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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

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.


Saturday, March 29, 2014


Bill Maher ended his show Friday night with a plea for Democrats to stop feebly going along with the Republicans and “stand your ground” on issues like Obamacare instead of going “Yeah, sucks to be us right now” and lamely apologizing for everything like a husband who says of his wife, “She’s not perfect, but it’s better than masturbating alone!”

Maher told Democrats to start trotting out the Obamacare success stories. He said it’s not that hard to do; “You just need someone who’s been to a gynecologist, not Bigfoot!” He cried, “It’s not like you’re trying to sell a Vince Vaughn movie, this is a good thing!”

But Maher got very adamant about Democrats abandoning the “false meme” from the right that Jimmy Carter‘s presidency was a failure, saying the real failure came from “wimps” who never had his back.

Roger West

Friday, March 28, 2014



With his office suddenly engulfed in scandal over lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey two months ago summoned a pair of top defense lawyers from an elite law firm to the State House and asked them to undertake an extensive review of what had gone wrong.

Now, after 70 interviews and at least $1 million in legal fees to be paid by state taxpayers, that review is set to be released, and according to people with firsthand knowledge of the inquiry, it has uncovered no evidence that the governor was involved in the plotting or directing of the lane closings.

The review is the first of multiple inquiries into a scandal that has jeopardized Mr. Christie’s political future. It will be viewed with intense skepticism, not only because it was commissioned by the governor but also because the firm conducting it, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, has close ties to the Christie administration and the firm’s lawyers were unable to interview three principal players in the shutdowns, including Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff.


Its pretty sad when Christie's law firm, "Chutzpah", 'Bullshit", and "Hubris" concoct a story so far stretching, [which includes a purported sordid tryst between Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien] that even right wing nut jobs have a hard time fathoming it.

New Jersey tax payers, one million dollars poorer - and still having to deal with the bloviated Kripsy Kreme liar as their Governor.

Roger West

Thursday, March 27, 2014


On Thursday, President Obama announced on a call with volunteers that the number of Americans who have enrolled in health insurance plans under Obamacare has hit six million.

With several days left to go before open enrollment ends on March 31, the administration has met its target. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that Obamacare enrollment would hit six million by the end of its enrollment period. Although the CBO initially projected a seven million enrollment figure, that number was revised down after technological issues plagued the insurance marketplaces’ websites this past fall.

Just ten days ago, the Obama administration announced that enrollments had hit five million— meaning that the pace of enrollment has significantly picked up recently, and a million Americans enrolled in less than two weeks. The White House has always anticipated a last-minute surge in enrollment, since previous efforts to enroll Americans in government-run health care programs have demonstrated that people typically wait until the last minute to sign up.

Obamacare enrollment is frequently compared to the Bush administration’s effort to enroll seniors in Medicare Part D. That prescription drug program, widely considered to be a success now that it’s fully implemented, also struggled with initial website glitches. Medicare Part D ended up falling slightly short of its CBO projection, hitting 70 percent of that goal by the end of its enrollment period.

Although open enrollment technically ends in four days, there will be a few more weeks for some Americans to sign up. On Wednesday, the administration announced that the people who have experienced technological difficulties will be allowed to complete their enrollment in April.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014


The Department of Defense has spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours trying to fulfill requests from Congress’s six investigations into Benghazi, according to a letter from the Pentagon to a top-ranking Democrat.
“The Department has devoted thousands of man-hours to responding to the numerous and often repetitive congressional requests regarding Benghazi,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs Elizabeth King said in a letter to Congress dated earlier this month. That estimate includes “time devoted to approximately 50 congressional hearings, briefings, and interviews which the Department has led or participated in.” While no total calculation has been completed yet, King estimated that total cost of compliance with Congress’ requests to the Pentagon and other agencies runs “into the millions of dollars.”

“We continue to work fervently to address outstanding items,” King continued, including document requests and additional interviews — including with people who have already submitted to previous hearings or interviews. “Since the tragic events of September 2012, we have made every effort to provide information to the various congressional committees regarding Department’s actions in response to the attacks, and have accommodated Congress’ every request regardless of expense,” King wrote in the letter, which was sent to Rep. Adam Smith, ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee. Committee chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon was also sent a copy of the letter.

Smith first contacted the Pentagon last month to “gain a better understanding of the resources exhausted” in the DOD response to the now multiyear investigation into the Obama administration’s response to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. According to The Hill, following the Pentagon’s response, Smith reached out to McKeon to call off the witch-hunt that has to date produced no evidence of nefarious wrongdoing on the part of the White House, Pentagon, State Department, or intelligence community. “We must stop wasting this committee’s and our military’s scarce resources chasing a scandal that does not exist,” Smith wrote.

But it appears, even though the American public long ago stopped believing Republican claims of some kind of cover-up related to Benghazi, that there is no sign of the investigations to end. “It is important that the Committee see this oversight effort through to its conclusion,” McKeon spokesman Claude Chafin told the Hill. “Chairman McKeon appreciates Ranking Member Smith’s concerns as well as the support he has given to our oversight of this matter.”

That drive to press forward with the investigations only seems to rest in the Republican members of Congress — who continue to stress the issue despite issuing reports debunking many of the conspiracies they promote — and fringes of the conservative base whose support they seek. Even their aides seem to have grown weary of the pursuit of a non-existent cover-up. “There are some real issues there and then there is just some crazy stuff,” one senior House GOP aide was quoted as saying almost a year ago. (HT: The Hill)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Arguments were all going well for the ACA until Justice Kennedy asked the magic question.

Today's Supreme Court arguments about contraception, the ACA and religious liberty began with the ACA in a winning position.


It was clear from the get go that the Court’s liberals understood that their best course involved highlighting the dangerous consequences of a victory for Hobby Lobby. Paul Clement, the de facto Solicitor General of the Republican Party who argued the case on Hobby Lobby’s behalf, barely uttered his first sentence before Justice Sonia Sotomayor cut him off to ask what other medical procedures religious employers could refuse to cover in their employee health plans. Justice Elena Kagan quickly joined the party. If Hobby Lobby can deny birth control coverage, Kagan asked, what about employers who object to vaccinations? Or blood transfusions?

When Clement tried to deflect this list, Kagan came armed with an even bigger what. What of religious employers who object to gender equality, or the minimum wage, or family medical leave, or child labor laws? If the Supreme Court agrees with Hobby Lobby’s brief, which argues that laws burdening a corporation’s purported religious faith must survive the “most demanding test known to constitutional law,” then there would be few laws corporations could not exempt themselves from following.

So far, so good. And then Justice Kennedy dropped the bomb:

Kennedy did something different, he did not weigh in on the question of whether non-abortions can count as abortion — indeed, he seemed to understand the difference between birth control and abortion. Nevertheless, he looked at the government’s requirement to provide birth control coverage and envisioned a future law compelling Hobby Lobby to pay for actual abortions — just as he once gazed upon a requirement to buy health insurance and imagined the government forcing everyone to buy broccoli. In Justice Kennedy’s Courtroom, the government doesn’t have to defend the law it actually passed, it has to defend the worst law Kennedy can imagine them passing — even if that law would never make it through Congress.

Clement pounced on the opening Kennedy gave him the second he took the podium for his rebuttal argument. The government’s position, he claimed, goes straight to abortion and “that cannot be what Congress meant when it passed RFRA.” Kagan’s face grew even more worried.

In order to get through that line of logic, Kennedy would have to deny science and assume that IUDs, as one example, cause abortions. Despite reams of scientific literature to the contrary, it appears that he may be poised to go in that direction. And that will mean that any concerns he might have about employers denying other medical treatments in the name of religious liberty will also fly out of the window, because abortion trumps all else.

What's next? Will taxes be the next "religious liberty" argument? These forced birth advocates worship at the Altar of the Almighty Fetus first, then baptize themselves in fountains of coins. It's enough to make baby Jesus weep.

Roger West

Monday, March 24, 2014


JEFFERSON, LA — One reason Rep. Steve Scalise opposes the Senate’s bipartisan answer to immigration reform is because he insists it would force immigrants to become unwilling citizens of the U.S.
“There are a lot of people who come here, just want to work and go back home and not be a legal citizen that the Senate bill would actually force onto an amnesty track,” Scalise said that after a town hall in his district Friday. “If you look at the 1986 law, 40 percent that were eligible for amnesty chose not to go that route because they just wanted to work and go back home. And yet the Senate bill would force them to become American citizens and that’s not even what they want.”

He proposed that the country strengthen immigration enforcement and secure its borders instead.

But contrary to what Scalise suggested, at no point are the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants automatically enrolled or forced to become citizens. In fact, the bill’s path to earned citizenship is a rather difficult one.

Under the comprehensive immigration reform bill that was passed by the Senate, unauthorized residents can only gain citizenship over a minimum 13 years, after a multi-step process that first grants probationary legal status and later permanent legal status. Then, they must meet a long list of criteria for earned citizenship, including paying back taxes and fees, background checks, and a working knowledge of English. An analysis of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 8 million of the approximately 11 million unauthorized residents “would initially gain legal status under the bill.”

With the unmet promise of immigration reform still hanging over the House of Representatives, it is convenient now to argue that the undocumented themselves do not want a path to citizenship. Last year, Rep. Trey Gowdy and Rep. Paul Ryan both claimed immigrants have little interest in the idea.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Preschoolers are being suspended in American schools, and a disproportionate number of those young students receiving the punitive treatment are black, according to a new report out Friday from the Department of Education.

While black children make up just 18 percent of kids enrolled in preschool programs, they constitute 48 percent of the students suspended more than once. Across all grades, black students suffer suspensions or expulsions at three times the rate of their white counterparts. Black girls, in particular, suffer disproportionate rates of suspension; they receive higher rates of suspension “than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys,” the report finds.

The same holds true for arrests in school. Black students are just 16 percent of total students in schools, but make up 27 percent of those who are referred to law enforcement and 31 percent of those who receive a school-related arrest.

Friday’s new data is consistent with previous findings on disproportionate suspensions, expulsions, and arrests of black students. In 2013, a study from the University of California – Los Angeles’s Civil Rights project found that American students have, on average, an 11 percent chance of suspension, but that black students have a 24 percent chance of the same punishment. A 2010 Education Department also found that black and Hispanic students account for 70 percent of school-related arrests.

Suspensions are not just reserved for serious infractions. Students can be kept out of class for things as minor as a dress code violation. One controversial policy is that of suspension for “defiance.” A bill in California last year sought to get rid of suspensions caused by “willful defiance,” pointing to the fact that such an amorphous term may lead to the type of discrimination that the report finds. That bill never made it into law, but its guiding principle was adopted by Los Angeles area schools.

The rate of suspension has doubled since the 1970s as a growth in ‘zero tolerance’ policies has gripped school districts around the U.S. But studies show that the policy has serious negative implications; students who are suspended, even once, are significantly more likely to drop out of school.

There are, of course, alternative forms of punishment or other ways of dealing with student problem — especially at ages as young as preschool.
“The most important [potential solution] is a shift to more positive programs,” said Dr. Russ Skiba, a professor at Indiana University who studies educational equity and school discipline. Skiba pointed to some schools that are taking a more holistic approach. “We’ve found more effective forms of discipline. Those have a focus on school climate first. They say it’s the responsibility of the school, the community, the principle. to change the climate of the school.” This can mean using one-on-one conversations or discussion circles to get to the root of why a disciplinary problem happened, and then working to prevent it in the future. “And then use those tools of suspension and expulsion as last result,” Skiba said.

Another step some schools are taking is to simply phase down suspension policies — turning a 10-day suspension into a seven-day one, a five-day into a three-day.

It’s also vital to collect more data on why and when suspension and expulsion are taking place. “The preschool finding is exactly a result of having the data. If we didn’t collect and report it, we would never know about these really shocking discrepancies.” he said. “So we need to make the requirements about reporting data more universal. Right now there are only regulations for students with disabilities. We have no such requirement for all kids in general.”

While some states have detailed data on suspensions and expulsions, down to the school level, others have data that is widely unavailable. Still others have nothing at the school level at all. This lack of data can mean we don’t know exactly who is facing suspension or expulsion — and when discrimination is occurring. LGBT students, for example, face disproportionate rates of suspension and expulsion, but you wouldn't know that from most available data.

cross posted from thinkprogress


Friday, March 21, 2014


A federal judge has overturned Michigan’s constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage. In the decision, Judge Bernard Friedman, a Regan appointee, argued that this is a case about people’s equal protection, lauding the couple that brought the case for the sacrifices they've made to raise their children:
In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.
Michigan’s trial was unique because it included testimony from a panel of experts, and the state brought in several researchers that have been responsible for fueling conservatives’ claims that children of same-sex couples fare worse than those raised by a married mom and dad. Outlining the case’s findings of fact, Judge Friedman rejected the anti-gay researchers’ claims, saying in particular of Mark Regnerus’s testimony that it was “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration”:
Marks, Price, and Allen all failed to concede the importance of “convenience sampling” as a social science research tool. They, along with Regnerus, clearly represent a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science fields. The most that can be said of these witnesses’ testimony is that the “no differences” consensus has not been proven with scientific certainty, not that there is any credible evidence showing that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than those raised by heterosexual couples.
In other words, though the research on same-sex parenting is still advancing, nothing worth considering has yet contradicted the consensus that same-sex couples make just as effective parents as their heterosexual counterparts.

Friedman’s decision follows similar rulings in Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, and Utah.

Cross posted from thinkprogress


Thursday, March 20, 2014



BREAKING: Hell welcomes its newest resident.

Wednesday night, anti-gay, military gravesite protester, and Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps passed away at the age of 84. His church’s rallying cry of “God Hates Fags” has long drawn the ire of people everywhere - all across the spectrum - his death only served to underscore this worldly unity of hate for this asshat.

Yes, Fred Phelps was the lowest form of human excrement to ever troll this earth.

The truth is, Fred Phelps made a lot of people angry. Not only the families of AIDS patients, but gay men and American soldiers alike - celebrities whose funerals he relentlessly picketed along with a few dozen members of his Westboro Baptist Church. As journalist Donna Minkowitz chronicled almost twenty years ago in Poz magazine, “harassing bereaved families is Phelps’s specialty.” “I love to use words that send them off the edge emotionally,” he told her, “There’s nothing better than that.”

Phelps’s early victims included not just AIDS advocates like Nicholas Rango (1993) and Randy Shilts (1994) and gay men of modest fame like composer Kevin Oldham (1993), but also anonymously harassed individuals like Kenneth Scott, a Topeka graduate student who died in 1992. Scott’s sister Sue Mee told Minkowitz, “When Kenny died, they came to the funeral with a sign that said ‘Fags=Death’ with a big smiley face,” and that years later, Scott’s family would still receive phone calls from random individuals asking, “Is this the house where fags live?”

Later, Phelps would broaden his grotesque trolling to include the funerals of slain US soldiers, whom he reckoned God had killed as punishment for America’s sexual immorality.

Phelps ranted on about God’s hate for fags, for America, for Muslims, for Catholics, gun massacre victims and US troops. If American exceptionalism is in some way an attempt to imbue the profane - Phelps merely reversed polarities, swapping in eternal damnation. To discuss Phelps as if he were a morally vexing and profound evil - is to kind for this disgusting prick, dignifying him with a complexity he lacked. His hatred was banal, his existence, a waste of human flesh.

May his judgment be harsh, and may his nasty soul burn in hell for eternity. Good riddance asshat, this world is much better with you gone.

Roger West

Wednesday, March 19, 2014



Virginia State Senator Frank M. Ruff’s ardent opposition to the Medicaid expansion offered to the states under the Affordable Care Act took a new turn on Tuesday. Ruff has confirmed that he “compared reliance on promised funds to provide health insurance for thousands of low-income Virginians to a ‘tar baby,’” a statement that was first reported in the Virginian-Pilot.

Ruff told attendees at the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce’s legislative breakfast that Virginia would be stuck if Medicaid expansion became financially disadvantageous in the future, like a “tar baby.” The Virginian-Pilot noted that the term “comes from the Uncle Remus collection of African American folklore tales published in the post-Reconstruction South and written in the eye dialect of rural blacks of that era,” and is “perceived as a racial slur against African Americans in some circles.”

John Gilstrap, a member of the Danville City Council, denounced the comment as “not a correct statement to make” and “offensive to a couple African Americans in the audience.” Gilstrap told the Pilot that Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders had walked out of the meeting after Ruff’s comparison.

In an email, Ruff said:
“Speaking with no prepared remarks I used the term ‘tar baby’ referring to a sticky situation one time. Never have I ever heard this as a racial term. I called the Mayor yesterday afternoon to clarify that. I consider Sherman a friend and do not expect this to change our working together in the future for all of the people of the region.”

Ruff was one of 17 Senate Republicans to vote against accepting billions of dollars in federal funding to expand Medicaid eligibility to roughly 400,000 Virginians. Ruff and other legislative Republicans say they are worried that the promised federal funding will not come through, and thus have voted to effectively let $5 million each day of Virginians’ tax dollars subsidize other states that have opted into the expansion. Though the expansion passed the Democratic Party-controlled Senate (with three Republicans joining all 20 Democrats) and enjoys the strong support of Gov. Terry McAuliffe , the Republican-controlled House of Delegates has, thus far, refused to accept it.

A standoff over this issue prevented agreement on a state budget and a special session has been called for next week. At the breakfast, Ruff expressed hope that Democrats would accept a “clean budget” without the expansion, effectively surrendering their leverage.

Congratulations Frank Ruff, you are today's asshat of the day and today's worst person in the world.

Roger West

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Photo from Crooks and Liars

Scott Walker is barely maintaining his governorship - between the John Doe investigation and a strong Democratic challenger - now enters the Wisconsin tea baggers, who are working to ease the pains of the reckless Governor.

Troubled Scott Walker - After last month's massive email dump revealed the depth of his staff's probable illegal on-the-job campaign activity and their awful attitudes, he's barely holding on against challenger Mary Burke.

But not to worry, Scottie! Your Senate cronies are on it for you. PRWatch:
SB 654, quietly introduced earlier this month by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who is reportedly under investigation in the John Doe probe, would reverse judicial precedent and declare that "issue ads" cannot be considered a candidate contribution. Those changes, if enacted, would conform Wisconsin statutes to Wisconsin Club for Growth's arguments in the John Doe case, and legalize the conduct under investigation in time for statewide elections later this year.

No worries says Walker, when in trouble, have your fellow society members change the law for you - if you fail to follow the law, change it, especially if it means you could coordinate with outside groups.
If enacted, the legislation would not necessarily stop the John Doe probe. It would, however, legalize the conduct under investigation in the John Doe for state elections later this year -- including Scott Walker's hotly-contested reelection campaign. 
This means that the Walker campaign could work hand-in-glove with an "issue ad" group like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which can accept secret, unlimited donations. 
"The proposed policy change is a horrible one," the Campaign Legal Center's Ryan told CMD. "It would pose a serious threat of corruption in Wisconsin politics, and open the door wide to unlimited and undisclosed political expenditures." 
As CMD has previously pointed out, allowing coordinated issue ads could undermine campaign finance and disclosure laws, since a multi-million-dollar donation to Wisconsin Club for Growth would have almost the same value as a donation directly to Walker -- with the same opportunity for corruption, and the same problems with the press and the public not knowing about the true source of the donations. Because a donation to a candidate-aligned issue ad group would not be publicly disclosed, the public would be unable to track whether the donation resulted in favorable treatment.

Its time to amp up the pressure on this Koch Whore!

Roger West

Monday, March 17, 2014


A Republican lawmaker in South Dakota believes that businesses should be able to deny services to African Americans, gay people, or anyone else who offends their religious beliefs.

Phil Jensen, who the Rapid City Journal describes as the state’s most conservative senator, argues that the government should get out of the way and allow the free market to shut down discriminatory businesses. Last session, he introduced a measure that would have allowed employers to turn away undesirable clients without any legal repercussions:
“It’s a bill that protects the constitutional right to free association, the right to free speech and private property rights,” he said. 
Jensen goes so far as to say that businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer’s race or religion – whether that’s right or wrong, he says, can be fairly addressed by the free market, not the government. “If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them,” he said.

The measure, Senate Bill 128, ultimately died in committee, after LGBT advocates and even some Republicans characterized it as “a mean, nasty, hateful, vindictive bill.”

Multiple states have defeated similar proposals, including Mississippi, Arizona, Ohio, Indiana, Georgia Kansas, Maine, Tennessee, and Idaho. Missouri is the only state that is still considering a similar measure.

Phil Jensen, you are today's worst person in the world!

Roger West

Sunday, March 16, 2014



Obamacare opponents have already run more than 30,000 television ads attacking the health law and Democratic candidates who support it, according to the media tracking group CMAG — a staggering 12-fold increase from four years ago. Many of the ads are being run in states with high un-insurance rates where hundreds of thousands of poor people could benefit from the Affordable Care Act, including Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana.

Nearly half of all ads that have been run about the health law in House and Senate races through March 9 are critical of the ACA. And in a reflection of the post-Citizens United political landscape, spending by outside groups without any official connection to a particular organization or party accounts for almost three-fourths of all the commercials, compared to just 13 percent in 2010.
“We knew there would be heightened public awareness around the implementation of the law, and we thought it was important to go up early with a heavy effort,” said Tim Phillips, president of the Koch brother-funded group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), in an interview with Bloomberg.

AFP has run the most anti-Obamacare ads of any political group by a large margin, targeting vulnerable Democrats who are up for re-election, such as Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Sen. Mary Landrieu . The organization’s spots play up misleading “horror stories” related to the health law, such as Americans who have had their insurance policies cancelled or seen their premiums spike. But the ads’ content tends to range from exaggeration to outright misinformation — and AFP has even been caught hiring paid actors to play the roles of “real” local residents.

It remains to be seen just how much the advertising assault will affect this November’s elections. But many of the commercials are concentrated in regions where large numbers of people can — and already have — take advantage of Obamacare’s consumer protections and financial assistance, especially the health law’s optional expansion of Medicaid.

More than 100,000 of the poorest Arkansas residents have enrolled in private health plans under the state’s alternative to Medicaid expansion. Louisiana, which has rejected the expansion, has seen more than 45,000 people sign up for plans through the state’s Obamacare marketplace as of March 1. And Kentucky, where AFP is going all out to assist Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid, has one of the most successful Obamacare marketplaces in the entire country, with over 87,000 enrollments through the Medicaid expansion and 55,000 enrollments through the private exchange.

A Bloomberg poll from Thursday also suggests that the “repeal-or-bust” stance being advanced by Obamacare foes isn’t particularly popular. Just under 65 percent of Americans either support the ACA outright or small fixes to the health law while just 34 percent endorse full repeal, according to the poll.

Roger West

Saturday, March 15, 2014


On Friday evening, Bill Maher‘s “New Rules” segment concluded with a lengthy evisceration against the arbitrary rules and customs set forth in the Bible, as well as some of the more unbelievable details religious folks still believe to be literally true.

Maher began the monologue by declaring that America is “stupid” because 60 percent of the country reportedly believes the tale of Noah’s ark is literally true. He went on to slam the film Noah as “floating giraffe crap,” but said it “must be doing something right” since it’s been condemned by both Muslims and Christians. And the fact that it might lose a lot of studio money, he joked, “may put it in hot water with the Jews too.”

That gave way to a rant on how the world is now four centuries removed from the scientific revolution, and yet we still find the Noah’s ark story to be entirely true, despite some of the more… unbelievable… details. Christians are mad about the blockbuster film, he noted, because it doesn't take the Bible literally enough. “They’re mad that this made-up story doesn't stay true to their made-up story,” he quipped.

But, really, Maher said, Noah’s tale is an “immoral” one because it’s about a “psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it and his name is God.” The Earth’s creator became so irate that he had created mankind so flawed, as Maher related, that he sent a flood to kill everyone, including babies.

“What kind of tyrant kills everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at? I mean, besides Chris Christie,” he jabbed.

“Isn't life hard enough without making shit up out of thin air to fuck with yourself?” he later asked of religion’s arbitrary rules about food, clothing, and other material goods.


Roger West

Friday, March 14, 2014



Last night, Jon Stewart delivered an epic take-down of the utter hypocrisy of Fox News for attacking those on food stamps, while also making excuses for big corporations that drain a lot more money from our system - after Eric Bolling was bold enough to actually try and attack Stewart for calling them out last week.

Stewart Part I Video Courtesy of Comedy Central

Stewart Part II Video Courtesy of Comedy Central

Roger West

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Arizona congressional candidate Jim Brown (tea bagger) compared entitlements to slavery in a Facebook post Wednesday, explaining that entitlements give politicians “power over the people allowing them to control us” much like slave owners that “took pretty good care of their slaves and livestock.” 

Brown urged people to vote so lawmakers start to focus on “jobs, education, and opportunity – not slavery”:

The government programs panned as “slavery” include Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, housing subsidies, unemployment insurance, and low-income tax credits — all of which take aim at reducing poverty. Without them, the country’s poverty rate would be twice as high today.

After exiting an adjacent House race for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s seat, Brown joined Republicans Martha McSally and Shelley Kais in the primary race to compete against Rep. Ron Barber. Brown’s own webpage describes him as “direct and not always Politically Correct. I am the imperfect candidate.”

Congratulations Jim Brown, you are today's asshat of the day!

Roger West

Wednesday, March 12, 2014



Just when you thought the train had finished crashing - if you thought that Chris Christie's "bridge-gate" was disgusting, hold the phone, as it is emerging that Governor "Krispy Kreme" AKA New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has given away wreckage taken from the 9/11 World Trade Center site as political gifts to his allies.

An investigation has revealed that Christie used New Jersey's Port Authority as a "de facto political operation" where he would hand political favors to supporters. Understanding readers that the Port Authority was crucial to Christie as a means of winning the endorsement of Democrats and union leaders - which Christie used to strip his Democratic gubernatorial challenger Barbara Buono of allies and political capital.

MADDOW PART I video courtesy of MSBNC


I think this story proves that Governor Krispy Kreme is a vile tactless pig. Grab the torches, I have the pitch fork.

Congratulations Chris Christie, your are this weeks worst person in the world!

Roger West

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

STEWART'S SYNOPSIS OF CPAC [Crazy People At Convention] 2014

Jon Stewart rounded up the best of “crazy” CPAC Monday night, which he described as “Burning Man for people who don’t do drugs and are afraid of fire.” He summed up the big, patriotic speeches with some genital-centered jokes, declaring, “Take it out and jerk it for America!”

Stewart mocked Ted Cruz doing a Jay Leno joke, advising the senator, “Listen, Cruz, don’t quit your day job… Let me rephrase that. Quit your day job.” He took on Paul Ryan‘s anecdote about “free lunches” with the takeaway: “If you give a man a fish, don’t. Period. End of Bible.”

But Stewart saved the best barbs for NRA official Wayne LaPierre, declaring that people need as many guns as possible to defend themselves from all the evil around them. Stewart bewilderedly asked, “Where the fuck do you live? Vice City?”



Roger West

Monday, March 10, 2014


Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed back on Sunday against conservatives who’ve blamed President Obama’s “weak” foreign policy for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Crimea.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Gates dismissed arguments that Obama’s handling of the conflict in Syria or his efforts to trim the defense budget emboldened Putin, arguing that the Russian president also invaded Georgia during the George W. Bush administration.
“My own view is, after all, Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force,” Gates, who served as Defense Secretary for Presidents George W. Bush and Obama said. “So I think Putin is very opportunistic in these arenas. I think that even if — even if we had launched attacks in Syria, even if we weren’t cutting our defense budget — I think Putin saw an opportunity here in Crimea, and he has seized it.” Earlier this week, Gates told the Washington Post that the GOP lawmakers should “tone down” their criticism and “try to be supportive of the president rather than natter at the president.”

Though most Republicans agree with Obama’s policy for handling the Crimean crisis, some conservatives have argued that Obama’s perceived “weakness” on the global stage has given Putin the space to move Russian troops into Crimea. “We have a weak and indecisive president” and that “
invites aggression,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said last week. “Putin is playing chess and I think we’re playing marbles,” Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee claimed, adding that Russia is “running circles around us.”

During his appearance, Gates also dismissed criticism of Obama’s weekend vacation. “I’ve seen this happen year after year, president after president. President takes a day or two off and plays golf. Doesn’t matter whether it’s President Obama or the first President Bush going fishing. I think you’ve got to give these guys a little time off, you know, mostly they are working 20 hours a day.”

Gates said he does not believe that “Crimea will slip out of Russia’s hand.” “I think its part of a long-term strategy on Putin’s part to create a Russian sphere of influence, a Russian bloc,” he explained. “I don’t think he will stop in Ukraine until there is essentially a pro-Russian government in Ukraine, in Kiev.”

Cross posted from thinkprogress


Sunday, March 9, 2014



Now with the clown convention ending and with 31 percent of the vote, Sen. Rand Paul won the closely watched Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll this weekend, dwarfing second place finisher Sen. Ted Cruz’s 11 percent of the vote.

The son of libertarian icon and former Congressman Ron Paul, Rand Paul has emerged as the nation’s leading spokesperson for an anti-government philosophy that would undo nearly all the accomplishments of the New Deal and the Civil Rights Era. As a Senate candidate in 2010, Paul came out against the Civil Rights Act of 1964′s bans on private discrimination — including the bans on employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters — claiming that the right of “private ownership” should trump African Americans’ and other minorities’ right to be free from invidious discrimination. Permitting private discrimination, according to Paul, is “the hard part about believing in freedom.”

Nor are Paul’s libertarian views limited to his skepticism towards civil rights protections. In 2013, Paul endorsed a long-ago overruled Supreme Court decision called Lochner v. New York. The Court’s Lochner opinion relied on a fabricated “right to contract” that it and subsequent cases used to strike down various laws protecting workers from exploitative employers — on the idea that if a worker signs a contract that forces them to work 16 hours a day for barely subsistence wages then it would somehow violate the worker’s rights to pay them more money for fewer hours work.

Lochner was overruled in 1937, after the Great Depression discredited the largely libertarian economic policy that had been imposed upon the country by the Supreme Court. And it was, until very recently, viewed as a disastrous opinion even among leading conservatives. Robert Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by a Senate that deemed him too conservative, labeled Lochner as “the quintessence of judicial usurpation of power.”

Yet, if Rand Paul were elected president, he would have the power to nominate potential Supreme Court justices who would restore Lochner and who would potentially strike down the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters to boot. And this is the man that one of the nation’s top conservative gatherings selected as their first choice to be the next President of the United States.

Unfortunately, Paul's logic has a gaping holes in it. Transactions are two party deals. "Freedom" does not accrue to only one party in the deal. That is why we have a Constitution - to protect the weak from the powerful. It is why we cannot establish a religion in America and why we have freedom of speech. It is only in the last decade has the Court ruled that money is speech and greatly devaluing that freedom. One of the very reasons we have government is to level out the playing field - and right now, it could use some more leveling out.

In a tribute to both CPAC and the dead Andrew Breitbart, how could we forget this freaks antics?


Roger West

Saturday, March 8, 2014



CPAC attracts a certain type of crowd. No, not necessarily just the rich, though One Percenters are a bit over-represented at probably 50% of the audience. Not just gun nuts either, though Wayne LaPierre had no problem filling a large ballroom at the 2014 CPAC convention. No, the crowd CPAC attracts is overwhelmingly…white.

In the minutes prior to Wayne LaPierre’s brought a stirring round of applause upon saying “Freedom is having all the handguns, shotguns and rifles we want,” the ballroom in which he said it was oddly silent and empty. A few minutes before LaPierre took the stage to represent Blackwater and Beretta, those waiting in the room caught the tail end of one of the GOP’s most important panels.

The panel on minority outreach.

Tweeted by John Hudak, this is what the ballroom looked like during this discussion.

The empty room was, itself, the subject of some discussion during the panel, as political strategist Jason Roe suggested that Democrats draw larger minority crowds because they have more “goodies” to offer. Robert Woodson, another GOP strategist, responded.

“It’s not goodies. It bothers me that people assume that lower-income respond to gifts —food stamps or things that will be given to them. Nobody wants to be dependent so let’s assume that people want a hand up and not a hand down.”

Well said, Bob. But that’s not exactly the thing that should be bothering you here. What SHOULD be bothering you is that in a discussion about “minority outreach,” the subject of government handouts and “goodies” should come up AT ALL.

Woodson says it’s because they don’t have a “ground game” in minority areas.

And this is what lay at the echoing heart of the GOP’s empty room: It’s not an outright maliciousness toward minorities. It’s the frame of reference itself. As this panel shows, the GOP can’t even talk about minorities without characterizing them as “the other guys,” “the people who need a hand up,” “the disadvantaged ones.” For certain, minorities are at a disadvantage in the United States, but even on its best day the GOP cannot help itself from referring to said minorities as wards of a higher and wiser power. That higher and wiser power, of course, being people who aren’t minorities.

That’s true whether conservatives are talking about people of other genders or other races. Even at its most benevolent, the GOP cannot hide its desire to rule those outside of its own club, rather than to govern all clubs equally. And you can bet even the hardest core conservatives haven’t missed the message that that message is failing…nor did they miss the irony of the fact that the room only began filling up as the outreach panel ran over its time, and Wayne LaPierre fans came for early seats. Hudak:
“The GOP grassroots and activist groups are perfectly right to cheer the words of LaPierre. But they should be cheering the words of Ed Gillespie and Elroy Sailor even louder. The diversity panel is the path to the party being successful and making inroads into traditionally Democratic groups. If the GOP wants to see the Democratic Party struggle to elect a president, they should win 20% of the African American Vote or 50% of the Latino vote. Adding the votes of a few more gun rights supporters won’t make the difference in 2016 and 2020 and beyond.

If the attendance pictured above reflects the party’s future approach to diversity outreach, it is probably safe to say that for some the given future, the White House will be a solid hue of deep blue.”

Here’s the CSPAN video of the panel. Note in the beginning that the speaker is talking to a room that is virtually empty:

The Rest of the Story

Roger West

Friday, March 7, 2014


Providing women with access to no-cost contraception doesn't spur them to make riskier sexual choices, according to a large study published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal this week. The researchers who collected the data noted that their results should dispel social conservatives’ fears that the risk of pregnancy is “the only thing standing between women and promiscuity.”

The study is part of the ongoing Contraceptive CHOICE project, a research initiative at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that has been tracking nearly 10,000 low-income women of reproductive age for several years. The women participating in the project received an FDA-approved contraceptive of their choice at no additional cost to them.

In 2012, the researchers confirmed that this policy — which simulates the Obamacare provision that extends birth control coverage without a co-pay — effectively helped lower these women’s rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. Then, the researchers conducted a follow-up investigation into other aspects of the participants’ sexual behavior, surveying them about their number of sexual partners and the frequency of sexual intercourse during the year after they received their free birth control.

Most of the women did report that they were having sex more frequently — but they were doing it safely. The majority of participants, 70 percent, reported that there was no difference in the number of their sexual partners. The women who did report an increase were most likely to have gone from zero sexual activity to a sole sexual partner. There also weren't any increased rates of sexually transmitted infections among the group that got no-cost contraception.
“Increasing access to no-cost contraceptives doesn't translate into riskier sexual behavior,” Jeffrey Peipert, the study’s senior author, explained. “It’s not the contraception that drives their sexual behavior.”
Indeed, even among the women who indicated that they wanted to start using birth control specifically so they could become sexually active, more than 45 percent had not actually started having sex after a year of using contraception.

The new research paper directly refutes arguments from

groups like the right-wing Family Research Council, which argues that it’s important to restrict access to contraception to dissuade teens from having sex. Nonetheless, the debate over Obamacare’s birth control provision has largely centered on this myth about female sexuality. Particularly after Sandra Fluke testified in favor of the policy, conservatives were quick to bash her for being a “slut” who wanted the government to finance her promiscuous sex life. Two years later, Republican lawmakers are still repeating this line of reasoning.

Thanks to deeply ingrained societal attitudes toward women — who are expected to remain pure, and who are often punished for displaying their sexuality — this attitude extends to other areas of sexual health, too. Many Americans are uncomfortable with the HPV vaccine, effective long-lasting forms of birth control, and comprehensive sex education because they believe these resources could somehow encourage girls to become sexually active.

Cross posted from thinkprogress


Thursday, March 6, 2014


At a House hearing yesterday, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa cut the mic of Democratic Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings, fueling the Congressional Black Caucus to demand Issa face punishment for his “unequivocally unacceptable” actions.

Writing on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Marcia Fudge said House Speaker John Boehner should reprimand Issa and strip him of his chairmanship.

Boehner has no plans to condemn the fellow Republican. “I think he was within his rights to do what he did,” Boehner told reporters Thursday. “Darrell Issa is the chairman, he’s been an effective chairman, and I support him.” But Fudge argued, “The abuse of authority and misuse of the Congressional privileges afforded them are an affront to the expectations of the American public. Congressman Darrell Issa of California abused his authority and therefore must be reprimanded to ensure the dignity of the House of Representatives is preserved.”

The letter points out that not only were Issa’s actions “deplorable” and a “disgrace” but he also violated Oversight Committee rules and the rules of the House. Those rules maintain all members shall be treated and act with an integrity and behavior “that reflects creditably on the House,” and that each member is allotted a full 5 minutes to question a witness. Issa adjourned the committee before Cummings could question the witness at the hearing about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tax-exempt status groups.

Issa defended his behavior after the hearing, saying that Cummings “was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation.”

In a party-line vote, the House tabled a resolution condemning Issa for his behavior at the hearing.

In most committees Issa would be a disgrace, for the GOP led house, he fits right right in.

Roger West

Wednesday, March 5, 2014



House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa sought to silence the ranking Democrat on the Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, during a hearing on the Internal Revenue Service’s improper targeting of groups applying for tax-exempt status.

On Wednesday, after former IRS official Lois Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination, Issa quickly moved to adjourn the session, saying he could “see no point in going further.” But as Cummings began to ask a procedural question about the issue, the Chairman tried to cut his mic, leaving Cummings to shout from his seat.


I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America! I am tired of this,” he said, adding that after spending at least $14 million, the Committee has uncovered “no evidence to support allegations of a political conspiracy against conservative groups.”

After walking out, Issa defended his actions to reporters, saying that Cummings intended to “make a speech.” “He was talking into a mic in an adjourned meeting,” Issa said. “He was actually slandering me at the moment that the mics did go off by claiming that this had not been a real investigation.”

Related, Darrell Issa's Criminal Rap Sheet:

Papantonio and Ed Schultz Discuss Darrell Issa’s Criminal Record

Martin Bashir Reminds Viewers Of Darrell Issa's Criminal Past

I applaud Rep Elijah Cummings for doing what most won't, and that's go toe-to-toe with radical teabaggers like Darrell Issa.

Darrell Issa is yet another GOP example of what we call the "Ted Nugent Maxim": The louder the snarl, the wider the yellow stripe of cowardice".

Congratulations Darrell Issa, you are todays' asshat of the day, and worlds worst person!

In other news, the tin foil hat society hits a milestone, as they yet again - voted for the 50th time to repeal "Obamacare". Seriously readers, if you keep voting for this shit may you live eternity in the misery you create.

Roger West

Tuesday, March 4, 2014



Now Enters Sen. Lindsey Graham (Tea bagger) blaming President Obama’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, tweeting Tuesday afternoon that it somehow emboldened the Russians to attack.

Though the Russian incursion into Crimea was motivated principally by Russian strategic concerns after the fall of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Graham blamed American conduct in North Africa:

Last month, a GOP House Armed Services Report, which found that there was no plausible way for the United States to have used military force to prevent the Benghazi attack.

Below is a photo of Obama's predecessor and how he handled a similar situation. 

May God keep blessing us with these unlettered troglodytes!

Roger West

Monday, March 3, 2014


The lawyer whose client, George Zimmerman, first made Florida’s Stand Your Ground law famous has become a potential unlikely ally in calling for at least limited reform of the law.

Mark O’Mara said he plans to propose a rule limiting when juries would be instructed on the notorious self-defense law, which allows deadly force with no duty to retreat. The law first came up in the killing of Trayvon Martin when police cited the law as a reason for not initially charging Zimmerman. After national outcry, Zimmerman was charged 44 days later, and Zimmerman’s lawyer later opted not to specifically raise the Stand Your Ground defense at trial.

But the law was included in the instructions given to the Zimmerman jury. And the comments of several jurors after their deliberations suggest the law was central to their decision to acquit Zimmerman. O’Mara seemed to agree that the law could have affected the outcome in comments to Reuters last week, and said it confused the jury.

While O’Mara didn't cite the Stand Your Ground law during trial, he nonetheless blamed Martin for Zimmerman’s shooting, saying during closing arguments that the unarmed teen “did, in fact, cause his own death.”

O’Mara said he doesn't like the implication that the Stand Your Ground law played a role in the acquittal, and argues Zimmerman didn't need it to make his self-defense case. The Stand Your Ground provision is now part of standard jury instruction language on the “justifiable use of force” and included whenever a case involves self-defense claims, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

O’Mara told Reuters that he plans to propose a rules change to the Florida bar that would give judges discretion to only instruct the jury on the Stand Your Ground law in cases where it is “relevant.” He says another recent Stand Your Ground defendant, Michael Dunn, would not have needed the law either to argue he acted in self-defense in shooting dead 17-year-old Jordan Davis. But Dunn’s lawyer cited the law in closing arguments.

As Reuters reports, changing the rules would require approval by the legislature. And that means it could have as much trouble gaining traction in Florida as moves to repeal or limit the Stand Your Ground law.

Roger West