Friday, October 22, 2010

Last Call

And just because as we get closer and closer to the election, we see just how hate-filled people can be in "moderate purple states" like Missouri...

At the request of sheriff Rick Walter, Scott County homeowner Rick Hoskins removed a Halloween display in front of his home Wednesday that's the subject of much controversy in the Sikeston area.

The display, which featured a Ku Klux Klan figure alongside an effigy of a black man hanging from a noose, could be seen by drivers on Interstate 55

Walter said his office had received several complaints about the display, so he contacted the office of prosecuting attorney Paul Boyd to see if it was within the sheriff's department's rights to remove it due to the problems it could cause.

Boyd encouraged Walter to discuss the matter with Hoskins and to ask Hoskins to take it down.  Hoskins complied, but indicated he would contact his attorney with the intent of putting the decorations back up.

"There's been a bunch of people that's stopped by since I put them up," said Hoskins. "Said they want to shake my hand. They said they're glad to see a little white pride is still left in this country."

This man has the right to his hateful, racist bigoted opinion.  This man also has the right to vote despite that opinion and his demonstrated rancor.  His vote counts exactly the same as everyone else's vote.  I cannot imagine him voting for a party that elected a black President, either. 

So keep Rick Hoskins here in mind when someone tells you "Well I'm not going to vote in order to punish the Democrats."  Rick Hoskins will vote.  And if only people like Rick Hoskins vote, we'll get people like Rick Hoskins running the country.
It's that simple.

The Ultimate Friday Night News Dump

WikiLeaks, as promised, has dropped a massive information bomb on the Iraq War.  The UK's Guardian has a first look at the deluge of documents, which apparently shows the US looked the other way as Iraqis tortured prisoners.

A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.

Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.

The new logs detail how:

US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.

• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.

Awesome.  Good thing we decided not to look backwards on this and investigate so that Republicans wouldn't go after Democrats in witch hunts should they ever return to power, huh.

No wonder the Middle East hates us.  We've extracted a 9-year price in blood from the Muslim world orders of magnitude higher than what we paid in one day on 9/11 in the name of "freedom".  That's justice right there.

Do read the whole thing.  It's disgusting, disturbing, bloody awful and done in our name.

And it continues.

And By "Bipartisan" We Mean Shut Up, That's Why

Republicans are eager to work with over Democrats and the President in the next Congress.

"Look, the time to go along and get along is over," said Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the chairman of the House Republican Conference. "House Republicans know that. We’ve taken firm and principled stands against their big government plans throughout this Congress, and we’ve got, if the American people will send them, we’ve got a cavalry of men and women headed to Washington, D.C. that are going to stand with us."

Pence said his party wouldn't compromise on issues like spending or healthcare reform, two of the weightiest items on Congress's agenda next year, when the Republicans could control one or both chambers.

"Look, there will be no compromise on stopping runaway spending, deficits and debt. There will be no compromise on repealing Obamacare. There will be no compromise on stopping Democrats from growing government and raising taxes," Pence told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday evening. "And if I haven’t been clear enough yet, let me say again: No compromise."

His words are meant to soothe conservatives who worry the party might be too accommodating of Obama and the Democrats in Congress.

Boy it's a good thing Obama spent all this time trying to offer to work with Republicans so that they would earn his respect and usher in a new era of centrist comity in Congress, right?

The definition of bipartisan will always mean "Democrats should work to give Republicans 100% of what they want" and nobody will call them out on it.  Meanwhile, Obama must TRIANGULAAAAATE or else.

Totally fair.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

If Republicans vote early, it's democracy in action.

Republicans across Florida have mounted an early lead in returning absentee ballots and are showing up in greater numbers than Democrats since early voting began Monday.

The GOP touted the numbers as a sign of impending victory on Nov. 2. Democrats dismissed it as meaningless after just three days of early voting results.

Florida Republicans have long flexed organizational muscle by requesting and returning mail or absentee ballots in greater numbers than Democrats. But the GOP has not outpaced Democrats in early voting in Florida since it began eight years ago.

Early voting began Oct. 18, and ends Oct. 30 in some counties, Oct. 31 in others.

If Democrats vote early, it's massive voter fraud by minorities.

After CBS News reported today that Democrats are showing strong numbers at early voting polls, FreedomWorks CEO Dick Armey offered his theory as to why: Those Dems are committing voter fraud.

Appearing on Fox News this afternoon, he told Neil Cavuto that Democrats vote early because there's "less ballot security," creating a "great opportunity" for fraud. He also claimed that such fraudulent early voting is "pinpointed to the major urban areas. The inner city." 

Yep, Democratic early voting is fraud, that's why it's okay to oppress the minority vote, see.

A group trying to register voters in Houston received threats and emails containing racist slurs after being targeted by a local tea party group accusing it of "voter fraud."

In emails obtained by TPM, the group Houston Votes was accused of being "a bunch of white guilt ridden assholes, NIGGERS and greasy mexican spics," "fraudulent Marxist pigs," and "American hating A-holes."

Funny how that works in 2010, huh.

But there are no racists in the Tea Party.

Even More National Public Backlash

Defunding NPR: now powered by the GOP's Tea-ranny of the Majority mob rule program.

House Republicans announced Friday they would take action that could force a vote on defunding NPR in the wake of the firing of news analyst Juan Williams.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that he is adding a measure to defund the publicly subsidized radio network to the conference's "YouCut" program, which allows the public to vote online on spending programs they want cut. Williams was axed by NPR on Wednesday for comments he made about Muslims, drawing the ire of Republican leaders.

Cantor said in a statement that NPR’s decision to fire Williams was an example of "over-reaching political correctness.""In light of their rash decision, we will include termination of federal funding for NPR as an option in the YouCut program so that Americans can let it be known whether they want their dollars going to that organization," he said.

Cantor's decision follows a chorus of Republican calls to defund NPR, which they believe leans too far to the left for a news organization that is partially dependent on federal dollars.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Thursday that he is introducing legislation to defund NPR in the upper chamber and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is renewing a push for his bill that he introduced in June to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which oversees NPR. 

Sure they are.  Let's turn the budget process into Dancing With The Stars or American Idol while we're at it.  Hell, let's have the entire government process decided by an angry mob doing internet push polls.  Let's amend the Constitution so we do only what the FOX-driven mob wants to do.  That's democracy at its finest!

The Republicans have been trying to get rid of public broadcasting for years.  Public broadcasting actually has standards, and well, we can't have that. 

Tea-ranny of the Majority mob rule is so much easier, and gets better ratings.

Will The Tea Party Sink Prop 19?

Angry Tea Party conservative seniors are set to vote in huge numbers in California, and the likely voter models are looking pretty grim for the Prop 19 effort to legalize marijuana.  The reality is that pro-Prop 19 side is getting crushed in the ad wars as stations won't air them.

The latest poll finds Prop 19 down by 12 points.

The poll, a joint effort by The Times and USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, found the measure favored by Democrats and independents, but overwhelmingly opposed by Republicans. Men were split, and women were leaning against it.

Both sides consider mothers a key swing vote and have debated whether the measure would do more to keep marijuana out of the hands of children or would increase use.

Likely voters younger than 40 are in favor of it by 48% to 37%, but older voters, who say they are more enthusiastic about voting in this election, are not. Among likely voters 65 and over, only 28% support the measure, while 59% said they were opposed.

The measure, which needs a majority vote to pass, would allow Californians who are at least 21 to grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana and possess up to an ounce. Cities and counties could authorize commercial cultivation and sales, and could impose taxes.

Some polls have shown Latino voters, initially against legalization, swinging toward it, but the Times/USC poll found they are opposed to it by 2 to 1. White voters also oppose the measure.

Supporters of legalization have sought to appeal to minorities by highlighting statistics showing that they are arrested for marijuana possession at higher rates than whites. Opponents note that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger already has signed a law making possession of an ounce an infraction.

The poll found Proposition 19 leading only in the Central Coast counties and running far behind in the largely conservative Central Valley and in Southern California.

So yeah, apparently America is still controlled by cranky retirees.  Why?  They actually bother to vote.

Have To Admit It's Getting Better

It's getting better all the time.  Steve Benen:

With several recent youth suicides stemming from anti-gay bullying, an initiative like the It Gets Better Project has an opportunity to make an enormous difference. As part of the effort, created last month by Dan Savage, people from a variety of backgrounds submit videos reminding LGBT young people that in time, life really does get better, even if it's hard to imagine a better future now.

Last night, the initiative received a major boost from the White House, with President Obama recording a video for the project. "You are not alone," the president explained. "You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you're getting down on yourself, you've got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it's your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You've got to reach out to them, don't feel like you're in this by yourself.
"The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you're going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You'll look back on the struggles you've faced with compassion and wisdom."

What's more, the White House posted an item from Brian Bond, the deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement, who not only shared his own story about being taunted as a young person, and who also admits that he considered suicide. His piece on the White House blog also includes links and information on anti-bullying resources.

All of this comes the same week as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also recording a video message for the It Gets Better project.

Good for all three of them.  And yet, Republicans continue to remain stone silent on this issue.  I wonder why they don't have the courage to help.

I guess it's because compassion towards one of your traditional scapegoats is perceived as weakness among your rabid base, huh?  So no, as far as Republicans are concerned, it's not "getting better" to try to help LGBT youth driven to drastic, suicidal measures to escape hateful rhetoric.

More National Public Backlash

If you don't think the greater goal here is marginalizing, crippling, or removing NPR's reporting completely from the American landscape, then you've not been paying attention to FOX in the last 24 hours.

From calling Tea Party members “Tea Baggers,” to saying that "the evaporation of 4 million" Christians would leave the world a better place, to suggesting that God could give former Sen. Jesse Helms or his family AIDS from a blood transfusion, NPR's personalities have said some pretty un-PC things in the past. A look at the record reveals no shortage of intolerant statements and unbalanced segments on the publicly sponsored network's airwaves.

Let's not forget the folks leading the charge against yanking NPR funding are such conservative "luminaries" like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich...all of whom are employed by FOX News.

War has been declared, folks.  They will not rest until NPR...and all other non-FOX gone for good.

That's how they roll in the Age of Celebrating Ignorance.

The Chamber Controversy Is Not About Foreign Money

It's about the endless domestic money given to the Chamber by corporations to fund campaigns to buy Congress.

As a nonprofit organization, the chamber need not disclose its donors in its public tax filings, and because it says no donations are earmarked for specific ads aimed at a candidate, it does not invoke federal elections rules requiring disclosure.

The annual tax returns that the chamber releases include a list of all donations over $5,000, including 21 in 2008 that each exceed $1 million, one of them for $15 million. However, the chamber omits the donors’ names.

But intriguing hints can be found in obscure places, like the corporate governance reports that some big companies have taken to posting on their Web sites, which show their donations to trade associations. Also, the tax filings of corporate foundations must publicly list their donations to other foundations, including one run by the chamber.

These records show that while the chamber boasts of representing more than three million businesses, and having approximately 300,000 members, nearly half of its $140 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 donors. Many of those large donations coincided with lobbying or political campaigns that potentially affected the donors.

Dow Chemical, for example, sent $1.7 million to the chamber in the past year to cover not only its annual membership dues, but also to support lobbying and legal campaigns. Those included one against legislation requiring stronger measures to protect chemical plants from attack.

A Dow spokesman would not discuss the reasons for the large donation, other than to say it supports the chamber’s work.

Prudential Financial’s $2 million donation last year coincided with a chamber lobbying effort against elements of the financial regulation bill in Congress. A spokesman for Prudential, which opposed certain proposed restrictions on the use of financial instruments known as derivatives, said the donation was not earmarked for a specific issue.

But he acknowledged that most of the money was used by the chamber to lobby Congress. 

The best Congress money can buy, folks.  That's the US Chamber's true goal.  Nearly all of it is being spent on lobbying corporate-friendly types, or to just replace the ones that aren't.  That's how campaign dollars work in 2010.  They spend millions on Congress so they don't have to spend hundreds of millions making their products safer, or paying their workers more, or providing better benefits, or cleaning up their toxic messes, or any of that.

They can spend the greater balance on themselves and their executives.  Great deal if you ask me.  Ask the banks.

Where There's Hate-Generated Smoke...

There's hate-generated fire.

White powder delivered in an swastika-covered envelope to the Tucson, Ariz., office of Rep. Raul Grijalva is a toxic substance, the Democratic congressman said the FBI told him Thursday afternoon.

It was not confirmed exactly what substance was mailed to Grijalva's offices, located at the 800 block of East 22nd Street, NBC affiliate KVOA reported.

A staff member called Tucson Police earlier Thursday after finding an envelope containing the suspicious white powder. The offices were locked down by Tucson Police, and the FBI arrived to assist in the investigation, KVOA said.

An envelope arrived with swastikas drawn on the outside and a white powdery substance on the inside, Adam Sarvana, Grijalva’s spokesman, told the Arizona Daily Star newspaper.

It’s not the first time his office has been the target of threats, the Daily Star said.

A Latino-American Democrat in Arizona getting toxic powder in an envelope with a swastika on it?  I wonder why that would happen?  What kind of pervasive effort to generate hatred towards Latinos in Arizona would result in this kind of action?

Oh yes, the condoning of scapegoating and fearmongering of Latinos by the state government itself, led by the state's Republican party and signed into law by its Governor.  Congrats, Arizona.  While you're at it, maybe you can drive out everyone with a conscience, too.

Meanwhile, a couple of states over in Texas, we have Stephen Broden, the GOP House candidate in TX-30 finally admitting what Republicans have been thinking since 2006:  that one option after losing an election is armed and violent revolution against the government.

In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical.

"We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution."

Watson asked if his definition of revolution included violent overthrow of the government. In a prolonged back-and-forth, Broden at first declined to explicitly address insurrection, saying the first way to deal with a repressive government is to "alter it or abolish it."

"If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary," Broden said, adding the nation was founded on a violent revolt against Britain's King George III.

Watson asked if violence would be in option in 2010, under the current government.

"The option is on the table. I don't think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms," Broden said, without elaborating. "However, it is not the first option."

Folks, when people defending the Tea Party say their rhetoric is harmless or an exercise of their right to free speech, keep in mind what happens to or what they thing should happen to people who disagree with them:  that if these guys lose the election and if they remain the minority party, the Democrats are tyrants who oppress them and that a government that does not strictly follow their ideals should be abolished by "any means necessary".

These folks are dangerous if they win control of the government in a fair election.  But they are all but promising to be dangerous if they lose to those who vote against them.

That's their idea of "liberty".


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