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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 39,175

About Me

Blocked on Twitter by that rat bastard fuck @ggreenwald

Journal Archives




St. Louis Rams’ “Don’t shoot” gesture was free speech, and the police should know it

Boy, the St. Louis police really know how to cool things down, don’t they? They’ve taken a controversial protest by a handful of football players, and mixed it with a whiff of bullying authority and a profound misunderstanding of the First Amendment, to create a bigger and more heated argument than it had to be. Sound familiar?

Five pass catchers for the St. Louis Rams raised their hands in a “don’t shoot” gesture during their on-field introductions Sunday, in a sign of solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Mo., where a grand jury refused to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown. An infuriated spokesman for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, Jeff Roorda, called the display “unthinkable,” and has demanded the NFL discipline Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook for making their feelings known “so publicly.” But Roorda didn’t stop there. He added a veiled suggestion that the only thing protecting the Rams and the NFL from mob violence at games is the cops. And then he said:

“I know that there are those who say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way. Cops have First Amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours.”

Set aside for a moment the vaguely threatening tone of the “I’ve got news for people who think that way” statement. What’s even more disturbing about Roorda’s remarks is that he clearly doesn’t know what the First Amendment says, though he is a former cop and current member of the Missouri state House of Representatives.

Whatever you may think about the Rams players, their gesture is a good excuse to sort out some First Amendment issues. What right did those players have to speak, and what right do the police have to tell them to shut up?


Gotta love the pseudo-libertarians who become authoritarians overnight once anybody who isn't a white Christian male starts fighting for THEIR constitutional rights...

(And a special "fuck you" to all the quasi-libertarian scum who are still trying to hijack the death of Michael Brown to serve your own twisted agenda...)

How a Conservative Backlash Silenced #Ferguson Reporters for All the Wrong Reasons

On August 15, after the killing of Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown had surged into the national consciousness, the Washington Post’s DeNeen L. Brown filed a story from a town up the road. There were “dark blue undercover police cars parked outside the house of Darren Wilson.” That house was located on “Manda Lane in Crestwood.” On August 16, the same details appeared in a story co-bylined by Brown, Jerry Markon, and Wesley Lowery. “Dark blue undercover police cars were parked outside his house on Manda Lane,” they wrote. Both stories made it clear that Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, had taken himself elsewhere.

On November 24, after a grand jury opted not to indict Wilson, the New York Times ran a story by Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson about how the police officer had “quietly” gotten married while avoiding the press. Wilson and his wife owned a home “on Manda Lane in Crestwood.” The detail was included near the end of a story that briefly included an image of the couple’s marriage license. (It included the address of a law firm, but not Wilson’s address.)

What had been innocuous information became the kindling for a media bonfire. They attracted the attention Charles C. Johnson, the conservative journalist whose previous social media interactions include: tweeting call-in details that allowed activists to crash a Thad Cochran presser; tweeting the name of the Dallas “Ebola nurse” before big news outlets decided to reveal it; and reporting that ABC News paid “mid-to-high six figures” for an interview with Darren Wilson. When both ABC News and Wilson himself denied the claim, Johnson stuck by his “NBC source with knowledge” and suggested that ABC might have made a “backroom deal” as it did to interview Casey Anthony.

The upshot of Johnson’s stories is that the media can’t be trusted. The aftermath of the “Manda Lane” story is a harassment campaign against two reporters who, in the view of conservative readers, risked the life of Darren Wilson. On the right, the story of #Ferguson is that a vile and biased media inflated a simple case of self-defense into a bogus “racism” story. In this storyline, Wilson is the real victim, and his aggressors need to be shamed out of their jobs and comfort.

“The New York Times, whether consciously or not, has just endangered Darren Wilson’s life,” wrote Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz. “I mean, why not add a locator map?” On November 25, Johnson published a story at his independent GotNews website with the headline “Why Can’t We Publish Addresses Of New York Times Reporters?” Spoiler: He didn’t agree with that headline.

“It would be wrong, for example, to publish Bosman’s address,” wrote Johnson, publishing the reporter’s address. “It would be similarly wrong to publish the address of Robertson, too.” Ditto. “So why do journalists think they are beyond examination?”

What followed was a crowdsourced campaign of trolling that succeeded in quieting Bosman and Robertson. Neither reporter has tweeted since November 25. Robertson, whom I met this year covering a story in Louisiana, has taken steps to remove his family from any possible threats. A simple Twitter search reveals dozens of people tweeting at the reporters, at the rate of about one per hour, spreading their addresses. While liberal Twitter was pummeling a GOP staffer who’d written an ill-advised criticism of the First Daughters, elements of conservative Twitter were attacking the Times reporters.


And this was the same day the Daily Caller had their big "expose" trying to figure out if Wesley Lowery was black...Because, you know, he's light enough to be part white, and if he has a white parent his upbringing was too privileged and clean to report about the bottom-feeding scum in the ghetto, and since he's part white, he's "above" them anyway, or something...

And no, I am not linking to it

WaPo: Darren Wilson and guilt by association

Colbert King highlighted something in his Saturday column that leapt off the pages of Darren Wilson’s testimony for me, too. The now-former Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9 was asked about his “relationship with the residents” of the unarmed teenager’s apartment complex. Not only did the prosecutor’s questions strike me as hand-holding, but also Wilson’s broad-brush responses made my skin crawl.

Q: Did you guys have a volatile, well, how can I put this. Did you not really get along well with the folks that lived in that apartment, not you personally, I mean the police in general?

Wilson: It is an antipolice area for sure.

Q: And when you say antipolice, tell me more?

Wilson: There’s a lot of gangs that reside or associate with that area. There’s a lot of violence in that area, there’s a lot of gun activity, drug activity, it is just not a very well-liked community. That community doesn’t like the police.

Q: Were you pretty much on high alert being in that community by yourself, especially when Michael Brown said, ‘ what you say,’ I think he said?

Wilson: Yes.

Q: You were on pretty high alert at that point knowing the vicinity and the area that you’re in?

Wilson: Yes, that’s not an area where you can take anything really. Like I said, it is a hostile environment. There are good people over there, there really are, but I mean there is an influx of gang activity in that area.

What Wilson said is barely a few moments in his testimony, but its ugliness is in keeping with his overall tone about Brown. That nice bit about there being “good people over there” after trashing the entire community is no antidote to the poisoned opinion of the grand jury.

Alexandra Natapoff, associate dean for research and professor of law at Loyola Law School, was equally unamused. I had the good fortune of spending Thanksgiving with the associate dean for research and professor of law at Loyola Law School. Natapoff is also an expert on criminal informants and the author of “Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice.” Her current work is on misdemeanors and their effect on the criminal justice system, which I will get to in another post because of its connection to Ferguson.

“In some ways, we can understand Wilson’s response as classic guilt-by-association, and it’s one of the great complaints that African American neighborhoods have had for decades,” Natapoff told me. “Police officers have been told by authorities as high as the Supreme Court that they can draw inferences in high-crime neighborhoods or low-income or urban neighborhoods,” she continued, referring to the 2000 Supreme Court case Illinois v. Wardlow. This has “permitted police to drive devastating conclusions by the mere fact that the young person happens to live there.”



Privacy advocates, facing an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress next year, will have to make a difficult choice.

Some argue that their best shot to curb the National Security Agency's powers will be to kill core provisions of the USA Patriot Act altogether. But other reformers aren't ready to take the post-9/11 law hostage.

The debate over whether to let the Patriot Act provisions expire in June threatens to splinter the surveillance-reform coalition. If the tech industry, privacy groups, and reform-minded lawmakers can't coalesce around a strategy soon, they may have little hope of reining in the surveillance state.

And with outrage over the Snowden revelations fading and fear over the Islamic State rising, the push for reform appears to have already lost its momentum.

The NSA critics are still licking their wounds after Senate Republicans blocked the USA Freedom Act last week. The bill, authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, would have prohibited the government's carte blanche collection of U.S. phone metadata—the numbers and time stamps of phone calls but not their actual contents.

The bill would have also extended key provisions of the Patriot Act for two years, including the controversial Section 215, which the NSA uses to justify its phone-record collection program. But that wasn't enough for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Marco Rubio, and most members of the Republican Caucus, who warned that the bill would have helped terrorists kill Americans.

"This is the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our backs. The threat from ISIL is real," McConnell said in a statement, using an alternative name for the Islamic State.

With the Republicans winning the Senate, McConnell is about to become the majority leader, giving him control over the chamber's agenda. Given his aggressive last-minute whipping against the Freedom Act, privacy advocates say it is difficult to imagine him pushing anything more than cursory changes to the NSA.


The 25 most Florida things to happen in 2014


Libertarian paradise: Private security outnumbers cops 5-1

ZACAPA, Guatemala (AP) — Jose Miguel Ramirez went hunting for iguanas on a melon farm, and paid for it with his life. The 19-year-old's body was dumped by a stream near the property line, a bullet hole above his left eye.

What happened to Ramirez remains in dispute, though no one is pushing for answers any longer. The private security guards alleged to have killed him were never prosecuted. A witness who said he saw the shooting recanted. In a country that averages some 100 homicides a week, the killing barely drew headlines and public attention moved on.

The case of Ramirez, whose body was found outside the ZacapaEx plantation in March 2013, reveals just how convoluted security and justice have become in Guatemala, where private guards outnumber police 5-to-1, and the soaring crime rate is married with shocking levels of impunity. Those with means buy protection the state cannot provide, those without take matters into their own hands.

"You don't call the police. You don't call 911. You deal with it yourself," said Frank Moseley, a private security analyst based in Guatemala.

Ramirez, a young corn farmer with a pregnant girlfriend and toddler son had set off with his two brothers-in-law that Sunday, a slingshot in his pocket for hunting. They left the trash-strewn arroyo where the family lives to search for food — fat, green iguanas.

ZacapaEx is one of the large farms producing melons that locals proudly tout as the sweetest in all of Central America. The company is a significant source of jobs in the Guatemalan highlands where opportunities are scarce. Residents get seasonal work in the fields and packing plants, or are hired as guards to patrol the farms against thieves, who take everything from fruit to tires and equipment.


Do Online Death Threats Count as Free Speech? (USSC case)

Exhibit 12 in the government’s case against Anthony Elonis is a screenshot of a Facebook post he wrote in October 2010, five months after his wife, Tara, left him. His name appears in the site’s familiar blue, followed by words that made Tara fear for her life: ‘'If I only knew then what I know now . . . I would have smothered your ass with a pillow. Dumped your body in the back seat. Dropped you off in Toad Creek and made it look like a rape and murder.'’

Exhibit 13, also pulled from Facebook, is a thread that started when Tara’s sister mentioned her plans to take her niece and nephew — Elonis’s children — shopping for Halloween costumes. Tara responded and then Elonis did, too, saying their 8-year-old son ‘'should dress up as a Matricide.'’ He continued: ‘'I don’t know what his costume would entail though. Maybe your head on a stick?'’ This time, Elonis included a photo of himself, holding a cigarette to his lips.

After Tara saw these posts — and another one, from the same time, which begins: ‘'There’s one way to love ya but a thousand ways to kill ya. I’m not gonna rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts'’ — she went to court in Reading, Pa., and got a protection-from-abuse order against her husband.

On Nov. 7, three days after Tara got the ruling, Elonis linked to a video satire by the comedy troupe the Whitest Kids U’ Know. On camera, a member of the group mocks the law against threatening to kill the president. Elonis mimicked the group’s lines but subbed in his own text, to make it about Tara. ‘'I also found out that it’s incredibly illegal, extremely illegal to go on Facebook and say something like the best place to fire a mortar launcher at her house would be from the cornfield behind it because of easy access to a getaway road and you’d have a clear line of sight through the sun room,'’ he wrote. ‘'Yet even more illegal to show an illustrated diagram.'’ Elonis added a diagram with a getaway road, a cornfield and a house. ‘'Art is about pushing limits,'’ his post concluded. ‘'I’m willing to go to jail for my Constitutional rights. Are you?'’



This case will obviously have huge implications for the future of online discourse...One extreme might have strict laws and heavyhanded enforcement; the other extreme may have millions of sociopathic nutbars hiding their threats to spouses and co-workers behind "artistic expression"...

As an aside, jesus fucking christ that ex-hubby is batshit insane...That wife couldn't move out fast enough...

As always, the nuanced brilliance of Ta-Nehisi Coates tells it like it is:

In a recent dispatch from Ferguson, Missouri, Jelani Cobb noted that President Obama's responses to "unpunished racial injustices" constitute "a genre unto themselves." Monday night, when Barack Obama stood before the nation to interpret the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, he offered a particularly tame specimen. The elements of "the genre" were all on display—an unmitigated optimism, an urge for calm, a fantastic faith in American institutions, an even-handedness exercised to a fault. But if all the limbs of the construct were accounted for, the soul of the thing was not.

There was none of the spontaneous annoyance at the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, and little of the sheer pain exhibited in the line, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." The deft hand Obama employed in explaining to Americans why the acquittal of George Zimmerman so rankled had gone arthritic. This was a perfunctory execution of "the genre," offered with all the energy of a man ticking items off a to-do list....

......Black people know what cannot be said. What clearly cannot be said is that the events of Ferguson do not begin with Michael Brown lying dead in the street, but with policies set forth by government at every level. What clearly cannot be said is that the people of Ferguson are regularly plundered, as their grandparents were plundered, and generally regarded as a slush-fund for the government that has pledged to protect them. What clearly cannot be said is the idea of superhuman black men who "bulk up" to run through bullets is not an invention of Darren Wilson, but a staple of American racism....

....The fact is that when the president came to the podium on Monday night there actually was very little he could say. His mildest admonitions of racism had only earned him trouble. If the American public cannot stomach the idea that arresting a Harvard professor for breaking into his own home is "stupid," then there is virtually nothing worthwhile that Barack Obama can say about Michael Brown.

And that is because the death of all of our Michael Browns at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them originates in a force more powerful than any president: American society itself. This is the world our collective American ancestors wanted. This is the world our collective grandparents made. And this is the country that we, the people, now preserve in our fantastic dream. What can never be said is that the Fergusons of America can be changed—but, right now, we lack the will to do it.

Perhaps one day we won't, and maybe that is reason to hope. Hope is what Barack Obama promised to bring, but he was promising something he could never bring. Hope is not the naiveté that would change the face on a racist system and then wash its hands of its heritage. Hope is not feel-goodism built on the belief in unicorns. Martin Luther King had hope, but it was rooted in years of study and struggle, not in looking the other way. Hope is not magical. Hope is earned.


I wanted to lash out at all those people overly harsh of Obama's comments Monday night, but couldn't find the right words...Coates puts all my thoughts in perfect order...

Jian Ghomeshi charged with four counts of sexual assault

Source: Yahoo

TORONTO - Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi has been charged with four counts of sexual assault.

Toronto police say he also faces another charge, which they called "overcome resistance - choking." Police say Ghomeshi, 47, has surrendered and is scheduled to appear in court early this afternoon.

Ghomeshi was fired by the CBC on Oct. 26. The public broadcaster said it decided to terminate his employment after seeing "graphic evidence'' that he had physically injured a woman. Ghomeshi admitted in a lengthy Facebook post, published on the day he was fired, that he engaged in "rough sex" but insisted his encounters with women were consensual.

Since his dismissal, nine women have come forward with allegations, some dating back a decade, that Ghomeshi sexually or physically assaulted them. Toronto police began an investigation into several allegations of sexual assault relating to Ghomeshi on Oct. 31.

The charges against Ghomeshi were announced a day after it came to light that he had reached an agreement with the CBC to withdraw his $55 million lawsuit against the public broadcaster.

Read more: https://ca.news.yahoo.com/newsalert-ghomeshi-charged-four-counts-sexual-assault-toronto-154607981.html
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