You are browsing the archive for 2015 February 13.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Jeb’s Quiet Wingnutty Past: Why He Has to Distance Himself from…Himself

February 13, 2015 in Blogs

By Heather Digby Parton, Salon

All the geniuses calling Jeb Bush the “moderate” candidate in the GOP primary are missing one thing: his history.

One of the more amusing aspects of he Republican establishment’s quest to anoint Jeb Bush as the “moderate” candidate who can bring all sides together is that the poor man is going to have to walk a tightrope made of dental floss over the next year or so — as he attempts to obscure his wingnutty past from the donor class, without alienating the right wingers he needs to vote for him. Managing these two competing constituencies is a difficult task for all the GOP presidential hopefuls, but Bush’s is perhaps the toughest.

There has been a lot of talk about how he will have to find a way to adequately explain his support for immigration reform and the Common Core education curriculum to the base, which loathes those two programs with a fervor they usually reserve for gay marriage and arugula. He seems to be picking his way through that and we’ll see soon enough if he still has the political chops he developed as Governor of Florida to successfully dogwhistle the base while offering a sheen of “reasonableness” that will keep the political press onboard the establishment train. Those issues will be in contrast with his almost maniacal adherence to the social conservative agenda in the Schiavo case and if he plays his cards right it’s possible he could neutralize his heresies. It will take skill and cunning he hasn’t heretofore demonstrated but you never know.

Where Bush has a more serious problem is in foreign policy and national security.  Some of the reasons for that are more obvious than others. The most glaring, of course, is the fact that he’s George W. Bush’s brother. Despite what people say, W never lost the base of the party — that 28% approval rating he had at the end were the bitter-enders who loved him for his big swinging swagger. But he was unpopular with the very people the Big Money Boyz are banking on getting …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Oregon's Incoming Governor, Kate Brown, Is Nation's First Bisexual State Executive

February 13, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

The first openly bisexual governor has long fought for equality.

The announcement by Oregon’s four-term Democratic Governor, John Kitzhaber, that he will step down next week was quickly overtaken by the national media’s discovery that his successor, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, will be the first openly bisexual governor in U.S. history.

“An open LGBT governor has never been elected, although New Jersey did have an openly gay governor briefly in 2004, after Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) came out as gay and admitted an affair with a man he had appointed to a key job. He resigned three months later,” The Washington Post reported, also noting that “Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) became the first bisexual member of Congress in 2013.”

There are about 525 openly LGBT public officials in office at all levels of government, according to the Gay & Lesbian National Victory Fund. Most are Democrats, but about 20 are Republicans.

“Kate Brown will make history as the first openly bisexual American to become governor, and that makes us and the entire LGBT community extremely proud,” said Denis Dison, Victory Fund interim director. “More importantly for Oregonians, she’s a dedicated, passionate and impressive public servant who’s ready for this challenge. We believe in Kate Brown and her ability to lead Oregon through this difficult moment.”

Brown was first elected as a state legislator in 1991 and rose to become the Senate Majority leader before seeking statewide office. She was elected secretary of state in 2008 and reelected in 2012. Upon assuming office in 2009 she became the first openly bisexual statewide elected official in American history, according to the Victory Fund.

Brown has presided over several LGBT milestones in Oregon, including the arrival of marriage equality in May of 2014. Although she has been married to a man since 1997, she is widely seen in the LGBT community as a role model, speaking at many LGBT events and championing equal rights and equality.

“Do we claim her? Absolutely,” Abigail Webb told the Portland Oregonian. “In the community, Kate is out out-bisexual person. She’s definitely …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Ukraine Must Fix Itself

February 13, 2015 in Economics

By Dalibor Rohac

Dalibor Rohac

Are things finally turning around for Ukraine? In the space of a few hours on Thursday, a cease-fire with the Kremlin-sponsored separatists was agreed in Minsk, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pledged $17.5bn in financial assistance to the government as part of a package from various donors totalling $40bn.

The events on Kiev’s Maidan last year opened a window of opportunity to stop the economic, social and human devastation of Ukraine by its own political elites. The popular will to stop corruption and fix the country’s political and economic institutions was palpable. Two successive governments of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk have included a number of promising reformists, raising hopes that this time might be different.

The prospect of Ukraine’s transformation from a client state run by gangsters into a successful market democracy would set a precedent for the region — most importantly for Russia. That might be the best explanation for Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military escapade in Donbass.

It should not surprise anybody if the new Minsk agreement is short-lived, for reasons beyond Kiev’s control.”

Attacked by Russia and entering a second year of a continuous economic downturn, the country needs — and deserves — some form of help from the west. But, ultimately, Ukraine’s economic and institutional problems can only be solved in Kiev. Nor should western donors have any illusions about the effects of their financial assistance. Ukraine, after all, has a history of IMF programmes going back to the 1990s, with the various governments typically reneging on its reform commitments. We have yet to see evidence that this time really is different.

We should not discount the tragedy of the military conflict initiated by Putin. Yet, for the future of Ukraine, getting the economy on track, stopping corruption and government predation and building inclusive economic and political institutions are just as important as containing the Kremlin-sponsored aggression.

At a discussion event in Washington, a young Ukrainian journalist recently raised an important rhetorical question: “The war is taking place on just 3 per cent of Ukraine’s territory. But what happens on the rest?” Although it has affected industrial production, the conflict hardly explains

the magnitude of Kiev’s economic and financial problems. This year’s military and law enforcement expenditure — increased substantially relative to previous years — is still a mere 86bn hryvnias (around $3.2bn), or 5 per cent of the country’s public budget.

There is a thin line between …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Man Gets 37 Years of Solitary Confinement for Updating Facebook

February 13, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

The shocking penalties prisoners face for banal activities like updating social networking sites.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has put out a new investigation finding that nearly 400 South Carolina prisoners have been subjected to solitary confinement because they used social media. Thanks to a 2012 rule change at the South Carolina Department of Corrections, “creating and/or assisting with a social networking site” became a Level 1 offense, which puts it on the same level of offense as “murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking.”

The investigation, conducted with open records requests by EFF, has found that these social media offenses carried extreme penalties, with the most severe being the case of Tyheem Henry. Henry received 13,680 days (approximately 37 and a half years ) of solitary confinement, while losing 27,360 days worth of telephone, visitation, and canteen privileges and 69 days of good time for 38 posts he made on Facebook.

While Henry's case is extreme, EFF found that the average length of punishment for social networking related cases was 512 days of solitary confinement.

Unfortunately, while South Carolina has perhaps the harshest punishments for social media use, it is not unique in handing out severe punishment for such a banal activity. EFF notes that New Mexico sentenced a man to 60 days in solitary when his family accessed his Facebook for him.

EFF is both calling on South Carolina to review its prison social media policy and for Facebook to provide transparency for how detention agencies are using data it gives them to punish prisoners; the site currently has an entire feature called the “Inmate Account Takedown Request” for corrections officers to use to shut down detainee social media accounts.

 

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Chapel Hill Victim’s Sister: Police ‘Insulting and Outrageous’ for Saying Killing Happened Over Parking

February 13, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Dr. Susanne Barakat, the sister of Deah Barakat, one of the three victims, appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe to rebut the claim that her brother died over a mere dispute over parking.

Following the slaying of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the chief suspect's wife has claimed that the murders had nothing to do with hate but rather revolved around a “parking dispute.” The morning show CBS Inside Edition even utilized this absurd excuse as a way to introduce a segment on parking, in a truly bizarre bit on how to find parking at the mall.

This morning, Dr. Susanne Barakat, the sister of Deah Barakat, one of the three victims, appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe to rebut the claim that her brother died over a mere dispute over parking. Host Joe Scarborough asked Barakat if she agrees with Chapel Hill that the killing was over a parking space:

BARAKAT: I think it’s absolutely insulting, insensitive and outrageous that the first thing they come out and say and issue a statement that this is a parking dispute I’m not sure who they spoke to, because it took me all of five minutes of talking to his former roommate — who they had notreached out to — to give me details, information, text messages. […] [My brother Deah] went to the extent of printing out all of the spots and highlighting which ones were visitor parking spots that can be parked in avoiding the one that he, the neighbor had issues with him parking in. That was not enough.

Watch it here.

Barakat also went on to say that police have yet to reach out to her family. It is remarkable that she feels she has to go through such lengths to rebut the idea that her brother and his wife respected the parking rules of their apartment complex.

It wasn't long ago when black men were routinely murdered in the South; it is important to remember that race was rarely explicilty cited as justification for …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

VIDEO Released Showing Alabama Police Paralyzing Innocent Grandfather from India

February 13, 2015 in Blogs

By Shaun King, Daily Kos

The police then attempt to force the man to walk and believe he's resisting arrest when his legs won't work.

The video was just released of an elderly grandfather being slammed to the ground so hard by an Alabama police officer that it severed his vertebra and paralyzed the man. As you will see in the video, the police then attempt to force the man to walk and believe he's resisting arrest when his legs won't work – not knowing that they broke his neck.

It's despicable.

According to AL.com,

Madison police officer Eric Parker today turned himself in to face assault charges, following the severe injuries to an Indian citizen who was walking down the street outside his son's new home.

Chief Larry Muncey told a small press conference in Madison that he also recommended that Parker be fired for his use of force against a man who committed no crime, did not speak English and could not understand the commands. Below is the mugshot of Officer Eric Parker after he turned himself in to police.

Muncey said “I found that Officer Eric Parker's actions did not meet the high standards and expectations of the Madison City Police Department.”

While this response from police to fire and charge the officer with a crime seems so obvious, it's a rare occurrence and certainly supports the push for mandatory cameras on police cars and officers. Without one, in this case, nothing would've ever happened.

 

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

NYT Columnist David Carr Dead at 58

February 13, 2015 in Blogs

By AFP

David Carr, a New York Times media critic who was known for sharp wit and blunt style and overcame drug addiction to become one of America's most respected journalists, died Thursday at age 58.

Washington (AFP) – David Carr, a New York Times media critic who was known for sharp wit and blunt style and overcame drug addiction to become one of America's most respected journalists, died Thursday at age 58.

Carr collapsed in the newsroom Thursday and was later pronounced dead at a hospital, the Times said.

Earlier in the evening, Carr had moderated a media panel discussion that featured Edward Snowden and others and centered on the NSA surveillance scandal last year. The cause of death was not immediately given.

Times executive editor Dean Baquet broke the news in a message to employees, the newspaper said.

“He was the finest media reporter of his generation, a remarkable and funny man who was one of the leaders of our newsroom,” Baquet wrote.

“He was our biggest champion, and his unending passion for journalism and for the truth will be missed by his family at The Times, by his readers around the world, and by people who love journalism,” Baquet added.

Baquet joined the Times in 2002, first writing about the magazine publishing industry.

Most recently he was known for a weekly column called The Media Equation, which analyzed the news, events in the publishing industry, television and social media.

In 2008 Carr published a deeply personal memoir about his battles with addiction, which he ultimately overcame.

The book features an account of a night not long after the birth of his twin daughters in which Carr left them in a car while he went into a drug den to buy cocaine.

“Sitting there in the gloom of the front seat, the car making settling noises against the chill, I decided that my teeny twin girls would be safe, that God would look after them while I did not,” Carr wrote, according to the Times.

Once clean, Carr wrote of himself, “Today I am a genuine, often pleasant person, I do …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Angry, Armed and White: The Typical Profile of America's Most Violent Extremists

February 13, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

White men, usually right-wingers, are the dominant threat.

Police in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, say they’re investigating the role racial hatred played in the killing of three Muslim students by suspect Craig Stephen Hicks. They’re saying the 46-year-old white man had a history of fights over a parking space with the victims, suggesting the killings could be reduced to road rage.

Meanwhile, Hicks’ social media posts show that he was an ardent atheist who equally mocked Muslims and Christians, an avid defender of the Constitution’s separation of church and state, and a gun nut who posted pictures of his revolver. The Associated Press quoted neighbors who say “he always seemed angry and frequently confronted his neighbors” and “his ex-wife said he was obsessed with the shooting rampage movie Falling Down” and showed “no compassion at all.”

The Wall Street Journal further reported that the father of two victims, who were sisters, “said this man was hateful. He was picking fights, knocking on their door.” The Journal also said Hicks obsessively called tow truck companies to have his neighbors’ cars towed, and once even met tow truck drivers in the street waving a gun.

We can safely say that Craig Stephen Hicks fits the profile of the most common type of domestic violent extremist—a white man with grievances and guns. Whether he was provoked by road rage, rage against neighbors who wore traditional Muslim clothing, or other simmering grudges and pathologies, his alleged killing of three young Muslims underscores a trend that mainstream U.S. media avoids: that the face of violent extremism in America since 9/11 is predominantly white. Muslims in America, while not exempt from crime, simply do not compare.

There’s no shortage of crime statistics confirming this. A 2001-2015 “Homegrown Extremism” analysis by the New America Foundation parsed the “ethnicity, age, gender and citizenship” of people who killed or violently attacked others, whether they were motivated by jihadist philosophies or other “right wing, left wing or idiosyncratic beliefs.” Of 448 extremists counted, white men who were U.S. citizens outnumbered every other demographic by wide margins.

“Quite …read more

Source: ALTERNET