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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

AS ONLY GROVER NORQUIST CAN

CONSERVATIVE WING NUT GROVER NORQUIST


At this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference just outside DC, Grover Norquist with Americans for Tax Reform told a packed room that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are now embracing changes to the War on Drugs model that has led to an explosion in mass incarceration over the last several decades. But he warned that the two parties were backing the reforms for different reasons.

“Democrats only support [criminal justice reform] because all their relatives are in prison,” he said, to chuckles from the audience, adding that Republicans believed mandatory minimums are ineffective and un-American.

The panel’s moderator, Pat Nolan with the American Conservative Union Foundation, hit back at Norquist, noting that “because of this drug war, a whole lot of Republicans have family in prison too.”

One of those Republicans was sitting right next to Norquist. Julie Stewart with Families Against Mandatory Minimums spoke passionately about her own brother, who was arrested and sentenced in Washington State in the 1990s for growing marijuana plants — an act, she noted, that is now legal. She said she agrees that he deserved some punishment, but thought that punishment should be decided by a judge who understand his personal circumstances.
“Lawmakers like Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t be deciding the fate of people they’ve never laid eyes on,” she said.




NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West





Today Norquist is today's worst person in the world.

Friday, February 27, 2015

IN SIX SECONDS, 50 LIES FROM FOX NEWS





The Daily Show posted a Vine Wednesday titled, "50 Fox News lies in 6 seconds."

Pundit Fact fact-checked almost all of the statements they cited. For the record, they originally counted 49 claims, not 50. The Daily Show said No. 50 was left off due to a technical error. They've updated their Vine, which I've included here.




1. "In July 2010 the government said small businesses -- 60 percent -- will lose their health care, 45 percent of big business and a large percentage of individual health."

Sean Hannity, Nov. 11, 2013

False


2. "And President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture out of his own pocket, yet it's the Republican National Committee who's paying for this."

Anna Kooiman, Oct. 5, 2013


3. Labor union president Andy Stern is "the most frequent visitor" at the White House.

Glenn Beck, Dec. 3, 2009

False


4. "Far more children died last year drowning in their bathtubs than were killed accidentally by guns."

Tucker Carlson, Aug. 9, 2014

Pants on Fire


5. White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard once served as the "right-hand man" for Bertha Lewis, who heads up ACORN.

Steve Doocy, Sept. 29, 2009

False


6. "Look at the debt that has been accumulated in the last two years. It's more debt under this president than all those other presidents combined."

Sarah Palin, May 31, 2011

False


7. "There is no good data showing secondhand smoke kills people."

John Stossel, Dec. 4, 2014

False


8. "Democrats are poised now to cause this largest tax increase in U.S. history."

Sarah Palin, Aug. 1, 2010

Pants on Fire


9. "The insurance industry is actually run by mostly Democrats."

Dana Perino, Oct. 31, 2013

False


10. The Obama administration "manipulated deportation data to make it appear that the Border Patrol was deporting more illegal immigrants than the Bush administration."

Lou Dobbs, July 1, 2014

False


11. Some doctors say Ebola can be transmitted through the air by "a sneeze or some cough."

George Will, Oct. 19, 2014

False


12. Says the Texas State Board of Education is considering eliminating references to Christmas and the Constitution in textbooks.

Gretchen Carlson, March 10, 2010

Pants on Fire


13. Because of President Barack Obama’s failure to "push job creation," the black unemployment rate in Ferguson, Mo., is three times higher than the white unemployment rate.

Lou Dobbs, Aug. 19, 2014

False


14. When White House communications director Anita Dunn said that Mao Tse-tung was "one of her favorite philosophers, only Fox News picked that up."

Bill O’Reilly, Oct. 23, 2009

False


15. "The president of the United States will be taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day."

Michele Bachmann, Nov. 3, 2010

False

(Note: Bachmann’s claim was made on CNN, not Fox News but Glenn Beck made a similar claim on Fox)


16. "We researched to find out if anybody on Fox News had ever said you're going to jail if you don't buy health insurance. Nobody's ever said it."

Bill O’Reilly, Oct. 27, 2010

Pants on Fire


17. "If you make more than $250,000 a year … you only really take home about $125,000."

Steve Doocy, July 11, 2012

False


18. A Census Bureau worker says he was told to skew information to bring the unemployment rate down "as we headed into an election season."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Nov. 19, 2013

False


19. "Health care mandate will require imprisonment and fines for Americans who can’t afford to purchase insurance or pay hefty government penalties."

Patients First, Sept. 21, 2009

Mostly False

(Note: Fox hosts have said closely similar statements because of our research into Bill O’Reilly’s Pants on Fire claim -- No. 16 -- that no one on Fox News ever said it.)


20. "And finally tonight, although it pains me to say this, Jon Stewart? Comedy Central? He was right. Now on his program last night, he mentioned that we had played some incorrect video on this program last week while talking about the Republican health care rally on Capitol Hill. He was correct, we screwed up, we aired some video of a rally in September, along with a video from the actual event. It was an inadvertent mistake, but a mistake nonetheless, so Mr. Stewart. you were right, we apologize. But by the way, I wanna thank you, and all your writers, for watching."

Sean Hannity, Nov. 12, 2009

* * *

21. "I don’t remember any terrorist attacks on American soil during that period of time (2000-08)."

Eric Bolling, July 14, 2011


22. The United Way and Enroll America, in Coral Gables, Fla., had "navigators going door to door, knocking on the homes of the uninsured … helping them navigate through the different plans that are available.

Phil Keating, Oct. 1, 2013


23. Less than 10 percent of Obama's Cabinet appointees "have any experience in the private sector."

Glenn Beck, Nov. 30, 2009

False


24. During the lead-up to the American Revolutionary War, "some guy in Boston got his head blown off because he tried to secretly raise the tax on tea."

Andrea Tantaros, Jan. 15, 2014

Pants on Fire


25. "American troops have never been under the formal control of another nation."

Karl Rove, March 23, 2001

False


26. "The 'Denver Post' has actually hired an editor to promote pot."

Bill O’Reilly, Dec. 9, 2013

False


27. "The amount of attention paid this week to Chris Christie makes the coverage of Benghazi ... pale in significance."

Karl Rove, Jan. 12, 2014

False


28. Liberals have figured out a Facebook algorithm and "all the people getting banned from Facebook are somehow conservatives."

Todd Starnes, April 17, 2014

False


29. Obamacare is "one big fat VA system."

Kimberly Guilfoyle, May 21, 2014

Pants on Fire


30. Says Gov. Rick Scott's approval ratings are up.

Brian Kilmeade, April 15, 2001

False


31. "Under the Obama plan . . . all the health care in this country is eventually going to be run by the government."

Sen. Tom Coburn, March 4, 2009

False


32. If you log into the government's Cash for Clunkers website (cars.gov) from your home computer, the government can "seize all of your personal and private" information, and track your computer activity.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, July 31, 2009

False


33. The Massachusetts health care plan is "wildly unpopular" among state residents.

Laura Ingraham, May 12, 2011

False


34. "The Constitution simply does not authorize the federal government to own any of this land (in the Western states)."

Andrew Napolitano, April 23, 2014

Pants on Fire


35. Says President Barack Obama is "sending a much larger (force) " to deal with Ebola "than ISIS is getting."

Brit Hume, Sept. 21, 2014

False


36. On climate change, "the temperature readings have been fabricated, and it's all blowing up in their (scientists') faces."

Dana Perino, Feb. 9, 2015

Pants on Fire


37. Says President Barack Obama’s recent New York fundraising trip "cost between $25 million and $50 million."

Donald Trump, Oct. 13, 2014

Pants on Fire


38. Under President Barack Obama, "8.3 (million) fewer Americans are working today than there were four years ago."

Sean Hannity, Jan. 20, 2013

False


39. Seniors and the disabled "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."

Sarah Palin, Aug. 7, 2009

Pants on Fire

(Note: This claim was made originally on Facebook. It’s unclear to us if Palin said it on Fox News.)


40. New poll by YouGov shows that 7/10 people who voted for President Obama’s re-election in 2012 ‘regret’ doing so

Fox and Friend tweet, Feb. 19, 2014

False


41. "NASA scientists fudged the numbers to make 1998 the hottest year to overstate the extent of global warming."

Steve Doocy, June 24, 2014

Pants on Fire


42. A new Colorado law "literally allows residents to print ballots from their home computers, then encourages them to turn ballots over to ‘collectors.’ "

Megyn Kelly, Oct. 21, 2014

False


43. The Affordable Care Act alters the "sensible doctor-patient-relationship-centered health care program ... we see today."

Sarah Palin, Nov. 24, 2013

False


44. Since 1965, the United States has spent "untold trillions" yet the poverty rate hasn’t budged.

Bill O’Reilly, July 26, 2011

False


45. Says Colorado food stamp recipients can use ATMs to get cash to buy marijuana.

Brian Kilmeade, Jan. 21, 2014

False


46. "Attorney General Eric Holder is involved in the dismissal of the criminal charges" against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation

Bill O’Reilly, July 17, 2010

False


47. "Barack Obama had 150 days in the U.S. Senate where he was able to vote quite often 'present.' "

Sarah Palin, Feb. 6, 2010

False



48. "It will cost $50,000 per enrollee in Obamacare over the next 10 years."

Stuart Varney, Jan. 27, 2015

False


49. "We're going to be looking at $8 billion a day that we're going to be pouring into foreign countries in order to import that make-up fuel that we're going to need to take the place of what we could have gotten out of the Gulf (of Mexico)."

Sarah Palin, May 1, 2013

Pants on Fire



50. "Why do we have automatic citizenship upon birth? We're the only country in the world that has it."

Glenn Beck, June 10, 2009

False






NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Thursday, February 26, 2015

TEACHERS TO JAIL FOR TEACHING "HARMFUL" MATERIALS

A lawmaker in Kansas is seeking to criminalize the distribution of “harmful” materials to minors in schools, lifting an exemption for teachers using approved materials. Advocates working against the bill worry it will have a “chilling” effect on teachers in the state.
“It’s purely a reaction to this instance of this one particular sex ed poster,” said Micah Kubic, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, who testified against the bill. “This poster must be the most impactful poster in the history of the poster.”
The text-only poster, displayed in Hocker Grove Middle School in Shawnee, Kansas, in 2014 was titled, “How Do People Express Their Sexual Feelings?” and included the words “hugging,” “grinding” and “anal sex.” Kubic said the bill is unnecessary. “The teacher who put that up was disciplined by the school almost immediately after that parent complained,” he said.
“There was a list of sexual acts, some of which were highly offensive,” Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook told KMBC 9 News. Pilcher-Cook previously introduced a bill that would criminalize surrogate parenting, saying “you are creating a child purposely that you know is not going to have a biological mother.”
The bill would criminalize displaying material to minors that is “harmful,” including “any description, exhibition, presentation or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse when the material or performance.” The bill looks likely to pass the state Senate this week, and carries a penalty of up to six months in jail. Kansas already has a law that protects minors from “harmful” material, mainly to prevent adults from distributing pornography to minors. As it is written now, the law includes an exemption for teachers, but this bill aims to remove that exemption.

ACLU Kansas and teachers worry that the language is overly broad, and that teachers could be targeted for things that are part of a normal curriculum, including books with sexual or controversial themes like Huckleberry Finn. A lesson an anatomy, say, might be dicey for a biology teacher, or an art history class could be scrubbed because some of the content included nudes.

Marcus Baltzell, communications director at the Kansas National Education Association, warned that teachers already worry about the effect. “One person’s objection about something is now putting a blanket of silence, a blanket of censorship over an entire state. Is that what we want?”
“It makes me feel like I need to self-censor,” Baltzell, who is a certified teacher, said. “Now I have to consider anything that would have any kind of text or imagery or anything that would be remotely questionable by say one individual I can be brought up on charges for that.”
Baltzell pointed out that there are already rigorous standards in place to deal with parents who object to materials presented by teachers. “This is a solution in search of a problem,” he said.

Another bill inspired by the poster that inspired the “harmful” materials bill would require schoolchildren to “opt in” to sex ed rather than “opt out.” Baltzell, though he didn’t comment on the details of the state’s sex ed program, did note that an opt in standard is harmful. “We think that’s difficult and dangerous for the child who needs this education but doesn’t have that same active and involved parent that another student does,” he said.

According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, Kansas’ statewide curriculum already prescribes “a complete program of abstinence until marriage in human sexuality that is developmentally appropriate, including information about sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.” Research has shown that students educated in an abstinence-only environment tend to have sex earlier and more often than students educated with more comprehensive materials.

ACLU Kansas’ Kubic pointed out that there are only three other states that currently have “opt in” requirements. “We’ll be going in the wrong direction,” he said.


Crossposted from thinkprogress





NFTOS
STAFF WRITER


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MICHELE FIORE PROVES IGNORANCE HOLDS NO BOUNDS

MICHELE FIORE OUR SPECIAL KIND OF STUPID HUMAN OF THE DAY


Nevada tea bagger and Assemblywoman Michele Fiore wants to reform the rules of end-of-life medical care so that more cancer patients can simply flush out their disease using baking soda.

Fiore, who is also CEO of a healthcare company, told listeners to her weekly radio show on Saturday, that she will soon introduce a “terminally ill bill,” to allow more non-FDA-approved treatments for those diagnosed as having terminal illnesses.

As first reported by Jon Ralston, Fiore told listeners: “If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing, let’s say, salt water, sodium cardonate, through that line, and flushing out the fungus… These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.” The American Cancer Society warns that while cancer patients whose immune systems are weakened by high doses of chemotherapy can sometimes contract fungal infections, “there is no evidence that antifungal treatment causes the patients’ tumors to shrink.” Cancer Research UK dismisses the claim that sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) can cure cancer as a debunked “persistent cancer myth.”

Fiore added that Nevada is already “the capital of entertainment” and this bill could help “make it the medical capital of the world as well.”

Weeks after being removed from her position as Republican Majority Leader over allegations of more than $1 million in tax liens, Fiore made news last Wednesday for her assertion that “young, hot little girls on campus” need to be armed with guns to prevent themselves from being raped, saying that every citizen should “have the right to defend him or herself from sexual assault.”

In 2012, she proposed arming school officials and college students as a way of combating school shootings.

Although Fiore’s views on cancer are particularly fringe, the bill she is backing is gaining traction in a number of states. At least five states have now passed similar legislation that allows patients to use drugs not cleared by the FDA, dubbed so-called “right to try” bills. The campaign to pass these bills has been led by the libertarian Goldwater Institute.

[h/t thinkprogress]



NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West




Tuesday, February 24, 2015

HEY RUDY, YOU DON’T OWN 9/11

RUDY GIULIANI PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSH PERRIN



Jon Stewart of the Daily Show railed on Ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for claiming the President has no love for his country.

For weeks Giuliani has been on the war path of how much Obama hates America. The “Call of Rudy” tour has been relentless right-wing gibberish – Giuliani not just doubling down on his ludicrousness, but tripling down without stopping for a breath.

Stewart explained that “Giuliani was so far out on the deep end on this that even running to the usually loving arms of Megyn Kelly didn't work out so well and he had to turn to Fox's Hannity instead to have his hatred validated.

VIDEO COURTESY OF COMEDY CENTRAL




Stewart, in his final synopsis of the issue mocked Rudy for pretending Obama doesn't love America because he wants to "transform it" - just like the former New York mayor once said he wanted to do with his city.





NFTOS\
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Monday, February 23, 2015

ERIC ENGBERG SAYS BILLO IS FULL OF SHIT

ERIC ENGBERG SAYS BILL O HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO



CNN's Brian Stelter spoke to former CBS correspondent Eric Engberg about his recent post questioning of Bill O'Reilly's version of events on his reporting in Argentina. Stelter asked Engberg at the end of the segment if he had a vendetta against O'Reilly and whether this was about a personal dispute.




ENGBERG: No. He's the one that started the personal dispute by saying that we were all hiding in our hotel rooms... By the way, I do have this personal dispute with him. He's not a real reporter and he was not in a combat zone that night. This was not a combat zone. Not even close.

Most humans with an IQ above 3 were aware of this but it's nice to hear someone say it on cable news. Engberg's description of O'Reilly is most definitely devastating hit to the blowhard.

Engberg on Facebook :
Did Fox News bloviater Bill O'Reilly commit Brian Williams type fabrications when he claimed he had been in a "combat situation" while working as a reporter for CBS News during the Falklands War in 1982? Did he pad his resume' as he was laying claim to personal knowledge about what happens in war? The issue has arisen because the "Mother Jones" magazine Washington bureau chief David Corn has written a story, largely based on recollections of CBS News senior staffers, comparing O'Reilly's statements about his war experience to the fabrications which sent NBC anchor Williams into a six-month suspension.
 
I can provide some eyewitness information on this matter because I was one of the correspondents in Buenos Aires with O'Reilly and the rest of the rather large staff of CBS News people who were there "covering" the war. To begin with "covering" is an overstatement of what we were doing. Corn is correct in pointing out that the Falkland Islands, where the combat between Great Britain and Argentina took place, was a thousand miles away from Buenos Aires. We were in Buenos Aires because that's the only place the Argentine military junta would let journalists go. Our knowledge of the war was restricted to what we could glean from comically deceitful daily briefings given by the Argentine military and watching government-controlled television to try to pick up a useful clue from propaganda broadcasts. We -- meaning the American networks -- were all in the same, modern hotel and we never saw any troops, casualties or weapons. It was not a war zone or even close. It was an "expense account zone." 
O'Reilly, freshly hired by CBS, arrived in Buenos Aires a few days before the British expeditionary force defeated the Argentine occupiers. He was, as he is today, full of brio and confidence. I remember him asking me how I liked my assignment. When I said I was tired of living in a hotel and wanted to go home he said, "Call your agent." Back in those days calling your agent to complain about the company's decision-making would have been a career-ender, but he didn't seem to understand matters of the CBS internal secret wooglies, which included the rule that you did as you were told. I should have known he was headed for trouble, but I just thought he was a rookie who would learn. Yeah, right. 
Within a couple of days of his arrival the British Army and Marines had completed their land assault on the Falklands capital and forced the Argentines to surrender. The Argentine public, who had been living under a murderous, corrupt military government for years, were driven into the streets of their capital by rage over the loss of a war they had been repeatedly told their army was winning. As night fell after the surrender statement, several thousand people gathered in the streets around the presidential palace to protest. All the members of the CBS reporting staff and all the two-person camera crews we had in Buenos Aires were sent in to the street. I believe there were four or five crews. The reporters, as I remember, were O'Reilly, Chuck Gomez, Charles Krause, Bob Schieffer and myself. Somewhere it has been reported that O'Reilly has claimed he was the only CBS News reporter who had the courage to go into the street because the rest of us were hiding in our hotel. If he said such thing it is an absolute lie. Everyone was working in the street that night, the crews exhibiting their usual courage. O'Reilly was the one person who behaved unprofessionally and without regard for the safety of the camera crew he was leading. 
The CBS bureau chief in Buenos Aires, Larry Doyle, an ex-Marine LRRP, was something of a legend among CBSers because of his personal courage and his knowledge about how to do your job without exposing yourself to undue danger. Early that night in Buenos Aires he assembled the camera crews in our hotel newsroom and instructed them to refrain from using the lights on their cameras while around crowds. Television lights attracted potentially violent people and also made the camera-person an easier target for demonstrators throwing rocks. We all knew that the Argentine public was angry at the U.S. for supporting Britain in the war, so American journalists might become a target for mob violence. So, O'Reilly has been correct in describing the situation in Buenos Aires as somewhat dicey for reporters. If he was nervous, I can see why. 
The riot around the presidential palace was actually short-lived. It consisted mostly of chanting, fist-shaking and throwing coins at the uniformed soldiers who were assembled outside the palace. I did not see any police attacks against demonstrators. According to Doyle, O'Reilly returned to the hotel in a rage over the fact that his cameraman wouldn't turn on the lights to photograph angry crowds. Doyle defended the cameraman and chewed out O'Reilly for violating his instructions on lights. When Doyle looked at the tape shot by O'Reilly's cameraman he saw that the video included stand-ups -- on camera description by the reporter -- which O'Reilly had ordered the cameraman to shoot -- with his light on. Doyle was further upset by this tape, which clearly showed that his orders on lights had been unilaterally violated by O'Reilly. The issue here was safety. 
CBS was doing a late night re-cap of the Falkland's story. As always the Buenos Aires bureau had no combat video footage to offer, so our part of the special would be the demonstrations, which had been well covered by three or four camera crews, including the one working with O'Reilly. All that footage was blended into the main story, narrated by Schieffer, who had been in Buenos Aires for weeks as the anchor on the scene. When Doyle informed O'Reilly that Schieffer would be doing the report, which would not include any segment from O'Reilly, the reporter exploded. "I didn't come down here to have my footage used by that old man," he shouted. Doyle was stunned. First O'Reilly had defiantly ordered a cameraman to disregard his orders on using lights, and now he was claiming the right to do a story the producers had decided should be done by the senior correspondent on the scene, Schieffer. This confrontation led the next day to O'Reilly being ordered out of Argentina by the CBS bosses. Doyle had told them O'Reilly was a "disruptive force" who threatened his bureau's morale and cohesion. 
I remember looking on a monitor at the long stand-up O'Reilly ordered his crew to shoot, which was never used on the air. He shot this description in the middle of a clearly angry, chanting crowd. As a reporter I wondered why he would think he needed video of himself standing in the middle of the crowd when his own crew and others had taken plenty of good crowd pictures that didn't have O'Reilly standing in the middle of the frame blocking the action. You don't shoot a long stand-up when you have plenty of good pictures of the event you are covering. What O'Reilly was doing was in the realm of local news. I didn't know at the time that he had also violated the bureau chief's order on use of lights, but I wondered why would any correspondent would imperil his colleagues by turning on lights during a riot. 
O'Reilly has said he was in a situation in Argentina where "my photographer got run down and hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete and the army was chasing us." The only place where such an injury could have occurred was the relatively tame riot I have described above. Neither Doyle, who would have been immediately informed of injury to any CBS personnel, nor anyone else who was working the story remembers a cameraman being injured that night. No one who reported back to our hotel newsroom after the disturbance was injured; if a cameraman had been "bleeding from the ear" he would have immediately reported that to his superiors at the hotel. This part of O'Reilly's Argentina story is not credible without further confirmation, and O'Reilly should identify the cameraman by name so he can be questioned about the alleged injury. 
The gunfire reported by O'Reilly is equally suspicious. One of our camera crews reported that they believed the Argentine police or army had fired a few rubber bullets at the crowd. That was the only report we received of weapons being fired that night. The crowd had been confined to a relatively small area around the president's palace. It wasn't like there were protests going on all over the city. I did see soldiers armed with rifles on guard around the presidential palace. But they did not take aim at the crowd and I heard no gunfire. No one I talked to as the crowd was breaking up told me they heard gunfire. O'Reilly's claim that the army fired weapons into the crowd is not supported by anyone's recollection. Had that happened, I believe, the riot would have escalated into an uncontrollable attack on government buildings all over the capital. Nothing like that happened. Actually, the military chiefs, yielding to the public outcry over the war's outcome, were willing to give up their offices, which they did the next day. 
I am fairly certain that most professional journalists would refer to the story I have just related as "routine reporting on a demonstration that got a little nasty." O'Reilly, in defending himself yesterday against Corn's "Mother Jones" piece, said "We were in a combat situation in Buenos Aires." He is misrepresenting the situation he covered, and he is obviously doing so to burnish his credentials as a "war correspondent," which is not the work he was performing during the Falklands war. I don't think it's as big a lie as Brian Williams told because O'Reilly hasn't falsely claimed to be the target of an enemy attack, but he has displayed a willingness to twist the truth in a way that seeks to invent a battlefield that did not exist. And he ought to be subject to the same scrutiny Williams faced. He also ought to be ashamed of himself. By the way, "Old Man" Schieffer seemed to do okay as a TV journalist in the years (and there were plenty) after O'Reilly claimed to have been "big footed" by him. Maybe "Old Schieffer" called HIS agent.



Bill O is going down. It's only a matter of time now. His chapstick will soon lose its affect and his only value – his lasting grip to Fox is losing its hold. Everything he regurgitates should be dissected and torn apart. His number is up. We should be biding Bill O a fond adieu very soon - good riddance asshat!




NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Sunday, February 22, 2015

PAUL GOSAR IS A SPECIAL KIND OF STUPID

PAUL GOSAR PROVES IQ SHOULD BE A PRIORITY IN POLITICIANS



During a town hall meeting in Payson, Arizona last week, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) stunned constituents when he claimed that undocumented immigrants could stand to receive $24,000 in retroactive compensation after they are approved for the president’s executive action on immigration relief.

GOSAR: It was learned the household income deferred tax credit applied retroactively for three years. So each illegal alien will get $24,000 in compensation. 
AUDIENCE MEMBER: What? 
GOSAR: Yep, absolutely. When you start looking at the process where the GDP [gross domestic product] in Mexico, the second largest input to that, is our system of Social Security and benefits. And they’re going to make this go away.

Watch the video recorded by American Bridge.



As the Washington Post pointed out in its Fact Checker column that ranked the statement with four Pinnochios, Gosar’s claim is inaccurate. Under the president’s executive action to grant temporary work authorization and deportation relief, undocumented immigrants would be allowed to apply for Social Security numbers, which Gosar indicated, could in turn allow them to “file amended tax returns for the last three years claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit. (Gosar called it the ‘household deferred tax credit,’ but he meant the EITC.).” But as a Treasury Department spokesman told the author, the claims process could actually result in people, who don’t work on the books, owing taxes. It’s also an unlikely scenario for undocumented immigrants to earn $24,000, or the “maximum credit” available to taxpayers with three or more children and who are within a specific income range. About 12 percent of EITC recipients fulfill the criteria, but many of them don’t qualify for the maximum credit.

What’s more, Social Security is not the second largest part of Mexico’s gross domestic product. As Gosar’s spokesman Steven Smith told the Washington Post, “Smith said that Gosar was talking about remittances and its impact on the Mexican economy.” Remittances actually make up only two percent of Mexico’s GDP.

Undocumented immigrants already pay into the Social Security system, having a “net positive effect on Social Security financial status,” and contributing roughly $12 billion to the cash flow of the program in the year 2010, according to a 2013 Social Security Administration report.

Other lawmakers have made similar arguments, calling alleged compensation “amnesty bonuses,” including Sen. Ron Johnson, Sen. Ben Sasse, and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC). Sasse said during in his testimony last week, “By subsidizing illegal entry with four years’ worth of new tax credits, the IRS would promote lawlessness. This program severely undermines the White House’s lip-service to enforcing the law and would increase the burden on law-abiding taxpayers.”

Gosar has stretched the truth about undocumented immigrants in the past. Last September, Gosar tweeted pictures of himself squatting near barbed wire. He wrote, “25 miles of barbed wire fence is the only thing keeping #ISIS out of America. We must secure the border #AZBorderTour.” Obama administration officials dismissed claims that ISIS members could sneak into the country by land, not least of which because federal spending on immigration enforcement already costs $18 billion.

Gosar has also supported: a bill to end the president’s 2012 deferred action program to grant temporary deportation relief and work authorization; limiting citizenship to children born to U.S. citizens or nationals or other lawful residents; likening the Obama administration’s lawsuit against the anti-immigration law in Arizona known as SB 1070 to a “declaration of war [by the federal government] against Arizona;” and sending troops to the border.

The president’s latest executive action, which would have affected about one-third of the undocumented population, was temporarily blocked by a federal judge in Texas this week.

Congarulations Paul Gosar, you are this weeks dumbest human in the world.






NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Saturday, February 21, 2015

CYNICAL TURD

Bill Maher took Jeb Bush to task for his hypocrisy on enforcing marijuana laws and called for an end to the drug wars during his New Rules segment this Friday.


VIDEO COURTESY OF HBO







NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Friday, February 20, 2015

BILL O’REILLY CAUGHT LYING ABOUT FALKLANDS COMBAT RECORD

DAVID CORN EXPOSES BILLO AS LIAR PHOTO BY DNOKEYHOTEY


Yesterday David Corn published a scathing piece in Mother Jones about the ridiculous combat lies of Bill O'Reilly. An excerpt:
In April 2013, while discussing the Boston Marathon bombing, O'Reilly shared a heroic tale of his exploits in the Falklands war: 
I was in a situation one time, in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands, where my photographer got run down and then hit his head and was bleeding from the ear on the concrete. And the army was chasing us. I had to make a decision. And I dragged him off, you know, but at the same time, I'm looking around and trying to do my job, but I figure I had to get this guy out of there because that was more important. 
Yet his own account of his time in Argentina in his 2001 book, The No Spin Zone, contains no references to O'Reilly experiencing or covering any combat during the Falklands war. In the book, which in part chronicles his troubled stint as a CBS News reporter, O'Reilly reports that he arrived in Buenos Aires soon before the Argentine junta surrendered to the British, ending the 10-week war over control of two territories far off the coast of Argentina. There is nothing in this memoir indicating that O'Reilly witnessed the fighting between British and Argentine military forces—or that he got anywhere close to the Falkland Islands, which are 300 miles off Argentina's shore and about 1,200 miles south of Buenos Aires.




It is recommended that you go to Mother Jones via this link to get the full story.

RAW Story is reporting that:
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly angrily denounced a Mother Jones report on Thursday questioning his statements regarding his reporting during the Falklands War in 1982. 
“It’s a hit piece,” O’Reilly told Politico. “Everything I said about what I reported in South and Central America is true. Everything.”

On Thursday, O’Reilly called Corn a “despicable guttersnipe” and said he never claimed to have been on the islands.

David Corn responded with a tweet:
“This Just In: O'Reilly resorts to spin and name-calling. Stay classy”
"To me, the issue here is whether a media figure and journalist like Bill O'Reilly, who claims to be a truth teller, can get away without answering questions about specific statements he's made, and hide behind name calling," Corn told the On Media blog on Thursday. "I would encourage anyone else who covers this story to get Bill O'Reilly to answer those questions - if not to me, than to anyone else."
Corn's full response via politico:





NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Thursday, February 19, 2015

WASHINGTON JUDGE LAWS THE LAW DOWN TO ANTI-GAY FLOURIST





A Washington state judge has ruled that florist Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, broke state law when she refused to provide flowers for the wedding of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed. Stutzman, represented by anti-LGBT legal juggernaut the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), had been sued by the same-sex couples and the state’s attorney general for breaking both the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the state’s Consumer Protection Act. She counter-sued, seeking the right to engage in such discrimination based on her religious beliefs.

Though Stutzman has become a darling of the religious right for asserting her Southern Baptist beliefs about same-sex marriage, her arguments about religious freedom fell flat in court. Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom concluded in his decision that “to accept any [of] the Defendants’ arguments would be to disregard well-settled law.”

In fact, the case was rather open-and-shut. On March 1, 2013, “Stutzman refused to provide to Ingersoll a service she provided to others,” Ekstrom wrote. What she believes about same-sex marriage is immaterial, because the law’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation “address conduct, not beliefs.” Agreeing with the plaintiffs and the attorney general, Ekstrom asserted that “no Court has ever held that religiously motivated conduct, expressive or otherwise, trumps state discrimination law in public accommodations.” He also pointed out that Stutzman is not a minister nor is Arlene’s Flowers a religious organization. Likewise, the law does not specifically target her because of her beliefs, but is “neutral and generally applicable” to all people of all beliefs.

Ekstrom agreed that “the State’s compelling interest in combating discrimination in public accommodations is well settled” and is not superseded by an individual’s religious beliefs. As the Supreme Court wrote in the 1982 case United States v. Lee, “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption… operates to impose [the follower’s] religious faith on the [person sought to be protected by the law.]”

ADF argued in the case, as it continues to argue in the wake of the ruling that Stutzman’s religious beliefs should be catered to so long as Ingersoll and Freed could still find flowers elsewhere. ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner explained in a press release, “The two men had no problem getting the flowers they wanted. They received several offers for free flowers, and the marketplace gives them plenty of options.” Ekstrom pointed out that a rule where discriminating businesses simply refer customers to non-discriminating businesses “would, of course, defeat the purpose of combating discrimination, and would allow discrimination in public accommodations based on all protected classes, including race.” Religious justifications for racial discrimination have certainly been proffered before. “There is no slope, much less a slippery one,” Ekstrom wrote, “where ‘race’ and ‘sexual orientation’ are in the same sentence of the statute, separate by only three terms: ‘creed, color, national origin…'”

Ekstrom also rejected ADF’s arguments that a distinction could be made between the couple’s sexual orientation and the act of getting married. “The United States Supreme Court has long held that discrimination based on conduct associated with a protected characteristic constitutes discrimination on the basis of that characteristic,” he noted, referencing in particular the case Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. In that case, a university student group claimed it wasn't discriminating against gay members, only against those who engaged in or supported same-sex intimacy. The Supreme Court did not find the distinction compelling.

The non-discrimination law in no way violates any constitutional principles, Ekstrom concluded, because, “For over 135 years, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that laws may prohibit religiously motivated action, as opposed to belief. In trade and commerce, and more particularly when seeking to prevent discrimination in public accommodations, the Courts have confirmed the power of the Legislative Branch to prohibit conduct it deems discriminatory, even when the motivation for that conduct is grounded in religious belief.”

Following the ruling, Stutzman claimed, “The government is coming after me and everything I have just because I won’t live my life the way the state says I should. I just want the freedom to live and work faithfully and according to what God says about marriage without fear of punishment.” Damages and fines in the case have not yet been determined.

The decision follows a near-identical ruling in Oregon last month against a bakery that refused a cake to a same-sex couples. The string of losses in similar cases follows back to an Iowa wedding venue, aVermont reception venue, a Colorado bakery, and a New Mexico photographer who all similarly tried to refuse services related to a same-sex commitment ceremony. All of those states have laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but there are still 29 states that have no such laws.


[h/t thinkprogress]




NFTOS
STAFF WRITER

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

SO MUCH FOR THAT IDEA

TENNESSEE TESTING OF  WELFARE RECIPIENTS TURNS UP DRY


Epic fail for the state of Tennessee:

Less than one half of one percent of Tennesseans [.0023] who applied for public assistance flunked a drug test in the first six months of the state’s experiment with drug screenings for welfare recipients, according to recently released state figures.

Out of more than 16,000 applicants from the beginning of July through the end of 2014, just 37 tested positive for illegal drug use. While that amounts to roughly 13 percent of the 279 applicants who the state decided to test based on their answers to a written questionnaire about drug use, the overall rate among applicants is just 0.2 percent.

Such an infinitesimal rate of drug use among welfare applicants contrasts sharply with the state’s overall 8 percent rate of drug use. Across the country, states that implement drug tests for low-income families have found that economically vulnerable people are less likely than the general population to use drugs. Utah spent $30,000 on tests that caught just 12 drug users, for a positive rate of 0.2 percent of total benefits recipients, compared to 6 percent of all state residents who use drugs. Before a judge ruled Florida’s drug testing system was illegal, it had turned up a drug use rate of just 2 percent among public assistance users, compared to 8 percent of its total population.

Separate research has also found that the facts do not support the stigmatizing ideas about low-income Americans and drug use that motivate drug testing schemes like these. Less than 4 percent of welfare recipients have a drug abuse problem — the kind of habitual dependence on a drug that the tests are theoretically designed to root out — and the rate of non-abusive drug use among the welfare population is barely above that of comparable non-welfare families.

“Other physical and mental health problems are far more prevalent” among low-income people than substance abuse problems, social scientist and public benefits expert Harold Pollack wrote in the Washington Post, and “yet these less-moralized concerns receive much less attention from legislators or the general public.” Pollack’s research found that age is a better predictor of drug abuse than welfare participation, with men aged 18 to 24 being roughly twice as likely to have a substance abuse problem than a food stamps recipient. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have condemned dragnet drug testing for welfare recipients as ineffective, harmful, and unnecessary.

But the idea of drug testing poor folk before doling out food money and rental assistance continues to spread despite all the evidence and expert testimony against the practice. Texas lawmakers are hoping to start mandatory drug tests for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; their law would impose a three-strikes rule for drug testing, under which anyone who tested positive a third time would be permanently ineligible for the federal aid program. Maine is launching its own drug testing system for welfare early this year. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to drug test everyone who gets food stamps or jobless insurance money. Montana lawmakers have proposed a drug testing scheme this year, and El Paso County, CO has instituted a testing system.

The stubborn stickiness of the idea that drug testing low-income families is good policy reflects a broader misunderstanding about the lifestyles of the poor. In reality, people who rely on public assistance programs to make ends meet are thriftier than the average American, spending a smaller share of their budgets on eating out and entertainment.


[h/t thinkprogress] 




NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NSA HAS SPY SOFTWARE IN OUR COMPUTERS?

NSA HAS SPYWARE IN OUR COMPUTERS?




The U.S. National Security Agency may have been hiding spy software deep in consumers’ hard drives as part of its surveillance programs, according to a Reuters report.

Russian researchers found firmware planted in hard drives from top computer manufacturers such as Toshiba, Seagate, and Western Digital. Spyware was found in some form on personal computers in 30 countries, primarily in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria, according to a report published by Moscow-based security software company Kaspersky Lab, which has a track record of uncovering Western countries’ cyber espionage programs.

Targets of the spyware ran the gamut with computers belonging to government and military institutions, banks, Islamic activists, media, telecommunication companies, nuclear researchers, and energy specialists found to be infected.

The Kaspersky Lab doesn’t explicitly name who was responsible for planting the firmware but indicates the spy campaign is closely related to the NSA’s Stuxnet program used against Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and discovered in 2010.

Former intelligence analysts confirmed to Reuters the NSA still values Stuxnet-like programs and has become proficient in hiding spyware deep in computers’ hard drives. The NSA has not publicly commented to the allegations.

Public concerns over government surveillance have grown worldwide, and ignited calls for reform and better privacy practices. Document leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in late 2014 revealed how the agency both knowingly and unwittingly violated privacy laws, confirming earlier reports that it collected mass amounts data from ordinary citizens rather than suspected terrorists.

International governments have also taken more precautions to prevent U.S. intelligence agencies from eavesdropping on official communications. Germany and Russia vowed to switch back to paper communications such as handwritten notes and typewriters to avoid surveillance. Other countries have responded by beefing up their own spy programs or doubling down on American tech companies operating overseas.

[h/t thinkprogress]






NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Monday, February 16, 2015

“WELFARE CRAZY CHECKS”

WING NUT GENE ALDAY




A Mississippi state lawmaker said he opposed putting more money into elementary schools because he came from a town where “all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work.”

In an interview with the Clarion-Ledger regarding education funding, state Rep. Gene Alday stated his opposition to a push to increase funding to improve elementary school reading scores. Alday implied that increasing education funding for children in black families would be pointless.

Alday continued, saying that when he was mayor of Walls, MS, that the times he’d gone to the emergency room had taken a long time. “I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots,” he told the newspaper.

At issue is something called Mississippi’s “third grade reading gate, a measure passed in 2013, which won’t allow students to advance to fourth grade if they can’t read proficiently. A survey of Mississippi’s school superintendents estimated that about 28 percent of the state’s third graders would have to repeat a grade because they couldn't pass the reading proficiency exams.

The idea for the policy came from Florida, where the state invested about $1 billion into schools to pay for reading coaches, teachers and increased attention to students who struggled with reading.

The Mississippi legislature recently advanced a bill that would provide exceptions to the reading policy for students with learning disabilities. The bill is opposed by Gov. Phil Bryant , who supports the third grade gate policy.
“It’s disappointing that 62 members of the House of Representatives would vote to socially promote children who cannot read,” Bryant told the Clarion-Ledger. “With votes like this, it is little wonder that Mississippi’s public education system has been an abysmal failure.”

Bryant’s critics suggest that he needs to change his approach. “If the governor is sincere about making universal literacy a gateway, rather than a gatekeeper, he would support full funding for what it will take to get the literacy job done,” said Mike Sayer, co-founder of Southern Echo, a grassroots civil rights group that works with African-American students.

Alday staunchly opposes increasing the funding. “I don’t see any schools hurting,” he said.





NFTOS
STAFF WRITER

Sunday, February 15, 2015

VIRGINIA WING-NUT WE DON'T NEED EDUCATION FUNDING BECAUSE "SOCRATES TRAINED PLATO FROM A ROCK"

VIRGINIA WING NUT DAVE BRAT



During a House Education and Workforce Committee proceeding on Wednesday to reauthorize the nation’s elementary and secondary education law, Rep. Dave Brat said, “Socrates trained Plato in on a rock and then Plato trained in Aristotle roughly speaking on a rock. So, huge funding is not necessary to achieve the greatest minds and the greatest intellects in history.”

Watch (remarks start at 46:08):




He began his remarks by saying, “The greatest thinkers in Western civilization were not products of education policy,” before mentioning Socrates and Plato. He later went on to say that he thinks the answer to improving education in this country “would be to get private sector folks into every one of our schools, get the CEOs in the schools and move beyond this just narrow policy debate and really have a revolution.”

The committee is considering a Republican version of reauthorization that could change the way federal funding is distributed to low-income students living in communities with high concentrations of poverty, or what is known as “portability.” To mitigate the challenges students face who are living in places with a high density of poverty, current law targets $14 billion to schools and school districts based on the number of students living in these communities. The Republican legislation would give states the option to allocate the same amount of federal dollars per poor student whether they live in a high poverty community or not. Under this provision, for example, Los Angeles Unified School District would lose out on more than $75 million while the Beverly Hills Unified School District would gain $140,000.

The bill was passed out of committee on Thursday on a party line vote after it refused to hold a congressional hearing on the legislation. The Senate, however, recently agreed to start over on a bipartisan approach to writing the bill.

Brat’s comments came the day before the U.S. Department of Education announced the national high school graduation rate had reached a record high, crediting significant federal investments in education.

Rep. Brat may not think formal education is important, but he himself was previously an economics professor at Randolph Macon College and holds both a Masters and a PhD.

[h/t thinkprogress]




NFTOS
STAFF WRITER


Saturday, February 14, 2015

NOT NECESSARILY THE NEWS



Bill Maher last night in his New Rules section, visited the Brian Williams debacle and his take on what news should be.

You see Bill Maher doesn’t really care that much for Brian Williams‘ series of misstatements. No, the real reason Williams should “go away,” according to Maher, is that “NBC Nightly News sucks.” (But to be fair, he also thinks CBS Evening News and ABC World News Tonight suck too.)

See, what “destroyed” Brian Williams’ credibility in Maher’s eyes was “ten years of wasting precious news time with bullshit stories.” It really bothers him that national nightly newscasts shirk their “sacred responsibility” to report the news in favor of viral YouTube videos, cutesy human interest stories, and lots and lots of weather coverage.

Maher called it “journalistic malpractice” for Williams to spend so little time reporting on climate change and instead covering east coast blizzards “like white Godzilla is on the way.

VIDEO COURTESY OF HBO







NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West

Friday, February 13, 2015

FIRST GREY WOLF IN 70 YEARS TO BE SEEN NEAR GRAN CAYNON IS KILLED BY HUNTER

GREY WOLF



Officials have confirmed that the first gray wolf seen around the Grand Canyon in 70 years was killed in December by a hunter in southern Utah after he mistook it for coyote. The three-year-old female, named “Echo” through a contest held with hundreds of schoolchildren, was the first gray wolf to be spotted in the region since the 1940s. After being collared in Wyoming in early January 2014, the wolf had ventured at least 750 miles into the new territory — further evidence that gray wolf populations are coming back from the brink of extinction after decades of reckless killings.
“The fact the Echo had ventured into new territory hopefully signifies that there is still additional habitat where this vulnerable species can thrive and survive,” said Nidhi J. Thakar, deputy director of the public lands project at the Center for American Progress.
While the gray wolf may be making a comeback it still occupies only around 10 percent of its historic range, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which states that researchers have identified more than 350,000 square miles of unoccupied suitable wolf habit including remote stretches of the southern Rockies, Adirondacks, Sierra Nevada, and Cascade mountains. In the mid-20th century, the only places gray wolves could be found in the U.S. included a slice of northern Minnesota and Michigan’s Isle Royale.

The coyote hunter who shot Echo, and whose name has not been released, reported the killing to authorities as an accident. Gray wolves are on the Endangered Species Act and it is illegal to kill them anywhere in the U.S. except Idaho and Montana, eastern Washington and Oregon, and northeastern Utah. According to the Center For Biological Diversity, this partial removal of federal protections in the Northwest has lead to the deaths of thousands of wolves through state-authorized hunting and trapping in recent years. Congress is now considering a legislative rider that would preclude protecting wandering wolves like Echo, according to the wildlife conservation group.
“Echo’s killing illustrates the perils that wolves face and the imperative to maintain federal protections as called for under the science-based standards of the Endangered Species Act,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “Keeping wolves on the endangered list is the basis for the public education we need, to enable more wolves to live and thrive and minimize conflict.”
There are now more than 6,000 gray wolves in the continental United States, concentrated in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as the Rocky Mountain states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and eastern Oregon and Washington.

As urban boundaries sprawl across the West — encroaching further into wild areas suitable for large animals such as wolves — the issue of co-existence becomes more important as animals have limited alternative habitat to retreat into. While ranchers and sportsmen are familiar with the challenges of habituating among wild animals, larger and denser developments can cause the tensions to escalate.
“As urban habitats expand into undeveloped areas there is an increasing challenge with ensuring wolves can peacefully co-exist with humans,” said Thakar.
Existing with humans means far more than just learning how to cross the street: on top of sprawling development, expansive ecological damage associated with climate change and fossil fuel extraction cause massive habitat degradation. Even the species that thrive in this new human-dominated era, such as coyotes, are caught in a continuous struggle — and the results can be surprising.

This year a black bear killed a hiker in New Jersey for the first time in over 150 years as the bear population grows and spreads throughout the state. Polar bear attacks on humans are increasing in areas around the Arctic. And a new hybrid between coyotes and wolves, the coywolf, is rapidly expanding across the East as it combines the prowess of a wolf and cunning of a coyote — a bad combination for deer, another species that is thriving across suburban America.

With more species struggling to survive in a dramatically altered wild, this co-existence with unfamiliar species may become increasingly common as human populations continue to grow, urbanize, and demand more resources.


[h/t thinkprogress]




NFTOS
STAFF WRITER

Thursday, February 12, 2015

SAM BROWNBACK, KANSAS GOVERNOR IS A SPECIAL KIND OF STUPID

 SAM BROWNBACK



In 2007, the state of Kansas was forbidden from firing state employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity under an executive order signed by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

On Tuesday, the state’s sitting governor, Sam Brownback , abruptly rescinded this order. Before any state officials take Brownback’s action as a license to purge gay or trans workers, however, they should familiarize themselves with the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s decisions applying it in gay rights cases. If Kansas actually fires someone for being gay or trans, they are likely to find themselves on the wrong end of a federal lawsuit.

The Constitution forbids states from denying any person “the equal protection of the laws.” In the gay rights context, the Supreme Court explained most recently in its 2013 decision striking down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), “the Constitution’s guarantee of equality ‘must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot” justify disparate treatment of that group.'”

The Court’s precedents also establish that discrimination by a state official is no less offensive to the Constitution than discrimination by an act of Congress, so if a Kansas state official fires a state employee simply because they are gay, lesbian or bisexual, they violate the Constitution — regardless of whether a state has an executive order in place banning the practice. Mere anti-gay animus, divorced from another, legitimate justification for the state official’s action, cannot justify discrimination.

Yet, while the Court’s precedents indicate that state-sponsored discrimination against gay workers is unconstitutional, LGBT Kansans should be aware of two caveats to this conclusion. The first is that, while the arc of the Supreme Court’s gay rights jurisprudence has bent towards justice in recent years, gay Americans are still caught in an odd kind of constitutional limbo that creates some uncertainty regarding the scope of their rights.

Although the word “discrimination” carries negative connotations, most forms of discrimination are entirely constitutional — and rightfully so. The government may legitimately prefer job applicants who performed well in college to those with low GPAs. Or it can discriminate against people who did not graduate from law school when hiring lawyers. Or it can choose to only throw people who committed crimes into prison while treating the rest of the population differently.

No sensible legal regime bans all forms of discrimination, rather, the Constitution bars what is often described as “invidious” discrimination — discrimination against groups that have historically be subject to discrimination due to a trait that bears little relation to their “ability to perform or contribute to society.” This is why race and gender discrimination are typically forbidden by the Constitution. It is also why many courts recognize that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is largely impermissible.

The Supreme Court, however, has not yet gone so far as to hold that discrimination against gay people is subject to “heightened scrutiny” — although several lower courts have done so. This oversight creates enough uncertainty regarding the scope of gay rights under the Constitution that a minority of federal judges ruled against marriage equality even after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. If Kansas fires an employee because they are gay, and that employee sues, the fate of that lawsuit could hinge upon whether the case is heard by a judge who is inclined to construe the Supreme Court’s gay rights cases narrowly.

The second caveat is that, while the Supreme Court handed down a number of decisions protecting gay rights, they’ve had much less to say about the rights of transgender Americans. Although the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that “a government agent violates the Equal Protection Clause’s prohibition of sex-based discrimination when he or she fires a transgender or transsexual employee because of his or her gender non-conformity,” it is an open question whether the conservative Roberts Court will reach the same conclusion. Kansas is also located in the Tenth Circuit, and there is also no guarantee that Tenth Circuit judges will agree with the Eleventh Circuit.

Perhaps because of these two uncertainties, state-based LGBT rights groups in Kansas remain quite alarmed about what could happen to state employees who no longer enjoy the protection of Sebelius’s executive order. Equality Kansas, for example, tweeted out an admonition to reporters asking to speak to LGBT state employees — “To reporters asking us for LGBT KS State employees for you to interview: NO. They talk today, they’re fired tomorrow. Think about it. Thanks.”


Congratulations Sam, you are today's worst person in the world, enjoy asshat!


[h/t thinkprogress]




NFTOS
Blogger-In-Chief
Roger West