Monday, September 17, 2012

Last Call

Apparently Mitt Romney getting statistically zero percent of the African-American vote is too much to prevent the issue of gay marriage from permanently dooming the Obama campaign, as the Associated Press has found a couple of black pastors willing to tell their congregations to stay home over the President's support for same-sex matrimony.

The pastors say their congregants are asking how a true Christian could back same-sex marriage, as President Barack Obama did in May. As for Republican Mitt Romney, the first Mormon nominee from a major party, congregants are questioning the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its former ban on men of African descent in the priesthood.
In 2008, Obama won 95 percent of black voters and is likely to get an overwhelming majority again. But any loss of votes would sting.
“When President Obama made the public statement on gay marriage, I think it put a question in our minds as to what direction he’s taking the nation,” said the Rev. A.R. Bernard, founder of the predominantly African-American Christian Cultural Center in New York. Bernard, whose endorsement is much sought-after in New York and beyond, voted for Obama in 2008. He said he’s unsure how he’ll vote this year.

Luckily, not even the AP is able to completely escape the very real specter of GOP voter discrimination and suppression efforts and the new Jim Crow voter ID laws.

It’s unclear just how widespread the sentiment is that African-American Christians would be better off not voting at all. Many pastors have said that despite their misgivings about the candidates, blacks have fought too hard for the vote to ever stay away from the polls.
Black church leaders have begun get-out-the-vote efforts on a wide range of issues, including the proliferation of state voter identification laws, which critics say discriminate against minorities. Last Easter Sunday, a month before Obama’s gay marriage announcement, the Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Baltimore formed the Empowerment Network, a national coalition of about 30 denominations working to register congregants and provide them with background on health care, the economy, education and other policy issues.

Now anyone who has remotely been paying attention to my loud, snark-filled diatribes on Why The Hell You Should Vote knows that I agree with this latter position, especially when it comes to the African-American vote.  It stuns me that black pastors, themselves the key engines of the civil rights movement 50 years ago and organized into a real power as Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (an organization still run by his son today) would ever, under any circumstances, actively tell their congregations to abstain from voting.

It's the most asinine, insulting, thick-headed, addle-brained non-solution to the problem I can possibly think of.  What the hell was the civil rights movement for if not to secure the right of all to vote, the single most powerful action you can take in a representative democracy?  If there's any group that should understand that without the right to vote that you have no power whatsoever, it should be black pastors.

But no.  Apparently even with the Republican party actively trying to disenfranchise millions of black voters nationally here in 2012, it's okay to say "Hey why should black folks vote?  TEH MORMONS AND THE GHEY just stay home."

You could slap magnets on Dr. King's grave and a have a large coil of copper wire and power half of the eastern seaboard from the spinning.  The fight is still going on, and we're disarming because of the gall of one candidate wanting to expand civil rights to include another disenfranchised minority?  No, I'm going to need for these pastors to have all the seats in Great American Ballpark AND Paul Brown Stadium and sit the hell down for a second.

This is the AP looking for a story that doesn't exist, and a scapegoat that won't be needed.  Sick and tired of blah people getting the blame for LGBT problems in the country when the real bad guys vote and are Republicans.

Eyes on the prize.

University of California Will Pay Damages To Students Pepper Sprayed

SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California will pay damages to the UC Davis students and alumni who were pepper sprayed by campus police during an otherwise peaceful protest 10 months ago, officials said Thursday.
The UC regents, in a closed-door meeting, approved the proposed settlement payment to 21 UC Davis students and alumni who sued the university and contended their civil rights were violated in the widely criticized pepper spray incident.
However, both UC officials and the ACLU of Northern California, which is representing the students in the lawsuit, refused to divulge settlement details, saying the rules of the agreement talks require a federal judge to review the matter before it can be made public. That may happen within a few days, they said.
Jonathan Stein, the UC student regent, said the settlement was warranted. "We did an injustice to our students that day at Davis, and some amount of recompense is appropriate. More importantly, it's time for us as an institution to publicly acknowledge that's not the way we should treat our students; we were wrong, and we are moving forward," he said.
We covered this when it happened.  This was an absolutely disgusting abuse of power during a peaceful protest.  The public was surprised and angry about how kids are treated when obeying the law.

We teach our children that they should stand up for what is right.  That's a good thing.  What is unfortunate is when they stand up against bullies that are meant to help our young find their way in this world.

They deserve every penny.

Oregon Cops Used Unnecessary Force On Mentally Ill

(CNN) -- Federal civil rights investigators have found "reasonable cause" to believe that police in Portland, Oregon, use "unnecessary or unreasonable force" with persons who have mental illness, the U.S. Justice Department said.
The department's civil rights division and U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon issued a letter to Portland Mayor Sam Adams stating that local and federal authorities will "continue our collaborative relationship to craft sustainable remedies."
In the 42-page letter, federal officials outline remedies that include training and new policies to investigate alleged police misconduct.
Investigators found cause to believe that the Portland Police Bureau engages in "a pattern or practice of using excessive force in encounters involving people with actual or perceived mental illness."
"We found instances that support a pattern of dangerous uses of force against persons who posed little or no threat and who could not, as a result of their mental illness, comply with officers' commands," said the letter, which was signed by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez and U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall.
"We also found that PPB employs practices that escalate the use of force where there were clear earlier junctures when the force could have been avoided or minimized."
One incident in December 2010 involved several officers who used "repeated closed-fist punches and repeated shocking of a subject who was to be placed on a mental health hold," the letter said.
Adams, in a posting on his web page, vowed that the city and its Police Bureau would improve quickly, and listed a series of changes.

Changes? Great.  But are we supposed to believe that because of improper training, bullying and abusing people with "real or perceived" mental illness was ever considered okay?  Does being an ass to a person, setting them off so you can use the power you want to use a valid strategy for dealing with anyone?

Promise of change is better than nothing.  However, I refuse to believe that training or policy did not allow officers to use common sense.  We've covered this month an old woman pulled from her car, a petite nurse body slammed into the ground, and learned that police set up the Occupy movement and enticed them to turn criminal so they could be busted.

We need cops to be the good guys.  It's not easy, but if it was easy everyone would do it.

Cold-Hearted Mother

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — An Alaska woman accused of leaving her two young children in a car when it was at nearly 30 degrees below zero has been given jail time.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports ( 26-year-old Kristin Smith of Fairbanks was sentenced Wednesday to three months in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Alaska State Troopers say it was 28 degrees below zero when Smith left her two children — ages 3 and 4 — in a car one January morning after the vehicle slid off the road and got stuck in a ditch.

Authorities say the children were in the car for about 20 minutes before a passer-by found them sitting by themselves wearing little clothing.

Troopers interviewed Smith later in the day. She told them she left the children in the car and walked a quarter-mile to her husband's house, where she took a prescription medication and fell asleep.

I was actually feeling bad for her, having to choose between leaving kids in a (somewhat) safe car or move them outside in that kind of weather.  Then I got to the part about her falling asleep and was ready to throw her in an ice pond to see how it felt.

While she'll never qualify for mother of the year, I have to ask... how is this different than the people who leave kids in hot cars to die?

Boy Arrested For Beating Disabled Mother

ELK GROVE, Calif. — An 11-year-old boy was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse after his disabled mother was beaten so severely with an extension cord that she was hospitalized, authorities said.

Prosecutors said the boy appeared to be the primary caregiver of his 51-year-old mother and prepared meals and did laundry in the home they shared.

He was in custody at Juvenile Hall, with a hearing set Thursday. His name has not been released.

The boy was arrested Monday after officers visited his mother and talked to him at school. Details about the mother's disability have not been released.
Taking care of a parent is one of the hardest things someone can do.  What this boy did was terrible, but so is putting the care of another human being on a child too young to take care of himself.  There are two victims here, not one.

This is what will happen if Romney and  Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver Paul Ryan get their hands on the budget.  People like this woman and her son will become collateral damage, meaningless pawns cut off to suffer so big business and the rich can prosper.


Iran So Far Away From The Truth

The notion that Iran is in any way an existential threat to any other country, especially the United States or Israel, is flay out ridiculous.  But Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu wants his war, and he showed up on a couple of Sunday shows here in the US ahead of this week's UN meetings on Syria and the Middle East to try to make the case that we need to attack Iran now.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran was just six to seven months away from the brink of being able to build a nuclear bomb, adding urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a "red line" for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.

Taking to the television airwaves to make his case directly to the American public, Netanyahu said that by mid-2013 Iran would be "90 percent of the way" toward enough enriched uranium for a weapon. He again urged the United States to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross if it is to avoid military action - something Obama has refused to do.

"You have to place that red line before them now, before it's too late," Netanyahu said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program, adding that such a U.S. move could reduce the chances of having to attack Iran's nuclear sites.

Iran has been six months away from a nuclear weapon for what, decades now?

ABC News correspondent Brian Ross went one step further, with the even more ridiculous claim that Iran was only weeks away from a nuke, one that was immediately challenged by his ABC colleague Christiane Amanpour.

ABC News global affairs anchor Christine Amanpour on Sunday threw cold water on one of her colleagues, Brian Ross, who had reported that Iran could have a functional nuclear weapon in as little as four weeks.

During a panel discussion on ABC, host Jake Tapper asked Ross how quickly Iran could build a nuclear device.

“Four to six weeks away, if they made the decision to do it,” Ross claimed. “That’s some of the intelligence. They haven’t made that decision, that’s the key.”

“That is so vastly disparate,” Amanpour pointed out. “Others say it could be a year. So, this is a guessing game that’s gone on for years.”

“It could be two years,” ABC Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz agreed.

“That’s the latest claim,” Ross argued. 

That's baloney, Brian.  It's nonsense.  Iran is only a threat to its own citizens, and frankly here in America we have our own insane religious fundamentalists repressing women, looting the treasury, and controlling the media, and we've got enough nukes to kill everyone on the planet dozens of times over.

I'd be far more worried about what the US would do to Iran than what Iran could possibly do to the US.  The question is will Israel force President Obama's hand and attack Iran as the ultimate October surprise?

I don't know.  Bibi doesn't exactly strike me as a stable guy.

The Right Has Lost It

Glenn "Instadipstick" Reynolds is calling on President Obama to resign over Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, the man behind the ridiculous film that purportedly set off the embassy attacks, a man who is a convicted felon, by the way, and most likely violated the terms of his probation in the course of making the film.  Reynolds accuses the President of violating his oath to protect the Constitution because somehow, California cops knocking on the guy's door means Obama broke the First Amendment.

What I want to know is how Self-Appointed Prosecutor Reynolds, ostensibly a law professor, would set up his case against the President if he were a Senator charged with trying the President in an impeachment trial.  His answer:

By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace.

He won’t resign, of course. First, the President has the appreciation of free speech that one would expect from a Chicago Machine politician, which is to say, none. Second, he’s not getting any pressure. Indeed, the very press that went crazy over Ari Fleischer’s misrepresented remarks seems far less interested in the actions of an administration that I repeat, literally sent brown-shirted enforcers to launch a midnight knock on a filmmaker’s door.

But Obama’s behavior — and that of his enablers in the press — has laid down a marker for those who are paying attention. By these actions he is, I repeat, unfit to hold office. I hope and expect that the voters will agree in November.

Reynolds of course has no credibility on the subject of "actions that a President should resign over" given his relentless cheering of Bush the war criminal and destroyer of the US economy for 8 years.  And as I said, the idea that a teaching law professor who has no effing clue how the Constitution actually works is just pathetic.  The guy violated his probation.  The cops want to talk to him, since the evidence of that is ALL OVER THE GORRAM NEWS.  Janet Shan at The Moderate Voice reminds us of those probation terms:

Let me underscore the fact that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula pleaded no contest to bank fraud charges in 2010 and was banned from using computers or the Internet or using false identities as part of his sentence, according to the LA Times. So, what of the alias, Sam Bacile? How did he get the money to pay the crew, actors and actresses for the movie? This just plays into the narrative that the right wing will do anything to put an idiot in the White House at all costs, oblivious to facts and the truth.

The reality is that with Romney now clearly losing, the right is increasingly, shriekingly desperate to try to create a "scandal" that will somehow drive the President out of office.  The right is coming loose now that they sense Romney's blood in the water.  This has nothing to do with how the First Amendment really works, as Oliver Willis points out, but everything to do with trying to use magical thinking to save Romney's failed campaign:

These are the same people who insisted that protests against advertisers bankrolling Rush Limbaugh’s misogyny were somehow against free speech.

Except — we’ve got no government actions here to squelch speech. We don’t have a rehash of the Alien & Sedition Acts, or past U.S. government offenses that were in retrospect actual violations of the Constitution.

You have – to varying degrees – representatives of the government voicing their disagreement with some speech. But both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have made quite clear that in America we don’t have the power nor interest in using the government to censor speech.

It’s just not what we do.

So why the conservative freak out? In addition to America having a black, Democratic president, there’s a good chance now that America will re-elect that black, Democratic president. In large part this is thanks to the dud of a candidate the Republican party has selected yet again.

They think it's still 2010 when they can yell and scream about Obama the traitor and that the country will come and vote GOP.  Except for the fact that in the last 20 months, the voters have seen very clearly the awful bargain they got in state after state and in the House by putting the GOP back in charge.

They're sick of them.  And the wingers are terrified.  They see it slipping away just like it happened in 2008.  They will do anything to try to win now.  Including idiocy like Reynolds's call for the President's resignation.

I call on Glenn Reynolds to resign his college teaching job.  He clearly has no idea how American law or the Constitution works.  See how this goes, Glenn?

Scott Erik Kaufman at LGM and Steven Taylor at Outside the Beltway are equally brutal to Hehindeedy Glenn here.  Go read their takedowns of this blithering idiot as well.

The right has lost it completely at this point, and it shows.


Related Posts with Thumbnails