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Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:20 AM
Number of posts: 7,826

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News from Brownbackistan - Shock and Awe

We woke up to quite a surprise in Brownbackistan this morning. If the tyrant Sam has intervened for his bro (law 'enforcement' acts like he has), it may be a new day here.


PARKER — Fields lined with crops and pastures dotted with livestock surround a trigger-happy bully who brags about a political cloak of invincibility keeping him beyond reach of the law in faithfully conservative Linn County.

Adversaries say he’s woven a liquor-infused tapestry of fear. The conflict features drive-by gunfire, death threats, explosions, stalking, trespassing, cattle theft and more. Descriptions offered by neighbors converge to reveal a potentially lethal menace. So far, their nemesis has found no reason to relent.

Not when your name is Jim Brownback and you’re a brother to Sam, the most powerful politician in Kansas.

Parker farmer Ben Katzer, who lives near Jim Brownback, said the governor’s younger sibling didn’t hesitate to rub salt in wounds inflicted on others by boasting, “Nobody can touch me.


Incidents were punctuated by sporadic gunfire and colored by explosions from Jim Brownback’s farm that met the definition of shock-and-awe. Brownback packed Tannerite in jars and detonated the mixture with high-velocity rounds. He ignored an investigator’s suggestion to knock it off.

“It’s legal,” Jim Brownback said. “It’s legal.”

(end snip)

Right after all the confederate flags are removed, this should be next.

Congressional Democrats to Introduce Ambitious New Bill to Restore the Voting Rights Act


Two years ago, on June 25, 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court invalidated the centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act. Tomorrow, congressional Democrats will introduce an ambitious new bill that would restore the important voting-rights protections the Supreme Court struck down. The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 would compel states with a well-documented history of recent voting discrimination to clear future voting changes with the federal government, require federal approval for voter ID laws, and outlaw new efforts to suppress the growing minority vote.

The legislation will be formally introduced tomorrow by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and leaders of the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and Asian Pacific American Caucus in the House. Civil-rights icon Representative John Lewis will be a co-sponsor. The bill is much stronger than the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (VRAA), Congress’s initial response to the Supreme Court’s decision, which garnered bipartisan support in the House but was not embraced by the congressional Republican leadership, which declined to schedule a hearing, let alone a vote, on the bill.

“The previous bill we did in a way to try and get bipartisan support—which we did,” Senator Leahy told me. “We had the Republican majority leader of the House promise us that if we kept it like that it would come up for a vote. It never did. We made compromises to get support and they didn’t keep their word. So this time I decided to listen to the voters who had their right to vote blocked, and they asked for strong legislation that fully restores the protections of the VRA.”

(end snip)

You right wing f*cks wanna show how racism is dead, then get on board fixing what you admittedly broke.

Media Executives Are Salivating Over Big Money Flooding the 2016 Election Cycle


At least one small slice of the American public looks forward to the non-stop, sleazy political advertisements set to inundate viewers during the 2016 elections: media executives and their investors.

Peter Liguori, the chief executive of Tribune Company, said earlier this month that the next presidential campaign presents “enormous opportunity” for advertising sales. Speaking at a conference hosted by J.P. Morgan Chase, Liguori, whose company owns television stations, referenced Super PAC spending as a key factor for why he thinks Tribune Co. political advertising revenue will rocket from $115 million in 2012 to about $200 million for the 2016 campaign cycle.


In 2012, Les Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS, memorably said, “Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.”

His views appear unchanged. In a February investor call, Moonves predicted “strong growth with the help of political spending,” particularly on television. He added dryly, “looking ahead, the 2016 presidential election is right around the corner and, thank God, the rancor has already begun.”


In spite of declining television advertising revenue expected this year, credit rating agencies recently gave broadcast companies a sunny two-year outlook. The reason, Carl Salas, Moody’s senior credit officer, told the Los Angeles Times, is that political ad spending is expected to boom next year thanks in large part to the Citizens United decision. “Political advertising revenue defies gravity,” Salas remarked.

(end snip)

The clown car raises money for the MEdia in the end, and the more the merrier.

African Americans Challenge Supreme Court Over Voting Rights Act: ‘Hell No, We’re Not Going Back’


SHELBY COUNTY, ALABAMA — When Dr. Earl Cunningham first tried to register to vote in his hometown of Montevallo in 1953, he was asked to pay a poll tax of $1.50, answer obscure questions about the state constitution and have a white employer vouch for his character. After he did all this successfully, the county clerk told him to go buy his own pencil at a shop down the street in order to fill out the necessary forms.

“Then you know what he told me?” said Cunningham. “He said, ‘Sign your name, if you can.'”

Decades later, in 2013, Cunningham sat in the front row of the US Supreme Court as a majority of the justices decided to gut the law that put an end to those restrictive practices: the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Represented by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, he was one of the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which argued that federal protection was still needed for states and counties — like Shelby — with a history of racism and voter suppressions.

“I remember hearing one of the justices describe the law as an ‘racial entitlement.’ I wanted to scream,” he told ThinkProgress. “Voting rights is the foundation of liberty, and Section 5 is the heart of the Voting Rights Act.”


“My neighborhood is diverse now, but it wasn’t because people woke up one day and said to Black folks, ‘Hey, you can move near me now.’ It was federal housing laws that done it,” he said. “Same with the Voting Rights Act. Why would we get rid of the laws that got us to where we are now? If the medicine is working, why stop taking it?”

(end snip)

Mr. Spock Was a McGovernite: Remembering Leonard Nimoy’s ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Politics


The tributes to Leonard Nimoy that have filled newspaper front pages and television broadcasts since his death Friday have begun to reveal a measure of the man’s remarkable reach, which extended far beyond his development of perhaps the most enduring and beloved character in modern science fiction.

He was a dedicated artist who acted on stage and screen, directed plays and films, wrote poetry and earned praise for his photography; a generous donor to the arts and many causes; a proud Screen Actors Guild- American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) member; and an early champion of diversity and pay equity—as was revealed in recent reports on how Mr. Spock advocated for equal pay for Lt. Uhura (actress Nichelle Nichols).

So perhaps it will not come as a surprise that, at the height of his initial fame, Nimoy was an ardent McGovern man.

George McGovern’s anti-war candidacy for the presidency in 1972 attracted a good deal of celebrity support. But few Hollywood figures worked as hard as Nimoy to advance the cause of the Democratic presidential contender.

(end snip)

He is not likely to be forgotten in our household. A liberal. A hero for sure.

Hurricane Sandy Victims Say Damage Reports Were Altered


When Frank Johnston’s insurance carrier rejected his claim that flooding from Hurricane Sandy had severely damaged the foundation of his Fire Island home, the company cited an engineering report that seemed to establish his problems were “unrelated” to the storm, and were caused instead by the “long-term deterioration” of wooden piers beneath his house.

In reality, the original had reached the opposite conclusion. The engineering report, documents show, had been altered.

Mr. Johnston is part of a growing number of homeowners who suspect that their engineering reports were similarly rewritten as part of an effort to minimize insurance payments to flood victims in New York and New Jersey after the 2012 hurricane.

In November, allegations of altered reports prompted a federal judge overseeing more than 1,000 hurricane related lawsuits in the New York City area to order all drafts of the engineering reports be turned over, saying he believed such revisions could be “widespread.” Lawyers for homeowners in the suits began reviewing the documents, and say they have already identified more than 500 doctored reports.


It's a stacked deck.

Jebbies little secret


I wrote a piece for Salon about Jeb Bush's foreign policy. I recount the history of Poppy and Junior and their relationship to the "realists" vs the "neocons." I recapped some of the familiar stuff about the Project for a New American Century and then this:

And what does all this have to do with Jeb? Well, he happens to be the only Bush who was a card-carrying member of the PNAC. He was a neocon long before neocons were cool. In fact, one must suspect that his early defiance of his father and brother in this regard signals the act of a True Believer. He didn’t need to do it. He was Governor of Florida, not head of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He must have really thought the cause was righteous.


Trying to manage these various pulls of family loyalty and defiance with all these warring ideological constituencies would be a challenge to the most skilled politician who has been sharpening his game for years in anticipation of a presidential run. That politician is not Jeb Bush. Right now he’s being given a smooth ride because the press and the political establishment is afraid that the lunatic fringe might get a crack at the white house and they see Jeb as the only sane alternative. The problem is that Jeb’s one of the crazies too, always has been.

The bottom line is this: if you liked Dick Cheney, you’re going to love President Jeb Bush. It turns out that Jeb’s the guy W was pretending to be.

(end snip)

Salon article:

Jeb’s quiet wingnutty past: Why he has to distance himself from… himself


Declassify the 28 pages


Claims Against Saudis Cast New Light on Secret Pages of 9/11 Report

A still-classified section of the investigation by congressional intelligence committees into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has taken on an almost mythic quality over the past 13 years — 28 pages that examine crucial support given the hijackers and that by all accounts implicate prominent Saudis in financing terrorism.

Now new claims by Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted former member of Al Qaeda, that he had high-level contact with officials of the Saudi Arabian government in the prelude to Sept. 11 have brought renewed attention to the inquiry’s withheld findings, which lawmakers and relatives of those killed in the attacks have tried unsuccessfully to declassify.


Mr. Lynch and his allies have been joined by former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee was a leader of the inquiry. He has called for the release of the report’s Part 4, which dealt with Saudi Arabia, since President George W. Bush ordered it classified when the rest of the report was released in December 2002.

Mr. Graham has repeatedly said it shows that Saudi Arabia was complicit in the Sept. 11 attacks. “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” Mr. Graham said last month as he pressed for the pages to be made public.

Relatives of those killed on Sept. 11 as well as plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Saudi Arabia have also demanded that the pages be made public, seeing them as the vital link that they believe connects an important ally of the United States to the deadly attacks. They say the pages, Part 4 of the report, could also help in determining the source of current funding for terrorist activities.

(end snip)

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair

as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign


Tony Blair had a cough. He looked sick, pale and exhausted. “Don’t tell me it is going to be bad,” he said to the six men he had summoned to see him in Downing Street as war loomed. “Tell me how bad it will be.”

Those “six wise men” were all academics, expert in Iraq, the Middle East and international affairs. They had been called to the Cabinet Room to outline the worst that could happen if Britain and the United States launched an invasion.

This was a meeting that could have changed the course of history and, with better planning for the aftermath, saved countless lives – if only the Prime Minister and his advisers had listened and acted on the bloody warnings on that day in November 2002.


“We were heavily briefed,” says Dr Dodge, who is now at the London School of Economics. “They said, ‘Don’t tell him not to do it. He has already made up his mind.’”


The Pentagon and the White House took the decision to remove those at the top of the Iraqi army and the ruling Ba’ath Party, he says, but Paul Bremer took it much further in his role as Governor of Iraq and demolished both entirely. This opened Pandora’s box, says Professor Joffe, by removing the lid that had been in place under Saddam. “Islamic State is a direct consequence of the decision to invade.”

(end snip)

U.S. attorney general bans asset seizure by local police

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State and local police in the United States will no longer be able to use federal laws to justify seizing property without evidence of a crime, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday.

The practice of local police taking property, including cash and cars, from people that they stop, and of handing it over to federal authorities, became common during the country's war on drugs in the 1980s.

Holder cited "safeguarding civil liberties" as a reason for the change in policy.

The order directs federal agencies who have collected property during such seizures to withdraw their participation, except if the items collected could endanger the public, as in the case of firearms.

Read more: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/u-attorney-general-bans-asset-seizure-local-police-195542428.html#GTJVTOc
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