You are browsing the archive for 2015 October 04.

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Trevor Noah’s Triumph: His Dazzling Donald Trump Take-Down Was No Rookie Move

October 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Sonia Saraiya, Salon

The end of Noah's first “Daily Show” week gave us no moment of Zen and Noah's best news analysis to date.

Last night marked the culmination of Trevor Noah’s first week on the job, and fittingly, it felt most like a departure from “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” For example: There was no Moment Of Zen, which is a crucial artifact of the show under Stewart; there was also a musical guest who actually just played music, a la any number of variety shows, including “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” But there was an incredible opening segment—one that felt like “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” to my surprise.

Oliver’s snagged an audience on HBO not just by being wickedly funny, but by breaking down bigger issues into bite-size jokes; he’s a profane in-class video, tackling any number of snoozeworthy topics like “food waste” and “prescription drug regulation” and making them into shareable hits for the next morning. Jon Stewart, as host, definitely did a bit of that, but his tactic was more to expose hypocrisy and spin (and he did that with aplomb). He usually sent off his correspondents to do the investigative work—which often led them to adopt assumed personas of great ignorance, as they improv-ed the most absurd responses possible to the experts, politicians, and/or idiots they were interviewing.

Noah spent the first few episodes essentially following in Stewart’s model, with the commentary on the news coverage of the UN General Assembly coming mostly from him, while the correspondents went for absurd poses of racial disparity, hotel-room debauchery, or as was the case last night, pumpkin-spice mania. The opening segment, though, on Donald Trump’s rather terrifying similarities to African dictator-presidents, was a kind of mini-lecture—a funny thinkpiece with visual components, perhaps. It’s not just observation; it’s not even just a string of observations. It’s a string of observations with the intention of revealing something new to the audience; it’s analysis, proof, and an argument.

And with Trump, it was marvelous. “Light xenophobia, with just a dash of diplomacy” is what Noah termed Trump’s approach—before joking that …read more


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Trump Calls Mass Shooters 'Geniuses in a Certain Way'

October 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Ben Jacobs, The Guardian

Comments come days after nine killed at Oregon community college.

Three days after a gunman killed nine people at an Oregon community college and then shot himself dead, the Republican presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump, seemed to accept the inevitability of mass shootings in the US.

In a rare sit-down interview, for broadcast on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Trump told Chuck Todd: “I have to say, no matter what you do, you’re gonna have problems. 

“Because you have sick people. They happen to be intelligent. And, you know, they can be sick as hell and they’re geniuses in a certain way. They are going to be able to break the system.”

The New York real-estate billionaire, who boasts of possessing a concealed carry permit, said he did not see the need for increased firearms regulations after the mass shooting in Oregon.

He amplified the argument in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, saying: “The gun laws have nothing to do with this. This is mental illness.”

At a rally in suburban Nashville on Saturday, Trump mentioned his New York state handgun carry permit and added that anyone who attacked him would be “shocked”, because he would emulate Charles Bronson in the vigilante film Death Wish.

“I’m a very, very big second amendment person,” Trump said in Tennessee. “This is about self-defense, plain and simple.” 

Trump reminisced about the Bronson-starring 1974 film and got people in the crowd to shout out the title in unison. In the movie, an affluent, liberal architect embarks on a vigilante mission after his wife is killed and his daughter raped.

“Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct,” Trump said. 

Speaking to NBC, Trump said those US jurisdictions with “the strongest, the most stringent laws [on gun control] are in almost every case the worst places. It doesn’t seem to work.” 

Instead, at both rally and in the interview, as on the day of the shooting, the Republican frontrunner blamed mental illness for such shootings as …read more


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A Beef-Eating Hindu Demands His Rights

October 4, 2015 in Economics

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

As a beef-eating Hindu, I am utterly outraged at the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri by a Hindu mob claiming the man had beef in his house. Even worse is the attempt of BJP politicians to sanitize the lynching.

Culture minister Mahesh Sharma claims it was just “an accident.” Former MLA Nawab Singh Nagar says those who dare hurt the feelings of the dominant Thakurs should realize the consequences. He claims the murderous mob consisted of “innocent children” below 15 years of age. Many BJP leaders blame the Muslims for eating beef. Vichitra Tomar wants cow-killers to be arrested, not Muslim killers. Srichand Sharma says violence is inevitable if Muslims disrespect Hindu sentiments. Sorry, but these are all lame excuses for murder.

Mob fury at Dadri began when a temple priest said a calf had been killed. Later, the priest admitted he had been pressured to make this false statement by two Hindu youths. So, this was a planned, murderous riot.

The police have sent the meat found in Akhlaq’s house to determine whether it was beef or mutton. Why? How does it matter? The mob will be just as guilty of murder if it is beef. Muslims have every legal right to eat beef, just as I do. Several states have bans on cow slaughter, while allowing the slaughter of bulls and buffaloes. But there is no ban on eating beef.

Hindus who hear a cow has been slaughtered can ask the police to investigate a possible violation of cow slaughter laws. But if instead they organize lynch mobs, they are murderous thugs, and should be treated as such. If Modi refuses to condemn such incidents, he will, rightly, be seen as blessing them.

The claim that all Hindus oppose cow slaughter is false. Yes, there is a strong upper-caste tradition today against beef, but Dalits and tribals have always eaten beef. “Beef is one of the most affordable sources of protein for the Dalit community,” says Mohan Dharavath, president, Dalit Adivasi Bahujan and Minority Students’ Association.

Ancient Hindu scriptures establish beyond doubt that even upper-caste Hindus and great rishis ate beef in days of yore. For a quick primer, read Nirad Chaudhuri’s ‘The Continent of Circe’. He says, “Love of cows in the Vedas goes with every possible economic use of cattle, including, of course, their slaughter for food”. There was a long debate, says Chaudhuri, between opponents and defenders …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Ben Carson’s Destructive Lies: 4 Racist Assumptions Endorsed & Magnified By Black Conservatives

October 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Chauncey DeVega, Salon

The neurosurgeon-turned-candidate has eagerly joined the GOP in its campaign against racial justice.

Through the first few months of campaign season, one thing has become indisputably clear: The Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization, and openly uses white racial resentment — along with old fashioned racism — to win the support of white voters.

To wit: The Republican Party’s leading 2016 presidential candidates include open racists and nativists such as Donald Trump, as well as “dog whistle” racists such as Jeb Bush, who channel Ronald Reagan by way of “Southern Strategy”-inspired narratives about “welfare queens” and lazy blacks who want “free stuff” from white people.

And then, of course, there is the curious case of Ben Carson, who recently said that black people who support the Democrats are essentially stupid, unsophisticated, hyper-emotional, irrational, and incapable of thinking for themselves. In Carson’s delusional alternate reality, Republicans do not “see race,” and, unlike the Democrats, are the real advocates for racial justice and positive change along the color line in the United States.

Ben Carson is not alone in his twisted fantasy land. He is joined by other black conservatives — a select group of racial mercenaries who are routinely trotted out on Fox News and elsewhere — who, to great approval from white conservatives, also repeat the same anti-black propaganda.

The white racist fantasies given credence by black conservatives consist of several repeated themes.

1) Black people are on a Democratic or Liberal “Plantation”

This twisted interpretation of the political agency and intelligence of black Americans is immensely popular on the White Right. The “Democratic Plantation” lie is rooted in a white supremacist fantasy and “Gone with the Wind”-style fairy tale of happy black slaves singing, dancing, having sex, and being protected by benevolent white masters. This racist fiction ignores how black Americans self-manumitted, fought in the Civil War to free themselves, remade democracy with Reconstruction, and then made the reasoned choice to switch over to the Democratic Party en masse because of the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and then later those of the Johnson and Kennedy administrations.

In reality, the slave “plantation” was a …read more


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'You're My Favorite Victim' Woman Reports Rape to NYPD, Cops Show Up and Sexually Assault Her

October 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Free Thought Project, The Free Thought Project

The victim is suing the city.

New York, NY (RT) — A 25-year-old woman is suing the NYPD, after two of its officers charged with investigating her rape case got her drunk in a hotel room and sexually assaulted her.

The complaint made on Tuesday relates to an incident in January 2013, when the Seattle nursing student was assaulted by a “social acquaintance” at an apartment. She reported the assault by phone in June, and was told the Special Victims Unit would handle the case.

According to the New York Daily News, Lieutenant Adam Lamboy and Detective Lucazs Skorzewski arrived to take the woman’s statement on July 5. They later encouraged her to join them for lunch and drinks at a waterfront bar in Seattle.

The victim recalls being suspicious of drinking during the day, something to which Lamboy replied, jokingly – “We’ll protect you.” But lunch turned into a 10-hour pub crawl.

In the course of the day, the woman remembers Skorzewkski telling her “you’re my favorite victim!” apparently in a bid to appear charming. This behavior didn’t stop, as the alcohol continued to flow. At one bar the group was even turned away, continuing on to the next.

Somehow, the officers had convinced the victim to crash at their hotel, which resulted in Skorzewski offering up his bed, while he took the couch.

But at 10am, Skorzewski quietly crawled under the sheets with her and for about 20-30 minutes kissed and groped her, trying to go further. This resulted in the victim running off to the shower, where she burst into tears, according to court documents.

But when she emerged, the detective told her the information “can’t leave this room.” He tried to remind her of this continuously back in New York, making up excuses to contact her, allegedly to discuss the investigation. Each conversation would lead eventually to some attempt to make sure the woman wouldn’t report him. Hundreds of text messages followed, with confessions that Skorzewski had “never bonded with a victim like this before.”

He also mentioned the considerable risk he was taking with his wife, if she ever found out.

Lamboy also took part in the subterfuge. …read more


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Bernie Sanders Holds Boston's Largest Democratic Primary Rally Ever

October 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

The event made history, topping the size of the Boston's biggest Obama rally.

On Saturday evening, Bernie Sanders finally took his campaign to Boston, Massachussetts, having canceled an earlier appearance there because they couldn't find a space large enough at an affordable price. The Boston stop was the second stop of the day, following a rally of 6,000 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe noted that the rally in their city made history – topping the size of a 10,000-person rallyBarack Obama held during the 2008 Democratic primary. 

Sanders was introduced by several speakers, including both nursing students and a representative of National Nurses United, the large nursing union. Bill McKibben, one of the nation's most prominent climate activists, took the podium before the Senator, and praised his opposition to the Keystone pipeline, a project Sanders opposed first in 2011. 

We have raised substantial sums of money because 650,000 Americans made contributions averaging 30 dollars a piece,” said Sanders to a crowd of around 25,000 both inside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and more watching the event on screens outside who were unable to get in. The fundraising numbers have given renewed credibility to his campaign, with The New York Times noting that “Mr. Sanders was initially dismissed by political insiders as a fringe candidate running only to push Hillary Rodham Clinton to the left. But he has now demonstrated that he has the resources and the supporters, whom he has only begun to tap financially, to compete for the Democratic presidential nomination.” Indeed, the $26 million he raised placed him right behind Hillary Clinton's own $28 million haul (as of this writing Clinton did not release number of donors or the average donation). 

<p …read more


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Trump Exploits Rational Political Ignorance

October 4, 2015 in Economics

By Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin

Despite some recent stumbles in his campaign, the most dramatic development of the 2016 presidential race has been the meteoric ascent of Donald Trump to the status of front-runner for the Republican nomination. Trump’s rise is a particularly blatant example of a much deeper problem at the heart of modern democracy: widespread voter ignorance.

Trump’s success so far is in large part the result of an almost perfect storm of political ignorance. As a longtime celebrity, he had a built-in advantage with voters who don’t know much about politics, and therefore know little about more conventional politicians. With them, the name recognition that comes from being an entertainment celebrity is crucial.

Polls also consistently show that Trump’s support comes disproportionately from those with relatively low levels of education. For instance, a recent ABC/Washington Post survey found that 40% of Republican-leaning voters without college degrees support Trump, compared with only 19% of college graduates. Low education correlates with support for Trump far more than political ideology, or any other demographic variable. Education and political knowledge are not the same thing. Many college graduates know very little about politics, and some who lack college degrees know a lot. Nonetheless, the two are highly correlated.

Voters generally don’t pay close attention to the details. Even when Trump is gone politicians will still be exploiting that fact.”

Political ignorance could also help explain why Trump has won the support of a large share of the generally conservative Republican primary electorate, despite his long history of liberal stances on issues such as health care, taxes, government spending and property rights. Relatively ignorant voters rarely pay close attention to issue positions and are likely unaware of the details of Trump’s record.

Some argue that lesser-educated voters are attracted to Trump because of his anti-immigration platform. Americans with lower education could be more exposed to competition from immigrant workers. But many surveys show that there is little or no correlation between opposition to immigration and exposure to job competition from immigrants. Indeed, opposition to immigration is disproportionately high in states where the immigrant population is relatively small. Moreover, the people most exposed to competition from new immigrants are other recent immigrants with similar job skills. Yet immigrants consistently show stronger support for additional immigration than do native-born Americans.

In both the United States and Europe, support for tighter restrictions on immigration is highly correlated with ignorance about the true number of immigrants (restrictionists tend to greatly overestimate it) and with xenophobic hostility toward foreigners. Opposition …read more

Source: OP-EDS