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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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and state Republican leaders have been playing damage control this week, claiming that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not a law that enables anti-LGBT discrimination. Meanwhile, however, the conservatives who advocated for the bill have been spurning this attempted walkback, asserting in the process that the goal was ensuring discrimination all along.

At the forefront of the conservative reaction is Micah Clark, who serves as executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana and who stood right behind Pence as he signed the bill. Speaking Monday to Tim Wildmon, head of the national American Family Association, Clark explained that conservatives should oppose any effort to clarify that the law does not legalize discrimination. “That could totally destroy this bill,” he explained.

Clark has been publicly advocating for the bill as a means for allowing anti-LGBT discrimination since December, long before the legislation was even drafted. This directly contradicts the claims made Monday by House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long that the legislation never had anything to do with discrimination.

Eric Miller, Executive Director of Advance America, is another anti-LGBT activist who stood by Pence as he signed the bill. Advance America praised Pence for signing the bill last week, stating that it would allow wedding vendors to refuse to serve same-sex couples and allow Christian businesses to refuse transgender people access to restrooms. Miller was quoted as saying, “It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana. It’s the right thing to do. It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!” Pence and Miller, it turns out, go way back.

On the national stage, conservatives are similarly defending the RFRA and arguing it needs no fixing. Andrew Walker, Director of Policy Studies for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, perhaps best summed up the distortion conservatives are using to argue that it’s not discriminatory:

A wedding vendor who chooses not to service a same-sex wedding is not discriminating against a person’s being. Instead, the vendor believes that material cooperation in a particular event encroaches on his conscience… To give relief to a particular wedding vendor who feels uncomfortable servicing a gay wedding isn’t in any way comparable to state-sponsored discrimination… To require a wedding vendor to service a same-sex wedding is not eliminating discrimination against the gay couple. It’s coercing the wedding vendor.

Walker is simultaneously admitting that the law is designed to allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people while denying that it’s actually “discrimination” that’s taking place. Radio host Bryan Fischer, formerly, took the Christian self-victimization a step further. “This law is not something that provides for discrimination against gays,” he explained. “It is something that prevents discrimination against Christians… This thing is an anti-discrimination bill because it prohibits governmental discrimination against Christians in the state of Indiana.”

The Heritage Institute’s Ryan T. Anderson used this messaging to try to take on Apple CEO Tim Cook, who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post this week calling these so-called “religious freedom” laws dangerous. According to Anderson, “the only person in favor of discrimination in this debate is Tim Cook.” As one of his examples, Anderson claims, “It is Tim Cook who would have the government discriminate against these citizens, have the government coerce them into helping to celebrate a same-sex wedding and penalize them if they try to lead their lives in accordance with their faith.”

Using as his example Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman — who was fined last week for refusing to serve a same-sex couple — Anderson reiterates the distortion: “This debate has nothing to do with refusing to serve gays simply because they’re gay, and this law wouldn’t protect that. But should the government force a 70-year-old grandmother to violate her beliefs? Should the government coerce her into helping to celebrate a same-sex wedding?” Anderson later highlights Aaron and Melissa Klein, bakery owners who also face fines for refusing service to a same-sex couple, as somehow another example of how RFRA is not about discrimination. He echoed these talking points on MSNBC last night as well, offering the caveat that nothing guarantees a vendor will win if they defend their discrimination with RFRA.

The Family Research Council has been making the media rounds as well. In addition to defending Pence and the law on their website, both Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg have taken to cable news this week to defend their positions. Sprigg went toe-to-toe with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday morning, where he acknowledged that wedding vendors trying to discriminate could use the law to defend themselves, but like Anderson, he tried to couch that in the idea that they wouldn’t necessarily win. The only thing these Christian wedding vendors object to, Sprigg suggested, “is using their expressive abilities to communicate a message that they disagree with by saying that marriage can be a union of two men or two women,” adding that it’s “forcing them to do something that violates their faith.”

On Fox News Monday night, Perkins continued to falsely conflate Indiana’s RFRA with laws by the same name in other states, adding, “Let’s be very clear what RFRA is. This is a shield to protect one’s belief from government. It is not a sword to be used against anyone else and it cannot be… This is only a defense and it is not an iron-clad defense at that.” Perkins went on to describe the notion that some people want to “force people to engage in a behavior such as weddings — photographers, florists. In a civil society, what we would say is, ‘Oh, you don’t want to service me? Fine, I’ll go next store. I’ll go down the street.'” Borrowing a rather mockable talking point from Mike Huckabee, he added, “Who would fathom the idea of someone going into a Kosher deli and demanding a ham sandwich?”

Despite conservatives all asserting that RFRA is designed to allow businesses to refuse to offer products and services to same-sex couples that they offer to others, Pence continued to defend the law as not being discriminatory in a Wall Street Journal op-ed posted Monday evening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s The Onion that has one of the most accurate headlines this week: “Indiana Governor Insists New Law Has Nothing To Do With Thing It Explicitly Intended To Do.”

Crossposted from thinkprogress


Monday, March 30, 2015

Berkeley Ambassador Punches Homeless Man

James Cocklereese, a homeless resident of Berkeley, California, has been sentenced to two years of probation. But what led to that sentence was the apparent unprovoked beating he received from a man who works as an ambassador for the homeless with the Downtown Berkeley Association (DBA).

The incident was caught on camera, in which DBA staffers Jefferey Bailey and Carmen Francois approached Cocklereese and another homeless man, Nathan Swor, to ask them to leave an area they had been camped out in. After Cocklereese can be seen and heard yelling curses at the staffers, Bailey punches him in the head and then continues punching him at least ten times after he’s on the ground.

At the end of the video, as the two homeless men are packing up their belongings to leave, Bailey can be seen pinning Swor into a corner and heard saying, “I swear I will knock you out.”

Bailey initially filed a report to his superiors about the incident, claiming. The police report says that Swor brandished a pole with a blade attached to it, and that Cocklereese “raised his fist, and charged the victim,” neither of which can be seen on the video.

But after the Youtube video surfaced, the DBA said it had fired him and suspended Francois. So far neither has been charged.

Cocklereese and Swor, on the other hand, have been charged with seven misdemeanor counts. They both entered no contest pleas on Monday and will be sentenced to two years of probation. They will also have to pay into a restitution fund and will be subject to law enforcement searchers. After Cocklreese admitted to a probation violation, he will have to work for 30 days in a sheriff department program.

DBA CEO John Caner has called the assault “shocking” and said, “We’re taking steps to do whatever we can to make sure it doesn't happen again.” He blames the incident on a problematic individual but said the association will expand a training program for its ambassadors.

But advocates for the homeless say the assault is part of a larger problem with the DBA. As many as 15 people took to the streets on Friday to protest what happened. David Teague, and advocate known as Ninja Kitty, said at the demonstration, “It doesn't stem [from] this individual ambassador… When it comes to an ambassador’s word against [a] homeless [person’s], the ambassador’s word is gold.” Bob Offer-Westort of Streets Are for Everyone agreed, telling ABC 7, “If there’s a conflict and the ambassador reports, ‘this person assaulted me,’ then the cop is likely to believe the ambassador and arrest the person for assault.”

The homeless face many challenges, one of them being run-ins with city officials and police, particularly given the growing adoption of ordinances that effectively criminalize homeless people’s lives. Many of these are put into place at the behest of local businesses.

The homeless are also at an extremely elevated risk of violence, although it often comes from passing strangers, rather than those purportedly there to help them. There were at least 109 violent attacks against the homeless from non-homeless assailants in 2013, 18 of which were fatal, a 24 percent increase over the year before. Over the last 15 years, 375 homeless people were murdered.

A big part of the problem, of course, is that the homeless sleeping outside — more than 135,000 people on any given night at last count — are left exposed. Ninja Kitty has been on a housing waiting list for two years and said, “They expect us to magically disappear while we wait and they attack and assault us while we have nowhere to go.” Criminalization is effectively a way to try to sweep the problem of homelessness aside while often increasing the risk of run-ins with police, which is not just another challenge for the homeless but eats up local government resources.

Some cities have instead moved toward housing their homeless populations. That approach saves a significant amount of money by reducing police interactions as well as emergency room visits. Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and New Orleans have all been able to completely house portions of their homeless populations.

[h/t thinkprogress]


Sunday, March 29, 2015



On January 28, Floyd Dent was arrested in Inkster, Michigan and charged with resisting arrest, assault and possession of cocaine. The charges seemed unusual considering Dent had worked at Ford for 37 years and had no criminal history.

A video of Dent’s arrest, released today, reveals a far more disturbing picture. It shows Dent being dragged from his car, placed in a chokehold and struck 16 times in the head. Dent was also Tasered three times.

In all, 10 cops arrived at the scene. They were all white, according to Dent’s attorney.

Police say they pulled Dent over while they were “watching an area known to have drug activity” and saw that Dent “didn't make a complete stop at a stop sign.” After a judge saw the video, the charges of resisting arrest and assault were immediately thrown out. Dent still faces drug possession charges.

According to the police, when Dent exited the car he said, “I’ll kill you.” There is no audio recording of the incident. The officer who had Dent in a chokehold says that Dent bit him, but he did not seek medical attention or photograph his alleged injury.

Dent says the bag of crack cocaine the officers claim they found was planted and, according to his attorney, there is unreleased video which shows the officers planting the drugs. The officer who repeatedly punched Dent was “was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for planting evidence and falsifying reports” in 2003. He was ultimately found not guilty.

“I’m lucky to be living. I think they was trying to kill me, especially when they had choked me. I mean, I was on my last breath. I kept telling the officer, ‘Please, I can’t breathe,’” Dent said in a media availability today.

This incident is just one of hundreds, where a cowardly pack of sadistic hyenas that should be charged for at a minimum, excessive force.

Roger West

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Bill Maher made politically correct liberals the subject of his show-ending new rule tonight, as he’s done before, mocking how worked up everyone got about comments from Dolce and Gabbana about “synthetic” babies. Maher said he’s getting tired of the liberal outrage machine and asked, “What is the point of attacking people who are 95 percent on your side?”

Maher said just like conservatives, liberals have crazies of their own they need to rein in. He brought up the controversy over the Economist cover on Latinos and how Media Matters covered it. The liberal media watchdog called it “a tired trope often used to confine the Hispanic community to oversimplified representation in the media.”

Maher reacted by telling Media Matters to “shut the fuck up.”

He remarked, “How deeply stupid has the far-left become,” and said liberals just need to stop freaking out about every single little thing that doesn’t 100 percent conform to their worldview


Roger West

Thursday, March 26, 2015


This week, Ohio State Rep. Teresa Fedor stood up during a legislative debate about a proposed abortion ban and revealed publicly for the first time that she had been sexually assaulted, became pregnant, and had an abortion.
“You don’t respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice,” Fedor told her fellow lawmakers, who are attempting to outlaw abortion procedures after just six weeks of pregnancy. “What you’re doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I’ve sat here too long.
“I dare any one of you to judge me,” she added. “I dare you to walk in my shoes.”

Fedor’s disclosure is just the latest personal admission from a female lawmaker who has determined she cannot remain silent about her own experience while her colleagues debate issues of reproductive rights on the floor.

Earlier this month, Arizona State Rep. Victoria Steele made a similar speech during a legislative debate over a measure that would make it harder for women to get insurance coverage for abortion services. Steele revealed that she had been the victim of sexual assault as a young girl, and later learned that the man who molested her had harmed multiple other victims.

The lawmaker had not planned to disclose her molestation, but she ended up feeling compelled to share her personal story after she was asked to explain why abortion should be considered a medical service. “This is health care. Having the ability to get an abortion,” she said to the committee. “And that’s why I see this as necessary.”

Meanwhile, during Michigan’s last session, State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer spoke up in a debate over a measure to restrict insurance coverage for abortion — including for women who become pregnant from rape. Before the final vote, Whitmer tearfully disclosed her own history with sexual assault for the first time, telling her fellow lawmakers that she had been raped two decades ago.

“As I was considering what to say in opposition to the rape insurance proposal in front of the Senate today, I made the decision to speak about my own story publicly for the first time ever,” Whitmer said. “I felt it was important for my Republican colleagues to see the face of the women they’re hurting with their actions today.

Texas voters have also become well acquainted with former gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ personal history, which she cited during her infamous filibuster against a package of harsh abortion restrictions in the summer of 2013. During that filibuster, she talked about her experience with terminating an ectopic pregnancy, recounted relying on Planned Parenthood clinics when she was uninsured, and explained that there was a point in her life when she wouldn’t have been able to afford to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest abortion clinic. Later, in her memoir, Davis detailed the reasons why she had a second abortion.

The list goes on. Nevada Assemblywomen Lucy Flores talked about her decision to have an abortion at the age of 16 during her testimony in favor of a comprehensive sex ed measure. U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier disclosed her own abortion on the House floor while arguing against a GOP-sponsored proposal to defund Planned Parenthood. Pennsylvania State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop discussed being raped at the age of 12 to explain her support for a bill to strengthen protections for victims of child abuse.

There are two sides to this emerging trend. On one hand, it speaks to the fact that increasing the number of women serving in government can end up influencing lawmaking. There wouldn't be nearly as many personal stories about issues that disproportionately affect women, like sexual assault and abortion, if legislatures consisted of solely men. Changing the conversation in this way is a reminder that creating more diversity in the halls of power can make a real difference.

On the other hand, even as reproductive advocates celebrate the fact that an increasing number of women are feeling comfortable enough to disclose their stigmatized health care experiences, there are lingering concerns. Is this too high of an emotional cost to demand from women in the public sphere? Do we feel too entitled to women’s personal stories, when we should be able to understand the impact of proposed abortion restrictions without that invasion of privacy?
“I personally resent that women have to tell their deepest, darkest traumas in public, their most private moments in public, in order to get people to understand that these bills, these attempts to take away women’s rights, how devastating they are,” Rep. Victoria Steele, the Arizona lawmaker who disclosed her sexual assault earlier this month, told this month. “We should not have to bare that part of our lives in such a public way to be able to access legal medical care.”
Still, although Steele said “it was hard as hell to do what I did in that hearing,” she concluded that she didn't regret it.

Cross Posted from thinkrpogress


Wednesday, March 25, 2015



A few days after accusing “global warming alarmists” like California Governor Jerry Brown of ridiculing and insulting “anyone who actually looks at the real data” around climate change, Darwin award winner Ted Cruz upped his rhetoric against those who care about the issue.

Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”
“You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said.

In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church.

Galileo, who helped perpetuate the notion that the Earth rotates around the sun, was eventually excommunicated from the Church for his views. In the centuries since he has come to be known as the “father of modern physics” and “the father of modern science.”

Cruz mentioned in the interview that his parents were mathematicians; however he himself studied public policy before going to law school.

Cruz also said he had read a 1970s Newsweek article that morning about “global cooling.” He explained how all the people who believed in global cooling suddenly switched over to global warming when the evidence on cooling didn’t line up.

The solutions to both warming and cooling, Cruz said, involved “government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”

Either Cruz is suddenly interested in minor 1970s scientific theories or he is scrambling to find ways to push back against the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is happening.

Cruz is not the first to compare Galileo to those who speak out against the accepted science of climate change. In 2011, former presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry dropped Galileo’s name as justification for his anti-climate position.

As the website Skeptical Science points out, “the comparison is exactly backwards.”
“Modern scientists follow the evidence-based scientific method that Galileo pioneered,” the website reads. “Skeptics who oppose scientific findings that threaten their world view are far closer to Galileo’s belief-based critics in the Catholic Church.”
President Obama seems to have gotten the analogy correct when he said in 2013 that “we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society” when it comes to doing something about climate change.
“The planet is warming. Human activity is contributing to it,” Obama said at the time. “We know that the costs of these events can be measured in lost lives and lost livelihoods.”
Fact: No one in Galileo's time thought the world was flat. If you're being stupid Ted, at least use a factual comparison. While being factual, Galileo was convicted by the Inquisition, and he was sentenced to lifelong house arrest. He was not excommunicated, which during the time was considered a far more severe sentence.

Ted Cruz, proving yet again, that just when you think his level of stupidity has hit its acme - he proves us wrong yet again.

Ted, you are today’s moronic idiot of the day, congrats numbnutz!

[H/t thinkprogress]

Roger West

Tuesday, March 24, 2015



Sen. Ted Cruz who launched his presidential campaign on Monday, was one of the key architects of the Republican opposition to raising the country’s debt ceiling. He’s now touting that effort as part of his jobs plan.

Under the “Jobs & Opportunity” section of his website, which says that “Ted Cruz has led the way to bring back jobs, growth, and opportunity to America,” one bullet relates to his key role in getting Republicans to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, which has been routinely raised for decades to allow the government to borrow more money so that it can meet all of its obligations. It says he “set an early, high standard for meaningful Republican opposition to increasing the debt ceiling,” including his opposition to a simple majority vote to lift it in 2013 and refusal to let an increase be part of a budget deal.

Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee originally teamed up to get 14 other senators to sign on to a letter demanding that Obamacare be defunded in return for raising the debt ceiling and keeping the government open. That strategy led to the eventual government shutdown at the end of 2013 and a near default on U.S. federal debt that was only avoided with the passage of an eleventh hour deal.

Cruz may want to claim this moment as part of his economic plan, but economists agree that this strategy hurt, not helped, the economy. A report from the Peterson Institute on International Economics found that the threat of default on American debt and other ways that Congress has governed crisis to crisis meant the loss of 750,000 jobs and sliced 1 percent off of GDP economic growth. The shutdown itself cost the economy an estimated $24 billion and 120,000 jobs in just two weeks. Another report found that uncertainty created by Congress’s manufactured crises over short-term spending bills, the fiscal cliff, and debt ceiling battles had already cost 900,000 jobs before the government shutdown.

Some Republicans have since distanced themselves from the shutdown and debt ceiling tactics. But some used the tactic again to nearly shut the government down a second time at the end of last year over Obamacare funding. Cruz himself has refused to rule these tactics out in his crusade against the Affordable Care Act.

Roger West

Monday, March 23, 2015



Former Vice President Dick Cheney said that President Barack Obama was “playing the race card” to excuse criticism of his record as president.
“I think they’re playing the race card, in my view. Certainly we haven’t given up—nor should we give up—the right to criticize an administration and public officials. To say that we criticize, or that I criticize, Barack Obama or Eric Holder because of race, I just think it’s obviously not true,” Cheney said in a wide-ranging interview with Playboy magazine released on Tuesday. “My view of it is the criticism is merited because of performance—or lack of performance, because of incompetence. It hasn’t got anything to do with race.”
Cheney likewise thought that the protests in Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement that stemmed from it had been wrongly linked to race. “Well [pauses], what I see is disturbing. It’s always a tragedy when there is a death involved and so forth. But it seems to me it’s a clear-cut case that the officer did what he had to do to defend himself. He was perfectly within his authorities to take action … And I’ve been disappointed, I guess, in the Obama administration’s response. I think there should have been more people who were ready to stand up and say, ‘Look, the evidence is pretty overwhelming. The grand jury has reviewed it thoroughly. Here’s what we know. This is what happened.’ And that we should not sort of throw it all over on the burden of race, or racial inequality or racial discrimination, as being responsible for this particular event,” Cheney said.
“I don’t think it is about race. I think it is about an individual who conducted himself in a manner that was almost guaranteed to provoke an officer trying to do his duty,” Cheney concluded.
Cheney went on to say that Obama had undone some of the legacies of President George W. Bush. “[H]is precipitous withdrawal and refusal to leave any stay-behind forces, to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqis, was a huge mistake; we are paying a price for it now. He’s having to go back in now, and the guy who campaigned on the basis of bring the boys home and get out of Iraq is now redeploying forces to Iraq,” he said.

Cheney also called Obama “the worst president in his lifetime,” even when stacked up against other liberal presidents. “I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president in my lifetime, without question—and that’s saying something. I used to have significant criticism of Jimmy Carter, but compared to Barack Obama and the damage he is doing to the nation—it’s a tragedy, a real tragedy, and we are going to pay a hell of a price just trying to dig out from under his presidency,” he said.

The conservative critique that the Obama administration is “playing the race card” is fairly common. After Obama gave a deeply personal speech about race after the death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in Florida, conservatives were quick to say that Obama was the “first racist in chief” or that Obama was making the death of the unarmed teen “all about race.”

(HT Business Insider)


Sunday, March 22, 2015


On Thursday night, employees at a Raleigh’s restaurant near North Carolina State University discovered a green notebook that had been left behind by members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity on campus. Among the many comments scrawled in the small notebook were references to rape and lynching, recycling familiar narratives about entrenched misogyny and racism in fraternity culture.

“That tree is so perfect for lynching,” one note read.
“You can never trust a n***** as far as you can throw them,” scribbled another.
Additional entries included: “It will be short and painful, just like when I rape you”; “if she’s old enough to pee, she’s old enough to me”; and “let’s go to Raleigh and yell at some n******.”

“It was just a group of young men at state making jokes about raping people, raping children, raping dead women, making very overt racist comments,” said NCSU senior Katie Perry, who handed the notebook over to local news station WRAL after her co-workers happened upon it.

Pi Kappa Phi’s national organization has since placed the NC State chapter on interim suspension and issued a public statement condemning the notebook’s comments. “It’s unacceptable. It’s offensive, and the things written in there are something we’re taking very, very seriously,” Pi Kappa Phi Chief Executive Mark Timmes insisted. “It’s not consistent with our values.”

Despite repeated denunciations of bad behavior from national fraternity chapters and university leaders, however, incidents like the NCSU pledge book abound. This one is simply the latest in a series of high-profile news stories about fraternity culture’s intersection with racism and misogyny.

At Penn State, the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity has been suspended over allegations that members used a private, invitation-only Facebook page — dubbed “Covert Business Transactions” — to post photos of passed out women, many of whom were nude. Similar to the NCSU episode, members of the fraternity commented on the photos with observations such as “banged her lol” and “Lol delete these photos or we’ll be on cnn in a week.”

Shortly before the Penn state incident, a video of members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma chanting a racist song went viral, leading to the expulsion of two students and removal of the campus SAE chapter. The fraternity’s national website boasts ties to the “antebellum South” and has come under fire for the racist actions of its members many times over the past several years: In 2013, the frat’s Washington University in St. Louis chapter was suspended after pledges reportedly sang racial slurs to African American students; in 2014, SAE’s Clemson University chapter hosted a “Cripmas” party, named after the California-based “Crips” street gang; and in 2006, an SAE member at the University of Memphis left the fraternity after two other frat members harassed him for dating a black woman.

The recent wave of publicity over fraternity members’ misconduct has reignited a discussion about the role Greek culture on campus and the lack of oversight and accountability for reprehensible behavior.

“We are absolutely seeing a light being shined on Greek life right now, but these things are not unique to Greek life,” said Allison Tombros Korman, executive director of Culture of Respect, a preventative sexual assault group. “Sexual assault or inappropriate behavior or inappropriate chanting or comments — those aren’t just happening in Greek life.”

Other contend that while such social issues like racism and sexism are not exclusively contained to fraternity culture, they are especially prevalent there.
“I experienced different types of violence at fraternities,” a former student at the University of Virginia said. “I got groped at parties, a guy threw me over his shoulders and dragged me up the frat stairs and I fought my way out of his arms. When I was dragged upstairs, I was shaking and said to other frat members ‘he just tried to drag me up the stairs.’ And they were like, ‘go home, you’re lying. You’re drunk, that didn’t happen. Go home. And they kicked me out the frat.”

[h/t thinkptogress]


Saturday, March 21, 2015


 With all the news about horrible fraternity behavior, Bill Maher had a message last tonight for people still engrained in frat culture: “get the fuck out.”

Maher, certainly no prude, said frats are really becoming a huge problem when you have abuse going on, racial epithets flying around, and even people dying from hazing rituals. And after going through some of the most screwed-up methods of hazing members, Maher asked, “Jesus, why not just pledge ISIS?”

He said if anyone wants to go to college to “paint your face or degrade women or drink yourself sick,” they should really rethink the idea of college in the first place.


Roger West

Friday, March 20, 2015


Daily Show host Jon Stewart slayed Fox News on Thursday for hypocritically demanding that “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” protesters apologize after refusing to admit that it was wrong in reporting on the Benghazi embassy attacks.
“They demand accountability for anger and divisiveness whilst holding themselves entirely unaccountable for their anger and divisiveness. For two years, they used Benghazi as shorthand, as a symbol for the whole concept of a corrupt, lying, tyrannical — possibly murderous — Obama White House,” Stewart said. “Kind of how other people used ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ as a symbol for systemic racism. There’s really only one difference between the two phenomena: systemic racism actually exists.”

Stewart pointed out that, while Fox hosts have focused all of their attention on a Justice Department report finding no evidence that Michael Brown had his hands up when he was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson last year, they have pointedly ignored that the department also found extensive evidence that Wilson’s colleagues on the Ferguson Police Department systematically targeted the city’s black residents for citations and traffic stops — a pattern of discrimination which lent itself to a flashpoint incident like the shooting.

Roger West

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Last night, hundreds of students gathered at the University of Virginia to protest the treatment of Martese Johnson, a junior who was brutally beaten by cops on Tuesday evening.

As tensions began to rise, Johnson himself addressed the crowd, urging calm. “We’re all part of one community and we deserve to respect each other, especially at times like this.”

Johnson’s role as a conciliator is not surprising. He serves on the University Of Virginia Honor Committee. The committee is charged with enforcing the university’s honor code and maintaining a “spirit of compassion and interconnectedness” at UVA.

Roger West

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Despite his comments at a recent speaking event in New Hampshire, Sen. Ted Cruz definitely does not think the world is on fire.

That became clear after a conversation with talk show host Seth Meyers this week, during which Meyers used Cruz’s “the whole world’s on fire” quote in reference to the Obama administration’s governance to ask the senator about climate change.

“First, I got excited, because I thought maybe you were coming around on global warming, but that’s not the case, right?” Meyers said. “Because I think the world’s on fire, literally — hottest year on record — but you’re not there, right?”

Meyers was right — Cruz isn't there yet. The senator talked about the cold weather he experienced while in New Hampshire this weekend, and said that the climate hasn't warmed in over a decade — a claim he’s relied on in the past.

Cruz’s claims against climate change are well-used by the senator, and both have been debunked by the science that Cruz claims should be at the forefront of climate change debate. Last year, Cruz also said in an interview with CNN that the Earth had experienced “no recorded warming” over the last 15 years. That’s a claim that climate scientists have dismissed. The Earth has experienced warming over the last 17 years, but much of it has been going on in the oceans.

Roger West

Tuesday, March 17, 2015



As the Colorado legislature is locked in a bitter debate about whether to keep funding a family planning program for low-income women — a political fight that hinges on whether intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a form of abortion — some lawmakers are making a strong fashion statement in favor of the birth control method.

In order to drum up support for IUDs, and ultimately help demystify this particular form of long-acting contraception, politicians on both sides of the aisle have started wearing IUD-themed earrings and lapel pins. As the Denver Post reports, “the IUD jewelry is emerging as one of the most visible political symbols this legislative session.”

Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would appropriate $5 million in state funding for a program, called the Colorado Family Planning Initiative that provides women with IUDs and implants. Since 2009, this particular program has handed out an estimated 30,000 long-acting contraceptives, contributing to a staggering 40 percent drop in teen births over the past five years.

But the program has hit a roadblock among anti-choice lawmakers in the state, who incorrectly claim that IUDs are abortion-inducing devices. The disagreement over the science regarding IUDs could have big consequences: Unless the legislature agrees to designate state funding to keep it going, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative may not have enough money to continue its work in this area.

That’s where the IUD jewelry comes in. Lobbyists for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment trying to leverage support for the state-run family planning program found them on Etsy, where they’re sold by an Ohio-based OB-GYN named Virginia Smith. They bought 15 pairs — the largest order Smith had ever received — and started handing them out to lawmakers.

State Rep. Don Coram is one of the politicians proudly displaying a glittery replica of an IUD. He attached it to his lapel, next to his pin of the American flag.
“A redneck Republican wearing an IUD — it just doesn't make sense does it?” Coram joked in an interview with the Denver Post about his suit’s recent acquisition. “Seriously though, I think this is one of the most important bills we are looking at.”

Although Coram is personally opposed to abortion, he wants his GOP colleagues to support the Colorado Family Planning Initiative as a way to avoid unintended pregnancies and save taxpayer dollars in the long term. He’s also advocating for a separate measure to implement a statewide program aimed at preventing teen pregnancies and high school dropouts.

Smith, meanwhile, told a local ABC affiliate that she’s glad her IUD-themed jewelry is helping raise awareness about family planning in another state. “I think women should have access to options and so if this promotes access to options then I think that is a good thing,” Smith said.

Even outside of Colorado, IUD-themed clothing and jewelry is picking up steam. Smith isn’t the only Etsy seller specializing in wares shaped like the contraceptive. Jessy Hennesy, a sexuality educator with the Unitarian Universalist Association said earlier this year that she bought a pair of IUD earrings from a different Etsy shop in order to spark conversation about birth control at her church.

In general, as the number of U.S. women opting for IUDs has been steadily on the rise, more women are starting to feel comfortable talking about the subject. As the most effective reversible form of birth control — enthusiastically endorsed by pediatricians and gynecologists alike — IUDs have started to gain somewhat of a cult following among the people who use them.

But IUDs also aren’t without controversy among abortion opponents. Last year, the evangelical owners of the craft chain Hobby Lobby went all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for their right to drop coverage for this type of birth control, incorrectly claiming that IUDs are a form of abortion despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. Now that Hobby Lobby has won its case, it’s helped advance leading anti-abortion groups’ broader efforts to rebrand birth control as abortion. Depending on what ends up happening in Colorado, conservative lawmakers there could help further that talking point, too.

Cross posted from thinkprogress


Monday, March 16, 2015



Sen. Tom Cotton stood by his decision Sunday to send a letter on a burgeoning nuclear deal directly to Iranian leaders. He insisted on Face the Nation that “Iran’s leaders need to hear the message loud and clear” that an Obama-brokered deal might not last past the end of his administration without congressional approval, despite a stern letter from the White House Sunday night urging senators to hold off on congressional intervention.

But when asked by Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer what better outcome Cotton expects if a White House-led deal falls through, Cotton seemed to make a key geographic mistake, suggesting that Tehran, the capital of Iran, might be controlled by anyone other than Iranian leaders:
Schieffer: What do you want to happen here? What is your alternative here? Let’s say that the deal falls through, then what?
Cotton: Well as Prime Minister Netanyahu said, the alternative to a bad deal is a better deal. The Iranians frequently bluff to walk away from the table. if they bluff this week, call their bluff. The Congress stands ready to impose much more severe sanctions. Moreover we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran increasingly they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad and now Sana’a as well. They do all that without a nuclear weapon. imagine what they would do with a nuclear weapon.
Schieffer went on to ask Cotton whether he had any regrets at all about the letter. So he didn’t clarify with Cotton what he meant by his comment that Iran has “control” of its own capital.

But several on Twitter noticed the gaffe and questioned Cotton’s Harvard credentials[See photo above].

Cotton was the lead author of the letter by 47 senators that key officials have since called unprecedented, embarrassing, and dangerous for asserting their concerns over U.S. leaders’ handling of the nuclear deal directly to the Iranian government.

Critics questioned how Cotton, a freshman senator and the youngest in the Senate, came to persuade 46 of his colleagues into such a politically risky effort. Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson has pointed out that the letter was sent quickly without even the vetting of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who was one of seven Senate Republicans not to sign the letter. And Sen. John McCain , who did sign the letter, said senators rushed to sign it without considering the blowback because of an impending snowstorm.

Legal experts quickly poked holes in his description of the constitutional requirements for treaties.

Cotton and several others including Sen. Mitch McConnell stood by the letter on Sunday show appearances. But at least a few letter-signers have expressed some regret over the past few days for sending their message to Iranian officials rather than another less hostile audience.

Call me paranoid, but I have a different concern: since, for instance, both Cotton and Cruz have degrees from Harvard, I have to assume that they are capable of graduating from Harvard. This is no mean feat. Why am I worried? Because they behave in ways that give lie to this fact. To be so harsh, insensitive and calculating, is beyond most humans comprehension. They are truly Machiavellian.

[H/t thinkprogess]

Roger West

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Real Time's Bill Maher took a swing at the Republicans and their double standard when it comes to the value of work and someone pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, unless of course it comes from inherited wealth.


Roger West

Friday, March 13, 2015



Months after Attorney General Eric Holder launched an investigation of Ferguson Police Department in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, the Department of Justice released a 102-page report detailing systemic race discrimination and abuses of power in the embattled city. But despite the DOJ’s damning findings, the city’s mayor remains unconvinced that widespread problems exist.
“What they’ve shown is that it has happened. Now, how often has that happened? I don’t know. Their assertion is it happens regularly. Based on what? I’m not sure yet,” said Mayor James Knowles III, during an interview Friday. “Do they have a statistic that tells me that they’ve examined every arrest that we've made for the past four years and that half, or all, or 10 percent, or 5 percent are unconstitutional or without cause? They do not have that. They have not examined at that level that I know of at this point.”
He also maintains that there is “no proof” of gross civil rights violations.

The mayor is one of many long-standing officials charged with damage control. The city will likely enter an agreement with the DOJ to make systemic reforms, in order to avoid a federal lawsuit. Knowles contends that cleanup efforts are already underway and offer proof that the situation isn't dire. But the people tasked with implementing changes were heavily involved in establishing the local law enforcement structure. For instance, Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer imposed steep fines on African Americans but owes $170,000 in unpaid taxes.

According to the DOJ’s findings, African Americans who make up 67 of Ferguson’s population, were involved in 93 percent of arrests, 85 percent of traffic stops, and received 90 percent of tickets issued by officers, from 2012 to 2014. The report also detailed numerous cases in which officers approached black men and women without probable cause. Officers worked with the courts to issue egregious fines and fees to boost city revenue, at the expense of individuals who could not afford to pay them and were subsequently thrown in jail. Police also used excessive force with impunity.

Holder has announced that he will dismantle the police department if need be.

Mayor Knowles of Ferguson Missouri, you are today's asshat of the day. Congrats numbnutz! 

Roger West

Thursday, March 12, 2015



Holy "waka flocka flame" Batman:

“Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough defended remarks they made Wednesday morning that linked a racist Sigma Alpha Epsilon chant caught on video to rap lyrics on this morning’s broadcast. Brzezinski explained that the discussion “got real” and said there was “no moral equivalency” but there was a “news connection.”

They brought on MSNBC host Al Sharpton and Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial to discuss the connection they made yesterday, in which they discussed rapper Waka Flocka’s decision not to return to the University of Oklahoma campus to perform for SAE over the chant.
“If you look at every single song, I guess you call these, that [Waka Flocka’s] written, it’s a bunch of garbage,” Brzezinski said yesterday. “It’s full of n-words, it’s full of f-words. It’s wrong. And he shouldn’t be disgusted with them, he should be disgusted with himself.”
Guest Bill Kristol agreed, “Popular culture becomes a cesspool, a lot corporations profit off of it, and then people are surprised that some drunk 19-year-old kids repeat what they've been hearing.”

Scarborough weighed in: “The kids that are buying hip hop or gangster rap, it’s a white audience, and they hear this over and over again. So do they hear this at home? Well, chances are good, no, they heard a lot of this from guys like this who are now acting shocked.”

The remarks got wide media coverage, and a Twitter hashtag #rapalbumsthatcausedslavery popped up to mock the discussion.

Flocka himself responded to the remarks on MSNBC later that day, “This isn't about rap. This is about what happened on that bus. This isn’t about my rap music. I feel like they’re running away from what we’re talking about.”

On Thursday, Scarborough noted that as someone raised in the south, he was simply trying to figure out where the kind of words included in the rant come from.
Brzezinski tried explain the remarks, saying, “We’re all trying our best here to figure out our way through this and yesterday the conversation got real and I think some people conflated it with other things, but there’s no moral equivalency between something like rap lyrics and what happened on that bus. Those kids made that decision, they made that choice and it was disgraceful, disgusting and chilling what they were saying. That separate conversation is only related in these stories because there was someone who was going to perform — who performed on that campus who cancelled, and is not going back to that campus, because he’s disgusted by what he saw happened. And he happens to be someone who has lyrics that are questionable, and that is a separate conversation. There’s no moral equivalency, but there’s a news connection.”
Our first clue that this freight train was going to run off the rails was having Bill Krisol on their show for a segment about race and racism.

Roger West

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The Daily Show's Jon Stewart ripped the 47 Senate Republican traitors for their open letter to Iranian leaders, where they did their best to undermine the ongoing negotiations over their nuclear program and managed to make complete fools of themselves.


For the 47 traitors, I say read the Logan act which defines the wrongs with your letter to Iran.

These 47 Senators, you are today’s worst people in the world.


Roger West

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"White Conservative Victimization"

The Daily Show lampooned Fox News for turning Selma commemoration into “white conservative victimization

As only bullshit Mountain can.


A day without a Chicken-Little-whining smear with a talking point twist - is a day without Fox.

Roger West

Monday, March 9, 2015


Last Week Tonight's John Oliver didn't hold back when discussing the racist emails being sent by the Ferguson, MO police department and court officials which were discovered during the Department of Justice investigation of racial prejudice in the city's police and judicial system.

About says it all. 


Sunday, March 8, 2015



The Rachel Maddow Show takes a blowtorch to Fox News hiding behind its ratings to avoid the substance of the Bill O'Reilly fabrications scandal.


The Fox News business policy: "Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident that they are acting on their own free will".

Bullshit Mountain, once again living up to its name.

Roger West

Saturday, March 7, 2015



Bill Maher ended his show tonight revisiting last month’s controversy over whether President Obama loves America. And Maher just had one question: why are Republicans “obsessed” about Obama either not loving the country or loving it “the wrong way”?


Maher argued that it’s okay to criticize America, because “many of the good things America has done are actually reversals of bad things America did.” He went through a list of social and cultural advancements over the last century and pointed out, “All of that wouldn't have been necessary if we hadn't been dicks in the first place.”

Roger West

Friday, March 6, 2015



Jon Stewart observed on The Daily Show on Thursday that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) findings regarding the shooting of Michael Brown and police in Ferguson, Missouri last year had something for everyone — including Fox News.

“Let the self-vindicating gloating begin,” Stewart said before showing clips of Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity saying the federal investigation exonerated Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Brown.

But while the department opted not to charge Wilson in connection with the shooting, Stewart pointed out, it also described an institutionalized system of racially-biased policing in the city as a whole.

The story reeks - and is utterly fucking disgusting! Merica, you have a long way to go.

Roger West

Thursday, March 5, 2015



Yesterday the Department of Justice announced they would not charge former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last August. The Justice Department said that they could not prove that Wilson’s decision to shoot Brown was “objectively unreasonable.” To find that he was guilty of a civil right violation, they would have also had to prove that his actions were motivated by racial bias.

But the Department of Justice, in a separate investigation, did find a plethora of evidence of systemic racial bias throughout the Ferguson Police Department and local court system. Here are the 9 most egregious examples.

An African-American man lost his federal contracting job due to trumped up charges:

For example, in the summer of 2012, a 32-year-old African-American man sat in his car cooling off after playing basketball in a Ferguson public park. An officer pulled up behind the man’s car, blocking him in, and demanded the man’s Social Security number and identification. Without any cause, the officer accused the man of being a pedophile, referring to the presence of children in the park, and ordered the man out of his car for a pat-down, although the officer had no reason to believe the man was armed. The officer also asked to search the man’s car. The man objected, citing his constitutional rights. In response, the officer arrested the man, reportedly at gunpoint, charging him with eight violations of Ferguson’s municipal code…because of these charges, he lost his job as a contractor with the federal government that he had held for years. (2)

An African-American man was arrested because his wife asked officers a question:

In June 2014, an African-American couple who had taken their children to play at the park allowed their small children to urinate in the bushes next to their parked car. An officer stopped them, threatened to cite them for allowing the children to “expose themselves,” and checked the father for warrants. When the mother asked if the officer had to detain the father in front of the children, the officer turned to the father and said, “you’re going to jail because your wife keeps running her mouth.” (27)

An African-American man was tased for 20 seconds even though he made no aggressive movements and was unarmed:

In January 2013, a patrol sergeant stopped an African-American man after he saw the man talk to an individual in a truck and then walk away. The sergeant detained the man, although he did not articulate any reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot. When the man declined to answer questions or submit to a frisk…the sergeant grabbed the man by the belt, drew his ECW, and ordered the man to comply. The man crossed his arms and objected that he had not done anything wrong. Video captured by the ECW’s built-in camera shows that the man made no aggressive movement toward the officer. The sergeant fired the ECW, applying a five-second cycle of electricity and causing the man to fall to the ground. The sergeant almost immediately applied the ECW again, which he later justified in his report by claiming that the man tried to stand up. The video makes clear, however, that the man never tried to stand—he only writhed in pain on the ground. (34)

A 14-year-old African-American girl who got into a verbal altercation with a classmate was tased by a School Resource Officer:

In one case, an SRO decided to arrest a 14-year-old African-American student at the Ferguson Middle School for Failure to Comply when the student refused to leave the classroom after getting into a trivial argument with another student. The situation escalated, resulting in the student being drive-stunned with an ECW in the classroom and the school seeking a 180-day suspension for the student. (37)

A Ferguson officer told an African-American man: “N*****, I can find something to lock you up on,” then slammed his face into a wall:

This documentary evidence of explicit racial bias is consistent with reports from community members indicating that some FPD officers use racial epithets in dealing with members of the public. We spoke with one African-American man who, in August 2014, had an argument in his apartment to which FPD officers responded, and was immediately pulled out of the apartment by force. After telling the officer, “you don’t have a reason to lock me up,” he claims the officer responded: “N*****, I can find something to lock you up on.” When the man responded, “good luck with that,” the officer slammed his face into the wall, and after the man fell to the floor, the officer said, “don’t pass out motherf****r because I’m not carrying you to my car.” (73)

Ferguson officers dismissed concerns about bias, blamed disparity on lack of “personal responsibility” among African-Americans:

Several Ferguson officials told us during our investigation that it is a lack of “personal responsibility” among African-American members of the Ferguson community that causes African Americans to experience disproportionate harm under Ferguson’s approach to law enforcement. Our investigation suggests that this explanation is at odd with the facts. (74)

A Ferguson officer called an African-American man standing outside of Wal-Mart a “stupid motherf*****,” while police lieutenant watched and did nothing:

In December 2011, for example, an African- American man alleged that as he was standing outside of Wal-Mart, an officer called him a “stupid motherf****r” and a “bastard.” According to the man, a lieutenant was on the scene and did nothing to reproach the officer, instead threatening to arrest the man. (80)

At the courthouse, a Ferguson officer mocked an African-American man as “hooked on phonics”:

In June 2011, a 60-year-old man complained that an officer verbally harassed him while he stood in line to see the judge in municipal court. According to the man, the officer repeatedly ordered him to move forward as the line advanced and, because he did not advance far enough, turned to the other court-goers and joked, “he is hooked on phonics.” (80)

Officers, court officials, and supervisors regularly exchanged blatantly racist emails:

• A November 2008 email stated that President Barack Obama would not be President for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

• A March 2010 email mocked African Americans through speech and familial stereotypes, using a story involving child support. One line from the email read: “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”

• An April 2011 email depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.

• A May 2011 email stated: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”

• A June 2011 email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.”

• An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”

• A December 2011 email included jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims. (72)

Hey Chief Justice Roberts, thought you said racism was over in America? 

Ferguson Police Department, you are this weeks worst people in the world! 

Roger West

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The Department of Justice will release a report on Wednesday that finds Ferguson City Police had a pattern of racial bias and excessive force, multiple outlets are reporting. The report will also detail that police made racist jokes on city email accounts, The New York Times reported.

Ferguson, which was the location of a white officer shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, spurred nationwide protests over police brutality. At the time it was reported that Ferguson police were disproportionately targeting the city’s African-American population, and that finding is confirmed by the Justice Department’s forthcoming report.

African Americans make up 67 percent of the city’s population, but they made up 85 percent of vehicle stops and 93 percent of arrests, even though blacks were less likely to possess contraband like drugs or illegal guns. The AP also reported that blacks were 68 percent less likely to have their cases dismissed by the municipal judge, and that 95 percent of the people kept in jail for two days or more were black. Huffington Post reported that 88 percent of use-of-force cases were against African-American suspects.

FBI Director James Comey recently candidly addressed unconscious racial bias in policing, which might be progress for the law enforcement agency but long-running research and many activists have pointed out that police officers are biased in their work.

Attorney General Eric Holder has threatened to sue Ferguson police if it finds a pattern of racial discrimination. This threat may serve as an incentive for Ferguson police to change its practices.

Roger West