenpeace activist,” because it will reduce our dependency on oil shipped across the ocean and therefore reduce the threat of oil spills (Cruz didn't mention the risk of spills from Keystone XL, which won’t come equipped with the latest spill-detecting technology). The southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline runs through Texas. 
Force Congress to vote on EPA regulations. Cruz said forcing Congress to vote on EPA regulations that “kill jobs” would help end President Obama’s War on Coal. EPA regulators don’t need to be held accountable to citizens when making these regulations, Cruz said members of congress do, and they likely won’t vote for environmental regulations if people in their home state are worried about those regulations killing jobs. In reality, the 30-year decline in coal jobs in Appalachia in particular is due more to increased automation of mining and competition from cheaper coal out West than to power plant regulations.
Increase drilling on public lands and Native American lands, and allow states to lease energy development on federal lands. Cruz said that Native Americans are being kept in poverty because of federal regulations that make drilling permits on Native American land difficult to obtain. He also said states could “do a better job” than the federal government at deciding how to use the oil and gas resources on federal land. A 2013 poll of Western states, however, found that Westerners opposed turning authority of federal public lands over to the states.
Increase offshore exploration. Despite environmental concerns, offshore drilling may experience an increase even without Cruz’s bill — the U.S. Department of Energy expects offshore oil production from the lower 48 states to grow 18 percent from its 2011 level by 2020. 
End the ban on crude oil exports and reduce regulatory barriers to exporting coal. The call to end the U.S.’s crude oil export ban has been echoed by other lawmakers, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, but most environmental activists oppose ending the ban, saying exported oil and gas will only increase carbon emissions and could even increase the price of gas.

Cruz, has said there “remains considerable uncertainty” about what is causing climate change, also told the Heritage audience Monday that he was surprised it was so cold in D.C. “Al Gore told us this wouldn't happen,” he said.


Sunday, February 9, 2014


On February 4, fake-fight promoter Damon Feldman announced that he’d brokered a boxing match that was even more splashy and controversial than the pairings he’s brokered in the past. The plan was to have the rapper DMX fight George Zimmerman, the former Florida neighborhood watch captain who last year was acquitted in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin under the state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law. The stunt was met with widespread horror. And today, Feldman announced that he was calling it off.

Feldman tweeted:

The George Zimmerman fight is canceled I'm sorry for anyone I hurt with this but this was a very big opportunity thank you
— Damon Feldman (@hollywoodbox11) February 8, 2014

It’s a statement as telling as the original plan for the fight, which likely would have been staged because of the small probability that Feldman could have found a state or tribal jurisdiction to approve it.

Feldman, who’d initially suggested that the possibility of visiting violence on George Zimmerman would have been some sort of twisted justice, didn’t acknowledge that he’d come to understand just how wrong that idea was. Instead, he said he was sorry if he hurt anybody, “but this was a very big opportunity,” one he felt he apparently had no choice but to take.

It’s remarkable that Feldman’s capable of appealing to capitalism to suggest that he was justified in exploiting a grotesque national tragedy, as if the prospect of certain levels of profit exert a moral pull we’re somehow obliged to answer. But Feldman’s business has always been about pain, one way or the other, and particularly about the spectacle of seeing pain inflicted on unpopular celebrities, like former baseball player Jose Canseco or television personality Danny Bonaduce. This time, though, he was meting out pain outside the ring, and to people who hadn’t consented to lace up their gloves and risk a hit. I’m glad he had at least the small measure of good sense to understand just how ugly that sort of fight might have been.

In an update, Feldman has since deleted his tweets canceling the fight, and now says he’ll make a final decision Tuesday.

Nothing I would like more than to see this punk getting the fuck beat out of him, only wish it was I whom was beating him senseless.

Roger West

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Old people get money for treatments and such, far more than children do, so Bill Maher had just one question for them: “why are they the angriest people politically?” Maher got a bit too graphic in talking about the various ways these old folks are getting it on to make the point that the government pays for them to at least “go out with a bang.”

Maher said the reason more tax dollars go to grandma is “because she votes and young people don’t.” And that’s how you end up with millions of dollars in taxpayer money spent on penis pumps. And as Maher put it, old folks are “fucking like rabbits” and now STDs in seniors have tripled because “70 is the new 69, and the old folks home is the new freshman dorm.”

And so that’s how Maher got around to the big question: “why are they the angriest people politically?” He said, “You’re getting all the money and half the pussy!” And, on top of that, “you’re lucky enough to be in a country that will keep you hard until you’re stiff.”

Watch the video below, via HBO:

Roger West

Friday, February 7, 2014


The residents of Bullshit Mountain, aka Fox News anchors, are in a full-on frenzy over the recent CBO report about the impact of Obamacare on the economy. According to them, the report says that Americans are going to lose around 2 million full-time jobs.

According to the CBO, however, the report by the CBO says nothing of the sort. “This isn’t employers cutting jobs,” clarified New Jersey congressman Bill Pascrell in a meeting with CBO director Douglas Elmendorf. “It’s newly empowered workers choosing to go a different path.”

“So the three main talking points against Obamacare are, according to the CBO, not true,” summarizes Stewart.

But pundits at Fox continue to yell that the increased access to healthcare de-incentive's people to work.

“You know, like Social Security incentive's Americans to not die at their job!” cried an exasperated Stewart.

“And you won’t believe what these lazy poor, who've been sitting around biding their time at their two jobs, just waiting for the day they could ride the Uncle Sugar Train to Medicaid Town are going to do with their new-found windfall,” he continued, mocking Fox.

What it all comes down to, of course, is that “apparently on Bullshit Mountain, corporations aren’t just people. They’re better people than you.”



Roger West

Thursday, February 6, 2014


AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong blamed the babies of two employees for increasing the company’s benefit costs on Thursday, explaining in a conference call that AOL had to pay millions out in medical bills and alter its entire benefits package. The remarks came just hours after the company announced changes to its 401(k) plans and complained that Obamacare has increased costs by $7.1 million.
“We had two AOL-ers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general,” Armstrong said. “And those are the things that add up into our benefits cost. So when we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased healthcare costs, we made the decision, and I made the decision, to basically change the 401(k) plan.” Under the new program, AOL employees will not be able to collect any matching funds toward their retirement savings from the company for any given year if they leave before Dec. 31 of that year.

Health care experts were questioned why a large self-insured company with more than 5,000 employees could not absorb the additional health care costs associated with the pregnancies. Large employers typically purchase reinsurance, which could cover a substantial share of big claims and ensure stability in cases of larger-than expected medical payouts.
“The Affordable Care Act is simply a convenient whipping boy for any decision an employer makes to cut benefits,” Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee, said. “Assuming AOL had reasonably generous coverage like most large employers, it should not have experienced any significant changes in its benefit structure for 2014. Perhaps it had to pick up a few more employees that had not been covered before or reduce premiums for a few employees, but it is hard to see $7.1 million here.”

Meanwhile, the company is also hurting from poor business decisions. As the Washington Post reports, its quarterly earnings “were hurt by $13.2 million in costs associated with layoffs, including at Patch, the struggling local news venture recently sold to investment firm Hale Global. The Patch unit, championed by Armstrong, has lost an estimated $200 million.”

AOL’s total revenue beat expectations and increased $679 million in the fourth quarter. In 2012, Armstrong earned 12.1 million.

What I find most surprising in all this s that AOL still exists.

Roger West