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Three Apparent Whoppers Bill O'Reilly Has Told About His Career

February 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

The Fox blowhard has a, shall we say, shaky relationship with the truth.


Bill O'Reilly is consistently the most-watched opinion news pundit. But despite bringing in enormous ratings, O'Reilly has gotten himself into a bit of trouble as it appears that he has, on several occasions, blatantly lied about his reporting history.

Here's the three big whoppers uncovered so far:

1. Bill O'Reilly Lied About How He Covered The Falklands War: O'Reilly has claimed that he “reported on the ground in active war zones [like] the Falklands…having survived a combat situation in Argentina during the Falklands war, I know that life-and-death decisions are made in a flash.” The reality is that O'Reilly, while working for CBS News, covered a protest in Buenos Aires, over a thousand miles away from the fighting over the Falklands.

2. Bill O'Reilly Lied About Witnessing The Suicide Of A Man In The JFK Investigation: O'Reilly has on numerous occasions said he witnessed the suicide of George de Mohrenschildt, who knew the JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. It's now apparent that O'Reilly actually called a congressional investigator to confirm the suicide – meaning he didn't witness it himself.

3. Bill O'Reilly Lied About Witnessing The Murder Of Salvadoran Nuns: O'Reilly claimed he saw nuns executed in El Salvador; after being called on the claim, he now says he merely saw photographs of the execution. Additionally, O'Reilly stands accused as intentionally failing to cover massacres during the war.

The researchers at Media Matters are working around the clock to discover more fibs from O'Reilly's past. If three major whoppers have emerged in less than three weeks, it's likely we haven't seen the last of the Fox News anchor's lies.

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Louisiana Man Got Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Pot

February 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Homeless at the time, he sold a little weed to get something to eat.


The Daily Beast's Abby Haglage has the story of a homeless man in Louisiana whose case demonstrates some of the worst extremes of the drug war.

Fate Vincent Winslow, a 41-year-old homeless black man, was hungry on September 5th, 2008. Along with a man he called “Perdue,” he was the target of a sting by an undercover cop pretending to look for marijuana and a prostitute. Although Perdue was never arrested, Winslow was.

Citing his previous non-violent felonies – a burglaries at age 17 and 26, and cocaine possession in 2004 – a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor. This was a result of mandatory minimum sentencing laws which allowed the prosecution to seek such an extreme sentence.

Haglage quotes from Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow to explain the utter unfairness of these laws:

People choose to commit crimes, and that’s why they are locked up or locked out, we are told—  but herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives,” she writes. “In fact, if the worst thing you  have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living  room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world.

Last week, The New York Times published an article looking at a new coalition of groups, including the American Civil Libeties Union and right-wing FreedomWorks, that is coming together to reform the criminal justice system; it's expected that mandatory minimums will be one of the laws they'll take aim at.

 

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This Is What a Terrorist Looks Like to Scott Walker

February 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Brendan Fischer, PR Watch

The Wisconsin governor made the insane claim that he fought unions, so he can fight ISIS.


One of the most remarkable things about the 2011 Wisconsin uprising was how a protest so massive and so sustained managed to be entirely peaceful. Thousands of people occupied the capital building, around the clock, for two weeks straight, without incident. For months, as many as 100,000 people at a time marched around the statehouse, and exercised their right to free speech and assembly–without arrests or violence.

There was a spirit of camaraderie during those heady times. Young children held handmade signs supporting their teachers, and handed out home-baked cookies to protesters. Grandmothers, teachers, nurses, veterans, and students bundled up against the cold Wisconsin winter and raised their voices against anti-union legislation and cuts to education. Supporters from around the worldphoned-in orders to Ian's Pizza to feed hungry protesters.

So when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that his experience with the protests prepared him for the fight against the murderous militants known as ISIS, jaws across Wisconsin hit the floor.

Asked at the Conservative Political Action Conference how he would handle ISIS if elected president, the likely presidential candidate replied, “For years I've been concerned about that threat, not just abroad but here on American soil.”

“If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” he said, to applause from the audience.

The statement was widely condemned.

“To compare the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, grandmothers, veterans, correctional officers, nurses and all the workers who came out to peacefully protest and stand together for their rights as Americans to ISIS terrorists is disgusting and unacceptable,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.

Here are the faces of some of those protesters that Walker “took on” in 2011, which he says will prepare him for confronting a group known for beheadings and burning people alive:

Walker clarified his remarks after the CPAC speech. ”Let me be perfectly clear, I'm just pointing out the closest thing I have to handling this difficult situation is the 100,000 protesters …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Bill Maher Blasts NFL Ban on Weed: 'Maybe It's Because Pot Doesn't Make You Violent'

February 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Arturo Garcia, Raw Story

Beer, the official NFL sponsor, “is responsible for more violence against women than the Taliban.”


Real Time host Bill Maher accused the National Football League on Thursday of hypocrisy for promoting efforts against domestic violence after years of doing the same for “official beer” maker Anheuser-Busch.

“We appreciate your sudden awareness of domestic violence,” Maher said. “But then, right into the Budweiser commercial? Are you kidding me? Beer is responsible for more violence against women than the Taliban.”

While health organizations have linked alcohol to intimate partner violence (IPV), Maher argued, studies have also shown that marijuana use decreases the likelihood of these types of incidents.

Maher also ripped the league for excluding alcohol from its list of 100 banned substances, pointing out that, by comparison, players are subject to disciplinary action if things like sudafed, propecia, or dehydroepiandrosterone — the primary ingredient in the penile enlargement pill ExtenZe — are found in their systems.

“So if you’re a horny bald guy with allergies, the NFL is not for you,” he said. “As usual, we’re demonizing the wrong drugs, advertising alcohol while testing and suspending players for marijuana use.”

Maher recorded the special “New Rules” segment to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its fellow HBO program Real Sports, and it can be seen below.

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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A Litmus Test for ObamaCare and the Rule of Law

February 27, 2015 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro, Josh Blackman

Ilya Shapiro and Josh Blackman

This spring will mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the landmark agreement by King John of England at Runnymede ceding certain rights to rebel barons. Liberty will have another chance to shine on Wednesday when the Supreme Court hears a case with momentous implications about another sort of executive power. In this instance, though, it is the rebels who have the royal name: King v. Burwell raises questions about how President Obama has enforced the ObamaCare law—or, more precisely, modified, delayed and suspended it.

This will be the third challenge to the Affordable Care Act to reach the court. But King is different. The law’s constitutionality was challenged in NFIB v. Sebelius, 2012, and the way certain regulations burden particular types of plaintiffs was addressed by Burwell v. Hobby Lobby last year. Now comes King, challenging the administration’s implementation of the law. Even though the ACA gives wide latitude to the executive branch over implementation, its most important parts—coverage rules, mandates and subsidies—were addressed by Congress with specific dates, formulas and other directions. None of these provisions has gone into effect as Congress designed, simply because the plan conflicted with the president’s political calculus.

For example, the executive branch delayed the “minimum essential coverage” provision for two years, suspended the requirement that millions maintain qualifying insurance, and modified the employer mandate into something very different than what the law demands. Through a series of memorandums, regulations and even blog posts, President Obama has disregarded statutory text, ignored legislative history and remade ObamaCare in his own image.

The president has ignored the law’s plain language. Now the Supreme Court decides if that’s all right.”

King focuses on the subsidies that help people pay increased premiums, one ACA pillar that the administration has toppled. Because Congress couldn’t constitutionally command states to establish exchanges, it authorized these credits for people who buy insurance “through an Exchange established by the State.” If a state didn’t establish an exchange, its residents—who would instead use the federal exchange Healthcare.gov—wouldn’t be eligible for subsidies.

But a funny thing happened on the way to utopia: Only 14 states set up exchanges, meaning that the text of the law denied subsidies in nearly three quarters of the states. This result was untenable to an administration intent on pain-free implementation. And so the administration engaged in its own lawmaking process, issuing an Internal Revenue Service rule …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Five Libertarian Ideas #31 – Sex and liberty, Sony Pictures, Libertarian Vets

February 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

‘The Interview’ movie
Sony Pictures, you clever bastards! Anticipating North Korea’s predictably childish behavior, they instigated this cyber-war that led to the withholding of the movie. They then demonstrated that direct-to-home releases could be wildly profitable and the movie still made it to the top rated on IMDB. Kudos for thinking outside the box!
In unrelated news, I just bought The Interview on Google Play. -12/25/14
Honoring the Nonaggression Principle
The HARDEST time to adhere to NAP is when, at a busy intersection, some jackass cuts me off with a moving violation. I then swerve to avoid a collision, sending 44 ounzes of Dr. Pepper flying out of the cupholder and to the ceiling, where this liquid grenade redecorates my car interior. I immediately begin to regret my defensive maneuver that saved his life and both our property–who cares, I have great auto insurance–and grope for a pistol that’s not there. -2/25/15
Self-government vs. the State
Voluntary self-government is NOT the same as “the State”. Citizenship can be voluntary as can law and law enforcement—Jonathan Jaech does a lot of excellent work on voluntary law. The state is coercive whereas constituency of a government of/by/for the people can be truly voluntary (although an-caps’ heads explode at the notion). -2/24/15
Libertarian military veterans
Nathaniel Branden in his life and works taught people to own up to their failures, but to NEVER be ashamed of their successes. Therefore, attention anarchists: I am libertarian and I served in the government military. It made me a stronger person and in the end a stronger libertarian. GET OVER IT.
*Side note: Other libertarian vets include Ron Paul, Jim Gray, Leonard Reed, and Ludwig von Mises. -2/22/15

Selling sex for liberty

Trying so hard to sell liberty through sex just seems silly. Own a gun, read a book, and treat women with respect, and libertarian men will “get some” more often. Some libertarians are probably great in bed. Others are terrible in …read more

Source: ZACH FOSTER RANTS

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FCC OKs "Net Neutrality"

February 26, 2015 in Economics

The FCC on Thursday voted to reclassify Internet Service Providers as “common carriers” under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, a move that would trigger broad regulatory powers over Internet providers in the name of “preserving the open internet.” Cato scholar Julian Sanchez is wary of the move: “The FCC is preparing to impose a blanket regulatory structure—including open-ended authority to police unspecified “future conduct” of which it disapproves—in the absence of any sense of what deviations from neutrality might look like in practice.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Dumb Things Donald Trump, Fake Presidential Candidate, Has Said Just This Week

February 26, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

This is just a tiny sampler of all the ludicrous things The Donald has said in the past few days.

Congratulations, America!: Donald Trump says he might run for President again.

Or rather, to put it more accurately, Donald Trump is again going around saying he might run for president. 

In an interview with the Washington Post, the reality TV star tried to assure readers that his latest presidential talk is about affecting real political change, and not a crass and pathetic attempt at maintaining a semblance of relevance.

“Everybody feels I’m doing this just to have fun or because it’s good for the brand,” Trump said. “Well, it’s not fun. I’m not doing this for enjoyment. I’m doing this because the country is in serious trouble.”

Um, Donald Trump does realize that we haven’t forgotten like, everything he’s ever said and done, right? Because it seems like Donald Trump is pretty sure we’re all idiots.

Let’s revisit a handful of the ridiculous things Donald Trump has said in just the last week:

1) On the Oscars. Donald called into “Fox & Friends” to toss off a few gems.

“There was a lot of conservative hatred there – there’s no question about that,” Trump said. He then stated that unlike the liberals over at the Academy Awards he “[hadn’t] seen any conservatives get up lately and start ranting and raving.”

So Donald Trump hasn’t read the Internet or watched TV or had any contact with media in very long time. Fine. But then, in response to wins for “Birdman” and its director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Trump stated:

“Well it was a great night for Mexico, as usual in this country…It was a great night…for Mexico. This guy kept getting up and up and up. I said, you know, what’s he doing? He’s walking away with all the gold.”

The Mexicans are stealing all the gold? And you're using “gold” as a poorly obfuscated code word for “jobs,” yes? 

Though you can't hear it on the recording, Trump concluded his remarks by singing “America! Fuck Yeah!

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Currency Wars, Again

February 26, 2015 in Economics

By Steve H. Hanke

image

Steve H. Hanke

The specter of currency wars rises like a phoenix once again. This time around, most of the warriors reside in Washington, D.C.. The strong dollar has inflamed the currency warriors (read: mercantilists) led by Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer from New York and Lindsey Graham, a Republican Senator from South Carolina. These mercantilists argue that “cheap” foreign currencies give the U.S.’s trading partners an “unfair” advantage, something worth doing battle over.

About the only thing the mercantilists have right is the fact that the U.S. dollar has been strengthening. As the accompanying chart shows, the currencies of all the U.S.’s top trading partners have lost value against the greenback over the past six months. These losses have ranged from 1.8% for the Chinese yuan to 21.6% for the Brazilian real. Russia, the fifteenth largest trading partner of the U.S., has seen the value of its ruble fall 39.5% over the past six months.

So, the currency hawks want to do what they always want to do: go to war. The particular trigger is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement between Asian countries and the U.S.. With this agreement, which the Obama administration is pushing for, the currency warriors have spotted an opening. They want to insert enforceable rules against so-called currency manipulation into the TPP.

All this saber rattling is a broken mercantilist record, particularly with regard to the U.S.’s biggest Asian trading partners: Japan and China. Indeed, these two countries have accounted for the lion’s share of the U.S. trade deficit over the past twenty years (see the accompanying chart).

From the early 1970s until 1995, Japan was viewed by the mercantilists as an enemy. They asserted that unfair Japanese trading practices caused the U.S. trade deficit, and that the U.S. bilateral trade deficit with Japan could be reduced if the yen appreciated against the dollar — a “weak dollar policy.” Washington even tried to convince Tokyo that an ever-appreciating yen would be good for Japan. Unfortunately, the Japanese complied and the yen strengthened, moving from 360 to the greenback in 1971 to 80 in 1995.

In April 1995, Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin belatedly realized that the yen’s great appreciation was causing the Japanese economy to sink into a deflationary quagmire. In consequence, the U.S. stopped arm-twisting the Japanese government about the value of the yen and Secretary Rubin began to evoke his now-famous strong-dollar mantra.

<blockquote …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How a Teenager Who Didn't Kill Anyone Landed in Jail for 55 Years

February 26, 2015 in Blogs

By Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

An unarmed 16-year-old pulled no trigger, was himself shot and was found guilty of felony murder.

Blake Layman broke into a house unarmed. The homeowner opened fire, injuring him and killing a friend. But Indiana law means he is officially a murderer

Blake Layman made one very bad decision. He was 16, an unexceptional teenager growing up in a small Indiana town. He’d never been in trouble with the law, had a clean criminal record, had never owned or even held a gun.

That decision sparked a chain of events that would culminate with his arrest and trial for “felony murder”. The boy was unarmed, had pulled no trigger, killed no one. He was himself shot and injured in the incident while his friend standing beside him was also shot and killed. Yet Layman would go on to be found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to 55 years in a maximum-security prison for a shooting that he did not carry out.

How Blake Layman got to be in the Kafkaesque position in which he now finds himself – facing the prospect of spending most of the rest of his life in a prison cell for a murder that he did not commit – is the subject on Thursday of a special hearing of the Indiana supreme court, the state’s highest judicial panel. How the judges respond to the case of what has become known as the “Elkhart Four” could have implications for the application of so-called “felony murder” laws in Indiana and states across the union.

It was about 2pm on 3 October 2012, and Layman was hanging out after school in his home town of Elkhart with a couple of buddies, Jose Quiroz, also 16, and Levi Sparks, 17. They smoked a little weed, got a little high, and had a moan with each other about how broke they were.

Layman looks back on that afternoon and wonders why did he do it? Why did he throw it all away? He was doing well at school, had an evening job at Wendy’s, had …read more

Source: ALTERNET