Daily Archive: 07/24/2015

Jul 24 2015

Another Shooting By Another White Extremist

Last night a 59 year old white man with a criminal record and history of mental illness entered a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, killed two people wounded nine others before turning the gun on himself.

In the search for a motive, what police are now being found out about this man are quite disturbing. It put into question gun control and the lack of focus by law enforcement on America’s white supremacists.

Houser has allegedly posted messages to numerous online forums, suggesting that he held extreme right-wing views and sympathized with white supremacists. It cannot be independently confirmed that these online postings were made by Houser himself before the shooting. The postings on politicalforums.com seem to match based on his age and location. There is less to connect Houser to the postings on Twitter and Golden Dawn that are cited below by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

An individual who went by “John Russell Houser” created a profile on politicalforums.com, on which he included the phrases “believe media/gov’t censoring” and “believe US will be MAD MAX < 5 years.” Under the “Family” category, Houser wrote that “no family safe in US environment.” The profile identified the user as a 59-year-old male residing in Phenix City. [..]

An individual who used the username “Rusty Houser” also posted comments on a forum for Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi political party in Greece, as the Southern Poverty Law Center noted.

“Do not mistake yourselves for one minute, the enemy sees all posted on this website. I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that can come forth in ALL situations.Look within yourselves,” he wrote in one comment.

He also made racist comments in comments on the Golden Dawn forum. [..]

An individual who went by the name Rusty Houser posted on usmessageboard.com that, “Hitler accomplished far more than any other,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And a Twitter handle for “john russell houser” published messages about the Westboro Baptist Church and censorship. [..]

Houser also served as the guest host on the “Rise and Shine” show on the Columbus, Ga. television station WLTZ, where he “invited political controversy on every one of them, and loved every minute of it,” according to LinkedIn. A former host for the station confirmed to the Associated Press that Houser appeared on his show, where he allegedly advocated for people to commit violence against those involved in abortion.

Houser has a criminal record — he was arrested for arson and selling alcohol to minors, but he had not had any run-ins with law enforcement in the past few years, according to police.

CNN reported that Houser was denied a conceal carry permit in 2006 and was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009. The suspect’s wife sought a restraining order against Houser in 2008 because he “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements,” according to the Associated Press.

So, how and where did he get a gun? Why wasn’t this man targeted by law enforcement as a possible threat? Was it because he wasn’t Muslim?

The news that keep getting ignored by the media, law enforcement and our elected officials is that people are more likely to be killed or injured  by angry white man than they are by a Muslim jihadist.

In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants.

But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.

The slaying of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church last week, with an avowed white supremacist charged with their murders, was a particularly savage case.

But it is only the latest in a string of lethal attacks by people espousing racial hatred, hostility to government and theories such as those of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which denies the legitimacy of most statutory law. The assaults have taken the lives of police officers, members of racial or religious minorities and random civilians.

It’s time this is put in their proper perspectives and start keeping America safe from its homegrown terrorists.

Jul 24 2015

I am shocked, SHOCKED!

I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.

In stunning attack, Cruz accuses leader McConnell of lying

By Erica Werner and Laurie Kellman, AP

July 24 at 1:39 PM

In a stunning, public attack on his own party leader, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accused Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying, and said he was no better than his Democratic predecessor and couldn’t be trusted.

Cruz, a Texan who is running for president but ranks low in early polling, delivered the broadside in a speech on the Senate floor Friday, an extraordinary departure from the norms of Senate behavior that demand courtesy and respect.

“Not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie,” Cruz said.



“It saddens me to say this. I sat in my office, I told my staff the majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie,” Cruz said.

“We now know that when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit commitment that he is willing to say things that he knows are false.”



“We keep winning elections and then we keep getting leaders who don’t do anything they promised,” Cruz said.

Jul 24 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: The Anti-Immigrant Binge in Congress

Congress is in danger of taking that most cursed of American political disagreements, the debate over illegal immigration, and dragging it farther toward insanity.

Bills are being rushed to the floor in the House and Senate in response to a woman’s senseless killing in San Francisco by an unauthorized immigrant with a long criminal record. That single crime has energized hard-line Republican lawmakers who have long peddled the false argument that all illegal immigrants are a criminal menace, and that the best way to erase their threat is by new layers of inflexible policing. [..]

Congress should support the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to focus its limited resources on dangerous criminals and national security threats. It should allow the vast majority of immigrants, who pose no threat, to pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes and live and work in this country openly.

That would be a serious solution, one that gives deserving immigrants a foothold in this country and makes it easier to uncover those who come here to do harm. It is called comprehensive reform, which Mr. Smith, Mr. Gowdy and others in their anti-immigrant caucus, now consumed with exploitive fury over the San Francisco tragedy, have fought at every turn.

Paul Krugman: The M.I.T. Gang

Goodbye, Chicago boys. Hello, M.I.T. gang.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the term “Chicago boys” was originally used to refer to Latin American economists, trained at the University of Chicago, who took radical free-market ideology back to their home countries. The influence of these economists was part of a broader phenomenon: The 1970s and 1980s were an era of ascendancy for laissez-faire economic ideas and the Chicago school, which promoted those ideas.

But that was a long time ago. Now a different school is in the ascendant, and deservedly so. [..]

The truth, although nobody will believe it, is that the economic analysis some of us learned at M.I.T. way back when has worked very, very well for the past seven years.

But has the intellectual success of M.I.T. economics led to comparable policy success? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Bruce Dixon: NetRoots Nation Confrontation Wasn’t About #BlackLivesMatter At All

The first thing to know about the #BlackLivesMatter confrontation with Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders is that it didn’t happen on the street or some neutral setting, it didn’t happen at some random campaign appearance. It happened at the annual NetRootsNation gathering, this year in Phoenix.

NetRoots bills itself as “the largest gathering of the progressive movement” in this country. Unless you think the Democratic party IS the progressive movement, or that all “progressives” are Democrats, this is nonsense. I know, I’ve been to NetRoots. [..]

Since Hillary is the all but inevitable Democratic nominee, confronting two minor white male candidates, demanding they “say her name” and come up with solutions that address white supremacy, structural racism and the runaway police state is pretty much a foolproof strategy to get noticed, and as Hillary did not attend NetRoots, they got to do it without antagonizing the Clinton camp. Hillary wisely covered her own ass by releasing a tweet that unequivocally said “black lives DO matter.”

But all in all, the NetRootsNation confrontation wasn’t the stirring of black women activists “taking their rightful place at the front of the progressive movement,” as one breathless tweet called it. It didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know about O’Malley or Sanders, or about hypocritical Hillary.

It was about flying the #BlackLivesMatter flag to jockey for positions inside the machinery that is the Democratic party and its affiliates.

Zoë Carpenter: Five Years After Dodd-Frank, ‘It’s Still a Financial System That Needs Reform’

At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, former North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller found himself searching for answers on Wikipedia. He was looking up “credit default swaps,” which the website defines as “a financial swap agreement that the seller…will compensate the buyer (usually the creditor of the reference loan) in the event of a loan default (by the debtor) or other credit event.” Largely unregulated, those swaps and other complex derivatives both amplified and obscured the risks of all the bad loans that mortgage companies had made and sold-and they bankrupted AIG. Miller was a member of the Financial Services Committee and a critic of the mortgage lending industry, but even he had no idea what they were.

“After I finished reading the Wikipedia entry on credit default swaps, I probably knew more about them than any other member of Congress,” Miller told me recently, on the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law. Cleaning up the derivatives market was one of the main pillars of that landmark legislation. On that front, and in many other respects, the law’s legacy is still a work in progress, hampered by repeated attempts by Wall Street and its allies in Congress to undermine implementation, and by foot-dragging in some regulatory agencies.

John Glazer: Critics of the Iranian nuclear deal protest too much

Arguments against the agreement rely on specious assumptions and misinformation

The Barack Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran is historic. It significantly rolls back Iran’s enrichment program and staves off the risk of another calamitous U.S. war in the Middle East.

But the deal’s opponents – notably, all of the 2016 GOP candidates, most Republicans in Congress, hawkish Democrats such as Sen. Robert Menendez, and of course Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – remain doggedly against it.

As demonstrated in yesterday’s Senate hearing on the deal, Republicans and their allies continue to deny the deal’s strong non-proliferation features and reject the notion that it can actually yield real benefits to U.S. interests. The facts contradict their objections: Iran has to reduce its number of centrifuges by about two-thirds and dismantle about 97 percent of its low-enriched uranium stockpile while being subject to one of the most intrusive monitoring regimes in the world. The Additional Protocol, which allows for inspection of suspected but undeclared enrichment sites, is permanently adopted under this deal.

What’s more, few of the deal’s critics have offered any realistic alternatives.

E. J. Dionne: Donald Trump Has the GOP Establishment’s Number

The problems that bother us most are the ones we bring on ourselves. This is why Republicans are so out of sorts with Donald Trump. The party created the rough beast it is now trying to slay.

When Trump gave out Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number on Tuesday at an event in the South Carolina senator’s home state, he did it to show he wasn’t backing down after his outlandish attacks on Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero. But he was also making clear to the Republicans assailing him that he really does have their number. [..]

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Perry on “Meet the Press” last Sunday if Republicans are confronting a “reap-what-you-sow issue” with Trump. Perry’s reply was lame: “I’ll suggest to you we’re seeing the real Donald Trump now.”

Sorry, but the real Donald Trump has been in full view for a long time, and Perry’s new glasses can’t explain his newfound clarity. I don’t credit Trump with much. But he deserves an award for exposing the double-standards of Republican politicians. They put their outrage in a blind trust as long as Trump was, in Perry’s words, “throwing invectives in this hyperbolic rhetoric out there” against Obama and the GOP’s other enemies.

Only now are they willing to say: “You’re fired.” No wonder Trump is laughing.

Jul 24 2015

The Breakfast Club (A Sense of Purpose)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

A key ruling during the Watergate scandal; Nixon and Khrushchev hold a ‘kitchen debate’ during the Cold War; Brigham Young and Mormon followers arrive in present-day Utah; Apollo 11’s crew returns home.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There is a longing among all people and creatures to have a sense of purpose and worth. To satisfy that common longing in all of us we must respect each other.

Chief Dan George

Jul 24 2015

On This Day In History July 24

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 24 is the 175th day of the year (176th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 190 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1957, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment.

Roth v. United States, along with its companion case, Alberts v. California, was a landmark case before the United States Supreme Court which redefined the Constitutional test for determining what constitutes obscene material unprotected by the First Amendment.

Prior history

Under the common law rule that prevailed before Roth, articulated most famously in the 1868 English case Hicklin v. Regina, any material that tended to “deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences” was deemed “obscene” and could be banned on that basis. Thus, works by Balzac, Flaubert, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence were banned based on isolated passages and the effect they might have on children.

Samuel Roth, who ran a literary business in New York City, was convicted under a federal statute criminalizing the sending of “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” materials through the mail for advertising and selling a publication called American Aphrodite (“A Quarterly for the Fancy-Free”) containing literary erotica and nude photography. David Alberts, who ran a mail-order business from Los Angeles, was convicted under a California statute for publishing pictures of “nude and scantily-clad women.” The Court granted a writ of certiorari and affirmed both convictions.

The case

Roth came down as a 6-3 decision, with the opinion of the Court authored by William J. Brennan, Jr.. The Court repudiated the Hicklin test and defined obscenity more strictly, as material whose “dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest” to the “average person, applying contemporary community standards.” Only material meeting this test could be banned as “obscene.” However, Brennan reaffirmed that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment and thus upheld the convictions of Roth and Alberts for publishing and sending obscene material over the mail.

Congress could ban material, “utterly without redeeming social importance,” or in other words, “whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest.”

With the Court unable to agree as to what constituted obscenity, the Justices were put in the position of having to personally review almost every obscenity prosecution in the United States, with the Justices gathering for weekly screenings of “obscene” motion pictures (Black and Douglas pointedly refused to participate, believing all the material protected). Meanwhile, pornography and sexually oriented publications proliferated as a result of the Warren Court’s holdings, the “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960s flowered, and pressure increasingly came to the Court to allow leeway for state and local governments to crack down on obscenity. During his ill-fated bid to become Chief Justice, Justice Abe Fortas was attacked vigorously in Congress by conservatives such as Strom Thurmond for siding with the Warren Court majority in liberalizing protection for pornography. In his 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon campaigned against the Warren Court, pledging to appoint “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court.

The demise of Roth

In Miller v. California (1973), a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.

Jul 24 2015

The Daily/Nightly Show (‘Burbs)

Discontinuity

Why do Greeks make the best Pizza?

Next week’s guests-

Ta-Nehisi Coates will be on to talk about Between the World and Me.

Between the World and Me” (which takes its title from a Richard Wright poem) offers an abbreviated portrait of the author’s life at home, focusing mainly on the fear he felt growing up. Fear of the police, who he tells his son “have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body,” and who also possess a dominion of prerogatives that include “friskings, detainings, beatings, and humiliations.” And fear of the streets where members of crews – “young men who’d transmuted their fear into rage” – might “break your jaw, stomp your face, and shoot you down to feel that power, to revel in the might of their own bodies,” where death might “billow up like fog” on an ordinary afternoon.

The “need to be always on guard” was exhausting, “the slow siphoning of essence,” Mr. Coates writes. He “feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not to give police a reason.”

Mr. Coates – a national correspondent for The Atlantic – contrasts this world of the streets with the “other world” of suburbia, “organized around pot roasts, blueberry pies, fireworks, ice cream sundaes, immaculate bathrooms, and small toy trucks that were loosed in wooded backyards with streams and glens.” He associates this clichéd suburban idyll with what he calls “the Dream” – not the American dream of opportunity and a better life for one’s children; not Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of freedom and equality (which the Reverend King observed was “a dream deeply rooted in the American dream”), but instead, in Mr. Coates’s somewhat confusing use of the term, an exclusionary white dream rooted in a history of subjugation and privilege.

Those Dreamers, he contends, “have forgotten the scale of theft that enriched them in slavery; the terror that allowed them, for a century, to pilfer the vote; the segregationist policy that gave them their suburbs. They have forgotten, because to remember would tumble them out of the beautiful Dream and force them to live down here with us, down here in the world.”

Yeah Ta, I was raised in the world and it ain’t all “pot roasts, blueberry pies, fireworks, ice cream sundaes, immaculate bathrooms, and small toy trucks that were loosed in wooded backyards with streams and glens.”.  It’s different, not better.  Bullies will be and we all “live down here with us, down here in the world.”  Freedom and equality mean strife and struggle.  Revolution has no color except blood.

Nipsey Russell

Tonightly the topic is Sandra Bland.  The panel is Christina Greer, Jordan Carlos, and Mark deMayo.

The real news below.