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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, June 30, 2014



Justice Ginsburg has some problems with the Hobby Lobby 5-4 decision. Some excerpts from her dissent via Mother Jones:
 "Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community." 
 "Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults." 
 "It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage." 
 "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."

You can read the full dissent here. (It starts on page 60.)

In other words, your boss has more of a right to free exercise of his religion than you have because, well, money!

Voting has consequences, screw who is POTUS, they only have 8 years to screw the pooch, their selections of Supreme Beings, can have generational effects, as these folks stay until they rot, which can be decades. 

The damage done today is a major setback for women, let alone ACA.
For-profit companies have religious rights, and those rights trump the rights of women who work for them. ~ Justice Alito

Quoting Col. Nathan R. Jessup in a few good men: "all you did was weaken a country, that's all you did. You put people's lives in danger. Sweet dreams, son.....................

Roger West

Sunday, June 29, 2014

OPPPPPS, DNA Evidence Overturns Conviction Of Florida Man Who Spent 28 Years On Death Row

In 1986, Paul Christopher Hildwin was one of two suspects in the murder of a Florida woman named Vronzettie Cox. The other suspect was Cox’s boyfriend, a man named William Haverty. Yet Hildwin was convicted in large part because of DNA evidence found at the crime scene — semen found in the victim’s underwear and saliva found in a nearby rag — which was recently discovered to belong to Haverty and not Hildwin. At the time of the trial, outdated scientific evidence falsely linked this semen and saliva to Hildwin.

Hildwin has now spent nearly three decades on death row for a crime that he most likely would not have been convicted of if the DNA evidence were available during his 1986 trial. On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court acknowledged this reality, holding that “the totality of the evidence is of ‘such nature that it would probably produce an acquittal on retrial’ because the newly discovered DNA evidence ‘weakens the case against [the defendant] so as to give rise to a reasonable doubt as to his culpability.’”

At the time of Hildwin’s trial, the prosecutor’s theory was that the semen and salvia found at the scene of the crime belonged to a “nonsecretor” — a person who does not secrete blood into their other bodily fluids. Hildwin is a nonsecretor while Haverty is a secretor. After Hildwin’s conviction, however, this claim was disproven. Years later, DNA testing of the evidence left over from the trial proved that it belonged to Haverty and not Hildwin, undermining the prosecution’s case to such a degree that the state supreme court determined that a jury probably would not have convicted Hildwin.

Yet, while the doubtful conviction against Hildwin was ultimately thrown out — the state now has the option to retry Hildwin, if they choose — the events that led to Thursday’s Florida supreme court decision demonstrate just how difficult it is to attack an erroneous conviction, even when that conviction is fatally undermined by DNA evidence.

In 2006, after testing proved that the DNA evidence found near the victim did not belong to Hildwin, the state supreme court voted 4-3 not to overturn his conviction. Hildwin’s attorneys then had to return to court to earn him the right to compare the now-unidentified DNA to profiles in an FBI-maintained DNA database — and throughout this litigation Hildwin remained behind bars and on death row. Hildwin did not ultimately receive confirmation that the DNA evidence found on the scene belonged to Haverty until 2011, five years after the Florida Supreme Court denied his earlier request for a new trial. Thursday’s order came two-and-a-half years after he obtained this evidence proving that crucial DNA evidence actually belonged to the other suspect in Cox’s murder.

And, for all of this time, Hildwin has been on death row, serving time for a crime that he most likely could not have been convicted of if his jury had known in 1986 what we now know.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014



Virginia Republicans are so intent on denying health care to 400,000 of their constituents, they'll go to any lengths. They possibly bribed a Democratic legislator—a deciding vote on Medicaid expansion—to leave office with the promise of a job for himself and a judgeship for his daughter. They passed a budget with a provision explicitly preventing Gov. Terry McAuliffe from acting on his own to expand Medicaid. Then they essentially broke into his office to deliver the budget on a Sunday, Fathers Day, to give McAuliffe less time to review and sign it.

At the urging of House Speaker William J. Howell, the clerk’s office of the House of Delegates enlisted the help of the Capitol Police to enter Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s unoccupied, secure suite of offices on a Sunday afternoon to deliver the state budget.

The highly unusual entry on June 15 took place without the permission of administration officials or the knowledge of the Virginia State Police, which is in charge of protecting the governor. McAuliffe was not in the building.

That's a nice way of saying they broke in. That's how the governor's chief of staff sees it in a scathing letter sent to all parties concerned, including the chief of the Capitol Police, clarifying "that under no circumstances are you or any of your officers authorized to allow employees of the General Assembly to enter the secure areas of the governor’s office without my express permission, or the express permission of Suzette Denslow, the governor’s deputy chief of staff." These Virginian Republicans would be right at home in the Mississippi tea party.

McAuliffe did sign the budget, using his line-item veto to excise the parts that said he could not act unilaterally on Medicaid. In response, "Howell employed a procedural move during a special session Monday to overrule two of the governor’s line item vetoes, temporarily thwarting McAuliffe’s plan to expand Medicaid without legislative approval."

“I am continually surprised and disappointed by the lengths to which Republicans in the House of Delegates will go to prevent their own constituents from getting access to health care,” McAuliffe said in a statement Monday.

That's an understatement. It's callous enough for them to continue to deny the expansion. It's downright despicable that they'll skirt the law to do it.

Nothing is beyond the pale of a conservative, nothing!

Roger West

Thursday, June 26, 2014



The Supreme Court unanimously struck down Massachusetts’ abortion buffer zone law on Thursday, ruling in favor of anti-choice protesters who argued that being required to stay 35 feet away from clinic entrances is a violation of their freedom of speech. The decision rolls back a proactive policy intended to safeguard women’s access to reproductive health care in the face of persistent harassment and intimidation from abortion opponents.
“By its very terms, the Act restricts access to ‘public way[s]‘ and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech activities and that the Court has accordingly labeled ‘traditional public fora,’ ” the opinion states. “The buffer zones burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests.”

Reproductive rights advocates had been hoping the justices would uphold the policy, which they say has gone a long way to ensure that woman can safely enter abortion clinics. More than 30 pro-choice organizations filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of Massachusetts’ buffer zone, which was approved in response to a mass shooting at several of the state’s abortion clinics.

According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF), which closely tracks threats and violence against abortion providers across the country, buffer zones have had a measurable impact in the areas where they’re in place. A recent survey conducted among NAF’s member organizations found that 51 percent of facilities in areas with buffer zones reported a decrease in criminal facility after the policy was enacted, and 75 percent of them said it helped improve patients’ and staff members’ ability to access the clinic.
“Buffer zones make a huge difference,” Ashley Hartman, who holds a master’s in public health from Ohio State University and has volunteered as a clinic escort in the Cleveland area.. “The reality is, if you've ever been outside a clinic, it’s not about exchanging ideas… Protesting is about creating the feeling of intimidation, so the more distance you can have from them, the less powerful that intimidation is.”

Now that the policy has been struck down, however, the women visiting reproductive health facilities in Massachusetts won’t be able to rely on that distance. Protesters will be allowed to crowd the sidewalks around the clinic and speak directly to patients — something that can make people feel uncomfortable enough to avoid the clinic and skip out on the health services they need.
“The fact that we even have clinic escorts is a good signifier that we need things like buffer zones,” Hartman pointed out. Clinic escorts like her are typically responsible for providing a friendly face to women who are nervous to walk past protesters, often working to distract them from what abortion opponents are shouting at them. “We wouldn't need escorts if walking into a clinic didn't involve that type of harassment.”
Thursday’s decision may put other areas’ buffer zones in jeopardy, too. Now that Massachusetts’ policy has been invalidated, it could pave the way for opponents to strike down similar laws on similar grounds. In practical terms, that means it’s probably about to get harder for many women to access clinics.
“We feel so strongly that abortion access shouldn’t depend on your income, or whether you have a car, or whether you have the right kind of health insurance,” Alicia Johnson, a Boston resident who volunteers with the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund, a nonprofit group that helps low-income women pay for their reproductive care, said. “Once all of those things line up into place, you shouldn’t also have to face protesters who are trying to scare you away from the health center once you get there.”
Buffer zones are not entirely unusual policies. There are already buffer zones around funerals and polling places. Ironically, the Supreme Court itself has a large buffer zone around it to prevent protesters from picketing on its252-by-98-foot plaza, requiring demonstrations to take place on the sidewalk.

The opinion in the case acknowledges that states have a legitimate interest in passing laws to preserve access to reproductive health facilities. They’ll just have to figure out how to do it with different policies that “burden substantially less speech.” The justices write that Massachusetts hadn’t tried out enough alternatives before enacting a 35-foot zone, and could have proposed narrower solutions like passing local traffic ordinances to prevent the obstruction of clinic driveways.

Cross posted from thinkprogress


Wednesday, June 25, 2014


.....Says Russell Brand. 

Comedian Russell Brand on Tuesday blasted Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro for taking a position on bombing Iraq that he said was even "worse" than the militant group ISIS which has taken over a large portion of the country.

In what BuzzFeed called "the craziest rant a Fox News host has ever done," Pirro over the weekend lashed out at the president for not ordering sustained air strikes on Iraq.

Brand took to his YouTube channel on Tuesday to dissect Pirro's commentary, starting with the claim that ISIS was "coming for us."

This video is continuing evidence that comedians have replaced journalists in bringing truth and reality to the publics ear. A sad day for "journalists". May I suggest that all said journalist return their degrees - immediately.

Roger West

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

'America's Tragedy Herpe'

Whenever Dick Cheney drops into our TV sets and espouses doom and gloom about war and torture, you know Jon Stewart and Comedy Central smile with glee. He's an endless treasure trove of material for them and they never fail to use it wisely.

Instead of Dick telling us how wrong Iraq is going, I'd rather see dead eye Dick water-skiing behind a helicopter on lake Erie.

Roger West

Monday, June 23, 2014



The below story says, probably not.

No charges are filed in North Carolina after two grown men were carelessly playing with guns. Just another one of those tragic accidents that seem to happen so often around responsible gun owners!

HAVELOCK — District Attorney Scott Thomas and Havelock police have ruled the death of a New Bern man accidental after he fatally injured himself with a handgun, according to a release from the Havelock communications coordinator. No charges will be filed in the case.

Raymond David Andrews, 22, of New Bern, whose family is from Newport, died Wednesday night in the parking lot of the Nightmare Factory at 29 Park Lane.

Havelock authorities responded to the scene around 6:36 p.m. to find Mr. Andrews in the parking lot of the business. He sustained a single gunshot wound to the head.

Efforts to revive Mr. Andrews were not successful, and he was subsequently pronounced deceased by Havelock Fire/EMS paramedic staff.

Further investigation revealed Mr. Andrews and a friend and coworker at the Nightmare Factory were discussing and viewing firearms while standing in the parking lot beside Mr. Andrews’ vehicle.

At one point during the discussion the friend unloaded his firearm and handed the firearm to Mr. Andrews who began to dry fire the weapon while still talking with his friend. Mr. Andrews then returned the firearm to the friend who reloaded it as Mr. Andrews retrieved a second firearm from his vehicle.

As Mr. Andrews handed the second firearm to his friend, Mr. Andrews took the reloaded firearm and placed it on the front passenger seat of his vehicle. As Mr. Andrews and his friend conversed and viewed the second firearm two additional coworkers and friends approached and joined the conversation.

During this time Mr. Andrews reached into his vehicle and retrieved the firearm he had placed on the passenger seat, cocked the hammer and placed the firearm to his head. The weapon discharged causing a significant head wound that incapacitated Mr. Andrews.

After interviewing those present when the firearm discharged and reviewing a video recorded by an exterior video camera, investigators surmise Mr. Andrews was either unaware that the firearm had been reloaded, or that he was distracted by the conversation occurring between he and his friends causing him to forget the firearm had been reloaded.

Roger West

Sunday, June 22, 2014


The revelation that the Internal Revenue Service lost two years of Lois Lerner's emails has Republicans and their right-wing echo chamber dredging up Watergate comparisons. Peggy Noonan, James Poulos and Paul Mirengoff are just some of the conservatives "paging Rosemary Woods" and gleefully making comparisons to Richard Nixon's 18 minutes of erased tape.

But the GOP's flying monkeys hoping to put the former IRS official at the center of a massive Obama administration plot to target right-wing "social welfare" organizations need not go back in time to 1973 to decry the lost data. After all, in 2008 current House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa explained how the Bush White House conveniently lost 22 million emails during the Plamegate investigation that led to the conviction of Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

As you'll recall, millions of Bush White House emails conveniently went missing between 2003 and 2005, including those in the critical days during which the administration formulated its response to Ambassador Joe Wilson and his covert CIA operative wife, Valerie Plame. In July 2007, Darrell Issa accused Plame of perjury. Then, in February 2008, Issa turned IT expert and brushed off the email imbroglio as merely a software problem. As Mother Jones reported that March:

During a House Oversight Committee hearing last month on the preservation of White House records, an indignant Rep. Darrell Issa, a frequent critic of Chairman Henry Waxman's investigations, did his best to play down the extent of the Bush administration's now well-documented email archiving problems. Defending the White House's decision to switch from the Lotus Notes-based archiving system used by the Clinton administration, Issa compared the software to "using wooden wagon wheels" and Sony Betamax tapes. To observers of the missing emails controversy, Issa's comments seemed little more than an attempt to deflect blame from the White House for replacing a working system for archiving presidential records with an ad hoc substitute. But to IT professionals who use Lotus at their companies, Issa's remarks seemed controversial, if not downright slanderous. Now, according to an executive at IBM, the software's manufacturer, the California congressman has apologized for his characterization of Lotus and offered to correct the congressional record.

Complicating matters, some 50 Bush White House staffers had used email accounts provided by the Republican National Committee to sidestep federal laws regarding the preservation of digital records. But as CNET reported at the time, Congressman Issa wasn't concerned about potential crimes, but only the cost of investigating them:
"Are we simply going on a fishing expedition at $40,000 to $50,000 a month?" Rep. Darrell Issa asked National Archives and White House officials at the hearing. "Do any of you know of a single document, because this committee doesn't, that should've been in the archives but in fact was done at the RNC?"

Thanks to a now-settled lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW], Americans learned in 2009 that "the Bush White House, which initially denied that any e-mails had gone missing, announced in January it had located more than 22 million messages that had been mislabeled after a search by computer technicians, according to court records filed by the government on the day after Bush left office."

Alas, that was then and this is now. And now a Democrat is sitting in the Oval Office. And with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testimony before two House committees regarding what even Democrats like Sandy Levin agree constitute "gross mismanagement" by IRS information technology personnel, Chairman Issa is singing a different tune. With his probe having already cost the IRS a quarter of a million man hours and some $10 million, Issa has done a 180 degree turn from his days pretending to be the Bush administration's IT expert. As he wrote to Koskinen this week:

"I will not tolerate your continued obstruction and game-playing."

Roger West

Saturday, June 21, 2014


"Broken nations, like broken people, you can't fix them"

Roger West

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why Everyone Should Immediately Stop Listening To Dick Cheney


In an op-ed published in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, former Vice President Dick Cheney — along with his equally neoconservative daughter, Liz Cheney — accuses President Obama of intentionally undermining the nation’s national security interests in Iraq in an effort to take America “down a notch” in the world. It’s the latest charge levied against Obama by former Bush administration officials who orchestrated the 2003 invasion of Iraq and have since reclaimed their expertise to advise the president on how to best handle the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

War architects L. Paul Bremer, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith aren't letting their false predictions about President Bush’s war in Iraq stop them from arguing in favor of muscular American military intervention — be it air strikes or boots on the ground. And they’re predictably downplaying the roles of the invasion and subsequent reconstruction policies in destabilizing the country and the region.

But the former vice president — who spent years arguing that anyone who questions the administration during a time of war is unpatriotic — goes a step further. He uses the current spike in violence to rehabilitate the Bush administration’s decision to invade and then accuses Obama of intentionally ignoring the terrorist threat and knowingly aiding American enemies. It’s as if the Bush administration left Iraq a peaceful nirvana and Obama broke it into a thousand little pieces.
“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” Cheney begins. “Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing.”
Then, the criticism becomes stunningly personal and vitriolic: Obama, he argues, is purposely and knowingly hurting the nation by failing to follow the advise of the very men who invaded the nation in the first place. Cheney writes that “Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch,” and concludes that the president is “on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.”

The former Vice President also hasn't limited his personal attacks on Obama to Iraq. Cheney has previously claimed that Obama is un-American and speculated that he proposed cutting military funding because he doesn't like our troops. Which leads to an obvious conclusion: Americans should stop listening to Cheney — not because he disagrees with the administration on policy or politically — but because he doesn't seem to believe that the president acts in good faith or was ever legitimate in the first place.


Thursday, June 19, 2014


Jon Stewart ripped into Fox News on Wednesday night for being such “dicks” about a Benghazi victory after over a year of complaining about the Obama administration not doing anything about it. He mocked them for increasingly “stupider complaints” about the capture of a Benghazi suspect conveying some kind of message that “the world revolves around Fox.”

Roger West

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Rachel Maddow let it all out in a very long uninterrupted piece last night on her MSNBC show.

Per the norm for Maddow, she completely eviscerates the American Taliban, AKA the tin foil hat society.

Video Courtesy of MSNBC

My question is, how many times do the NECONS get to be wrong on Iraq before we stop asking them what to do in Iraq?

Roger West

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Benghazi Arrest Is A Plot To Save Hillary's Book Tour" Says Faux News' Pete Hegseth

The tin foil hat society is has a new conspiracy theory:

Faux News analyst Pete Hegseth suggested on Tuesday that the arrest of a suspect in connection with 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi may have been a conspiracy to help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just hours before she was scheduled to talk to the conservative network.

After Fox News broke the news on Tuesday that U.S. forces had detained Ansar al-Sharia commander Ahmed Abu Khattala, Hegseth said that he was pleased, but "we all have questions about the timing."
"You have the former secretary of state, who is in the middle of a really high-profile book tour, and I think this is convenient for her to shift the talking points," Fox News guest host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery noted.
"Something clearly changed in the calculus of the United States, and I think a lot of it does have to do with the State Department," Hegseth agreed. "I think this thing needs to be tied in a bow for certain individuals to have a clean break from an incident that has become, and will continue to be a scandal -- an anchor around a certain individual's neck, who may want to run for president."
"She's having an interview today on Fox News," co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle pointed out.
"What a great thing to announce on an interview tonight at Fox News, that the perpetrators have been brought to justice," Hegseth remarked. "It's all too neat, and it's too cute. And I want to be grateful, I want to give the benefit of the doubt to our authorities, but in this case it feels too neat on the timeline."

Montgomery said that she also "questioned some of the political motivations" of arresting Ahmed Abu Khattala at this time.

Pete Hegseth, you are today's worst person in the world.

Roger West

Monday, June 16, 2014


Lying about your gun purchase is never okay, the U.S. Supreme Court held Monday in a divided 5-4 ruling that upheld a robust interpretation of federal gun law. The ruling preserves the ability of federal prosecutors to crack down on what are known as “straw purchases,” one of the most common ways of illegally trafficking a gun.

Straw purchasing works like this. An individual who wants to buy a gun with the intent to commit a crime does not go to the store himself to buy it. He gets a third party to buy it. That third party goes through the background check. That third party’s name goes into the database, and the individual who ultimately desires the gun may not be traced back to the purchase.

Prosecutors have sought to crack down on those purchases by enforcing gun law provisions that make it illegal to lie about who the gun is for. But gun activists raised legal arguments that these purchases are not necessarily banned if the third party could have also been a legal purchaser. And they found a sympathetic plaintiff to become the face of this issue in the case decided Monday.

Bruce Abramski is a former police officer. He said he sought to buy a gun for his uncle, who lived in another state, because he thought he could get a discount using his police ID. So when Abramski purchased the gun, he said it was for him. In doing so, he checked “Yes” on a form asking whether he was the actual buyer, and signed a form stating that he understood lying was a violation of federal law. His uncle, Angel Alvarez, was also legally entitled to possess a gun. So Abramski was not aiming to skirt the law on who is legally entitled to possess a gun with the transfer.But in lying about his purchase of the gun, the government now had Abramski’s name on record, rather than Alvarez’s, preventing them from tracking later uses of the gun to Alvarez.

Police searched Abramski’s home when he was a suspect in a bank robbery, though he was later cleared of any role. They found the receipt showing that Abramski had sold the gun to his uncle, and later learned that Alvarez had sent him a check for $400 with “Glock 19 handgun” written in the subject line two days before he purchased the gun.

Prosecutors then charged Abramski for falsely claiming he was the buyer. But Abramski has argued that his false purchase is not a crime unless Alvarez were an unlawful purchaser. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected that distinction, in a majority opinion by Justice Elena Kagan that recognized the centrality of identifying gun buyers to federal gun law.
“We hold that such a misrepresentation is punishable under the statute, whether or not the true buyer could have purchased the gun without the straw.”
“The overarching reason,” she explained, “is that Abramski’s reading would undermine—indeed, for all important purposes, would virtually repeal—the gun law’s core provisions,” which establish “an elaborate system to verify a would-be gun purchaser’s identity and check on his background.”

There are several reasons for prosecuting these straw purchases, related to the dual purposes of federal gun law identified by Justice Kagan. One goal of federal gun law is to “keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who should not have them.” Abramski argued that so long as Alvarez is a legal purchaser, that goal is not threatened by their transfer. But the dynamic between third-party purchasers and the ultimate user of a gun is more complex than the picture painted here. In gun trafficking schemes, there may be two, three, or more go-betweens who hold the gun before it gets to the ultimate end user, who may be banned from purchasing a gun. Alvarez, for example, could have later sold the gun to another person, who sold it to another. Punishing the person who lies about their purchase in the first place prevents gun traffickers from skirting the law by arguing the legality of the immediate third party.

There is also a second goal of federal gun law, which is to “assist law enforcement authorities in investigating serious crimes.” This pursuit is severely thwarted by Abramski’s purchase of a gun. If Alvarez were to later commit a crime using the gun purchased by Abramski, that gun might be traced to Abramski — the first purchaser on the background check form — rather than Alvarez, shielding Alvarez from the gun used in the crime.

Making it a crime to lie about the actual buyer allows prosecutors to enforce the federal law’s fundamental purpose of identifying and vetting gun purchasers, in a climate in which straw purchases are a key component of illicit gun trafficking. Of the gun trafficking cases studied by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2000, 48 percent involved straw purchases.

The majority ruling, therefore, preserved prosecutors’ ability to enforce existing federal law. But existing federal law is limited, because it still leaves the loophole of private transfers. As a recent Center for American Progress report explains, it is exceedingly difficult to prove that an individual intended to purchase a gun on behalf of another because “it turns on what was in a person’s mind at the time they bought the gun.” Abramski’s case included rare direct evidence that Abramski intended to purchase the gun for Alvarez before the purchase was even made. But what if Abramski had purchased the gun and then simply decided to sell it to Alvarez a week later through a private sale? Or resolved to give it to Alvarez as a gift, rather than at the request of Alvarez? As the four dissenters point out in arguing against Ambraski’s prosecution, these transactions may or may not have broken the law, and certainly would not require background checks, under the loophole in federal law Congress failed to close in the wake of the Newtown Massacre.

If that loophole were closed, then others like Abramski would have been breaking the law in a much more obvious and enforceable way if they not only lied about their purchase, but later sold the gun to an individual such as Alvarez without requiring a background check.


Thursday, June 12, 2014



When tea party challenger David Brat sent Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, to the ash heap on Tuesday night, vanquishing the incumbent by more than 10 points in the primary race, the politerati were stunned. Political journalists scrambled to answer a question: who is this guy? The political pros knew that Brat had mounted a campaign largely based on two issues: bashing Cantor on immigration (that is, excoriating the congressman, who was quite hesitant about immigration reform, for not killing the possibility of any immigration legislation) and denouncing Cantor for supporting a debt ceiling deal that averted possible financial crisis. But not much else was widely known about this local professor who dispatched a Washington power broker.

A quick review of his public statements reveals a fellow who is about as tea party as can be. He appears to endorse slashing Social Security payouts to seniors by two-thirds. He wants to dissolve the IRS. And he has called for drastic cuts to education funding, explaining, "My hero Socrates trained in Plato on a rock. How much did that cost? So the greatest minds in history became the greatest minds in history without spending a lot of money."

An economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in central Virginia, Brat frequently has repeated the conservative canard that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae brought down the housing market by handling the vast majority of subprime mortgages. That is, he absolves Big Finance and the banks of responsibility for the financial crisis that triggered the recession, which hammered middle-class and low-income families across the country. (In fact, as the housing bubble grew, Freddie and Fannie shed their subprime holdings, while banks grabbed more.)

In his campaign speeches, Brat has pointed out that he isn't worried about climate change because "rich countries solve their problems":

If you let Americans do their thing, there is no scarcity, right? They said we're going to run out of food 200 years ago, that we're goin' to have a ice age. Now we're heating up…Of course we care for the environment, but we're not mad people. Over time, rich countries solve their problems. We get it right. It's not all perfect, but we get it right.

Update: After Mother Jones published this piece, several videos referenced were set to private.

He did not say what might happen to not-so-rich countries due to climate change and the consequent rise in sea levels, droughts, and extreme weather.

Asked about cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance*, Brat replied that he supported drastic reductions in payouts from social programs for seniors:

I'll give you my general answer. And my general answer is you have to do what's fair. Right. So you put together a graph or a chart and you go out to the American people, you go to the podium, and you say, this is what you put in on average, this is what you get out on average. Currently, seniors are getting about three dollars out of all of the programs for every dollar they put in. So, in general, you've got to go to the American people and just be honest with them and say, "Here's what fairness would look like." Right. So, maybe the next ten years we have to grandfather some folks in, but basically we're going to move them in a direct line toward fairness and we have to live within our means.

He frets about the state of morality in schools and about Beyoncé:

For the first 13 years of your kid's life, we teach them no religion, no philosophy, and no ethics…Who is our great moral teachers these days? Every generation has always had great theologians or philosophers by the century that you can name. Who do we got right now? [Audience: Jay-Z] Right. Right. [Audience: Beyoncé] Right. Beyoncé. When you can't name a serious philosopher, a national name, or a serious theologian, or a serious religious leader, at the national level, your culture's got a major problem. We got a major problem.

Brat railed against Cantor for supporting a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. Brat called this a policy of "amnesty" and accused Cantor of "getting big paychecks" from groups like the Chamber of Commerce for his position:

If I misspoke and said "secretly," he's been pretty out in the open. He's been in favor of the KIDS Act, the DREAM Act, the ENLIST Act [which Cantor blocked in May]…On the amnesty card, it's a matter of motivation. I teach third-world economic development for the past 20 years, I love all people, I went to seminary before I did my economics, and so you look at the motivation. Why is Eric pushing amnesty? It's not a big issue in our district, everyone's opposed to it, and so why is he doing it? And the answer is, 'cause he's got his eye on the speakership. He wants to be speaker, and big business, right? The Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor. So he actually is selling out the people in our district. He's not representing the district, the will of the people, and he's getting big paychecks by doing so. So he's very clear on amnesty.

Brat is, not surprisingly, no fan of the United Nations:

"Common-" anything I'm against. United Nations. Common everything. If you say common, by definition you're saying it's top-down. I'm going to force this on you. That's what dictators do.

His view of who deploys a top-down approach, naturally, includes President Barack Obama:

The left does not believe in diversity. They believe in top-down, I'm going to force my way onto you. Obama is forcing un-diversity onto everybody. It's not diversity. It's top down, central planning, on everything.

As Mother Jones's Timothy Murphy noted, Brat, a libertarian but not a full Randian, and he doesn't buy the idea that there's anything dangerous about playing chicken with the debt ceiling. Bring it on, he says.

In November, Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell, a fellow Randolph-Macon professor, in the general election in this Republican district.

Cross Posted from Mother Jones


Wednesday, June 11, 2014


But is the alternative any better? Probably not. While I am ecstatic that this pompous ass has been kicked to the curb, is the tin foil hat society member who wants to replace at better path?

Since the news broke, conservatives have been frothing at the mouth, eating their own, infighting over the shocking news that Cantor is to be….no more.

This feat, of dethroning a Majority Whip, it hasn’t happened in over 115 years.

Eric Cantor did not fall asleep at the wheel. He spent around $5 million. He ran lots of TV ads. He knew this was going to be a close one. He campaigned, and yet he still got his ass handed to him.

And here’s the other thing: Cantor was not an enemy of the Tea Party. He was in fact the Tea Party’s guy golden boy in the leadership for much of the Barack Obama era. He carried this vile tea into the speaker’s office, and yet he still got his ass handed to him.

While many will say Cantor’s demise was immigration reform, and while the tin foil hat society member, David Brat ran solely on this platform, this was the tea bagger saying, we are still here and a force to be reckoned with. This was agenda twenty one, anti-science, anti-government statement.

This will be a huge disruption to the narrative of the Republican establishment, which thought it would take control this year. No so fast Mr. NECON.

This win for Mr. Brat has far more reaching effects, as no real conservative shall ever step over the line and compromise with POTUS. The House GOP wasn’t exactly ready to start cutting deals with Obama even with Cantor in the leadership. Now that he’s been beaten by a tin foil hat society member, a true right-winger…no one, not a single Republican in the House will take a chance on anything. The legislative process, already shut down, will only be more so.

For Virginia and the country, this situation is a lose-lose all the way around. Yes, Cantor is a condescending putz, but I fear that this Brat character, could be a continuum of things to come.

Democrats said it was clear Cantor's loss proved the Tea Party had won its battle with establishment Republicans.
"Tonight's result in Virginia settles the debate once and for all — the Tea Party has taken control of the Republican Party. Period," Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
"When Eric Cantor, who time and again has blocked common sense legislation to grow the middle class, can't earn the Republican nomination, its clear the GOP has redefined 'far right.' Democrats on the other hand have nominated a mainstream candidate who will proudly represent this district and I look forward to his victory in November."

While the mid-term elections are still a few months away, I am not sure that its time to push the panic button yet.

Only after Cantor conceded did the fun really begin:

So, another instance where we sit back, grab out favorite soda pop, pop some popcorn and watch the circus.

Roger West

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Perhaps you've read that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former POW and current political lightening rod, is a traitorous deserter who converted to Islam along with his Muslim-looking father. Jon Stewart spent most of last night's Daily Show unleashing his unrelenting arsenal of "facts" and "context" to examine those and other accusations, as made primarily on Fox News.

Roger West

Monday, June 9, 2014


The Washington Post reports that Virginia state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, a Democrat, “will announce his resignation Monday, effective immediately, paving the way to appoint his daughter to a judgeship and Puckett to the job of deputy director of the state tobacco commission.” Currently, the Virginia senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, with Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam holding the balance of power. If Puckett resigns, Republicans will gain control of the body for at least as long as it takes to elect a replacement.

The full details of this arrangement, including whether or not Puckett was explicitly offered the position as deputy director of the tobacco commission in return for his agreement to resign his senate seat, are not yet known. Although the executive director of the commission is appointed by the governor — who is currently Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe — the deputy director is appointed by the commission itself. Both the chair and the vice chair of the commission are Republicans.

If Puckett was offered the seat on this commission in exchange for his decision to resign from the state legislature, however, he may have committed a very serious crime. Under Virginia’s bribery law, it is a felony for a state lawmaker to “accept or agree to accept from another … any pecuniary benefit offered, conferred or agreed to be conferred as consideration for or to obtain or influence the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of discretion as a public servant or party official.”

Given this statutory language, two questions need to be answered before Puckett could be prosecuted. The first is whether Puckett agreed to accept the tobacco commission job “as consideration for” his resignation from the state senate — that is, whether there was a quid pro quo deal where the job was offered up as the prize Puckett received if he agreed to resign. The second is whether Puckett’s resignation counts as an “exercise of discretion as a public servant.” Based on a search of Virginia court cases using the legal search engine Lexis, there does not appear to be a court decision answering this question.

In any event, the circumstances of this anticipated resignation — in which a Democratic senator throws control of the state legislature to the GOP, and then immediately receives a job from a commission controlled by a Republican chair and vice-chair — is suspicious. It also could have very serious consequences for Virginia’s least fortunate residents.

Gov. McAuliffe is currently embroiled in a fight with Republicans, who control the state house, over whether Virginia should accept Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. If Republicans take the state senate, even briefly, they can use their control over the entire legislature to pass a budget that does not include the Medicaid expansion. Though McAuliffe could veto the budget, Republicans could use that veto to try to blame him for an ensuing government shutdown.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Bergdahl Is A Jihadist....

Pointing to a Fox News report, which claims that Bergdahl “converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a ‘mujahid,’” the network’s morning hosts bantered about Bowe’s comfortable experience in captivity and his noticeable good health, implying that he did not deserve to be rescued or exchanged for five Taliban-linked prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay. Then, Fox & Friends anchor Steve Doocy asked, “did we trade five Islamic warriors for one Islamic warrior?”

But the Fox News story that sparked the discussion, written by reporter James Rosen, is based on “secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account.” The documents also claim that Bergdahl had at one point escaped his captors and was later recaptured and placed in a metal cage. These on-the-ground reports are based on dispatches collected by the Eclipse Group, which Rosen describes as “a shadowy private firm of former intelligence officers and operatives.” The firm is run by Duane R. (“Dewey”) Clarridge, who was indicted for lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Though details of Bergdahl’s capture remain murky, the Pentagon has repeatedly said that it will investigate the circumstances surrounding his captivity and take appropriate disciplinary action, if necessary.

Earlier in the week, the network suggested that Bowe’s father looks like a member of the Taliban, implied that Bowe may have deserted his unit because he danced ballet, and linked the incident to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.


Thursday, June 5, 2014



Oliver North, America's greatest congressional liar is complaining about Obama using tax free dollars to fund the POW exchange of Bowe Bergdahl. Yes, Mr. Iran-Contra has the stones to question another about shoddy, illegal funding forPOW exchanges.

If anyone is an expert at giving tax free funds to terrorists [via selling arms to Iran while funneling the resulting cash to administration-backed guerrillas in Central America and then lying outright to Congress] its Oliver North.

Of all asshats to pull this stunt - the gall and chutzpah of this NEOCON is extremely bold, considering his own actions. In fact, its Ollie's own history that makes his comments so rich.

Below Jon Stewart took to taking Mr. Iran-Contra to the woodshed for a liberal verbal ass whipping.

Me thinks that fiction and irony are going to be buried next to each other.

Congratulations Mr. Iran-Contra, you have been assigned today's worst person in the world.

Roger West

Wednesday, June 4, 2014



Fox News regular Keith Ablow speculated on Wednesday morning that President Obama orchestrated the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay because the commander-in-chief “doesn't affiliate with patriotism” and “wants out of America.”
“Barack Obama does not have the will of the American people, Americanism in his soul,” Ablow, a forensic psychiatrist who is part of the Fox News Medical A-Team, explained. “And this swap, somebody who may not feel very American for five people who definitely don’t, is symptomatic of that.”
Referencing evidence that Bergdahl may have deserted his brigade in Afghanistan and grew disillusioned with America’s war mission, Ablow speculated that the Bergdahl family “may have a tendency to distance oneself from institutions, to diminish the rule of law and to elevate the individual above all else.” He also specifically referenced Bowe Bergdahl’s history of dancing in a ballet to suggest that he is narcissistic.

Republicans and conservatives have presented a united front against Obama’s prisoner swap, but Fox News has taken the criticism to new heights, suggesting that Obama should be impeached for the trade and that Robert Bergdahl, Bowe’s father, looks like a member of the Taliban.

Roger West

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

George W Bush Would Have Made Same Deal To Free Sgt. Bergdahl

Ex-Bush administration official John Bellinger told Fox News that "we don't leave soldiers behind" and defended Obama's decision to make the trade. “I think we would have made the same decision in the Bush administration.”

Roger West

Monday, June 2, 2014


Rep. Jason Chaffetz gives an off the wall appearance on MSNBC by calling the five Taliban prisoners traded the "starting five," of all terrorists.

: Jason Chaffetz is one of the men responsible for outing the CIA in Libya during one of their Benghazi hearings is now aghast at the deal that released our only Afghanistan POW. le for outing the CIA in Libya during one of their Benghazi hearings is now aghast at the deal that released our only Afghanistan POW.

Roger West

Sunday, June 1, 2014


I am just wondering when Sean Hannity is going to prove that waterboarding is not torture? Be a man of your word Sean, let me waterboard you for charity.

Roger West