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When Roger West first launched the progressive political blog "News From The Other Side" in May 2010, he could hardly have predicted the impact that his venture would have on the media and political debate. As the New Media emerged as a counterbalance to established media sources, Roger wrote his copious blogs about national politics, the tea party movement, mid-term elections, and the failings of the radical right to the vanguard of the New Media movement. Roger West's efforts as a leading blogger have tremendous reach. NFTOS has led the effort to bring accountability to mainstream media sources such as FOX NEWS, Breitbart's "Big Journalism. Roger's breadth of experience, engaging style, and cultivation of loyal readership - over 92 million visitors - give him unique insight into the past, present, and future of the New Media and political rhetoric that exists in our society today. What we are against: Radical Right Wing Agendas Incompetent Establishment Donald J. Trump Corporate Malfeasence We are for: Global and Econmoic Security Social and Economic Justice Media Accountability THE RESISTANCE

Monday, August 31, 2015


Domingo Santiago plead guilty to “gagging his wife, binding her wrists together, and beating her with a cord.” Yet a Georgia judge tossed out the state’s prosecution of Santiago after a series of questions that seemed much more concerned with whether Santiago’s wife would gain some advantage from her abusive husband’s conviction than with enforcing the law of his state.

During Santiago’s trial, South Georgia Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato discovered that Santiago “beat his wife after learning that she was having an affair,” and that the couple had since reconciled. Judge Cato also asked whether Santiago and his wife “get in bed together and get it on?” When they said that they do, indeed, have sex, the judge complained that the prosecution was “a little ridiculous” and asked Santiago if he thought that his wife would hold a conviction “over his head” in order to “make you do what she says.”

After Santiago responded that, yes, he did think his wife would hold it over his head if he was convicted for tying her up and beating her, Judge Cato dismissed the case.

Last week, an appeals court reinstated this prosecution, holding that Cato exceeded his lawful role by making a decision that rested with the prosecutor. In reversing Cato, the appeals court also criticized his conduct at the trial. “We consider the trial court’s questions to Santiago and his wife about her adultery, their sex life, and whether she would hold a conviction over his head highly inappropriate and irrelevant,” Judge Yvette Miller wrote for a three-judge panel. “By dismissing the case without any legal basis and over the State’s objection, the trial court impermissibly abridged the State’s right to prosecute Santiago.”

Judge Cato’s decision to focus on Santiago and his wife’s post-abuse reconciliation ignored the fraught emotions that often lead victims of abuse to return to their abusers. According to one scholarly paper, “victims of domestic violence are more prone than other crime victims to recant or refuse to cooperate after initially providing information to police.” Indeed, “evidence suggests that 80 to 85 percent of battered women will recant at some point.”


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Chris Christie, speaking at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Saturday, compared legal immigrants to FedEx packages, arguing they should be tracked continuously by the government. Christie even promised to bring in FedEx founder Fred Smith to set up the system.
“At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane. Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them,” Christie said.

FedEx tracks its packages so efficiently by affixing a bar code to every package and scanning them at regular intervals.

Martin O’Malley’s campaign criticized the remarks as “dehumanizing.”

Donald Trump has taken a commanding lead in the Republican presidential primary with an extremely hard line on immigration. The other candidates have scrambled to follow his lead — embracing the slur “anchor babies,” rejecting birthright citizenship and supporting Trump’s proposal for a wall across the entire southern border.

Christie previously supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. When he started running for President, he reversed his position. His remarks today appear to be an effort to further toughen up his rhetoric on the issue.


Friday, August 28, 2015


A gay couple in Kentucky was denied a marriage license for a third time by a defiant county clerk.

James Yates and William Smith Jr. went Thursday morning to the Rowan County Courthouse to seek a license to be married but found that County Clerk Kim Davis still was refusing to issue them one as she fights federal court orders, reported the Courier-Journal.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday slapped down the latest challenge filed by Davis, with help and encouragement from the conservative Liberty Counsel, ruling that county clerks are obligated to follow the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and not their own personal beliefs.


Yates and Smith, who have attempted to obtain a marriage license each time the clerk is dealt a legal setback, were told by an apologetic deputy clerk that Davis believes a previous stay granted by a judge remains in effect until Aug. 31 despite the appeals court ruling.
“Sorry, guys,” the deputy clerk says in video recorded during the attempt.
“It’s just making us want to press more,” Yates said. “She can’t get away with this.”
The couple said they would return next week and ask for a marriage license a fourth time.

Davis has twice denied David Moore and David Ermold, another gay couple from Rowan County, a marriage license.

Another defiant county clerk, from Casey County, suggested this week he was willing to be jailed or killed for refusing to follow the law.
“If it takes it, I will go to jail over — if it takes my life, I will die for because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have,” said Casey Davis, the Casey County clerk.


Thursday, August 27, 2015


Fighting back tears, the father of one the journalists killed on live TV Wednesday morning made an impassioned plea for gun control on Fox News. Andy Parker, father of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, told Megyn Kelly that “we’ve got to do something about crazy people getting guns.”
“My mission in life… I’m going to do something to shame legislatures into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don’t get guns,” Parker said.

Her father’s comments were reinforced by her boyfriend, Chris Hurst. “Clearly something went wrong here between him leaving our station and being able to purchase a gun and commit a premeditated act,” Hurst told Kelly.

Bullshit Mountains’ following story featuring radical right wing-nut job Dana Loesch - who rejected calls for gun control and blamed the murder on elements of society that “don’t teach a respect for life,” like Planned Parenthood.

Loesch lost her sheen many years ago after her exit from the offices of the dead Breitbart. But in typical Loesch fashion, more diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain.

Roger West

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


…Says the Fox News host of Outnumbere. Harris Faulkner suggested on Tuesday that daughters could be put into convents or kept “home in the kitchen” to prevent them from getting sexually assaulted at college fraternities.

After the Sigma Nu fraternity suspended their Old Dominion Chapter this week for hanging banners warning parents that daughters should be “ready for a good time,” Fox News host Harris Faulkner said that it was a sign that she needed to get her daughters “ready for the real world.”
“These guys are teenagers and in their twenties and they were probably drunk when they were writing the signs,” Faulkner explained. “And they’re just having a good time.”
Co-host Andrea Tantaros predicted that college women would go to the fraternity in spite of the signs if there were “hot boys.”

“Ray Rice in the NFL, how many women were still wearing his jersey after we all had seen the video and knew what was going on?” Faulkner recalled.
“The signs are disgusting and the university has to take a stand on this because of what’s going on with rape culture,” Tantaros continued. “The university has to stand up and say, ‘If something happens at that house, we cannot be responsible.’ But not even that, it’s PR. They have to protect the brand of Old Dominion University.”
According to co-host Kennedy Montgomery, the signs were “a backlash that these guys are feeling about being told that they are predators. And oftentimes, you see the pendulum swing the opposite way.”
“I hope they are focusing on keeping the women safe,” Faulkner said.
“My daughters are going to a convent,” Montgomery volunteered.
“I’m going to keep them home in the kitchen,” Faulkner agreed.

Roger West

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump struck a populist tone when talking about hedge funds and the taxes they pay. “They’re paying nothing and it’s ridiculous,” he told John Dickerson on Face the Nation. “They make a fortune, they pay no tax, its ridiculous okay.”

He went on to say they “are getting away with murder” and that “they have to pay tax.” Without specifying exactly how he would change that, he added that he wants to lower tax rates for middle-class Americans. “The middle class is the one, they’re getting absolutely destroyed.”

The money made by hedge fund managers is taxed at significantly lower rates than ordinary income made through wages: capital gains, or investment returns, are subject to a top tax rate of 23.8 percent, compared to a 39.6 percent payroll tax. The benefit of the lower tax rate accrues almost entirely to the wealthy — nearly 70 percent of the money goes to the top 1 percent of income earners, but just 7 percent goes to the bottom 80 percent.

Economists have said that the lower tax rate for capital gains income is “by far” the greatest contributor to growing income inequality, which harms the middle class.

But Trump has not always stuck up for the less well off in his tax reform proposals.

As recently as 2011, in his book Time to Get Tough, he actually called for lowering the tax rate on capital gains income as well as dividends. He also called for eliminating the estate tax — which is already a massive giveaway to the wealthiest Americans — and getting rid of the corporate tax rate altogether.

He also proposed changing income taxes so that income over $1 million would only ever be subject to a 15 percent rate, while taxing lower incomes at 1, 5 or 10 percent, depending on the bracket. As Richard Phillips of Citizens for Tax Justice has written of the plan, “the lower tax rate structure would provide the wealthy with huge tax cuts.” Those plus the changes to the corporate tax rate, capital gains and dividends, and the estate tax would create a “multi-trillion dollar hole” in tax revenues, he added.

More recently, Trump has floated other tax reform ideas that could constitute a big benefit for the best off. In an interview with Time Magazine, he voiced support for a flat tax or fair tax. Different details of a flat tax would produce different results, but an analysis of one such plan put forward by Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) found it would raise taxes for Americans at the bottom of the income scale by $102 to $462, while reducing the tax burden for those making more than $1 million a year by about a half million dollars.

In the same interview, he said that he wants to take on corporate tax inversions, where American companies merge with foreign-based ones in countries with lower tax rates so they can move their headquarters to avoid paying higher taxes. But he said he wants to bring companies back by letting them return to the U.S. by either paying nothing or something like a 10 percent tax rate on their overseas profits. Such a move, called a repatriation tax holiday, has already been tried in 2004. At that time, firms mostly used the repatriated profits not to invest in American jobs but to inflate their own stock prices while laying off large numbers of workers.

[cross-posted from thinkprogress]


Monday, August 24, 2015


Donald Trump has made a hard-line stance on undocumented immigrants a hallmark of his campaign. On ABC’s This Week, he was pressed repeated on his pledge to immediately deport every undocumented immigrant. Although credible sources estimate there are around 11 million such immigrants, Trump claimed there were as many as 30 million.

But pressed repeatedly on how he would accomplish this monumental feat, Trump had no answers.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if there’s no idea, how are you going to round them all up?
Where are you going to get the money, where are you going to get the forces?
Exactly how are you going to do it?
What are the specifics here?
TRUMP: George, it’s called management. And the first thing we have to do is secure the border. But it’s called management. And we’ll get people back in, the really good ones, we’re going to expedite it so they get back in, so they can at least come in legally.
But we have to do it…
STEPHANOPOULOS: You keep declaring how you’re going to do it…
TRUMP: It’s management.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — but you don’t say…
TRUMP: We don’t…
TRUMP: Excuse me, George?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You declare how you’re going to to it, but you don’t say how.
TRUMP: George, I’m telling you, it’s called management. You can do this and we can expedite the good ones to come back in. And everybody wants that. But they have to come in legally.

An analysis by the Center For American Progress estimates deporting 11.3 million people would cost $10,070 per person, or $114 billion. That only covers the “direct cost of physically deporting unauthorized immigrants.” The conservative American Action Forum, considering the total cost to the economy, estimates mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants would cost between $420 billion and $620 billion and take 20 years.

At the end of a lengthy exchange with Trump, Stephanopoulos stressed that he still hasn’t “heard the specifics on how you are going to do that.” Trump appeared to acknowledge he hasn’t offered any. “Oh, you’ll hear it, George. Don’t worry about it,” Trump said.

A recent Gallup poll found that just 19 percent of Americans supported mass deportation.


Sunday, August 23, 2015


Video captured by a bystander, a woman screamed “He wasn’t fucking armed! You killed my husband” as Maryland State Police subdued her following an officer-involved shooting that left a 30-year-old man dead in a Walmart parking lot Friday night.

The Cecil Daily reports that Charles S. Hall was shot and killed by Trooper Daryl K. Brackett, a three-year veteran of the force who claimed he recognized Hall and knew there was a warrant out for his arrest.

According to State Police spokesperson Greg Shipley, Brackett attempted to arrest Hall but Hall allegedly resisted and fought with the trooper before getting into his vehicle and attempting to take off.

During the struggle, the trooper fired his assigned duty pistol, striking Hall in the upper torso,” Shipley said.

Hall was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police, Hall was wanted for violating his probation and failure to appear for drug counseling. Hall also had another outstanding warrant for possession of drug paraphernalia.

A witness at the scene filmed an unidentified woman who claimed to be Hall’s wife struggling with police and pounding on the hood of a police car while screaming, “You are a murderer! He was not armed! He was not f*cking armed! You killed my husband!” as she tried to reach him laying on the ground.

According to witnesses, the woman was eventually strapped to a stretcher where she continued to attempt to break free while screaming at the officers.

In the video, a discussion can be heard with one man commenting Hall had been maced by the cop, saying, “He maced him. They should have been away from the car, telling him to get out,” before adding, “This is gonna be big time here — worse than other ones.”
“Is he colored?” the man asks only to be told, “No, he’s white, I think,” before replying, “That don’t even matter, that don’t even matter.”
A third man then adds, “Cause it don’t matter, he was a human.”


Saturday, August 22, 2015


Bill Maher closed the show on Friday with a scathing reprisal of the “sharing economy,” saying that the US spent 60 years fighting communism only for everyone to lose their jobs not to immigrants, but to robots and driver-less cars.

Maher slammed Americans for being their own worst enemies sometimes when it comes to the acceptance of this new sharing economy .

After taking apart the likes of Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Instacart, Luxe and Etsy, and plugging, who will soon be renting Bill's pants for the low, low price of $5.95 a day, Maher asked how American ended up spending sixty years fighting communism and "end up in a barter economy on Craigslist?" And then there's the next big thing, which is humans being replaced by robots and driver-less cars. But as Maher noted, that's not the root cause of the problem.

Roger West

Friday, August 21, 2015


Anna Duggar won’t likely leave her husband despite his admitted cheating and will instead blame herself, according to a new report.

Josh Duggar, the former reality TV star and anti-LGBT activist, admitted Thursday to an addiction to pornography and infidelity after reports revealed he paid for two accounts on the adultery website Ashley Madison.

This comes three months after revelations that he molested four of his sisters and a family friend as they slept more than a decade ago, when he was a teenager.

A source told People magazine that Anna Duggar, who gave birth last month to the couple’s fourth child, would likely “absorb some of the blame” for her husband’s cheating.
“Anna will not leave him,” the source said. “As with her in-laws, she is turning more to her faith than ever. She and Josh are probably praying around the clock right now, I would assume.”
The 27-year-old Josh Duggar blamed Satan for building a “fortress” in his heart — but that statement, along with several others, was edited out of the confession he posted on the family’s website in the hours after it was originally released.

The source, who claims knowledge of the Duggar family, told People that Anna Duggar, also 27, would likely feel pressure from her in-laws, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, to shoulder some of the blame for her husband’s recent disgrace.
“Maybe not publicly, ever, but privately, there will be some suggestion of whether or not she should have been more aware of the pressures Josh was under, of the issues he was facing, and how she could have better counseled him or helped him,” the source said.
Her mother-in-law, Michelle Duggar, advises married women to have sex with their husband whenever he wants.

“Be available,” the 49-year-old said in an interview last year. “Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has. You always need to be available when he calls.”

The family’s popular reality TV show, “19 Kids and Counting,” was dropped by TLC in the wake of the molestation scandal, but the Duggars have been desperately trying to return to television in some way, according to reports.

That appears even less likely now.

The source said Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who are part of the patriarchal Quiverfull religious movement, would be determined to make sure their son and daughter-in-law remained married.
“As for Josh, in this moment, I would assume he feels like his life is ruined,” the source said. “It will be such a steep and practically impossible climb to come back from this.”

Roger West

Thursday, August 20, 2015



Before Subway icon Jared Fogle was charged with multiple counts of child pornography and paying for sex with a minor, he was traveling the country speaking to children about how to improve their lives.

Fogle, who is expected to plead guilty to the charges, has been visiting grade schools for over a decade to promote healthy eating and exercise. Though he was speaking to groups of kids as early as 2003, his Subway-sanctioned “tour de pants” saw him visiting dozens of elementary and middle schools over the course of a year to talk about “healthy options.” Before that, Subway launched “Jared’s School Tour,” another national tour that saw Fogle speaking to kids about his weight loss, symbolized by a very large pair of pants.

Overall, it appears that Fogle made hundreds of presentations to children over the course of his career as a Subway spokesman. “The kids love the pants,” he said at one school visit.

That Fogle worked so closely with kids is particularly jarring given the contents of a plea agreement released by the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Indiana on Wednesday. According to USA Today, the document alleges that Fogle had sex with “at least two minors,” reportedly 16 and 17 years old, between 2010 and 2013. He allegedly asked one of the victims to “provide him with access to minors as young as 14 years” for sex. “The younger the girl, the better,” he allegedly said.

In a statement Subway spokesperson said Fogle’s actions “are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values.” She noted that the company had already ended its relationship with him.

While traveling the country and meeting kids for Subway, Fogle also partnered with charities like the Children’s Better Health Institute and the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition to push his message of combating childhood obesity. In 2011, he helped establish a “child wellness” program in Arizona schools. His foundation, established in 2004, was specifically geared toward kids.

“As adults we know about the healthier options that are available, but kids need to be directed a little bit more,” he said in 2008.

Subway cut its business ties with Fogle in July following the initial revelations that he may have been involved in child porn.

Fogle is not the only person with ties to The Jared Foundation who has been accused of child abuse. Russell Taylor, the former director of the foundation, was also accused of possessing — and producing — child pornography.

Jared Fogel, you are this year’s most putrid human of the world.

[cross-posted from thinkprogress]


Wednesday, August 19, 2015


As republicans eat their own with Donald Trump leading the wing-nut circle jerk poll - A GOP consultant apologized on Tuesday after insulting conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter in the midst of a dispute with, the Daily Caller reported.

Rick Wilson said on Twitter that he replied out of parental anger when he asked Coulter, “Does [Donald] Trump pay you more for anal?” after she mocked him for his “hilarious public meltdown” against the conservative news site. This meltdown reminds me of the Andy Brietbart meltdown at CPAC a few years ago.


Wilson’s quarrel with started when the site criticized him for calling Trump supporters “low-information voters.” [ if the shoe fits] Wilson later said on Twitter that one of its readers emailed him threatening to rape his daughter.

Other conservatives accused him of using the girl as a political prop to avoid criticism. Wilson later deleted his insult against Coulter and said Breitbart was not responsible for the threatening message.

Coulter later said that Wilson’s “only remaining move is to use the Anthony Weiner ‘MY TWITTER ACCOUNT HAS BEEN HACKED!’ defense.”

Wilson did not do that, but did apologize to family and friends for his response to Coulter’s remark, which he called “vile.”
“I reduced myself by dropping to her level,” he wrote. “My comment was shocking to many of you, and for that I offer a sincere apology.”
I love it when the freak show goes full throttle against each other, talk about reality TV. Reagan's 11th commandment is abused again. 

Roger West

Tuesday, August 18, 2015



CNN Seemed surprised when a Hip-Hop movie didn’t cause violence - and they ran a segment on Monday reporting that there wasn’t violence at movie theaters during the opening weekend of the hip-hop oriented film Straight Outta Compton.

CNN host Ashleigh Banfield reported, “Some movie theaters were worried about violence when Straight Outta Compton hit the screen. Instead, it only led to longer lines, ticket lines and some big money, too.”

Costello brought on CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander to discuss the reaction to the film.
“There are some police organizations that are calling on people — members and maybe even beyond their members — not to see this movie because of the message they think it sends,” said Alexander, who was a police officer in the 1980s when the group’s hits first came out. “We really have to get away from this whole ‘f the police’ to ‘support the police.'”

The film tells the story of the group N.W.A., a group from Compton, California that was highly influential in the early days of hip-hop, and included several members that are still famous today, including Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, who also produced the film.

The film earned $56 million on opening weekend, a record for an R-rated film opening in August. Police reportedly patrolled theaters showing the film, but violence failed to materialize.

Universal, the company behind Straight Outta Compton, said they had “not solicited enhanced security for theaters” showing the film last weekend.

Some movie theaters have stepped up additional security screening after 59-year-old John Russell Houser, a white man, shot several at a movie theater in Louisiana at a screening of the Amy Schumer film Trainwreck. Reporting in the Wall Street Journal suggested the increased security was inspired not only by the shooting, but also ongoing racial tensions and “the rap biopic’s gang-oriented subject matter.”


Monday, August 17, 2015


Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is defending Paraguay’s controversial decision to deny an abortion to a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped by her stepfather.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, the Republican presidential candidate said it was “horrible” that the girl, now 11, was raped. “But does it solve the problem by taking the life of an innocent child?” he asked.

The story of the young girl — given the pseudonym “Mainumby” in legal documents — has captured a good deal of attention, as she recently gave birth after Paraguayan officials prohibited her from getting an abortion. Abortion is illegal in Paraguay, except “in very rare cases when it’s deemed necessary to save a woman’s life.”

Whether Mainumby’s pregnancy posed a threat to her life has been hotly debated, as medical experts say that girls under the age of 15 are more at risk for complications during childbirth. For that reason, Mainumby’s child had to be delivered via Cesarean section.

Paraguay’s policy is similar to what Huckabee and some other Republican presidential candidates say they would support if elected. Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have expressed a desire to ban abortion even in cases when women have been raped, or have been victims of incest.

The position has been unpopular in the past. Only 22 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in cases of rape and incest, according to one Gallup poll.

CNN host Dana Bash appeared to question Huckabee’s position as well, pressing him on whether it would be easy “looking in the eyes of a 10-year-old girl and saying, ‘you had a horrible thing happen to you, and you’re going to have carry it out for the next nine months.”
“No, it isn’t easy,” Huckabee responded. “I wouldn’t pretend it’s anything other than a terrible tragedy. But let’s not compound the tragedy by taking yet another life.”

Roger West

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Is it conceivably possible that Ted Pedophile Nugent, and the Fox News base, can become any more disturbed? Nugent, appearing in a radio interview on WIBX’s Keeler in the Morning, was asked about the Megyn Kelly/Donald Trump feud. He sided with Trump, then added that Megyn Kelly is mostly useful for masturbation.

Nugent said, “I’m a big fan of Donald Trump because I believe in bold, aggressive, unapologetic truth. Period. And I’m not a fan of Megyn Kelly, although I often turn on Fox just to look at her. Sometimes when I’m loading my magazines, I like to just look at her. And I usually sit naked on the couch dropping hot brass on my stuff.”

Cenk Uygur, host of the The Young Turks, breaks it down. Watch:

Ted Nugent is this weeks douche bag of the week.

Roger West

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Bill Maher isn't ready to fork over a million dollars for Hillary Clinton's campaign, but would like to give her some advice on how to revive it. During last nights New Rules segment on HBO's Real Time, Maher told his audience that as much as he likes Bernie Sanders, he doesn't believe he's going to end up being the Democratic nominee, and expressed his concern over some of Clinton's recent poll numbers.


Roger West

Friday, August 14, 2015


Foreign policy has taken an important role in the 2016 Republican Presidential primaries. One of the most prominent issues is how to deal with nefarious Islamist movement ISIS, also referred to as ISIL and the Islamic State.

ISIS’ meteoric rise over the summer of 2014 has pushed presidential front runners to take the group as a serious threat – both domestically and internationally. The latest attack — a truck bombing — killed at least 67 people in a Shia neighborhood of Baghdad on Thursday. Republicans have also focused heavily on the ISIS issue because the current administration’s policy has not gone according to plan. The United States’ program to train Syrian rebels has faced numerous setbacks while the bombing campaign that started a year ago has only experienced limited success.

So what alternative plan have the contenders proposed?

Marco Rubio

The Florida senator suggested forming an army of regional powers to fight ISIS.

“The United States should use it position of leadership to pull together a Sunni army, a Sunni ground force made up of Egyptians and Jordanians and Saudis and other kingdoms to go in on the ground [Syria and Iraq] and confront Sunni terrorists,” Rubio told Fox News in March. He said the key was to hit ISIS at its core in Syria and Iraq.

This approach has been touted by various politicians in recent months. In fact, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi called for that exact thing in February only with one distinction. Rather than fight in Syria and Iraq, Sisi called for forming an Arab coalition to help protect Egypt from the ISIS threat in Libya. Egypt is currently facing serious internal security issues, particularly in Sinai, in addition to the ISIS threat in Libya.

That’s not the only pitfall, though. Back in April, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition to fight the Houthis in Yemen. It quickly went about seeking partners to contribute ground troop. Egypt said no, leaving the relatively small military capacity of the United Arab Emirates to partner with Saudi ground troops and aerial support in Yemen. But an important caveat with the Yemen case is that the Houthis are Zaidi Shia. The people of Gulf Arab powers (all ruled by Sunni monarchs) may have a harder time throwing support behind a campaign that fights fellow Sunnis, even if it is ISIS that they’re fighting. It also doesn’t help that wealthy individuals in some of these Gulf states — mainly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait — have funneled money to groups like ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

Mike Huckabee

The former Arkansas governor’s plan is pretty simple. “When we have a threat, whether it is ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, whatever it is, we make it very clear that we plan to push back and destroy that threat to us,” Huckabee said in an interview with American Heartland with Dr. Grace. “And we won’t take 10 years doing it, we hopefully won’t even take 10 months, it will be like a 10 day exercise, because the fierceness of our forces would mean that we can absolutely guarantee the outcome of this film. That’s how America needs to operate in the world of foreign affairs, and foreign policy.”

The quick war trope has been trotted out before. Huckabee’s plan entails strong posturing toward America’s enemies followed by decisive military action. However, the United States already has what is widely considered the most formidable conventional army in the history of the world, and still wasn’t able to destroy oppositions firmly entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, wiping out groups entrenched among civilian populations around the world in 10 days would rack up millions of civilian deaths, or collateral damage, if you want to take the rose-tinted view.

Chris Christie

In an interview with Sean Hannity in July, Christie focused on empowering regional allies to fight ISIS so that the U.S. wasn’t seen as an occupying force.
“We’ve got the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Emirates, who all see ISIS as an existential threat to their existence. They don’t want to live under a theocracy,” the New Jersey governor said, even though Saudi Arabia is a theocracy. “We need to be training them down to the battalion level. We need more human intelligence on the ground to let them know where to target ISIS. And we need to stand with them, supply them with the arms they need, the sophistication they need, let them fight the fight there.”
Apart from the idea of forming an army of Arabs to fight ISIS, Christie argues for sending more arms to regional allies. President Obama ended a freeze on military aid to Egypt in March that provides them more than $1 billion. He’s also offered additional military aid to Saudi Arabia. But that doesn’t seem to have had any significant impact against ISIS’ continued reign of terror in Syria or Iraq.

Donald Trump

The real estate mogul also has a seemingly simple solution to defeating ISIS. “I would knock out the source of their wealth, the primary sources of their wealth, which is oil,” he told MSNBC. “And in order to do that, you would have to put boots on the ground. I would knock the hell out of them, but I’d put a ring around it and I’d take the oil for our country.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said Wednesday that he disagreed with the current Republican frontrunner. “The problem we’ve had is we’ve had outcomes, but they’ve been only short-term outcomes because we haven’t properly looked at the political and economic side of it,” he said at a press briefing. “It has got to be three that come together. And if you don’t do that, it will not solve the problem, and that is what I continue to look at.”

Scott Walker

The Wisconsin governor hasn’t laid out much of a plan to date. He did say, however, “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe.”

As Jim Geraghty writes in the National Review: “That is a terrible response. First, taking on a bunch of protesters is not comparably difficult to taking on a Caliphate with sympathizers and terrorists around the globe, and saying so suggests Walker doesn’t quite understand the complexity of the challenge from ISIS and its allied groups.”

Jeb Bush

After struggling with the question of whether or not he would have invaded Iraq in 2003, the former Florida governor has put together a plan more comprehensive than his competitors’. In a foreign policy speech Tuesday, Bush said the key to beating ISIS was to first remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and then unite the various rebel forces to fight ISIS.

This strategy has actually been expressed by a journalist who has done some of the best reporting on ISIS. In an interview this past July, Der Spiegel’s Christoph Reuter told a reporter, “There is no fast victory in Syria. The core problem is as long as Assad is there you will have no united front against Daesh [ISIS]. Once Assad is gone, everyone will be brought together to fight Daesh.”

He added: “Take out the [Assad] family first, which would help reunite the country, as well. In Iraq it’s much more complicated because you cannot change the mood of the Shiites.”

Of course, this is all easier said than done. To date, Assad has received military backing from Russia, Iran, and various Iranian proxies and, despite the recent nuclear deal, that isn’t likely to change.

Clearly none of these men are capable of running a home of four, let alone this country. Foreign policy has never been a forte of The American Taliban, and form these answers - they are not ready from prime time yet.

[Cross-posted from thinkprogress]

Roger West

Thursday, August 13, 2015



You can’t make this shit up!

A so-called family values organization will present an award at a fundraiser for GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz to a lawmaker who gave his two adopted daughters away to a rapist.

Arkansas State Sen. Justin Harris, a Republican, will be given the “Power of Courage” award by the Family Council Action Committee, a non-profit that is vocally anti-LGBT, the Arkansas Times reports. The awards will be given out Wednesday evening at a Cruz fundraiser dinner.

Another Republican, Rep. Charlene Fite, will also be honored with the award, which they are being given because they “demonstrated courage by standing strong in faith when situations were tough at the State Capitol and they did so with grace. They are consistently models of their Christian values in their homes, their communities, and their churches.”

According to the Times, Harris used his influence as a lawmaker to pressure state child services to allow him and his wife to adopt two young girls, even though caseworkers said the couple was ill-suited to care for them.

Eight months later, the adoption failed. The Harrises sent the girls to live with family friends. One of the girls was sexually abused by the father, who is now serving a 40-year prison sentence for crimes against children.

Before “rehoming” the girls, the Harrises believed the children were possessed by demons and could communicate telepathically. The Harrises apparently feared the girls and had an exorcist “cast out” the demons. According to the Times, they kept one of the girls locked in a room with no toys or books, monitoring her on closed-circuit television.

While the other child was allowed to roam the house, the girls were separated by an elaborate system of locks and alarms.

The Harrises were not prosecuted because there was no law on the books in Arkansas barring “rehoming” of adopted children at the time. After the case became public, lawmakers quickly made it illegal to do so without court supervision, but the law is not retroactive.

In a press release for the event obtained by the Times, mention of these events is only made obliquely:
Even when opposed by the liberal media, Representative Harris has always held firm and stood tall in his faith. No one can deny Representative Harris’ faith has always led him while serving at the Arkansas State Capitol. In 2015, Harris sponsored the Parental Involvement Enhancement Act, requiring parents to be involved in their children’s decision to terminate life by requesting an abortion. This is now law today.

According to the Times, Harris makes his living running a religious preschool called Growing God’s Kingdom.

Roger West

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


BALTIMORE — At least one former or current member of the Baltimore Police Department has been "actively working" with defense attorneys for the six officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, according to prosecutors — leaking them an "arsenal of material" to use in a "campaign of public relations warfare."

Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow alleged in a recent motion that some of the information leaked to the defense has been true and some false. He warned defense attorneys that they are not entitled to "blindly believe and repeat every piece of information they may have been told by politically motivated sources."

The source of the information was not identified, and Schatzow did not specify what information is believed to have been leaked.

The motion follows others in which defense attorneys have alleged that the prosecution has not provided all of the evidence they are entitled to receive and said that they have conducted their own lengthy investigation of the case as a result — in part by interviewing state witnesses, some of whom are police officers.

On Tuesday, the Police Department directed all questions to Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, who did not respond to a request for comment.

None of the officers' attorneys responded to a request for comment.

Gray, 25, died in April after suffering a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. His death was followed by protests against police brutality, and rioting, looting and arson erupted on the day of his funeral. Days after the unrest, Mosby announced charges against the six officers involved in Gray's arrest.

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the police van in which Gray was injured, is charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder. Sgt. Alicia D. White, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Officer William G. Porter are charged with manslaughter. Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller face lesser charges, including second-degree assault.

All of the officers have pleaded not guilty. They have yet to appear in court.

Their attorneys and the prosecutors have been litigating the case through a flurry of motions — each side alleging improprieties while also complaining that the other side's arguments have been written with flourishes aimed less at the court than at the news media.

In his latest motion, Schatzow asked the court to sanction defense attorneys for, among other things, using their subpoena power without the court knowing to obtain the text messages of a prosecutor working on the case and making "a knowingly false attack on an esteemed Circuit Court judge's integrity."

The defense has cited the text messages as evidence of "judge shopping" on the part of the prosecutor, who they said went to Judge Timothy J. Doory to obtain a warrant for the officers' cellphones after another judge had denied the request.

More recently, the defense has alleged that prosecutors have withheld information from the police investigation into Gray's death, and that Assistant State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe told police investigators not to pursue information that Gray had a history of participating in "crash-for-cash" schemes — injuring himself in law enforcement settings to collect settlements — so as not to "do the defense attorneys' jobs for them."

They have asked that Mosby's office be removed from the case.

In his motion, Schatzow characterized the defense allegations as obvious attempts, based on information obtained from questionable sources, to sway the jury pool — using the media "like Defense marionettes" in the process.
"This Court's judicial powers and processes have become Defense instruments in a publicly performed symphony of slander, innuendo, and victim-bashing," Schatzow wrote.
Schatzow asked that the court, through sanctions, restrict the defense attorneys' subpoena powers; require that they provide copies of all past subpoenas issued in the case and any information obtained through those subpoenas for a court review; clear the way for prosecutors to seek to quash or seek a protective order over any of that material; and warn the defense that "any future pleadings found to be made in bad faith may result in additional sanctions, including being held in contempt."

He wrote that the defense attorneys should have brought their concerns about missing evidence directly to prosecutors instead of writing about them in motions.

Schatzow acknowledged that after the concerns were raised about missing evidence — including some allegedly contained in the initial police investigation before it was handed over to the state's attorney's office — prosecutors went back to police to determine the facts, going through "the list of allegedly missing items."

"While most of the items do not exist, the investigators turned over to the State's Attorney's Office a few additional materials that they had never previously provided and which were then promptly given to the defense in a supplemental disclosure," he wrote.

A motions hearing is scheduled Sept. 2, though Judge Barry Williams could rule on motions in the case before then.

Jose F. Anderson, a law professor at the University of Baltimore and a former public defender in the city, said Williams might have much to say about the public squabbling between the two sides over evidence and discovery.
"Judges like parties to work these things out privately and among themselves as ladies and gentlemen," he said. "Most circuit judges will not be happy with games being played by either the prosecution or defense with discovery in such a high-profile case."
As for the defense attorneys getting information from a police source, Anderson said that would be "pretty rare" — though the defense attorneys have a right to conduct their own investigation in the case and try to talk to witnesses.

Still, he said, they could have taken concerns with what they found to the prosecution for further discussion without casting "a cloud over the prosecutors' motives" in court filings or giving the impression that they have "additional sources that are not equally sharing information with the prosecutors."

[Crossposted from Baltimore Sun]


Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Bullshit Mountain host Megyn Kelly did not directly address the personal attacks against her by Donald Trump on Monday, but did not back down from pressing the Republican presidential candidate over his history of sexist remarks.
“Trump, the front-runner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism,” she said. “So I’ll continue doing my job without fear or favor. And Mr. Trump, I expect, will continue with what has been a successful campaign thus far.”
The former reality TV star accused Kelly of having “blood coming out of her wherever” for bringing the issue up at last week’s candidate debate.

He was subsequently disinvited from an event hosted by the conservative site, and later demanded an apology from Kelly. Kelly noted the attacks during a short commentary on her show, saying she declined to respond.

“I felt he was asked a tough but fair question. We agreed to disagree,” she said, later adding, “This is a tough business, and it’s time now to move forward.”

CNN reported that Trump and the network’s CEO, had what was described as a “blunt but cordial” conversation on Monday morning.
“We discussed our concerns, and I again expressed my confidence in Megyn Kelly,” Ailes said in a statement. “She is a brilliant journalist and I support her 100 percent.”


Monday, August 10, 2015


Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO now seeking the Republican presidential nomination, was grilled Sunday by Fox Chris Wallace about her record of laying off about 30,000 employees over her tenure. Fiorina suggested she would bring the same job elimination approach as president.

Wallace noted to Fiorina that Democrats had successfully defeated former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) in 2012, in part, by highlighting his record of layoffs over his time at Bain Capital and asked how she would avoid the same fate if she were the nominee.

Fiorina responded by pointing out that “not all business people are the same,” just like not all politicians who run for president lose.

She then suggested that “the vast majority of Americans understand that in tough times, sometimes tough decisions have to be made.”

Arguing that “we have never succeeded in shrinking the size of government,” she added: “We have a bunch of baby boomers who are gonna retire out of the federal government over the next five or six year. I will not replace a single one.”

Taken literally, this promise would mean that she would simply leave vacant Supreme Court vacancies, would not appoint any executive officials, and would leave military forces without any commanders should any retirements occur.

But her claim about government size is demonstrably false. According to the Office of Personnel Management, 5,289,000 federal employees were part of the government in President Reagan left year in office (1988). In 2014, that number was just 4,185,000.

Roger West

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Yes he did......

Unfiltered numbnuts Donald Trump, who leads the polls for the Republican presidential nomination by a wide margin, received a series of tough questions during the Fox News debate on Thursday. Notably, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly confronted Trump about his history of insults about women. Over the years, Trump has referred to women as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,” Kelly noted.

Appearing on CNN Friday night, Trump suggested that Kelly asked him “ridiculous questions” because she was on her period. Specifically, Trump said she had “blood coming out of her whatever.”

On Thursday night Trump dismissed concerns that he was a misogynist, saying he didn’t “have time for total political correctness.” “What I say is fun, it’s kidding, we have a good time,” Trump added.

Roger West

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bill Maher back from summer vacation took on the slaying of an innocent lion and the sick culture wealth.


Seth McFarlane said the other day: 
"When a child kills an animal for fun, we fear mental illness. When an adult with the capacity to reason does it, we call it "sport.""

Senseless animal killers, you are today's shit stain of the world. There are many of you so enjoy the award asshats.

Roger West

Friday, August 7, 2015


Megyn Kelly, one of the moderators during Thursday night’s GOP presidential debate, challenged Donald Trump over his long history of sexist comments towards women. During the first few minutes of the first prime time debate, Kelly pressed Trump on his description of women as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”

Trump responded by saying that he only reserved such language for Rosie O’Donnell and went on to defend his language. The business mogul argued that the country is overrun by political correctness and that he is the only presidential candidate who truly speaks his mind.

Vox has a full rundown of Trump’s insults against women, including more details about his long-running feud with O’Donnell.

“We lose to Mexico”, yet Trumps clothing line is in Mexico. Priceless asshat!

Roger West

Thursday, August 6, 2015


One day before the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the country wielded that law to strike down a Texas voter suppression law. A unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion written by a George W. Bush appointee, held that Texas’s voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act and must, at the very least, be significantly weakened. Though the court did not accept every argument raised against the state’s voter ID law, and its opinion does not go nearly as far as a trial judge’s decision which also struck down this law, it is a significant blow to the state’s efforts to make voting more difficult.

Voter ID laws are a common obstacle raised, mostly by right-leaning lawmakers, in front of citizens seeking to exercise their right to vote. Though stringent voter ID laws, which require voters to show a photo ID before they can cast a ballot, are often justified as a shield against voter fraud, the kind of fraud these laws target barely exists. A Wisconsin study, for example, found just seven cases of fraud out of 3 million votes cast during the 2004 election — and none of these seven cases were the kind of in-person voter fraud that is prevented by a voter ID law. Similarly an investigation by former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) found exactly zero cases of in-person voter fraud over the course of several elections.

What voter ID laws do accomplish, however, is they disproportionately disenfranchise groups that tend to prefer Democratic candidates over Republicans. As Judge Catharina Haynes explained in her opinion on behalf of the Fifth Circuit, one analysis determined that “Hispanic registered voters and Black registered voters were respectively 195% and 305% more likely than their Anglo peers to lack” a voter ID in the state of Texas. Indeed, even Texas’s own numbers confirmed that voter ID laws disproportionately impact racial minorities. Their own expert “found that 4% of eligible White voters lacked SB 14 ID, compared to 5.3% of eligible Black voters and 6.9% of eligible Hispanic voters.”

Similarly, low-income voters are much less likely to have ID then their wealthier counterparts. The district court in this case “credited expert testimony that 21.4% of eligible voters earning less than $20,000 per year lack SB 14 ID, compared to only 2.6% of voters earning between $100,000 and $150,000 per year.”

The racial disparities impacting voter eligibility, when combined with other conditions in Texas that tend to produce discrimination against African Americans and Latinos, were sufficient reason for the court to hold that Texas’s voter ID law must be struck down. Yet, while this is certainly a victory for the voters and institutions that challenged this voter suppression law, it is not a total victory.

For one thing, the Fifth Circuit determined that the appropriate remedy in this case may not be a broad injunction striking down the entire law. Rather, if the evidence in this case does not show that Texas acted with a discriminatory intent when it enacted this law, an injunction “reinstating voter registration cards as documents that qualify as acceptable identification under the Texas Election Code” may be appropriate.

More importantly, Haynes’s opinion vacated the trial court’s finding that state lawmakers did, indeed, act with racial discrimination in mind when they enacted this law. Pointing to several pieces of evidence that the district court relied upon which the Fifth Circuit found less compelling, Haynes’s opinion instructs the trial judge to conduct “a reexamination of the probative evidence underlying Plaintiffs’ discriminatory purpose claims weighed against the contrary evidence.” That does not preclude the trial court from determining, once again, that state lawmakers had racial discrimination on their minds when they enacted this law, but it does make it more difficult for that court to reach such a determination.

Should the courts ultimately conclude that Texas did act with a discriminatory purpose, that could have profound implications for the state moving forward. Among other things, it could lead to a court order reinstating the requirement that Texas “pre-clear” all of its voting laws with officials in Washington DC before those laws can take effect — a requirement that was deactivated when five conservative members of the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

Ultimately, however, any decision calling Texas’s voter ID law into question must survive two significant obstacles. The first is that the Fifth Circuit is an especially conservative court, and it is likely that Texas will ask a panel of all 15 of the court’s active judges to reconsider this case. The fact that Haynes agreed that the law is problematic should help supporters of voting rights if Texas seeks full court review, but it is no guarantee that a majority of the Fifth Circuit will agree with her.

And, even if Haynes’s conclusion survives contact with the full Fifth Circuit, this case is reasonably likely to be reviewed by a Supreme Court that’s shown skepticism of voting rights claims generally and of the Voting Rights Act in particular.

[h/t thinkprogress]


Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Craig James is a former professional football player and longtime sports broadcaster who, in 2012, took time off from his broadcasting career to mount an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate. During that campaign, according to a lawsuit James filed Monday, he opposed equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and called upon “Christians” to “stand up” against the advance of marriage equality. Though he briefly worked as a broadcaster for Fox Sports following his campaign, James says he was fired shortly after Fox uncovered his past anti-gay statements.

James now works for the Family Research Council, an anti-gay organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a “hate group.”

The crux of James’s lawsuit are claims that Fox “discriminated against James because of his religion in violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.” Yet his complaint (which, admittedly, is only available to the public in a redacted form) cites no actual evidence that Fox’s decision to fire James was motivated by the fact that James identifies as a Christian. Nor does it claim that Fox Sports treated other employees who held similar anti-gay views differently because those employees are not Christian. Rather, James says that “Fox Sports informed James that his short off-the-cuff statement about his beliefs regarding marriage . . . was the sole reason Fox Sports terminated him,” and he does not appear to disagree with Fox’s alleged claim that they were motivated solely by their own opposition to James’s anti-gay statements.

Instead, James attempts a two-bumper bank shot to convert this anti-anti-gay firing into a kind of religious discrimination. James, his lawsuit emphasizes, holds anti-gay beliefs that are motivated byhis religious beliefs, and this, he claims, is enough to protect his job even if Fox would be allowed to fire an employee who made similar statements that were driven by a secular belief.

In other contexts, the Supreme Court has rejected attempts to use cries of religious discrimination to excuse acts of bigotry. Four years after Congress banned whites-only restaurants, for example, the owner of a South Carolina barbecue chain put up a sign protesting that “[t]he law makes us serve n***ers, but any money we get from them goes to the Ku Klux Klan.” He also claimed that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “contravenes the will of God,” and that he should be exempted from having to follow it because of his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court disagreed, in Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, labeling the restaurant owner’s claim “patently frivolous.”

James’s case, however, was filed in Texas court, where the conservative Texas Supreme Court may see things differently than the justices of another era. It also arises under a different area of the law than Piggie Park. James sued under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, which, among other things, prohibits discrimination “because of or on the basis of any aspect of religious observance, practice, or belief, unless an employer demonstrates that the employer is unable reasonably to accommodate the religious observance or practice of an employee or applicant without undue hardship to the conduct of the employer’s business.”

There is surprisingly little Texas case law interpreting this particular provision. Nevertheless, Texas civil rights law explicitly tracks “the policies of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its subsequent amendments,” so federal court decisions examining similar cases should inform the Texas judges confronted by James’s case. At least one federal appeals court case, however, suggests that employers are not required to accommodate the anti-gay views of their employees, even if those views are motivated by religion.

In Peterson v. Hewlett-Packard Co., the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit considered a

n employee who posted Bible verses that, among other things, said that men who have sex with men should be “put to death.” Admittedly, this is a more egregious case than the James case, as James was not fired for saying that gay or bisexual men should be executed (when he was later asked about executing gay people, he responded tepidly). Nevertheless, the court in Peterson offered a sweeping dismissal of the idea that an employer is required to accommodate statements that could cause lesbian, gay or bisexual employees to feel unwelcome. It is an undue hardship, the court explained, to inhibit an employer’s “efforts to attract and retain a qualified, diverse workforce, which the company reasonably views as vital to its commercial success.”

James was an unusually visible employee who made his anti-gay statements in an unusually public forum. And James admits that Fox Sports was motivated by similar fears to the ones that concerned the employer in Peterson. He quotes a Fox spokesperson, who reportedly said that James was fired because “we just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department” and concluded that “he couldn’t say those things here.”

Nevertheless, the Texas judicial system is unusually conservative, so there is no guarantee that it will not give people like James a special right to make offensive statements about LGBT people with impunity.

Craig, you are today’s asshat of the day. Congrats numbnutz!

[h/t thinkprogress]


Tuesday, August 4, 2015


A new poll from NBC News, the Wall Street Journal, and Telemundo found that Donald Trump is very unpopular with Latinos. This is in spite of Trump’s claims that he has significant Latino support. Trump still holds a wide lead with GOP primary voters ahead of the campaign’s first debate Thursday. He remains in the lead at 19 percent, compared with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 15 percent and Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 14 percent.

Trump faced controversy from day one of his campaign, when he called Mexican immigrants ‘rapists’ in his announcement speech. The poll found that a majority of Latinos found those remarks to be “insulting and racist.”

Roger West

Monday, August 3, 2015


Late last month, Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush cast the Constitution’s model for separation of powers to the winds with a 15 second video centered around one proposal — “If Congress skips votes or hearings Jeb will cut their pay.”

Bush’s proposal to unilaterally cut lawmakers’ pay is unconstitutional. The 27th Amendment provides that “no law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened,” so any law changing congressional pay would not take effect until after the next congressional election. More importantly, the Constitution provides that “Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law,” so Congress itself would have to acquiesce in Bush’s proposal for it to ever become law. “Jeb” does not have the power to “cut their pay” on his own, even if he is elected president.

There is a very good reason, moreover, why the President of the United States does not have this power. As James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Yet Bush’s proposal comes close to accumulating both executive and legislative power into one person’s hands. If the president had the power to impose financial sanctions upon lawmakers — even for seemingly legitimate reasons — that power could easily be abused to coerce those lawmakers into supporting an agenda they would otherwise oppose. In our system of government, elected officials are accountable to the voters for their jobs and the benefits that come with that job, they are not accountable to a single man.

It should be noted that Bush’s proposal is somewhat vague. What does it mean, for example, for “Congress” to skip a vote? During the 113th Congress, which completed its final session in January of 2015, members of the House introduced a total of 5884 bills. That suggests that the House would have needed to vote on nearly 20 different bills every single day that it was in session to avoid skipping a vote on one of those bills. It would have been physically impossible for every member of Congress to research each of these bills and cast an informed vote if Congress tried to complete such a task.

In a conversation on Twitter, Vox’s Matt Yglesias suggests a more likely interpretation of Bush’s proposal — that this is really an “effort to squeeze Sen. Marco Rubio & Sen. Rand Paul.” Yglesias suggests that Bush may be proposing that individual members of Congress — not Congress as a whole — should have their pay docked if they miss a vote or a hearing in order to campaign. Thus, “poor Rubio will have to stand on stage and explain that casting votes isn’t an important part of his job.”

This interpretation of Bush’s proposal has some intuitive appeal, although some of that appeal may diminish if voters understand just how often hearings are convened for parochial or even partisan purposes. Should a member of Congress really face personal sanctions, for example, if they fail to attend yet another hearing attempting to transform the tragic deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya into a political liability for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton?

In any event, the Constitution contemplates a very explicit sanction for lawmakers deemed inexcusably absent: those lawmakers will have to stand for election and could be tossed out of office if their constituents are dissatisfied with their performance. Unlike Bush’s proposal, allowing voters to judge their own representatives also does not raise the specter of a president taking financial retribution against lawmakers that displease him.

[h/t thinkprogress]


Sunday, August 2, 2015


The family of a 32-year-old gay man who died in a Texas jail want more answers as to why he was denied his medication that led to the seizures that killed him, reports KTRK.

With Texas lawmakers looking into jailhouse reform in the wake of the recent death of Sandra Bland in Houston, the parents of Jesse Jacobs have come forward to discuss their son’s death after he turned himself into a Galveston jail to serve a DUI sentence, only to die within a week.

The parents of Jacobs, who died in March, want an investigation into what happened in the jail, however the sheriff — on the advice of the Galveston County Attorney– is refusing to turn over video fearing a lawsuit.

Jacobs voluntarily entered jail to serve his 30 days, with the hope that he would only have to stay for 12 days with time off for good behavior. However after being processed, jailhouse medical personnel denied him the prescribed Xanax he had been taking for ten years to treat a severe anxiety disorder. A week after being denied the drug Jacobs began experiencing seizures, a known side-effect of Xanax withdrawal.

Within 24 hours of being admitted to a hospital, Jacobs was dead with medical personnel saying he died from a “seizure disorder,” and Sheriff Henry Trochesset insisting it was natural causes.
“I’m angry,” says Jacobs’ father, also named Jesse. “Because as far as I’m concerned, they executed my son just as sure as if they put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.”
According to Jacobs’ mother, Diane, her son went into jail worried whether he would receive his medication.
“Our son was concerned that he was not going to receive his medication,” Diane Jacobs remembered. “He told us, ‘Mom what will happen, if I don’t receive this?'”
Medical records obtained by KTRK, show that county jail doctors put Jacobs on a different medication, while noting in his medical records that he was “detoxing” from Xanax, which was prescribed by his own doctor.
“Whatever the doctor, the internal doctor said he was prescribed, was what he was given,” said Sheriff Trochesset. “Individuals come into the jail all the time. Some of them are taking medications that they shouldn’t be, or they say they’re suppose to be on certain medications.”
The jailhouse doctors are not part of the sheriff’s unit, and are contracted from an outside vendor.


Saturday, August 1, 2015


Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said at a campaign stop on Thursday that he would consider sending federal troops or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stop abortions.

During a campaign stop in Iowa, reporters asked Huckabee about a recent controversy over an anti-choice organization‘s efforts to paint Planned Parenthood as a dubious entity that is selling “aborted baby parts” through the release of several heavily edited videos.

Huckabee said he would “invoke the 5th and 14th amendments for the protection of every human being.” The Fifth Amendment states, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger.” This suggests a Hucakbee presidency would unilaterally make all abortion illegally by deeming all fetuses are people.

He repeated a conservative line that there is now scientific proof that “unborn babies are human beings,” and the Supreme Court may not have known that when they ruled on Roe v. Wade in 1973. Many anti-choicers have pointed to a recent study that said a small percentage of 22-week fetusescan survive outside the womb and have used that as justification for earlier and earlier abortion bans.
“I will not pretend there is nothing we can do to stop this,” Huckabee said. When a reporter asked if hew would use federal troops or the FBI to this end, he said, “We’ll see if I get to be president.”

He cited Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as his inspiration, saying they were previous presidents who have defied Supreme Court rulings.

YIKES! Mike, you are voted today's asshat of the day. Congrats wingnut, you've earned!

Roger West