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Bill Maher Scorches Police Leaders’ ‘Bullsh*t’ Rhetoric: ‘This Is Why Americans Hate Unions Now’

January 11, 2015 in Blogs

By Arturo Garcia, Raw Story

“This is a shame, because with a record wealth gap, we need unions now more than ever.”

Bill Maher closed Real Time on Friday by denouncing not only New York City police, but police unions in general for fostering tension between officers, residents and elected leaders.

“This is why Americans hate unions now,” Maher said. “It’s why Republicans have been able to make ‘taking on the unions’ an applause line. Because union bullsh*t that people see on TV made it easy for them to make it about crybabies and entitlement. Which is a shame, because with a record wealth gap, we need unions now more than ever.”

When the U.S. had a vibrant middle class, he argued, one in three workers belonged to a union. But now that number is down to one in ten.

“It’s not hard to do the math,” Maher said.

Meanwhile, he said, union leaders representing both the NYPD and Cleveland police insist on pushing the narrative that police can do no wrong and every arrest is “by the book.”

“Put six slugs into an unarmed man by the seat of your car? ‘By the book,’” he explained. “Strangle a handcuffed guy to death? ‘By the book.’ Kill a 12-year-old who had a toy gun? ‘By the book.’ Maybe they need to get a new book. Who wrote this book, anyway, George Zimmerman?”

If police needed to be reassured that the public loved them under threat of a “tantrum,” that was more like being in a relationship than a public trust, Maher said.

“Right now, honey — I mean, officer — I’m confused,” he said. “Yes, you have a tough, dirty job. But you volunteered for it. It’s like a proctologist coming home every night and saying, ‘I can’t believe I have to look at a*sholes all day.’”

Instead of refusing to do their work to get back at Mayor Bill de Blasio, Maher argued, the NYPD should stop acting like every Black person they meet will either run away or shoot them.

“Believe it or not, there are Black New Yorkers who won’t run and can’t shoot,” he said. “They’re called the Knicks.”

Watch Maher’s …read more


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(Over)Bearing Arms in America: Gun Madness Is Spreading Rapidly Nationwide

January 11, 2015 in Blogs

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

In twenty-first-century America, the “right to bear arms” has been extended in every direction.

One of the grimmer small events of recent American life occurred just as 2014 was ending.  A mother had her two-year old toddler perched in a shopping cart at an Idaho Wal-Mart.  He reached into her purse, specially made for carrying a concealed firearm (and a Christmas gift from her husband), found his mother’s pistol in it, pulled it out, and shot and killed her.  And she wasn’t the only victim of a child who came upon a loaded weapon.  Between 2007 and 2011, at least 62 children 14 or younger died in similarly nightmarish accidents with loaded weapons.

Nor was this specific incident an anomaly.  In fact, if you are an American, you are statistically in less danger of dying from a terrorist attack in this country than from a toddler shooting you. And by the way, you’re 2,059 times more likely to die by your own hand with a weapon of your choosing than in a terrorist attack anywhere on Earth.  You’re also more than nine times as likely to be killed by a police officer as by a terrorist.

And remind me, how many American taxpayer dollars have gone into “security” from terrorism and how many into security from weaponry?  You know the answer to that.  In fact, guns of just about every variety seem to circulate ever more freely in this country as the populace up-armors itself in yet more ways.  Think of it as a kind of arms race.  Emboldened by the National Rifle Association (NRA), Americans are ever more weaponized.  There were an estimated 300-310 million guns in the U.S. in 2009 (a figure that has undoubtedly risen), and up to four million Americans now own assault rifles — one popular weapon of choice, by the way, for mass killers.  In the meantime, the percentage of Americans who favor a ban on handguns (25%) has fallen to an all-time low.

As for “carrying,” it’s now legal in every state in America and allowed in ever more situations as well.  In the …read more


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Ted Cruz & the New McCarthyism: Inside A Dangerous Response to the Atrocity in Paris

January 11, 2015 in Blogs

By Elias Isquith,

For many politicians and pundits, the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is cause to stoke the fires of terror — and worse.

Here are a few sentences I should not have to write but apparently must, all the same: Taking the life of another human being is an absolutely terrible thing for a person to do. By definition, murder is a crime — perhaps the most heinous one there is. No one should be physically threatened, much less killed, for sharing an opinion. Everyone should have the right to say, write, draw or otherwise express whatever sentiment they’d like without fear of violent reprisal. And anyone who thinks it’s not only appropriate, but righteous, to use violence or the threat of violence in order to silence those they disagree with is as profoundly wrong as they could be.

Some more things that should go without saying: The massacre of 10 journalists (and two law enforcement officers) at the offices of the Paris-based satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that was carried out this week by Islamic extremists was an obscenity, a crime whose evil could never be adequately expressed with words. No matter how blasphemous, callous, insulting and bigoted the political cartoons produced by Charlie Hebdo over the years may have been, there is nothing — absolutely, positively and undoubtedly nothing — that could ever justify or excuse such fanatical sadism. The men who organized and perpetrated this slaughter were villains of the highest order, opponents of many of humanity’s greatest intellectual breakthroughs and moral achievements.

You can probably tell already, but I resent feeling that the above two paragraphs are necessary. But because I also happen to believe that many of the cartoons produced by Charlie Hebdo were mean-spirited, lazy, unfunny and sometimes baldly racist; because I do not believe that it is necessary for me to promote these cartoons in order to oppose their creators’ murder; and because some of the more influential members of the media and the government are trying to make lockstep support for Charlie Hebdo’s work a new litmus test of one’s belief in human freedom and dignity, they are. …read more