Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Walmartizaton of Thanksgiving

Posted by Jim Hightower

Everyone from the Obama family in the White House to my little family in Texas will take a deserved pause from the unrelenting intensity of work on Thanksgiving Day. But millions will not get a work pause.

Such workers as firefighters, police and hospital workers must stay on the job, but they're providing essential services for our society. Yet Walmart, Target, Macy's, Radio Shack, and other retailers are also requiring their low-paid workers to report. Why? What's essential about buying gewgaws, gizmos, or garments from these mass marketers of consumer excess that justifies them forcing employees to give up this family day of giving thanks?

Retail giants already exploit the day after Thanksgiving, which they've dubbed "Black Friday," for an orgy of commercialism. Yet that's not enough to satisfy soulless profiteers. So they've moved their Black Friday start back into Thursday, during the family mealtime of Thanksgiving Day itself. Some are even opening their doors at 6 am on Thursday, essentially wiping out this day of family grace for every employee they require to be at work. Show up… or lose your job. Thanks, boss.

A mall outside of Buffalo has gone even more extreme, requiring its 200-plus stores to open on Thanksgiving Day or pay a $200-an-hour fine. What we have here is the insatiable excess of what Pope Francis recently condemned as "unbridled consumerism." Yet a Walmart PR flack claims to be doing consumers a favor by staying open on a spiritual day to "provide what consumers need."

Bovine excrement! Walmart has nothing that needs to be bought on a holiday, and any of the stuff it sells can be bought the very next day from Costco, Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble, Dillard's, Nordstrom, Patagonia, and other stores that respect their employees and America's values by closing on Thanksgiving Day.

"Spending: Retailers Are Facing off Over Closing or Opening," The New York Times, November 15,

"New York Mall Will Fine Stores If They Don't Open On Thanksgiving,", November 12, 2014.

"Mall Will Fine Stores If They Don't Open On Thanksgiving,", November 11, 2014.

"Pope Francis: 'Unbridled Consumerism' Is Destroying Our Planet,", November 13, 2014.

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Week In 'Both Sides Do It' - Matthew Dowd Edition

By Heather

From this Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, GOP professional turd polisher and former Bushie Matthew Dowd doing what he does best... blaming "both sides" and Washington in general for the record level of obstruction we've seen from Republicans for the last six years.
The latest excuse for their intransigence -- President Obama is "arrogant."
MATT DOWD: Well, he definitely grabbed the initiative in a way that would put his policies through. I think, one, we need to do something about immigration. That -- it's absolutely crucial that we do something about it. I think the manner with which the president did it doesn't do anything to help the political discourse in our country and doesn't do anything to fix the fundamental problem that exists in Washington, which is the means of government is broken, on both sides of the aisle. And as I said earlier this week, where -- when obstructionism meets arrogance, dysfunction is born. And that's what we have in Washington.
We can now add Dowd's name to the list of pundits, most of which reside over at Faux "news" that have decided to call President Obama "uppity." We can thank the lazy writers over at SNL for helping ABC to continue to prove they're every bit as awful as Fox as well, since Dowd's nonsense here was in response to showing part of that lame, dishonest skit of theirs.

Rudy Giuliani Pulls The 'Black On Black Crime' Card While Discussing Ferguson Protests

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's treated the viewers to his imitation of Bill O'Reilly on this Sunday's Meet the Press. 

By Heather

A few months ago, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote what is a perfect response to what we just saw from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on this Sunday's Meet the Press, when he decided to play the "black on black crime" card as a way to distract from the discussion about a lack of diversity in the Ferguson, MO police force and the response to the grand jury's decision on the shooting of Michael Brown.

Black People Are Not Ignoring 'Black on Black' Crime:
The politics of changing the subject
I'm slowly catching up on my reading on the week's events in Ferguson and trying to get my head around what exactly happened. In the meantime, one idea creeping into the discourse—that black people are unmoved by intra-community violence—deserves to be immediately dismissed.
Coates quotes a portion of a post written by Eugene Robinson, but his response applies here as well.
There are a number of things wrong here. To the extent that killings by the police generate more outrage, it is completely understandable. Police in America are granted wide range of powers by the state including lethal force. With that power comes a special place of honor. When cops are killed the outrage is always different than when citizens are killed. Likewise when cops kill under questionable terms, more scrutiny follows directly from the logic of citizenship. Great power. Great responsibility.
More importantly Robinson's claim is demonstrably false. The notion that violence within the black community is "background noise" is not supported by the historical recordor by Google. I have said this before. It's almost as if Stop The Violence never happened, or The Interruptors never happened, or Kendrick Lamar never happened. The call issued by Erica Ford at the end of this Do The Right Thing retrospective is so common as to be ritual. It is not "black on black crime" that is background noise in America, but the pleas of black people.
There is a pattern here, but it isn't the one Eugene Robinson (for whom I have a great respect) thinks. The pattern is the transmutation of black protest into moral hectoring of black people. Don Imus profanely insults a group of black women. But the real problem is gangsta rap. Trayvon Martin is killed. This becomes a conversation about how black men are bad fathers. Jonathan Martin is bullied mercilessly. This proves that black people have an unfortunate sense of irony.
The politics of respectability are, at their root, the politics of changing the subject—the last resort for those who can not bear the agony of looking their country in the eye. The policy of America has been, for most of its history, white supremacy. The high rates of violence in black neighborhoods do not exist outside of these facts—they evidence them.
Michael Eric Dyson did a nice job of attempting to make some of the same points when he wasn't being talked over by Giuliani. Chuck Todd for his part just completely lost control of the segment once the two of them started going at each other.

Giuliani: Ferguson debate misdirected:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) on Sunday said the response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., has been misdirected.
Giuliani said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a larger issue that hasn't been discussed as much during the fallout is the issue of African Americans committing violence against each other.
A grand jury is expected to announce in the coming days whether it will indict the white officer, Darren Wilson, who shot Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Wilson has maintained he was acting in self-defense.
The August shooting has sparked a national conversation about the use of force by police officers in the country, as well as how police forces deal with race in predominantly African American communities, such as Ferguson.
Giuliani sparred with Michael Eric Dyson, a civil rights author, on NBC's "Meet The Press."
"The white police officers won't be there if you weren't killing each other," Giuliani said during the heated exchange in which the two men spoke over each other.
"Why don't you cut down your crime so so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?" Giuliani asked. "Ninety-three percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We are talking about the exception here [in Ferguson]... I would like to see the attention paid to that -- that you're paying to this."
"Black people who kill black people go to jail," said Dyson during the exchange.
"White people who are policemen and kill black people do not go to jail."
"It's hardly insignificant. It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community," Giuliani said. "Why don't you cut it down so that so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?"

Katrina Vanden Heuvel: GOP 'Driven By Know-nothing Nativism' And Was Never Going To Reform Immigration

By David

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, on Sunday blasted the Republican Party's "know-nothing nativism anti-immigrant" ideology after Dr. Ben Carson criticized President Barack Obama's recent executive orders to reform the immigration system. 

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, on Sunday blasted the Republican Party's "know-nothing nativism anti-immigrant" ideology after Dr. Ben Carson criticized President Barack Obama's recent executive orders to reform the immigration system.

On ABC's This Week, Democratic strategist James Carville asserted that Americans would understand why the had to take action on immigration because Republicans in the House had 515 days to act on the Senate's comprehensive reform bill, but refused to take action.

"No, it's their fault, and he exposed them brilliantly," Carville said. "And every Democrat I know said, 'Ha ha.' And every Republican said, 'How can he do this to us?'"

Carson argued that the president was making the issue partisan instead of dealing "with things that are pro-American."

"And one of the things that we have to recognize is we have millions of people in this country, in our inner cities, in our rural areas, in Appalachia, who are suffering," Carson continued. "Why don't we deal with them?"

"Wait a minute," Vanden Heuvel interrupted. "Why are you pitting those people against the undocumented immigrants? I agree with you that this shouldn't be a Democratic or Republican problem, though the gap between the two parties is so clear. And for the the Latino community, they know which party is on their side."

"But this is about lifting those up who are suffering from a recovery which isn't helping them," she noted. "And this should be about lifting wages for all. This should be about a humane, moral politics."

Former Bush aide Matthew Dowd advised Republicans to deal with the "Latino issue" by passing their own version of an immigration bill as soon as they took over Congress in January.

"The politics of the Republican Party today are not George W.'s," Vanden Heuvel reminded Dowd.

"You have a Republican Party which is driven in large measure by a know-nothing nativism anti-immigrant stance, and so I think this is dangerous for them."

As the segment ended, ABC host George Stephanopoulos asked Carson if he could support the bipartisan Senate bill that was passed nearly 18 months ago.

"I would have to read it thoroughly before I could answer that question," Carson replied to snickers from the panel.

Ira Hansen - A Neo-Confederate in Nevada's Capitol

By Amanda Terkel

Nevada Speaker-elect Ira Hansen announced plans to step down. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison)

 WASHINGTON -- The incoming speaker of the Nevada State Assembly told his colleagues Sunday morning that he will not be leading them in the new year, as he continues to face a firestorm of criticism over his history of bigoted remarks.

Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R), who was recently elected as the legislature's next speaker, sent an early-morning email to his caucus announcing his intentions, according to Nevada journalist Jon Ralston.

"Politics of personal destruction win. I need to step down," Hansen wrote in the email. "I hope that you all know that the Ira that you have known through these years and weeks is the real Ira and not what the media is painting me to be."

"You are a great group that can hopefully do great things and my staying will harm the caucus," he added. "I wish you all the best. Thanks for hanging tough through these difficult past days. If this were just about 'me' I would fight this out to the bitter end, but it is going to harm all of you."

Hansen has had a column in The Sparks Tribune, a local Nevada newspaper, for 13 years. The Reno News and Review recently examined all of his columns -- many of which were not online -- and published a number of excerpts from his writings last week.

"The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to," Hansen wrote in one column.

"Today, when Army men look at women in the ranks with 'longing in their eyes' it very well may constitute ’sexual harassment,'" he wrote in another. "The truth is, women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields."

Hansen also wrote at one point that he proudly keeps a Confederate flag on the wall of the room where he writes his columns.

The Nevada politician immediately came under intense criticism for his writings. The Reno-Sparks NAACP called on the state's Republican caucus to reconsider its choice of Hansen as speaker.

Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) distanced himself from Hansen, saying, "I wholeheartedly disagree with Assemblyman Hansen's past public statements on race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. This abhorrent kind of speech is unacceptable."

Hansen released a statement later on Sunday confirming that he was stepping down as speaker-elect, maintaining that he was the victim of "character assassination":
For the greater good of the State of Nevada and the cause I support it is necessary for me to withdraw as Speaker Designee. The tens of thousands of people who both read my columns and listened to my radio shows through two decades in the media know this has been a carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government. The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record. Ultimately, this whole attack has very little to do with my views. The powers that be are planning a massive, more than one billion dollar, tax increase and I stood in the way as Speaker. I have already served two terms as an Assemblyman without any of these vicious attacks. It was only when I had risen to leadership that this smear campaign occurred. That is the real reason for this and it is vital the public understands that.
It's unclear whether Hansen will also resign his seat in the assembly, in addition to giving up the speaker post.

Next year, Republicans will be in control of both chambers of Nevada's state legislature and the governor's seat for the first time since the Great Depression.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

John Boehner Gets SLAMMED - On His Own Facebook Page

By kpete

John Boehner Gets Slammed On His Own Facebook Page
by Leslie Salzillo

Republican House Speaker John Boehner delivered a pathetic 25 second video quip on his Facebook page, in response to President Obama's Thursday night's immigration speech. In his awkward video, Boehner downright embarrasses himself. I kept waiting to hear hiccups, between each slightly slurred sentence. (Was it me?) Bad timing. Bad governing. Bad speaker.

The text from Boehner's video is short, manipulative, and stupid:
"Instead of working together to fix our broken immigration system, the president says he’s acting on his own. But that is just not how our democracy works. The president has said before that ‘he’s not king’ and he’s ‘not an emperor,’ but he sure is acting like one. And he's doing it at a time when the American people want nothing more than for us to work together. "
While typing that, my fingers tried to bolt from the keys. I had to call them back. They didn't want to come. This man is a conniving pompous ass who continues to guzzle up our time, energy, and tax dollars. But let me step aside, and let other Americans tell Boehner how they feel:
Mike F. Stop talking and do something!
Like · Reply · 507 · Yesterday at 4:10pm
21 Replies · 4 hours ago

Jan Crowley G. Send him a bill, Boehner. There's been one sitting on your desk waiting for House action for quite a while, now. The DEMOCRATIC SENATE already passed the bipartisan bill - how about you bring it up for action and a vote, too?? Hmmmmmm???
Unlike · Reply · 437 · Yesterday at 4:10pm
84 Replies · 2 hours ago

Mike S. The President TRIED several times over .... unsuccessfully to work with the most obstructive and dysfunctional Congress in U.S. history. You know that old definition of insanity John Boehner?? Well the President has learned that in order to get a different result he can no longer try working with the most obstructive and dysfunctional Congress in U.S. history. He has no choice but to go it alone. Congrats Mr. preside over a colossal joke of a House of Representatives.
Unlike · Reply · 257 · Yesterday at 4:33pm
49 Replies · 3 hours ago

Juan N. You refused to act so someone has to do your job, I'm so proud that our president is taking action.
Unlike · Reply · 243 · Yesterday at 4:19pm
54 Replies · 7 hours ago

Sharon M. Oh Boehner! And there you are, sitting on that bi-partisan Senate bill you refused to bring to the floor even for a debate. He gave you more than a YEAR! You refused. You went on vacation and told Obama to fix it himself. So he did. Rot in h$!! for your obstruction of the American people's business. A hypocrite is the kindess word I can find for you and your party
Unlike · Reply · 151 · Yesterday at 4:24pm
15 Replies · 4 hours ago

Brett A. Instead of impeaching the President, we should be impeaching John Speaker John Boehner regarding his bribery on the House Floor:
Like · Reply · 119 · Yesterday at 4:14pm
5 Replies · 7 hours ago

Jeff N. Blah, blah, blah. You've presided over the least useful Congress in recent history. The president can't work with a body which doesn't show up to work. You - and Reid with you - should resign in ignominy over the lack of leadership you've shown in the past six years.
Like · Reply · 116 · Yesterday at 4:10pm
14 Replies · 4 hours ago

Jeff D. You got a bill on the floor of the house and you won't put it up for a vote! We aren't all as dumb as you want.
Like · Reply · 48 · Yesterday at 4:16pm · Edited
Brain S. When have you ever, EVER worked with the President?
Like · Reply · 38 · Yesterday at 4:20pm

Donnie H. Boehner...You make me sick. lie, lie, lie.
Like · Reply · 38 · Yesterday at 4:15pm
Shirley G. President Obama was elected TWICE by the American people. We want him as our President --- get over it!
Like · Reply · 37 · Yesterday at 4:46pm
11 Replies · about an hour ago

Melanie N. Yes, it is precisely how our democracy works. Thats why it works. When Congress fails... the democratically elected President must act under his EO powers.
Like · Reply · 35 · Yesterday at 4:50pm
Patricia R. Boehner, we know what you're doing and we do not approve. Nothing will change your mind to act like a decent political leader. You're out to get the president come hell or high water, and that's the bottom line.
Like · Reply · 35 · Yesterday at 4:31pm
10 Replies · about an hour ago

Brett L. Look here you douche bag he's been trying to work with you guys for 6 freaking years go Obama go you know most presidents in their last two years of their last term do kick it up a notch and start doing things on their own so this is not unprecedented ...See More
Like · Reply · 34 · Yesterday at 4:12pm

Brian W. Grow a spine and quit whining Boehner. You are a disgrace to public office! PS the American people have been waiting for you to work together for the last 6yrs. Shut up & lead!
Like · Reply · 33 · Yesterday at 4:56pm · Edited

Carlos A. He is beyond clown, he is just an idiot who cant fight his way out of a paper bag. Republicans have had the option to pass legislation to resolve the immigration crisis and they have failed for over 10 years. Its time to push them to act. So good for Obama let him exercise his authority and start to repair our broken immigration system.
Like · Reply · 32 · Yesterday at 5:16pm
4 Replies

Adolfo P. That's a PATHETIC statement Mr. Speaker. Of course you must work together. But your INACTION leads to this and you have the audacity to punch the president for doing something about it. Let the voice of your representatives be heard!! Call for a vote or SHUT UP!
Like · Reply · 31 · Yesterday at 4:26pm
2 Replies

Linda B. then do your job bonehead! congress makes the laws, so far in six years since Obama is President, you have done nothing. let me rephrase for sixty years you have done nothing..
Like · Reply · 19 · Yesterday at 4:43pm · Edited

I love this:

Michael T. I will never vote republican again…
Like · Reply · 11 · Yesterday at 7:21pm

My personal favorite:
Nesti G. shut up!!
Like · Reply · 8 · November 20 at 4:37pm

It's Time to Scan Your PC for Government Funded Malware


Detekt 310x
Amnesty International's free new Detekt tool scans for government-level malware on your PC

It's Cybersecurity Friday here at The Escapist (not really), so when you're not busy freaking out about the possibility that some hacker trolls stole your PlayStation Network login info, you can scan your PC for government-funded malware.

Amnesty International is behind Detekt, a new (and free) malware scanner that specifically looks for bugs attached to government-backed cyberwarfare programs. The scanner comes from AI, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Once you download the Detekt executable, [Note from the Writer: You are downloading and running a program, so the usual "try at your own risk," warning applies here.] the GUI guides you through a typical-looking malware scan, which can take up to 30 minutes (depending on PC speed and drive size). You'll need to run the program as an Administrator in order for it to work. Currently, Windows 8.1 is not supported.

You, me, and virtually everyone else on here likely has nothing to worry about, and the scan will finish empty-handed. For the unlucky few that do find something? This tool is a scanner, and not a removal program, so you're up Hacker Creek without a paddle, I'm afraid. (Translation: it's hard drive reformatting time!)

Government-sponsored cyberattacks are nothing new; China does it, the United States does it, and so do a number of other nations across the globe. At least now you can find out if you're an innocent casualty in this "war" happening in those Internet tubes.

Source: Amnesty International | The Verge

Friday, November 21, 2014

Anonymous Releases New Video Warning Ferguson Police And KKK

By Lilly Workneh

A video surfaced Thursday reportedly released by the hacker group Anonymous warning Ferguson, Missouri police officers and the Ku Klux Klan to remain peaceful and refrain from using violence against local protesters.

Anonymous, an unidentified group of online activists against racism and violence, published the video after they they launch denial of service attacks to take down a site associated with the KKK and seized two Twitter accounts earlier this week in response to deadly threats the white supremacist group made to demonstrators in Ferguson.

The hacker collective refers to this series of attacks -- which has also unmasked the identities of alleged KKK members -- as part of a campaign recognized as #operationKKK or #opKKK.

“To the KKK and police, be peaceful or you will face the consequences,” the video stated. “To the protesters, do not be afraid. We are here for you and will protect and serve you. We are the law now.”

The video also retaliates against direct threats reportedly made by Frank Ancona, the leader of the Missouri-based KKK chapter who appeared on a widely-criticized live MSNBC segment last week and defended claims of using “lethal force” against peaceful protesters.

Ancona’s threat to Anonymous allegedly claims that members of the group will be “strung up next to the chimps.” In response, Anonymous stated that the collective has no tolerance for Ancona’s warning.

“When the grand jury indictment is announced soon, we will take every precaution needed to defend ourselves. The protesters will take to the streets peacefully, as they always have,” Anonymous stated in the video. “Your violent ideology will not prevail in this fight.”

As for statements directly addressing the police, Anonymous warned law enforcement to maintain the peace and discouraged the use of any violence.

“If you use violent acts against the protesters as you have before, you should know that you are being watched very closely,” the video states. “You can not get away with anything.”

In an Anonymous Internet Relay Chat Monday, a member of the group named “SiX” told The Huffington Post:

“We want the KKK gone, forever. Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing.”

Aside from this newly-released video, members of Anonymous have sent messages through various social media outlets including Twitter and Instagram along with posts published through their website.

And while they are active on several public platforms, their main message resonates in solidarity - as the group stated in the video:

“We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget.”

On Immigration, Obama Fulfills His Promise to Progressives

The President has long been tugged between his bipartisan urges and his activist roots. With his executive order and speech Thursday, he chose activism.


Esteban Cabanas, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, watches Obama's immigration speech with his U.S.-born son at a restaurant in Huntington Park, California. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

In his decision to act, by himself, on immigration, President Obama chose between two sides of his political self.

It’s hard to remember now, but once upon a time, bipartisanship was near the heart of Obama’s political appeal. In the speech that introduced him to Americans, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama’s most famous line was neither a plea for universal healthcare nor a condemnation of the war in Iraq. It was a call for overcoming America’s political divide: “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states…[But] we are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

When Obama ran against Hillary Clinton, a key rationale for his candidacy was that he was not a combatant in the long-running Baby Boomer civil war over the 1960's. He was a liberal who conservatives didn’t hate.

But, from the beginning, this side of Obama’s public persona sat uneasily alongside another. It wasn’t just that he promised both bipartisan reconciliation and progressive change. It’s that Obama understood American history well enough to know that progressive change only arrives through bitter, divisive, even ugly, struggle. When George W. Bush explained America’s moral progress he tended to describe it as frictionless. “The American story,” Bush said in his first inaugural address, is “a story of flawed and fallible people united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals …. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course.”

Obama—who spent his student years obsessed with the civil-rights movement and then became a disciple of Saul Alinsky—talks differently. In his second inaugural, he said, “Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free.” Then he name checked “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall,” places where powerful and privileged Americans ridiculed, arrested, beat, and killed other Americans for demanding equal rights.

The part of Barack Obama that knows how change really happens in America has long been quietly at war with the part that wanted to stay on good terms with Republicans, and with powerful elites in the business and financial worlds. In the most consequential decision of his first term, when he decided to pass healthcare reform via reconciliation, Obama chose identity No. 1 over identity No. 2.

Now, in what may prove the most consequential decision of his second term, he has done the same. He has decided once again to trigger the hatred of defenders of the status quo because, I suspect, he knows American history well enough to know that real moral progress doesn’t happen any other way.

Would another Democrat have done the same thing? Perhaps. But at moments like this, it’s worth remembering what a strange political creature Obama is. Many politicians grow up hero-worshipping other politicians. Democrats come of age idealizing Franklin Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy. Republicans grow up idealizing Ronald Reagan. Not Obama. In his youth, he wasn’t an aspiring politician. He was an aspiring activist. And it wasn’t politicians who inspired him.

On the second page of The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he entered politics to lay claim to “a tradition that stretched from the days of the country’s founding to the glory of the civil rights movement.” On the book’s second-to-last page, he talks about running late at night up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and “imagining the crowd stilled by Dr. King’s mighty cadence.”

The King that inspired Obama was not the sanitized, Disneyfied figure whom everyone now claims. In his youthful passion for the civil-rights movement, Obama discovered the real King—the man whom the FBI tried to blackmail, the man who risked his relationship with the Johnson administration to condemn Vietnam, the man who spent his final days alongside striking garbage workers. It was that King, and that civil-rights movement, which gripped Obama as a young man, and which he tried to recreate in his own age.

Yes, Obama is a pragmatist. Yes, he is professorial. Yes, he wants to be liked by his ideological opponents and by the powers that be. But he also knows that were he in his twenties today—a young man of color with a foreign parent and a foreign-sounding name—he might be among those activists challenging the vicious injustice of America’s immigration system.

When Obama talked about “the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Malia or Sasha; students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in a country they love,” he wasn’t only comparing them to his daughters. He was comparing them to himself.

For progressives, this was always the real promise of Barack Obama. It was the promise that a black man with a Muslim name who had worked in Chicago’s ghettos—a man who had tasted what it means to a stranger in America—would bring that memory with him when he entered the White House. It’s a promise he fulfilled tonight.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bernie Sanders Won't Save You

By Nicole Belle

Making change takes a lot of work, and it takes constant work, even in off-election/midterm years. 

One of my frustrations with Ralph Nader was his absolute refusal to do anything about party building between presidential elections. He shows up as a spoiler vote every four years, but isn't really interested in the work required to make a structural change.

Sadly, I see parallels with my fellow liberals and the Nader campaign. Effecting change takes a lot of work, and it takes constant work, even in off-election/midterm years. You can't pin your hope on some magical progressive pony like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders and think that suddenly everything will be rosy and liberal.


Do you want to see liberals get more traction? YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK. You have to show up to every election, so that politicians don't write you off as a negligible vote. You have to contact your elected officials and tell them you want progressive stances. You have to do this often and in large numbers to drown out the messages they're getting from the right. You have to contact media sources and demand that your side gets airtime. You have to complain when they do the bullshit "Both sides do it..."

You have to get involved in campaigns.

Look, that may sound like a lot of work--because it is--but that's EXACTLY what the right has been doing consistently for the last forty years. Liberals seem to think that the correctness of their beliefs (as proven over time) should give them gravitas, but facts are secondary to politics and media coverage. You need to be visible.

Until you're willing to do that, there's no way for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or any other magical progressive pony to actually win an election.

Tommy Chong Tells Fox Hosts Gruber-Gate 'Sounds Like Benghazi All Over Again'

By Heather

Tommy Chong was this Wednesday's #OneLuckyGuy on Fox’s Outnumbered, and the hosts got a little more than they bargained for when they continued their attacks on the Affordable Health Care Act and Jonathan Gruber.

I'm not sure why the producers over at Faux "news" thought it was a good idea to book Tommy Chong as the #OneLuckyGuy on this Wednesday's Outnumbered, or why Chong has any desire to appear on Fox... ever.

Whatever the reasons, I have a feeling they may not want him back on there any time soon after what happened when they continued the Fox freakout over Jonathan Gruber's remarks that they've been running in a continuous loop over there for the last week or two.

Here's more from our friend Ellen at News Hounds: Watch Tommy Chong Smack Down Fox’s Attacks On ObamaCare: ‘Sounds Like Benghazi All Over Again’:
First, the four Fox hosts tried to get Chong to knock the glitches in the rollout. He replied, “My thing about the whole ObamaCare is that it’s better than Bush’s ObamaCare.”
One of the hosts asked, “What was Bush’s ObamaCare?”
Chong said, “He never had one.”
There was a nervous titter from one host and silence from the rest.
Tantaros brought up Gruber and his claim that “stupid Americans” were misled in order to pass the Affordable Care Act.
Chong’s reply: “To me, it’s just another attack on ObamaCare from another angle. Sounds like Benghazi all over again.”
Later, Tantaros tried to argue that Gruber’s old comments represent “an attack on the American people for how quote stupid we are.”
Chong said, “You have to define what stupidity means, you know. If you are opposing universal health care based on rumors of lies then that it is a stupid way to be.”
That shut them up.
Well, almost. Tantaros finished up by saying she's really looking forward to Republicans dragging Gruber in front of one of their committees and making him testify under oath, so this crap isn't going away for months to come.

And as Dave Edwards at Raw Story pointed out:
A PunditFact analysis published on Tuesday found that Fox News had mentioned Gruber at least 779 times since the story broke on Nov. 10. MSNBC had mentioned him 79 times, and he was referenced on CNN just 27 times.
We'll be seeing those numbers change as the Fox-effect takes place and they push this into the rest of the corporate media, and when the hearings start.

Is Rick Perry just Bill Clinton, version 2.0?

In the Rewrite, Lawrence looks at Rick Perry’s frank assessment of his failed 2012 bid, his comparison to Clinton, and his chance of being the 2016 comeback kid.

The immigration divide

A new poll shows 48% are against the president acting alone on immigration, but 74% support a pathway to citizenship. Rev. Al Sharpton talks to Angela Rye, Jimmy Williams and Seema Iyer to discuss.

Mary J. Blige’s secret to wedded bliss

Singer Mary J. Blige recently shared the secret to happiness in her marriage: neither she, or her husband are allowed to have friends of the opposite sex. Rev. Al Sharpton talks to Angela Rye, Jimmy Williams and Seema Iyer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Ways Police in Ferguson, MO May Be About to Break the Law

By Bill Quigley

When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least ten different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights.  The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others so people can see how awful they have been acting.  But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the US.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution promises the government will not abridge freedom of speech or to prevent the right of the people to peaceably assemble or to petition to the government for the redress of grievances.

Here is what they are going to do, watch for each of these illegal actions when the crowds start to grow.

1) Try to stop people from protesting. 

The police all say they know they have to let people protest. So they usually will allow protests for a while.  Then the police will get tired and impatient and try to stop people from continuing to protest.  The government will say people can only protest until a certain time, or on a certain street, or only if they keep moving, or not there, not here, not now, no longer.  Such police action is not authorized by the US Constitution.   People have a right to protest, the government should leave them alone.

2) Provocateurs. 

Police have likely already planted dozens of officers, black and white, male and female, inside the various protests groups.  These officers will illegally spy on peaceful protesters and often take illegal actions themselves and encourage other people to take illegal action.  They will even be arrested with others but magically not end up in jail.   Others inside the groups will be paid to inform on the group to the government.  Comically, when undercover police are uncovered they often claim they have a constitutional right to be there and try to use the constitution they are violating as a shield!

3) Snatch Squads. 

Police will decide who they do not like or who they think are leaders.  Then they will use small heavily armed groups to knife into peaceful crowds and grab people, pull them out and arrest them.

4) False Arrests. 

The police will arrest whoever they choose whenever they choose and will make up stories to justify the arrests.  If people are breaking glass or hurting others, those arrests are legal.  However, the police will arrest first and sort out who they arrested later.  Police in Ferguson have already wrongfully arrested legal observers, a law professor, and church leaders.

5) Intimidation. 

As they have shown many times in Ferguson and all over the country, once the protests heat up, police will show up in full riot gear, dressed like ninja turtles (big flashy guns, plastic shields, big batons, shin guards, gas masks, flex cuffs) and act like they are military warriors protecting people from an ISIS invasion.

6) Kettling or Encircling. 

The police will surround a group and pen them in and not let them move.  They will either arrest all or force them to leave in one direction.  This, as the police know fully well, always sweeps up innocent bystanders as well as protestors.  NYPD did this with hundreds on Brooklyn Bridge and at many other protests.  Sometimes they deploy orange plastic nets or snow fencing, sometimes just lots of police.

7) Raids on supportive churches, organizations or homes. 

Often the police make illegal pre-emptive raids on places where volunteers are sleeping, cooking or parking their cars.  They lie to locals and accuse the protesters of links to violent organizations.

8) Pain Noise Trucks. 

Police will also use LRAD noise trucks (Long Range Acoustic Device).  First used in Iraq now used against peaceful protesters in the US.  The trucks blast bursts of sound powerful enough to cause pain.   Never approved by any court, this intentional infliction of pain is another sign of the militarization of the police.   Police also use MRAPs Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles – heavily armored trucks which look like tanks but roll on wheels not treads.   This is part of the intimidation.

9) Arresting reporters. 

When the police are feeling the heat of public view, they will force journalists away from the protesters.  Those who insist on engaging in constitutionally protected activity and returning to the scene will be arrested.

10) Chemical and other weapons. 

When the police get really desperate and afraid, they will try to disperse the entire crowd with pepper spray, tear gas, and other chemical weapons, rubber or wooden bullets.  If this happens the police have just about lost control and are at their most dangerous.

Dozens and dozens of different police forces which will be surrounding the protesters in Ferguson when the Michael Brown verdict is announced.  There will be federal FBI agents, Homeland Security, US Marshals, State Police troopers, County Sheriffs, and local city cops from the dozens of little towns in and around St. Louis.  Perhaps this will be the time when the peoples’ constitutional rights to protest are actually protected.  We can only hope.  But in the meantime, look for these common police tactics.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He is also a member of the legal collective of School of Americas Watch, and can be reached at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Confrontation over slick Senate vote

Sticking to Sen. Rob Portman’s promise of swift action on the Keystone XL pipeline, the Senate votes on the controversial bill after it passed in the House. Ed Schultz, Cyril Scott, Aldo Seoane and Adam Green discuss the implications.

Mitt Romney’s Epic Irony On Losing An Election Will Make You Spit Your Coffee

On Sunday, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney sat down with CBS Face the Nation to criticize the president’s handling of the battle against ISIS forces, as well as his potential executive action on immigration.

Romney reiterated his belief that the president has been “inept” on Middle East policy, asserting that it was a mistake to declare “no boots on the ground” in the region. “It is not acceptable for ISIS to present the kind of threat it does to the world,” the former governor said after suggesting the “no boots” remark will necessarily prove contradictory.

“If it takes our own troops” to destroy ISIS, Romney said, then “you don’t take that off the table.”

As for the possibility of Obama taking executive action to overhaul policy and protect millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the states, Romney said: “The president has got to learn that he lost this last election round. The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

Drug Warrior Mitch McConnell Tied To Millions In Cocaine

By DeSwiss

  The Young Turks * Published on Nov 17, 2014

"Before the Ping May, a rusty cargo vessel, could disembark from the port of Santa Marta en route to the Netherlands in late August, Colombian inspectors boarded the boat and made a discovery. Hidden in the ship’s chain locker, amidst its load of coal bound for Europe, were approximately 40 kilograms, or about ninety pounds, of cocaine. A Colombian Coast Guard official told The Nation that there is an ongoing investigation.

The seizure of the narcotics shipment in the Caribbean port occurred far away from Kentucky, the state in which Senator Mitch McConnell is now facing a career-defining election. But the Republican Senate minority leader has the closest of ties to the owner of the Ping May, the vessel containing the illicit materials: the Foremost Maritime Corporation, a firm founded and owned by McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family.

Though Foremost has played a pivotal role in McConnell’s life, bestowing the senator with most of his personal wealth and generating thousands in donations to his campaign committees, the drug bust went unnoticed in Kentucky, where every bit of McConnell-related news has generated fodder for the campaign trail."* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more here:

- And now we know why his double-chins always seemed so large for a turtle of his age and species.....

If Presidential Action on Immigration Is Impeachable, Reagan and Bush Should Have Been Axed

By Tana Ganeva

14 times Republican presidents were "soft" on immigrants.
As Republicans in Congress and right-wing columnists bellow that President Obama should be impeached if he issues an executive order to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies, it’s important to note that a long line of Republican presidents have done exactly the same thing for decades.

In fact, more undocumented immigrants have been granted reprieves from prosecution and deportation protection by Republican presidents than Democrats, according to an American Immigration Council summary of dozens of White House-ordered reforms since 1956.

Today’s right-wingers don’t want to mention that their Republican hero, President Ronald Reagan, signed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which gave up to 3 million unauthorized immigrants a path to legalization if they continuously had been in the U.S. since January 1982. The Reagan White House also issued executive orders that deferred deportation of children of non-citizens in more than 100,000 families, and also told immigration authorities not to deport up to 200,000 Nicaraguan war refugees.

In contrast, President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA), which provided a two-year renewable reprieve from deportation and granted work permits, affected up to 1.8 million immigrants, according to the American Immigration Council.

Another Republican president whose immigration policies could be an “impeachable” offense, according to Republican congressmen like Texas’ Joe Barton or Washington Post  columnist Charles Krauthammer, would be President George Herbert Walker Bush, who in 1990 announced a blanket deferral of deportations for 1.5 million spouses and children of unauthorized people, which accounted for 40 percent of the nation’s undocumented population. That step was very similar to President Obama’s DACA executive order in 2012. Both presidents, a Republican and a Democrat, acted when Congress did not.

What fuming right-wingers fear is that the Obama White House might go big—ordering federal immigration authorities to refocus their activities and allowing several million undocumented households to breathe easy and lead more normal lives. The New York Times reported that there are as many as 3.3 million undocumented parents of children who are American citizens who have been in the U.S. for at least five years. The 1986 immigration reform law signed by President Reagan did not try to keep similar families together. It was slammed as inhumane then—and is still sharply criticized.

If Obama also includes children who were undocumented when they came to the U.S. in his expected executive orders, that could add another million or more people, the Times said. If the White House includes undocumented farm workers who have been here for years, that could add hundreds of thousands more.

While it is possible that Obama’s executive orders could be the largest-ever immigration reforms by any White House administration since World War Two, it is important to note that previous presidents issued large-scale immigration executive orders as part of a push to get Congress to act. President Bush’s 1990 reforms were based on a Senate-passed bill that was rejected by the House. However, after Bush issued those orders affecting 1.5 million spouses and children, the House then passed the legislation.

What you will probably not hear as Republicans complain loudly about Obama’s next steps, is that Republicans presidents—more so than Democrats—have granted amnesty to undocumented people.
What follows are 14 executive orders granting immigration relief by Republican presidents, starting in 1956, as compiled by the American Immigration Council. Before Obama, the Democratic president who used his office to allow the most immigrants to stay was Jimmy Carter, whose policies allowed more than 676,000 people to stay—not counting the 360,000 Vietnamese refugees who came during his and the presidency of his predecessor, Republican Gerald Ford.

Here are the 14 executive orders on immigration policy by Republican presidents:

• 1956. President Dwight Eisenhower allows 923 orphans to settle in the U.S.

• 1956-58. Eisenhower allows 31,915 Hungarian refugees to stay after Soviet invasion.

• 1959-72. Presidents Eisenhower through Richard Nixon let 621,403 Cuban exiles stay.

• 1977-82. Presidents Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and Reagan, let 15,000 Ethiopians stay.

• 1981-87. President Reagan allow 7,000 Polish refugees stay after Soviet-led crackdown.

• 1987. President Reagan stops deportations for 200,000 Nicaraguan war refugees.

• 1987. President Reagan allows 100,000 children of non-citizens to stay who were not affected by the 1986 law he signed granting amnesty to 3 million immigrants.

• 1989. President Bush allows 80,000 Chinese students stay after Tianenmen Square, which he formalized a year later suspending deportations and granting work permits.

• 1989. President Bush allows 2,225 Indochinese and 5,000 Soviet refugees to stay.

• 1990. President Bush defers deportation of 1.5 million unauthorized spouses and children of people legalized under 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.

• 1991. President Bush allows 2,227 Kuwaiti refugees to stay after invasion by Iraq.

• 1992. Presidents Bush and Bill Clinton, a Democrat, allow 190,000 Salvadorans stay.

• 2006. President George W. Bush allows 1,574 Cuban doctors into the country.

• 2006. President George W. Bush allows 3,600 Liberians stay in the country.