City Lighted Tower Skyline wallpaper – A government, for protecting business only, is but a carcass, and soon falls by its own corruption and decay

City Lighted Tower Skyline wallpaper


Herman Cain Affair No Biggie, Says Dick Morris

Dick Morris, the world’s most dubious pundit, visited Hannity last night (11/28/11) to discuss the 2012 presidential campaign and, of course, the latest Herman Cain sex scandal – a woman who said she had a 13-year extramarital affair with him. Morris didn’t just defend Cain – without mentioning that his campaign is Morris’ client – but Morris completely dismissed the allegations as not credible and inconsequential.

As Hannity suggested that the race for the Republican nomination now seems to be between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Morris said, “You cannot count out at this point Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann.”

As it happens, the Bachmann campaign is Morris’ client, too. Another little detail the “we report, you decide” network didn’t bother to disclose.

“What about the Herman Cain (sexual) allegations?” Hannity asked. When Morris made a dismissive noise, Hannity added, “You can’t dismiss it.”

Morris replied, “First of all, it’s an old-time, vanilla scandal. You know, there’s no sex harassment. So he had an affair!”

Cain was already done. His campaign was all about building up the Cain brand, selling books and ultimately have a larger audience for radio and speaking tours. Cain was probably as shocked as anyone else that people took him seriously enough to make him a front-runner. Cain’s affair is not that interesting, that toe sicker Dick Morris ( nothing against toe suckers, but Morris is a representative of the “family” values brand) should know when it comes to what titillates the public imagination. The interesting angle is how the wing-nut see-saw is weighted. Newt Gingrich the adulterer is flying high in the polls. Adultery kills Cain and pliable morals Newt gets a boost. The conservative mind is a horrific thing to ponder. Apparently it is filled with a thick coat of oil to make the convoluted triple back-flips easily executed, plenty of fog to use as an excuse, a storage bin well equipped with shiny new rationales, a pitch fork and other things best not mentioned in case younger readers pass by. America’s version of Iran’s radical clerics the right-wing Christianists want to give Newt a way to salvation. He needs to show more public repentance. An option, that by the way, is not open to Cain: Richard Land of The Christian Post writes,

Mr. Speaker, if you want to get large numbers of Evangelicals, particularly women, to vote for you, you must address the issue of your marital past in a way that allays the fears of Evangelical women.

You must address this issue of your marital past directly and transparently and ask folks to forgive you and give you their trust and their vote.

Mr. Speaker, I urge you to pick a pro-family venue and give a speech (not an interview) addressing your martial history once and for all. It should be clear that this speech will be “it” and will not be repeated, only referenced.

Conservative salvation awaits Newt. Cain is on his own.

Coulter Attacks Credibility Of Cain Affair Accuser: “She’s An Unemployed Single Mother”. Does Coulter watch some special channel that only broadcast wing-nut soap operas. In that world all women, except her of course, are schemers. No wonder Republicans love her, she is the walking embodiment of mindlessness, the flesh and blood two-headed Martian baby tabloid of the 1970s. Please pay attention to her America and keep her brand of incoherent ravings relevant, she has a champagne and caviar lifestyle to maintain. Where she enjoys a good laugh at the rubes who make her so wealthy she never has to do an honest day’s work.

Gingrich and the Destruction of Congressional Expertise

This is typical of Mr. Gingrich’s modus operandi. He has always considered himself to be the smartest guy in the room and long chaffed at being corrected by experts when he cooked up some new plan, over which he may have expended 30 seconds of thought, to completely upend and remake the health, tax or education systems.

Because Mr. Gingrich does know more than most politicians, the main obstacles to his grandiose schemes have always been Congress’s professional staff members, many among the leading authorities anywhere in their areas of expertise.

To remove this obstacle, Mr. Gingrich did everything in his power to dismantle Congressional institutions that employed people with the knowledge, training and experience to know a harebrained idea when they saw it. When he became speaker in 1995, Mr. Gingrich moved quickly to slash the budgets and staff of the House committees, which employed thousands of professionals with long and deep institutional memories.

Of course, when party control in Congress changes, many of those employed by the previous majority party expect to lose their jobs. But the Democratic committee staff members that Mr. Gingrich fired in 1995 weren’t replaced by Republicans. In essence, the positions were simply abolished, permanently crippling the committee system and depriving members of Congress of competent and informed advice on issues that they are responsible for overseeing.

[  ]…In addition to decimating committee budgets, he also abolished two really useful Congressional agencies, the Office of Technology Assessment and the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The former brought high-level scientific expertise to bear on legislative issues and the latter gave state and local governments an important voice in Congressional deliberations.

Gingrich and his deep insecurities about rational empirical knowledge are not exclusive to him, they have been a feature of the conservative movement for years. The contempt and fear of the right solution for a problem runs deep in the conservative psyche. While the general attitude is not exclusive to my native southern states, it is well-worn territory here. Few weeks go by that I do not hear a conservative say yea they might be book smart, but they ain’t got no common sense. If there was such a thing as common sense it hardly substitutes for technical knowledge about carcinogens in our drinking water, what are public works demands will be for new sewer lines in twenty years or how to launch a tiny craft so it hits the moon and not be lost in space. To realize that experts sometimes know more than we do takes humility. Newt  and for that matter Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and similar mouth breathers who seem to think conservatism is somehow related to progress and patriotism, will have nothing to do with humility, thank you very much. Even if we rely on wisdom to make decisions about important things like public policy, that should still have a foundation in knowledge. Like Newt’s pliable ethics – personal or political, he also gets a pass on his flip-flops, but not Romney. Even though Romney’s are sometimes based on honest reevaluation – The Difference Between MittFlops and NewtFlops

Now that Newt Gingrich is the Republican front-runner (I know, it still sounds like a joke, but it’s true), people are starting to pay attention to the fact that if you go through his public statements, you’ll find as many changes of position as you will for any other candidate, including Mitt Romney. Some of these are in-the-moment howlers, like the time he assailed President Obama for not imposing a no-fly zone on Libya, then when Obama did just that a few days later, Gingrich assailed him for doing it. Others are position changes familiar to other candidates, like acknowledging and then denying climate change, and supporting and then opposing an individual mandate in health insurance.

So do Gingrich and Romney share the same character flaw of unbridled opportunism that causes these changes? The answer is no. In fact, even though they share some of the same flips, the way they happened illuminates something essential about who each man is and how they make decisions. Mitt Romney flip-flops carefully, after a period of calculation in which he determines the most appropriate strategic positioning required to achieve his short- and long-term goals. Newt Gingrich flip-flops impulsively, taking positions that sound good at a particular moment without any apparent regard for the past or the future.

I would never make the case that Romney changes positions because he actually cares about the benefits or pitfalls of a particular policy. He does seem to respond to the public, sometimes for better or worse. Newt was the prototype for Bush 43 or Cheney – reactionary and spiteful to the core. Romney probably has some core convictions, where Newt is the ultimate opportunist. Conservatives see this as strength rather than one of the worse flaws a leader of all the people can have. Regardless of a president’s political affiliations they are supposed to temper the excesses of their agenda with that in mind. Not so with the Newts and Georges. Where Democrats like to have their charts and studies and nudge people in the right direction – the Jeffersonian approach – conservatives continue to subscribe to the shove their agenda down America’s throat school of politics – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida’s Rick Scott and Michigan’s John Kasich being good post Bush examples ( Conservatives abandoned Bush yet learned nothing from his disastrous governing style).

Gingrich has learned that admitting mistakes makes no sense when you can just redefine words and actions – Gingrich Gave Push to Clients, Not Just Ideas

Yet if Mr. Gingrich has managed to steer clear of legal tripwires, a review of his activities shows how he put his influence to work on behalf of clients with a considerable stake in government policy. Even if he does not appear to have been negotiating legislative language, he and his staff did many of the same things that registered lobbyists do.

The center’s own records — kept in a restricted section of its Web site, but found by The New York Times in an unsecured archived version of the site — contain several previously unreported examples.

Two years before the Florida “summit,” Mr. Gingrich made a presentation to Republican lawmakers in Georgia, promoting the work of his member companies by citing specific benefits if they were hired. For example: “VitalSpring could save the State Employee Program over $20 million a year.”

Minutes of a members-only conference call from March 2004 said the center had “arranged joint meetings” for members to present their work on electronic health records to top federal officials, noting that Mr. Gingrich “reported very positive feedback overall from these meetings.”

So Cheney did not torture people, he had them undergo enhanced interrogation. Newt is not a lobbyist he is just someone who enhances connections between special interests and political insiders. Newt, a former Speaker of the House, convicted of ethics charges, is defining what reality is. This is only fair since conservatives need a rationale, a rationale of any sort to explain away the connection between America’s deeply ingrained corporate corruption and conservatives in Congress. Maintaining this corridor of mutual corruption between Washington, conservatives and the same corporate America that threw the economy down the rabbit hole is obvious to most Americans. Conservatism requires that any kinks in the chain are always the fault of gov’mint. Thus Newt is thought of as the true conservative and the outsider, because reality is not as important as maintaining the illusion that conservatism really cares about the average American family. In the real world conservatives, always with the help of a few Democrats, have not blurred the line between the corporate plutocracy and Congress, they have erased it. Not just Newt, any of this year’s crop of conservatives will make sure the needs of the 1% are joined at the hip with conservative legislation. When that creates even worse havoc for working class Americans, the nebulous gov’mint that conservatives see through the fog will be the bad guy as the real bad guys continue to collect record profits.

I’m a gun owner, these people are nutcakes – Cyber Monday Special: Buy Guns Before Obama Enslaves And Kills You. If we passed a law that said people had to pass a mental health exam before they could own a gun, the NRA and USAAmmo would really have something to cry about. Kids, do not jump up and own when the helicopter blades are turning.

A government, for protecting business only, is but a carcass, and soon falls by its own corruption and decay.- Amos Bronson Alcott

 

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Green Jazz wallpaper – More of a plutocracy than anything resembling a democracy; it has become a nation controlled by a very small, very wealthy elite.

Green Jazz wallpaper

I’ll try to have another version of this wallpaper up in another color – probably blue – in the near future.

 

Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks Undisclosed $13B

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.

We all knew about TARP. That was the official loan made by Republicans and the Bush administration – there is a movie version of how that went down in Too Big to Fail – where almost everyone comes off looking a little too good – poor beleaguered conservatives Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke saving the banks and thus the nation from financial collapse. They did, yet they could have attached quite a few strings to the federal bail-out and didn’t. Conservatives – the tea baggers in particular didn’t like TARP for reason they never made clear. Much like their later stance on rising the debt-ceiling they would not so concerned about the collapse of the economy as they were about some murky pseudo-populist trouble making. Liberals were angry about TARP because as the banks and the economy were going down the tubes they saw a bail-out for the elite and nothing for the 99%. I’ve mentioned before that TARP was paid back ( technically) but the banks never really repaid the nation for the real costs. Their well documented semi-Ponzi scheme with derivatives and collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs collapsed, they did not take the down side of that scheme. Naked Capitalism gets into the particulars of how Wall Street, after engaging in deeply immoral behavior, not only got TARP, these newly revealed secret loans, but made scores of money with government or tax payer funds, Quelle Surprise! Banks Lied About Bailout Funds and Got $13 Billion in Profit from Them

So what if the banks paid back loans when the central bank has goosed asset prices vis super low interest rates? That’s a massive tax on savers. And we have the hidden subsidy of underpriced bank rescue insurance. Ed Kane estimates that’s worth $300 billion a year for US banks; Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England has pencilled the annual cost as exceeding the market cap of big banks (and that was in 2010, when their stock prices were higher than now).

The Fed is most assuredly going to have losses. It hoovered up a ton of Treasuries and MBS to shore up asset prices at time when interest rates were already low. The central bank intends to sell them when interest rates rise, to soak up liquidity. Buying when interest rates are low and selling when rates are high guarantees losses. As an old Wall Street saying goes, it’s easy to manipulate markets, but hard to make money from it.

Not my best analogy, but imagine someone deep in credit card debt. By way of considerable sacrifice you loan them what they need to stay solvent. They use that free money to make tons more money and pay you back about 95 cents on the dollar – Wall Street Traders Have Profited More Under Obama Than In Eight Years Under Bush. These same arrogant swindlers, who by the way are now even bigger then before being too big to fail, are now pissed at Democrats and Obama in particular for passing Dodd-Frank financial reform, Schwarzman Backs Romney as Wall Street Turns Away From Obama

Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the world’s largest private-equity firm, will host a fundraiser for Mitt Romney at his Park Avenue apartment next month, a sign that Romney is closing the sale with Wall Street’s wealthiest donors.
[   ]…Schwarzman, who gave $4,600 to McCain once the Arizona senator had secured his party’s presidential nomination four years ago, has been critical of President Barack Obama’s stance toward Wall Street. In August 2010, he compared the administration’s efforts to double taxes on the income of private-equity firms such as his to “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939,” according to a New York Post account of a private meeting. He later apologized for the comparison while maintaining his criticism of the tax proposal.

Romney and Schwarzman both made their fortunes in private equity, and they came of age during the leveraged buyout movement in the 1980s. As head of the private equity firm Bain Capital LLC, Romney was the lead deal-maker, buying and selling companies to make money for investors. He spent most of his career at Bain and in 2007 estimated his wealth at as much as $250 million.

These leveraged buy-outs were an outrage at the time. Their defenders will sharks like Romney and Schwarzman saved some companies, but they gutted others, leaving many long-term employees, including executives scrambling to find work. This is in the same Wall Street turning to Romney piece. Another reminder of the high level cognitive dissonance of the conservative mind. We all know the government cannot create jobs. Its like reruns of Seinfeld, some conservative is rerunning that jobs-government narrative everyday.

“To the extent anyone is supporting Mitt Romney over President Obama it is because of the state of the economy and the president’s failure to create jobs,” Andrea Saul, a (Romney) campaign spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Every time Democrats try to create jobs conservatives stop them and some even cheer for high unemployment.

Georgia Business Declares New Company Policy: ‘We Are Not Hiring Until Obama Is Gone’

A business owner in western Georgia instituted a new company policy recently: “We are not hiring until Obama is gone.”

Bill Looman, who owns U.S. Cranes, LLC in Waco, Georgia, explained that while “I’ve got people that I want to hire now,” he didn’t think he would be able to foot the expense “unless some things change in D.C.”

[   ]….The notion that President Obama’s economic policies preclude small businesses from hiring new workers isn’t the only ludicrous claim Looman pushes. A cursory glance at Looman’s public Facebook page shows he is prone to anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Earlier this month, he posted a false report that Larry Sinclair – the man who claimed he did drugs and had sex with President Obama – had died and implied foul play, writing “MAKES YOU WONDER HUH?” Looman’s page is also riddled with pro-confederate and anti-Muslim postings.

More importantly, Looman’s assertion that he would be able to hire more workers but for Obama’s economic policies defies reason. In the last few months alone, Obama has proposed giving major tax credits to businesses that hire new workers, including a $4,000 credit for hiring the long-term unemployed. Just this week, Obama signed a law to give additional tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.

Looman, if he is making money enough money to pay federal income taxes is paying the lowest rate since the 1960s and President Obama has lowered small business taxes 17 times. I’ve mentioned before that the creation of the Confederacy was an act of treason. If that is the kind of sick twisted patriotism Looman stands for what decent human would want to work for him anyway.

There has to be all kinds of benefits of having two faces, Saturday’s Jon Kyl vs. Sunday’s Jon Kyl

On Saturday, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), along with his five other GOP colleagues from the super-committee, wrote a Washington Post op-ed on the debt-reduction process. Kyl’s point wasn’t subtle: he and other Republicans just can’t accept tax increases, at least for the foreseeable future.

Kyl called tax increases “the wrong medicine for our ailing economy,”…

[  ]…That was Saturday. Just 24 hours later, Kyl told a national television audience he’s comfortable with a payroll tax increase on all American workers on 2012.

The No. 2 Senate Republican, Jon Kyl, expressed concern on Sunday about President Obama’s proposal to continue a reduction in the Social Security payroll tax and questioned whether the tax cut had fostered the creation of jobs, as Democrats say.

I think a good case can be made for letting the payroll tax cuts lapse for the long-term health of Medicare and Social Security. Kyl’s not making that argument. he could care less if taxes of any kind are increased on working class Americans. What really puts a knot in his knickers is the mere possibility people like Mittens or Stephen Schwarzman might pay a few dollars more in taxes. Schwarzman probably makes a good portion of his income off capital gains. That’s the soul grinding hard work where the dealers in the Wall Street casino works up a sweat watching all those colored numbers change on the monitor in the executive offices. Kyl is defending the modern equivalent of 17th century French aristocrats who thought the people should be thankful to be ruled by the elite.

Teen tweeter won’t apologize to Sam Brownback ( former senator and now right-wing governor of Kansas)

The Shawnee Mission East senior was taking part in a Youth in Government program last week in Topeka, Kan., when she sent out a tweet from the back of a crowd of students listening to Brownback’s greeting. From her cellphone, she thumbed: “Just made mean comments at gov. brownback,” and then specified what the comments were.

She actually made no such comment and said she was “just joking with friends.” But Brownback’s office, which monitors social media for postings containing the governor’s name, saw Sullivan’s post and contacted the Youth in Government program.

Yet another lesson in conservative economics. Brownback slashed Kansas art programs, but has someone paid to sit around monitoring social media to see what people are saying about him. Brownback belongs to the perennially wacky American Family Association. Among many of their cherished moments in evaluating various news events the AFA said that Sea World Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed because Sea World did not follow scripture on how to treat animals that have proven to be dangerous. ‘Compassionate Conservative’ Kansas Gov. Brownback Proposes Ending Funding For State Mental Hospital, another great moment for the man who can’t handle criticism. While in the Senate Brownback was so blinded by his hatred of health care reform he tried to filibuster a military spending bill unless health care reform was stopped. Brownback is also a warrior in the great war to defend the richest 1%. One of his first initiatives as governor was to prose a corporate tax cut while imposing a $50 million cut to education spending. Brownback is among the legion of poster boys for conservatism:  he has been morally vulgar, a ridiculous specimen of elitist ass kissing, a mind composed of weird superstitious assumptions that battle daily with actual reality and has all the vision of a Nero in his last days. Maybe everyone should be careful about insulting him, it’s a lot like taunting a chimp at the zoo.

 

It means that, in fact, it’s – whether fascist is the right word I don’t know – More of a plutocracy than anything resembling a democracy; it has become a nation controlled by a very small, very wealthy elite. – Peter Singer

Snow on Spruce Tree wallpaper – You Can Camp to Buy Stuff, But You Cannot Camp To Rescue The Republic

snow, winter, holiday

Snow on Spruce Tree wallpaper

This is a rather long piece by Naomi Wolf – The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy. I strongly recommend reading the whole article and saving it and the links within it.

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.

[  ]…I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

How ironic that you can camp out in front of some big retailer to buy stuff, but you cannot camp out to remind America that Wall Street stole $17 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth. They got a bail-out and those protesting that, among some other deeply troubling economic and social injustices, get peppered sprayed, beat with clubs, dragged by their hair and some ending up hospitalized. Again I will grant that out of the hundreds of thousands if not millions who have participated and associated themselves with some kind of OWS protest there have been a few bad actors. If there is some group of humans in the U.S. that is without sin let them cast the first stone, so to speak. The bad apples may make a good case for OWS to move on to periodic protests, on-line virtual protests and other techniques, but remember thus far the vast majority of violence has been perpetrated by police against peaceful protesters.

Update: Some important fact corrections to Wolf’s article by Crooks and Liars: The Shocking Truth About Naomi Wolf’s Factless Assertions. Two of the most important takeaways is that thus far there is no proof that DHS coordinated with city mayors on OWS crackdowns. That does not mean there has not been some coordination between mayors. The other, which I did not pay as much attention to as I should is that it is PERF’s( Police Executives’ Research Forum) position that they did not advise any city authorities to take the kind of violent actions which have been taken against OWS. On the contrary PERF thinks some of the local police leadership has acted outside the more restrained and demonstrator respectful guidelines that PERF preferred. That said the memo about demonizing OWS still stands and many of the nation’s mayors and individual police department leadership has much to answer for in terms of the legality and morality of their actions. My apologies for not being more diligent and taking Wolf at her word for the DHS rumor. A rumor that seems to have gone viral ( that means you Michael Moore). AS with other articles that have committed similar sins – mixing some verifiable facts with some persistent rumors Wolf does a terrible disservice to the facts she does have. Now the entirety of the article will be called a lie.

Much of the media and certainly right-wing bloggers are documenting every time someone even remotely associated with OWS may have done anything wrong, ranging from littering to smoking pot or disrupting a business. These reports taken in total are supposed to demonize OWS. As far as these juvenile tactics go they are somewhat successful even if they are mostly preaching to the choir – people who would hate OWS anyway. In that light let’s look at how some other groups of Americans are behaving today: Nogales Police officer arrested on Sexual Conduct with a Minor charges

Clayton cop arrested going 108 on motorcycle

Albuquerque police: Torrance County corrections officer arrested for allegedly smoking heroin

Natchitoches Parish priest arrested for theft

Priest arrested on charge of sexual assault on boy

Report: Priest among six arrested in sex crackdown

WKY youth minister arrested on sex abuse charges

District Court Judge Charged With DWI In Greene County

A man died at Pitt County Memorial Hospital after a police officer used a Taser on him.

It could be that America as a whole is not behaving any better than those  rascals with the OWS, yet the police are not going door-to-door beating people up. Mayors are not making conference calls to have a massive militarized response to some serious crimes.

This is the video report mentioned in the Wolf article – Exclusive: Lobbying Firm’s Memo Spells Out Plan to Undermine Occupy Wall Street

More misplaced priorities. Driven By Drug War Incentives, Cops Target Pot Smokers, Brush Off Victims Of Violent Crime

In August 2010, three months after the attack, Shaver contacted a reporter for Time Out Chicago, who began asking around about her case. Shaver also met with Chicago Alderman Joe Marino. Shortly before the Time Out article went to press, a detective finally called Shaver down to the police station to identify her attacker. But even with her identification, the police didn’t arrest “Sonny.” He wasn’t charged with the assault until the following month, when he was arrested on an unrelated domestic violence charge.

Shortly after she finally identified her attacker at the police station, Shaver said the detective in charge of her case told her, “Now I don’t want to hear any more bitching from you.”

I personally think using drugs is a mistake, but simultaneously putting  massive resources into busting some pot smokers while actually belittling victims of violent crime is just another indication that there are some deep structural problems with our law enforcement priorities.

The Iran-contra scandal, 25 years later – In 1990s, U.S. prosecutors assessed “criminal liability” of Reagan, George H.W. Bush

The list of the “other… more important ” aspects of the sordid story that became known as “Iran-contra” scandal is a long one but worth recalling 25 years later. The Reagan administration had been negotiating with terrorists (despite Reagan’s repeated public position that he would “never” do so). There were illegal arms transfers to Iran, flagrant lying to Congress, soliciting third country funding to circumvent the Congressional ban on financing the contra war in Nicaragua, White House bribes to various generals in Honduras, illegal propaganda and psychological operations directed by the CIA against the U.S. press and public, collaboration with drug kingpins such as Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, and violating the checks and balances of the constitution.

“If ever the constitutional democracy of the United States is overthrow,” the leading political analyst of the scandal, Theodore Draper wrote at the time, “we now have a better idea of how this is likely to be done.”

Despite the gravity of the scandal, and the intense political and media focus it generated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Iran-Contra has been largely forgotten.

Who remembers how many top NSC and CIA officials were convicted of crimes relating to the scandal? (Six, although two, Oliver North and John Poindexter, had their convictions dismissed and four were pardoned by President George Herbert Walker Bush.)

Even though there were some successful prosecutions Iran-Contra set a new standard and tradition of the abuse of executive power. Even the conservatives who were convicted were eventually rewarded by the Right’s lifetime membership wing-nut welfare system. Ollie North made some big bucks working for Fox News. Admiral Poindexter worked for a while in Bush 43’s administration even though he was a convicted felon.

Conservatives are just happy with any of the dates they invited to the prom – Palin supporters to run TV ads in Iowa encouraging her to reconsider

Some fans of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin haven’t given up yet on the prospect of her jumping in the race for the White House in 2012 and say they plan to run television ads in Iowa begging her to reconsider her decision.

“Your contributions have made it possible for us to run the Palin reconsider television ad next week in the Sioux City, Iowa market,”

Ian Lazaran of Conservates4Palin.com wrote in a post online Friday. “Thanks to everyone who chipped in to make it possible.”

Lazaran wrote that the target date for ad going up on television in the Hawkeye State is Nov. 29.

“What we do next after the television ad goes up is a more difficult question,” he explained.

Lazaran said “if this ad is able to build some momentum” for Palin, “the best way to keep that momentum going may be to commission a national GOP primary poll that includes the Governor as one of the options.”

The more nuts on the tree the more that will hit the ground.

When Will Rep. Michele Bachmann Apologize To America

NBC apologizes to Bachmann over song

NBC has joined Jimmy Fallon in apologizing to Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, the network reported on its “TODAY” show Thursday.

Fallon had apologized on Twitter after Bachmann appeared Monday on his “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” show, walking on stage to the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” by Fishbone.

“I’m honored that @michelebachmann was on our show yesterday and I’m so sorry about the intro mess. I really hope she comes back,” Fallon tweeted on Tuesday.

The candidate admitted being oblivious to the slight at the time, but insisted in an interview Wednesday on Fox News that the incident amounted to “sexism.”

Of course she has milked one of the world’s subtlest little pranks for all she could. Managing to work in some bunk about media bias and topped off with Hollywood “elite”. So to summarize a notable believer in the absurd and bizarre, a font of endless lies and disinformation and under the general impression her immorality should be the shackles with which every American is chained demands and gets an apology for a prank. It probably is a deserved apology. Yet let’s pause and check some history for a moment to see if someone else should not be making apologies, like to the American people. Bachmann has advocated gay conversion therapy, has said that Medicaid is for the lazy as her husband collected Medicaid for his “counseling” centers, has promised the price of gasoline will be $2 a gallon if elected prez, said she would rather see the economy crash again rather than rise debt ceiling, compared gay marriage to Mormon polygamy and “much worse”, dumped her old church before running for prez for fear she would be associated with its radical views, once predicted the world would end in 2006, ignoring her anti-union record claimed she was not anti-union, has never drafted a major piece of legislation yet claims to be a hard-working legislator, pledges she will ban all pornography in the U.S. – she would have to violate the Constitution to usurp the Supreme Court is such matters, proud of superstitious beliefs about how life evolved, has suggested that swine flu occurred because we had a Democratic president, has warned that the movie The Lion King was gay propaganda, said abolishing minimum wage would create jobs, said that visiting Iraq was like visiting the Mall of America, has said that CO2 is harmless, on hearing Melissa Etheridge had cancer said now would be a good time for her to repent being a lesbian, advocated people break the law and refuse to answer Census questions, said not to worry America – Glenn Beck would solve all the federal budget issues, has advocated not using HPV vaccine claiming it causes brain damage, has said that even more tax giveaways to large corporations will boost jobs, urged women to be submissive to their husbands, Bachmann thanked a man for saying he would vote for a serial killer before he would vote for Obama, has praised Bill O’Reilly as someone who speaks the truth, has advocated for dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency, has said that those who cannot find work should not eat (no food stamps for the disabled among others), has said that the Congressional procedure called deem and pass is treason even though it has been used more by Republicans than Democrats. America waits for your apology Rep. Bachmann.

This is What Conservatives Think Capitalism is: The Average Bush Tax Cut For The 1 Percent This Year Will Be Greater Than The Average Income Of The Other 99 Percent

As Occupy Wall Street protestors continue to demonstrate across the country, congress’ fiscal super committee failed to craft a deficit reduction package due to Republican refusal to consider tax increases on the super wealthy. In fact, the only package that the GOP officially submitted to the committee included lowering the top tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, even as new research shows that the optimal top tax rate is closer to 70 percent.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who co-chaired the super committee, explained that the major sticking point during negotiations with the GOP was what to do with the Bush tax cuts. With that in mind, the National Priorities Project points out that those tax cuts this year will give the richest 1 percent of Americans a bigger tax cut than the other 99 percent will receive in average income:

The average Bush tax cut in 2011 for a taxpayer in the richest one percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent ($66,384 compared to $58,506).

“The super committee failed to grapple with the extraordinarily costly Bush tax cuts for the richest—tax policies that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, cost more in added federal debt than they add in additional economic activity,” explained Jo Comerford, NPP’s Executive Director. Frank Knapp, vice chairman of the American Sustainable Business Council, added in a statement yesterday, “the high-end Bush tax cuts are a big part of the problem – not the solution…It’s obscene to keep slashing infrastructure and services for everybody on Main Street to keep up tax giveaways for millionaires and multinational corporations.”

Hard work and intellectual contributions to the economy should be rewarded. I’ve never heard of a mainstream Democrat or any big Democratic blog argue otherwise. Democrats regardless of the fifty years of straw man arguments to the contrary by far right-wing conservatives – believe in capitalism. Republicans, who just derailed a huge deficit deal based on not giving an inch on taxes for the extremely wealthy – proved they believe in supply-side voodoo, crony capitalism, elite plutocratic economics – not capitalism.

A lot of disinformation or willful ignorance (Fox News Viewers Uninformed, NPR Listeners Not, Poll Suggests) is likely responsible for some of this – Poll: Voters want court to kill Obama health care law – Overall, voters oppose the law by 48%-40%. I find it difficult to believe a rational person would want to repeal these changes which are already in effect –

Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
Lower seniors prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

Country Field wallpaper – Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall

Country Field wallpaper

Very handy guide to how and when events went down in Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction talks. Otherwise known as Cat-food Commission Part II in which Republicans demanded the 52% of Americans who own 2.5% of the nation’s wealth were supposed to make yet more sacrifices so the Koch brothers would not have to pay an extra one percent in federal taxes. Republicans Won’t Compromise on Taxes: A Timeline

October 26, 2011: Democrats first super committee offer is $3 trillion in deficit reduction comprised of about $1.3 trillion in revenues and $1.7 trillion in spending cuts, including cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans immediately reject it. Republicans’ first super committee offer is $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction that includes no new tax revenues.

November 8, 2011: Republicans’ second super committee offer is $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. It does include $300 billion in new tax revenue, but in exchange for extending the Bush tax cuts and lowering the top tax rate. The plan would ultimately cut taxes for the wealthy and raise them for everyone else.

November 10, 2011: Democrats’ second offer is $2.3 trillion in deficit reduction, consisting of $1.3 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in revenue. The revenue would be split between $350 billion in concrete measures and $650 billion in future tax reform. Republicans reject it.

November 11, 2011: Democrats agree to Republicans’ top lines including just $400 billion in revenues and $875 billion in spending cuts, but refuse to accept the GOP’s tax cut for the rich. Republicans reject it and make their final offer: $640 billion in spending cuts and $3 billion in revenues.

 

Conservatives can be all over the place on issues and most of that empty sloganeering. One thing they have been consistent about is being deficit peacocks. If the option is just doing away with some tax breaks and loopholes for the very wealthy or paying down the deficit they have always gone for protecting the 1%.

Along with the fizzle of the new commission we have to have another blame game for why the committee failed. I would suggest that Democrats try to take as much blame for this one as possible. The “failure” of the commission means the median income bracket and below will see their payroll taxes( Social Security and Medicare) go up, which in the long run will keep both those programs on more solid ground. The failure also means the end of the Bush tax cuts. The cuts that will literally haunt a generation of Americans. Paul Krugman was waxing poetically about this a few days ago – Failure is Good

  In Democrat-world, up is up and down is down. Raising taxes increases revenue, and cutting spending while the economy is still depressed reduces employment. But in Republican-world, down is up. The way to increase revenue is to cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and slashing government spending is a job-creation strategy. …

Moreover, the parties have sharply different views of what constitutes economic justice. Democrats see social insurance programs, from Social Security to food stamps, as serving the moral imperative of providing basic security to our fellow citizens and helping those in need.

Republicans have a totally different view…, they view the welfare state as immoral, a matter of forcing citizens at gunpoint to hand their money over to other people. …

Why did anyone think this would work?

Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of fear that there would be a political price for seeming intransigent. But this could only happen if the news media were willing to point out who is really refusing to compromise. And they aren’t…, the G.O.P. pays no price for refusing to give an inch.

So the supercommittee will fail — and that’s good.

For one thing, history tells us that the Republican Party would renege on its side of any deal as soon as it got the chance. … So any deal reached now would, in practice, be nothing more than a deal to slash Social Security and Medicare, with no lasting improvement in the deficit.

 

Conservatism more than ever has become a cult that worships some kind of market purity which has never existed. In that market you have no safety net like Medicare. In con-world that’s OK because the riff-raff will either learn to not get old or sick, or they’ll just die off leaving the always completely self-reliant folks who will live in a perfect land of milk, honey and untaxed capital gains forever and ever.

Pregnant Seattle protester miscarries after being kicked, pepper sprayed

A woman who was pepper sprayed during during a raid on Occupy Seattle last week is blaming police after she miscarried Sunday.

Jennifer Fox, 19, told The Stranger that she had been with the Occupy protests since they started in Westlake Park. She said she was homeless and three months pregnant, but felt the need to join activists during their march last Tuesday.

“I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in,” Fox recalled. “I was screaming, ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.’”

She claimed that police hit her in the stomach twice before pepper spraying her. One officer struck her with his foot and another pushed his bicycle into her. It wasn’t clear if either of those incidents were intentional.

[  ]…Seattle fire department spokesman Kyle Moore told The Washington Post that a 19-year-old pregnant woman was among those that were examined by paramedics.

While doctors at Harborview Medical Center didn’t see any problems at the time, things took a turn for the worst Sunday.

“Everything was going okay until yesterday, when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out,” she explained.

When Fox arrived at the hospital, doctors told her that the baby had no heartbeat.

“They diagnosed that I was having a miscarriage. They said the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too,” she said.

Things are not looking good for the Seattle police. Let’s assume for the moment that she might have miscarried anyway. Why the unjustified compulsion to brutalize someone who posed on real threat to life or property. One hopes that the least the police will do is pause in the future and consider the consequences of what they’re doing. This is a guy who poses a threat to society – Mississippi police officer arrested in baby death.

Twisted Clowns at Fox News declares pepper spray a vegetable – Fox News and Casually Pepper Spray Everything (Especially Liberals)

“I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police,” Bill O’Reilly said tonight, discussing the appalling use of pepper spray by UC Davis police on Friday. No, God forbid we Monday-morning quarterback the police, especially, as O’Reilly continued, “at a place like UC Davis, which is a fairly liberal campus.”

Indeed: what right do we have to think that Lt. John Pike should probably not have indifferently dusted peacefully sitting protesters with pepper spray from only a few feet away? And, gosh, even if we were going to Monday-morning quarterback the police, shouldn’t we remember, as Megyn Kelly tells O’Reilly, that pepper spray is “a food product, essentially”?

In short we have learned the pass few years that should anyone at Fox ever be water-boarded it is not torture and being pepper sprayed is like having a healthy snack. If O’Reilly doesn’t think the police should ever be second guessed why did he have a police officer investigated after he started dating his ex-wife.

The Black Helicopter Report: There is an army of Chinese soldiers waiting  in the sewers of New York to take over the U.S. on orders from the United Nations, fluoride is a communist plot to contaminate your precious bodily fluids and the Congressional Budget office is a socialist institution. More on the last – Newt Gingrich: Congressional Budget Office Is ‘A Reactionary Socialist Institution’

Gingrich’s comment drew criticism from various sources. Per CNN Money, “Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director and Republican, called the Gingrich allegation ‘ludicrous.'” Stan Collender, whom CNN describes as “a former Capitol Hill aide who worked for the House and Senate Budget Committees,” had some harsh words for Gingrich, saying that the candidate “should know better, and he should be ashamed of himself.” Collender called the CBO “bipartisan” and said they are “the best group as analysts I’ve ever met.”

[  ]…Political Correction’s Jamison Foser explains that Gingrich has not always been so critical of the CBO. Foser cites, among other examples, a 1995 press conference during which Gingrich discussed working on a balanced budget. “We did it honestly, using the Congressional Budget Office which was tough,” said Gingrich. Foser also points to a Los Angeles Times story from 1995, also involving budget talks, in which Gingrich, who was Speaker of the House at the time, “declared that the agreement on the use of CBO numbers was a significant step.” He is reported to have said, “There is absolute agreement that everything that will be discussed starting tomorrow will have been scored by CBO.”

 

What with all the Tiffany’s bling Newt buys his wife he can’t afford the good tin-foil.

Romney fires first shot and its a blank – First Romney TV Ad Falsely Presents McCain Campaign Quote As Obama’s.

Is Herman Cain cognizant of  fact he is in the same party as these asshats, Glenn Beck Defends Limbaugh: Michelle Obama Is “A Little Uppity”.

Limbaugh: clueless

‘Homeless Halloween’ Firm Goes Under

Steven J. Baum P.C., a firm that specialized in foreclosures, is closing its doors a month after photos showing employees celebrating Halloween by dressing like the homeless surfaced in a New York Times column by Joe Nocera. Nocera wrote a follow up column this weekend, in which he quoted an angry email he received from Mr. Baum himself. The firm announced the shuttering via press release and was reported by the NYT:

[  ]… On Saturday, Joe Nocera, The Times columnist who originally wrote about the firm’s Halloween party, published another column about the controversy. In it, he quoted an e-mail that Mr. Baum had sent him last week.

“Mr. Nocera — You have destroyed everything and everyone related to Steven J. Baum PC,” said the letter. “It took 40 years to build this firm and three weeks to tear down.”

“I think that’s what they call shooting the messenger,” Mr. Nocera said.

It seems the homeless Halloween celebration did the firm in, but it should be noted that Baum’s firm continuously tangled with both the federal government and the New York Attorney General’s office over its practices.

Note the tired meme: when they’re successful its all because of how hard working and virtuous they are, when they fail its always someone elses’ fault.

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. – William Shakespeare

Black and Silver Stop Watch wallpaper – Playing The Game and A History of Violence

time, clock, almost black and white

Black and Silver Stop Watch wallpaper

winter landscape, holiday wallpaper, snow, mountains

Snow Frozen Trees wallpaper

Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.

What happened next?

Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

What happened next?

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Lt. John Pike using pepper spray on peaceful protesters at UC Davis
Lt. John Pike using pepper dpray on peaceful protesters at UC Davis photo by Louise Macabitas

Larger photo.

Most of you have probably seen the video by now. It was difficult for me to watch and I have pretty high tolerance for being shocked. I did blog through the Bush 43 era in which the president, vice president and their conservative collaborators, with the help of most of the nations’ press manipulated the nation into a war. During the entire time and probably for the foreseeable future, with over 4000 American casualties and somewhere between a hundred thousand to a million dead Iraqis, Bush and Cheney were hailed as patriots. As one would expect liberal and progressives pundits and bloggers are outraged. Where is the nation’s outrage. If the video was of Iranian pro reform protesters or Chinese students protesting the government there wold be universal condemnation. Yet here we are in America with people engaged in peaceful resistance, a tradition as old as the United States and the state is using violence to stop people from exercising their first amendment rights. The 1st amendment reads:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Garance Franke-Ruta notes at The Atlantic, Too Much Violence and Pepper Spray at the OWS Protests

And yet it is all too American. America has a very long history of protests that meet with excessive or violent response, most vividly recorded in the second half of the 20th century. It is a common fantasy among people born in the years since the great protests movements — and even some not so great ones — that they would have stood on the bold side of history had they been alive at the time and been called to make a choice. But the truth is that American protest movements in real time — and especially in their early days — often appear controversial, politically difficult, out-of-the-mainstream, and dangerous. And they are met with fear.

Even decades later, acts of protest can be the subject of heated debate and lead people to question (as well as celebrate) the moral standing of those who put their bodies on the line during moments of historic tumult — as Sen. John Kerry, Vietnam veteran and former anti-Vietnam protester, learned during his presidential bid in 2004.

This sort of dynamic holds for pretty much any group that aims to upend the existing social order using direct action, because few resort to such tactics if they think they have other, easier ways to petition for redress of grievances or could be heard as loudly through existing channels of expression.

At the same Atlantic link are photos and video of police violence in Portland, Denver, Seattle, New York and Oakland. The OWS haters are out and about on the net: The police can do what they want to protesters because the police are afraid, the protesters are dirty hippies, the protesters are all, fill in the blank…anarchists, commies, spoiled brats who want everything served to them on a silver platter, dirty, lazy, anti-capitalism. This is the same kind of demonizing people who think the status quo is not just or fair have always faced. Sure there are some wacky folks on the fringes of the OWS, but I remember when we were covering the tea bagger national temper tantrums the Right said that their movement was all-American and the wackos were just a few bad apples. Now the those same people are condemning the entire OWS because of ? A few bad apples. The police have the right to use this kind of excessive force against American citizens exercising their rights? No they do not. There have been many legal rulings covering the issue of excessive force by law enforcement. This is one of the more well know: United States Court of Appeals,Ninth Circuit. HEADWATERS FOREST DEFENSE v. COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT

Nine environmental activists and an environmental group brought this action, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the County of Humboldt, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Eureka City and its police department, and several individual officers, alleging that the officers’ use of pepper spray on the activists’ eyes and faces during three peaceful protests constituted an excessive use of force in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.   We previously issued an opinion, which is reported at 240 F.3d 1185 (9th Cir.2001), in which we reversed the district court’s decision to grant summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds to Humboldt County Sheriff Dennis Lewis (“Lewis”) and Chief Deputy Sheriff Gary Philip (“Philip”), the defendants who initially authorized the use of the pepper spray on the nonviolent protestors. We also reversed the district court’s decision to enter judgment in favor of Humboldt County, the City of Eureka, and their respective police departments following trial and a hung jury.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated our judgment, and remanded this case to us for further consideration in light of Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 121 S.Ct. 2151, 150 L.Ed.2d 272 (2001), in which the Supreme Court describes the way in which to proceed when state officials assert qualified immunity in a § 1983 excessive force action.   Having reviewed the facts and circumstances of this case in light of Saucier, this panel reaffirms its conclusion that Lewis and Philip are not entitled to qualified immunity. (emphasis mine)

The argument that people sitting down and locking arms is a form of violence are trying to change some fundamental reality. Locking arms is not listed as a synonym for punching or shoving. We have different words, different adjectives and verbs precisely because we use them to describe reality as accurately as possible. If non-violence is violence than standing is running, a high tide is the same as a low tide, not scoring a touch down is worth six points. I’ve heard some lame arguments in my lifetime, but this new attempt at shifting reality reminds me of something out of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four or some communist propaganda. I posted about how easy it is to demonize movements such as OWS. The far Right has taken to the task like addicts on crack. The technique is so easy that even the wing-nuts and plutocrats can do it. You take a few incidents, disproportionately blow them up, dismiss the bad apple analogy for whoever the Right is attacking and as usual ignore the Right’s never-ending hypocrisy on basic tenets of justice and liberty. We can all play. Let’s say there is an organization whose members have been guilty of rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault and pedophilia – like the Catholic Church for example(The 2004 John Jay Report stated there were approximately 10,667 reported victims (younger than 18 years) of clergy sexual abuse). Add to the actual crimes repeated attempts by the Church to cover up, minimize the crimes and even try to hide perpetrators. Using the Right’s logic and that of some( not all) of the police involved in these crackdowns on OWS, the catholic Church is evil, guilty, a threat to society. Thus U.S. authorities should round-up all Catholics, beat them, pepper spray them, jail them and the church be banned from the United States ( Protestants commit their share of sex crimes too, they are just more difficult to track because of all the denominations). Its a fun game. Anyone can play and use can use a variety of groups. White males between the ages of 18 and 34? That is the group where many, maybe most serial killers come from. How about African-Americans males, they represent a large portion of serial killers as well when you take into account their percentage of the population. Let’s get the police to beat up, pepper spray all the white males and African-American males (Wing-nut Matt Drudge likes playing the all black males are criminals game). See how simple the rules are. Find some wrong doing by any group and paint that group as  anarchists, hippies, religious fanatics, commies, spoiled brats who want everything served to them on a silver platter, dirty, lazy, criminal corporate presidents. There are legitimate arguments to be made against some group behavior based on their history. Police in the U.S. have a history of using excessive force – most often against people who are not in the upper 10% income bracket. Anyone heard of any cops pepper spraying one of the Wall Street CEOs who helped steal $17 trillion dollars from the American public? So the public has a legitimate right to express concerns over what appears to be the militarization of the police to use against any group of people who engage in their right to protest. Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism – NYPD officer shoves, threatens to arrest NY Supreme Court judge acting as a legal observer at OWS.

There is also the reverse game in which you portray any group as always good, decent and honorable. Boulder police bust window, save puppy from 90-degree car.

Police save woman, abducted at gunpoint, from ex-boyfriend

Black Reporter Saves White Supremacist In Street Fight

The keys to the truth is looking at statistical trends. Looking at a group’s behavior over time. Judging individual incidents just like a judge rules on individual cases. As much as I admire, respect and appreciate the law enforcement profession in general, it is time for a long hard look in the mirror. They are not just getting paid by the 1% to protect the powers that be, they are being paid to protect and serve all the citizens. I cannot find the link, but someone recently wrote that it appeared to them the police were acting as mercenaries for the 1%. I hope that is not the case. Unfortunately stories like this one are pretty damning, at least of police leadership – The cop group coordinating the Occupy crackdowns

But a little-known but influential private membership based organization has placed itself at the center of advising and coordinating the crackdown on the encampments. The Police Executive Research Forum, an international non-governmental organization with ties to law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been coordinating conference calls with major metropolitan mayors and police chiefs to advise them on policing matters and discuss response to the Occupy movement. The group has distributed a recently published guide on policing political events.

[  ]…PERF’s current and former directors read as a who’s who of police chiefs involved in crackdowns on anti-globalization and political convention protesters resulting in thousands of arrests, hundreds of injuries, and millions of dollars paid out in police brutality and wrongful arrest lawsuits.

These current and former U.S. police chiefs — along with top ranking police union officials and representatives from Canadian and British police — have been marketing to municipal police forces and politicians their joint experiences as specialists on policing mass demonstrations.

Chairing PERF’s board of directors is Philadelphia Police Commissioner and former Washington D.C. Metro Police Chief Charles Ramsey, who was responsible for coordinating the police response to protests against international banking institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Those protests, and Ramsey’s response to massive anti-war demonstrations in Washington DC in the lead up the the Iraq War, often resulted in preemptive mass arrest of participants that were later deemed to be unconstitutional.

There is a bit of irony in all this as some modern police forces – almost all of which are unionized – were once demonized themselves for starting unions.

Birthers Attempt To Remove Obama From New Hampshire Primary

The birther wars continue. Orly Taitz, birther queen of California, personally filed a complaint in New Hampshire on Saturday that challenged President Obama’s U.S. citizenship and argued for his removal from the state’s ballot, reports the Concord Monitor.

New Hampshire’s electoral governing body, the Ballot Law Commission, turned down the complaint in a public hearing via 5-0 vote. It got pretty ugly shortly thereafter.

“Traitors!” screamed the members of the attending public. “Treason!”

Funny how none of the birthers were peppered sprayed or beaten so badly they had to be taken to the hospital.

Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum: Labor Unions Are Force For Good…If You’re Iranian

Discussing his plans for the bogeyman of the moment, Iran, Santorum outlined a three-pronged strategy to pressure and weaken the regime that many fear could develop a nuclear weapon soon. First in Santorum’s plan as he explained it to about a dozen voters in Ottumwa, IA Friday is a tough regime of sanctions against Iran. Third is covert military action against Iranian facilities and nuclear scientists.

But here’s number two, in full:

Work with the pro-democracy groups. There’s been some activity in Iran in the last few weeks. Explosions that have been unexplained. A couple of leaders of the Green Revolution have been arrested. There’s some fomenting going and, and there’s strikes going on. We should have several avenues of getting money into Iran to help striking labor unions, to give them money so they can keep out on strike and disrupt the government and try to create the revolutionary atmosphere there. Because we need to get rid of Mullahs and get rid of the theocracy that’s in charge there.

It’s not going to be a huge surprise to anyone watching the Republican party in the past couple years that Santorum does not propose a similar US government partnership with unions in America..

I love the troll at the link who also argued that unions are good as long as they are protesting Iranian style theocracies, but not if they are negotiating in this little democratic republic we call the home of the free. He also added you’re all illiterate idiots for not seeing the world  the way superior intellects like him and Rick do.

Glenn Greenwald has some good stuff in this column – Here’s what attempted co-option of OWS looks like, but he is also deeply wrong. If OWS does not make the transition to getting people elected who represent their views – locally or nationally, if they do not get legislation passed – say better regulation of derivatives or bringing back the Glass-Steagall Act for banks, than OWS are just irritating background noise to the current crop of elected officials and corporate plutocrats. OWS might be a powerful symbol, but corporate America is hardly shaking in its boots at some people in tents or carrying signs. They park their exotic German imports in the garage of their McMansion, cash their multimillion dollar bonuses and eat their caviar as usual.

Another reason the NYT’s Ross Douthat is an overpaid moron. Ross is lead plated proof the U.S. is not a merit based economy. I could get better insights for free at any construction site.