Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Last Call For The Religion Test

Here's what Americans think about President Obama's religion, "deep down":

Only 9% of Republicans believe Obama is a Christian, in their heart of hearts.  The vast majority think he's Muslim.

Independent voters mostly have no clue and don't know (47%), abut again only 16% believe it when the President says he's a Christian, a quarter think he's Muslim.

Hell, even 10% of Dems believe Obama is a Muslim.  But 45% believe he is a Christian.

Now given what most Republican believe about Muslims: that they are the Enemy and want to kill them, what does that tell you about Republicans and President Obama?

Both Sides Do It, Forever

The useless Ron Fournier literally blames both sides within the first 20 words of his piece on the Republicans shutting down Homeland Security in order to kill Obama's immigration orders.

Who's at fault for the looming Homeland Security Department shutdown? Everyone in power. Let me count the ways.

And who's at the top of his list?  President Obama, of course.

1. President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders punted on immigration reform while controlling the White House and Congress in 2009 and 2010. Choosing politics over the policy, they wanted immigration as a point of attack against the GOP in the 2010 midterm elections.

Never mind that Republicans trashed their own immigration plan under Bush in 2007, it's Obama's fault for not passing immigration reform in 2009, despite the fact that when Obama wanted to work on immigration, the GOP blocked the bill.

2. Just weeks after voters repudiated his administration in the 2014 midterms, Obama granted temporary relief from deportation to more than 4 million illegal immigrants. He did so without congressional approval, despitewarnings that such action might be illegal and would almost certainly worsen polarization and dysfunction in Washington. (The fundamental promise of his 2008 election was to break gridlock.)

So at this point it's literally all Obama's fault. Somehow, he made the GOP tie DHS funding to immigration executive orders.

3. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised the new GOP Senate would not allow a government shutdown. "So I think we have an obligation to change the behavior on the Senate and to begin to function again," he said.

This is somehow third in a two-party blame game.  That tells you all you need to know about Fournier.

5. Congress approved the annual federal budget in December, but Republicans held back funding for the terrorist-fighting agency known as DHS. They wanted leverage against Obama's immigration action. The DHS budget was extended only to February 27.

Now, this is the actual cause of the impending shutdown, but it's not listed until fifth.  Again, classic Fournier.

9. McConnell proposed to "get the Senate unstuck" by decoupling the president's immigration action from the DHS funding bill. Likely outcome: The agency would be funded; Republicans would register a symbolic vote against the president; and Obama would protect his immigration action with a veto.

This is somehow the last "cause" of the problem, the fact that this was all for show and always was. It rather neatly erases the other 8 "causes" but again, this is last.  Fournier ends with this:

The fact that both sides are wrong doesn't mean they are equally wrong. Most voters are likely to conclude that Republicans are a bit more culpable than Democrats. "As we learned during the last government shutdown," according to NBC's First Read political analysis, "the side that's using government spending to demand changes to existing law or directives is going to be the side that gets blamed if the government (or just part of it) shuts down." 
After the 2013 government shutdown, Republican approval ratings plummeted, and yet that searing example of government dysfunction was all but forgotten by the time Republicans stumped Democrats in the 2014 midterms. 
In 2013, voters viewed the GOP as the worst of two bad choices. In 2014, the coin flipped and Democrats were the most-worse option. If DHS shuts down this weekend, it almost doesn't matter who get blamed in the short, medium, and long terms. Both parties will be failures. Again.

So literally two paragraphs after noting that most Americans will blame the GOP because both parties are not "equally wrong", he then ends with "it doesn't matter" and "both parties are equally wrong."

Fournier, folks.

The Black Hole Of Chicago

Spencer Ackerman's series in The Guardian on Chicago's crooked cops continues with this horrifying piece on what can only be described as a "domestic black site" for off-the-record arrests, interrogations, and unconstitutional detainment.

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights. 
Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:
  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases. 
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead. 
Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged. 
“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

And Chicago cops are using this on protesters and minorities, people that nobody will miss.  No attorney, no cameras, no oversight, just treating people the way we treat Gitmo detainees.  In America.  On American soil.  By American cops.

Jesus hell.

The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown. 
Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside. 
“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.

And this is an open secret in Chicago among law enforcement and attorneys.  My god.

Get the DoJ in here yesterday.  People have to go to prison for a very long time for this one.


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