SCARBOROUGH’S SAD “APOLOGY”

MSNBC Screen Capture

SALON

Morning Joe’s namesake is a very busy and important man who can’t be bothered to get things right the first time

Last week, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough went on TV and said something false. Reacting to the inflammatory (and often dubious) allegations in Peter Schweizer’s new book, Clinton Cash, Scarborough posited that the government of Algeria made donations to the Clinton Foundation as a way to buy its way off the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. “The Clinton Foundation takes the check, and then just, out of nowhere the State Department then decides, well, they are going to take Algeria off the list,” Scarborough said. As Politifact and (my former employer) Media Matters pointed out, such an arrangement would have been impossible, given that Algeria has never been on the State Department’s list of terrorism sponsors.

So Scarborough was wrong. And today on Morning Joe, he offered a sneering, sarcastic “apology” to Politifact for having the temerity to point out how wrong he was.

I’m struggling to recall an instance in which a pundit has so self-indulgently wallowed in his own arrogance and sense of entitlement. Everyone gets something wrong every now and then, and the proper thing to do when those things happen is to correct the record, apologize, and move on. For Scarborough, though, the act of correction is an assault on the misbegotten pride he feels in hosting a low-rated and unwatchable morning news program.

First things first: Joe Scarborough seems to believe that because he puts on an “ad-libbed” show that lasts many hours, he enjoys some leeway when it comes to just making shit up. “Last week, in the course of this three-hour, ad-libbed show, I suggested Algeria may have been giving unreported donations to the Clinton Foundation in an effort to change their status on the State Department’s terror list.” Here’s a thought: maybe put a little more planning into what you say on cable news every day. “I do a long show that I put little to no forethought into” is not a justification for getting things wrong: it’s an admission that your show’s format is bad and should be changed to minimize these sorts of errors.

Scarborough also faulted Politifact for not noting that before he launched into this made-up nonsense about Algeria, he offered a disclaimer that he didn’t know what he was talking about. “Now, never mind that I prefaced my statement by saying that all the specifics may not be perfectly lined up. These are the realities, after all, of all of us doing a three-hour rolling conversation without teleprompters or scripts, the very things that every other news show in America is chained to but we aren’t. But still I prefaced my remark, but that prefaced remark mattered little to the Clinton arm of Politifact.” Yes, how dare Politifact not do Joe Scarborough the courtesy of highlighting his admission that he was talking out his ass.

Having begged off any sort of responsibility for the things he says on his own program, Scarborough then lashed out at Politifact, claiming that they were just picking nits (which, of course, absolves Scarborough from any blame).

VIDEO

SCARBOROUGH: So Politifact, let me get this straight. The Clinton Foundation was taking the money, hold on, not to get off the terror list. They were throwing them money at the same time they wanted to the State Department to get them off a list for their gross human rights abuses towards women. I hope I’ve cleared that up. Because I’ve got more. Have I cleared that part up? Because I don’t want to get it wrong! And any time Politifact calls me out on a footnote, I promise I’m going to come out here and let you know that instead of talking about the Clinton Foundation getting money to possibly get Algeria off the terror list, it would possibly be to whitewash gross human rights violations against women. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Politifact actually noted all of that in their correction of Scarborough – they had a whole section of the fact-check headlined “Human rights violations hamper relations.” But this isn’t a dispute over a “footnote,” as Scarborough’s weaselly, sarcastic rebuttal put it. Inclusion on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terror is not a small thing. Once the U.S. government identifies a country as a sponsor of terrorism, they’re immediately subject to a whole host of economic sanctions. If, as Scarborough had posited, the Clinton Foundation had been part of a quid pro quo scheme to let Algeria buy its way off that list and out of those sanctions, that would have been a massive scandal.

But whatever, Scarborough was just “ad-libbing,” so it’s no big deal. It’s not Joe Scarborough’s responsibility to be right the first time; it’s Politifact’s responsibility to cut him as much slack as he needs because “Morning Joe” isn’t about facts, it’s about “conversation.”

And that leads to the most important question: why does “Morning Joe” still exist? Scarborough is clearly very proud of the ad-libbed, thrown-together format that permits him and his pundit pals to make stuff up in a consequence-free environment, but nobody actually watches the show. Its ratings are abysmal, and yet it soldiers on as a monument to Joe Scarborough’s insufferable arrogance.

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Boehner and McConnell Balance Their Budget on the Backs of the American People

McConnell-Boehner | Attribution: none

Big Oil,  Defense contractors and the One Percent, win.  While the American populous suffers…

POLITICUS USA

The House did it, then the Senate did it, killing a budget that attacks the American people. As pointed out here yesterday, 27 million Americans lose their health insurance if Congress gets its way. The rich, of course, get to keep theirs.

What is interesting is the way in which House Speaker John Boehner chose to present this dubious accomplishment. Taking to Facebook, he posted,

As you can see, being Boehner, he chose anything but an honest approach.

In a statement yesterday, Boehner claimed:

In seven years, President Obama has never proposed a budget that balances. For a span of four years, Senate Democrats didn’t pass a budget at all. Now, four months into the new Congress, Republican majorities in the House and Senate worked together to pass the first joint 10-year balanced budget in 14 years. This is a big win for the American people, and a fulfillment of our promise to govern responsibly and return the annual appropriations process to regular order. Workers and families deserve a federal government that spends within its means and treats Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars with respect.

Well, at least the treats the non-taxed dollars of the rich with respect.

Mitch McConnell did some crowing of his own on Facebook:

mconnell-balanced-budget

We should all fall down on our knees and cry out, “We’re not worthy!” as we bow toward the great one, right?

What’s funny about all this crowing is that thanks to Obama and the Democrats, we have had 51 consecutive months of job growth, and added 9.4 million jobs to the economy. And he wants to give us 1.2 million over TEN YEARS?

Boehner and McConnell are living in an alternate universe.

Here’s the problem. Funny doesn’t get the job done. We need serious effort, not unintentional comedy from Republicans.

For the record, McConnell isn’t making Republicans all that happy either. The Daily Caller has complained that McConnell plans to add billions to the deficit in a separate bill, making the balanced budget no more than sleight of hand. Bernie Sanders agrees. He has already exposed a laundry lit of budget gimmicks:

  • Using the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, which falls outside of the budget caps to significantly increase defense spending;
  • Masking the true consequences of their policies under the guise of ‘unallocated’ cuts and ‘government-wide’ savings;
  • Only achieving their goal of ‘balance’ by using made-up ‘dynamic’ numbers; and
  • Dismantling health care reform, but keeping the savings and revenues that support it.

However, there are more serious problems with this budget than simple dishonesty. As Nancy Pelosi has pointed out, what she calls “the GOP’s “Work Harder for Less” budget”:

  • slashes programs for K-12 education
  • cuts Pell Grants that help low-income students attend college
  • repeals the Affordable Care Act
  • cuts investments in infrastructure and innovation

“And let’s not forget,” she says, “the GOP budget does all of those things while empowering special interests and paving the way for huge tax breaks for millionaires.”

America of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. Pelosi reminds us that “This budget makes it harder to buy a home, pay for college, or save for a secure retirement. Put simply: the GOP budget is a DISASTER for hardworking families, while millionaires and billionaires make out like bandits.”

Don’t you love these two clowns telling us how great an opportunity we have standing before us being peons for the rich and serfs for the corporations?

The GOP’s American dream is not OUR American dream. It is not the American dream that has attracted millions to these shores. Immigrants today, like our immigrant ancestors, want something more than the chance to be a form of sustenance for the 1 Percent.

If the Republicans want to throw away all their gains in 2016, they are going about it the right way.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Conservatives Keep Pouring Fuel On The Texas Takeover Fire

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AP/TPM Composite

TPM MUCKRAKER

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R)

Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott brought “Jade Helm 15” out of the shadows of the right-wing fringe and into the light of the national media when he asked the State Guard to monitor the operation so that “Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.”

Abbott has defended the move as an attempt to simply improve communication about the exercise between his concerned constituents and the U.S. military, but even a former Republican lawmaker has accused the governor of “pandering to idiots.” What’s clear is that regardless of his intentions, Abbott raised “Jade Helm 15” to the level of national conversation and granted a degree of legitimacy to more paranoid Texans’ view of the operation.

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

Libertarian icon Ron Paul praised Abbott’s decision to have the State Guard keep watch over “Jade Helm 15” in a YouTube video posted last week.

“I think this is very good that the governor has done this,” Paul said before cautioning that he wasn’t yet sold on the conspiracy theories circulating about the planned training exercise.

“I’m not at the point where I think this is the first step and six months from now you’re gonna have see martial law all around the country and I sure hope I’m right on that,” the former congressman said. But that didn’t stop him from speculating that the U.S. military is training to “enhance the empire” overseas.

The inclination to dig deeper apparently runs in the family, too. The former congressman’s son, Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, told an Iowa-based radio host last month that while he wasn’t familiar with “Jade Helm 15″ he’d “look into” the planned training exercise.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz told Bloomberg Politics that he reached out directly to the Pentagon about “Jade Helm 15” and was assured the operation really was nothing more than a training exercise. That said, Cruz still validated conspiracy theorists’ concern.

“I think part of the reason is, we have seen for six years a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens and that produces fear,” Cruz said. “When you see a federal government that is attacking our free speech rights, our religious liberty rights, our Second Amendment rights. That produces distrust as to government.”

Chuck Norris

For better or for worse, celebrities have a lot of influence over their fans’ political beliefs — and former “Walker, Texas Ranger” star Chuck Norris carries a lot of cachet with conservatives. Norris told “Jade Helm 15” alarmists that their suspicions were valid in a column on conspiracy theory website WND that linked the planned training exercise to the threat of the Islamic State terror group.

“The U.S. government says, ‘It’s just a training exercise.’ But I’m not sure the term ‘just’ has any reference to reality when the government uses it,” Norris wrote. “Whatever Jade Helm 15 actually is, I think it is more than coincidental that the FBI director just confessed in February that the presence of ISIS can be felt in all 50 states of the U.S. and that the Pentagon is suddenly running its biggest military training exercise with every branch of the military across seven Southwestern states.”

Alex Jones

Conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones and his website InfoWars have been a hotbed of speculation about the true purpose of “Jade Helm 15″ for weeks now, even though Jones has criticized the mainstream media for stating that he’s speculated the operation is a cover for the implementation of martial law. He claims that’s a “stinking lie” he’s never actually told.

But the reality is that since March, Jones has insisted he has “100 percent irrevocable proof that there is a global move, not just here but all over the world, to militarize police and put standing armies on the streets to suppress the population and carry out political operations.” In videos with titles like “Entire Federal Martial Law Plan Exposed,” he argued that the U.S. military has clear plans to implement martial law and “Jade Helm 15″ would allow troops to practice for such a takeover.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

Tea party darling Louie Gohmert on Tuesday went the furthest of any elected official so far in addressing the concerns of people who are suspicious of “Jade Helm 15.” In a statement, Gohmert criticized the military’s labeling of Texas as “hostile” for the purposes of the training exercise as “callous and suspicious.”

“The map of the exercise needs to change, the names on the map need to change, and the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states,” the congressman demanded.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)

Aspiring Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry left the door open on Tuesday for Texans to question the federal government about the planned training exercise.

“I think it’s OK to question your government — I do it on a pretty regular basis. The military’s something else,” Perry told reporters at an event in Dallas, according to The Texas Tribune.

That’s a similar tack to the one his former lieutenant governor David Dewhurst took in a Dallas Morning News op-ed last week: that men and women in uniform must be above suspicion. But Perry suggested that it was perfectly legitimate to question the intentions of “civilian leadership.”

CATHERINE THOMPSON

Illustration by Christine Frapech. Photos via AP.

10 things you need to know today: May 6, 2015

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1.The U.S. investigates ISIS claims it staged Texas attack
Skeptical U.S. investigators are looking into the Islamic State’s claim that it wasbehind the attack at a Texas cartoon contest featuring images mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The White House said it was too early to say whether ISIS really was involved in what would be its first strike in the U.S. Police shot and killed two men — Elton Simpson and his roommate Nadir Soofi — after they allegedly opened fire, wounding a security guard. A federal law enforcement agent said Simpson was under investigation before the attack.

Source: Reuters, Fox News

2.Mike Huckabee launches second White House bid
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Tuesday became the latest in a flurry of candidates to jump into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Huckabee, a former president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention, made a strong showing in his first White House bid, in 2008. On Tuesday, he jabbed at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and GOP rivals such as Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, saying he would be “funded and fueled not by the billionaires but by working people across America.”

Source: Bloomberg

3.Hillary Clinton backs citizenship path for undocumented immigrants
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday publicly backed establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States. “We can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship,” she said at a Las Vegas high school. Seeking to draw a contrast between her view and that of rivals in the Republican party, the Democratic frontrunner said, “When they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status.”

Source: USA Today

4.Investigators say Germanwings co-pilot rehearsed crash
French investigators reported Wednesday that the Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing his airliner in the French Alps had entered crash settings on the plane’s previous flight in what appeared to be a rehearsal for the tragic fatal dive. Andreas Lubitz repeatedly set the altitude dial to 100 feet on a flight to Barcelona that ended normally, French safety agency BEA reported Wednesday. On the return flight to Dusseldorf, he allegedly locked the captain out of the cockpit and crashed, killing himself and 149 others.

Source: NBC News

5.Baltimore officer challenges prosecutor claim that Freddie Gray’s arrest was illegal
One of the six Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death has filed court papers challenging prosecutors’ claim that Gray was falsely arrested. A lawyer for Officer Edward Nero, who has been charged with assault, misconduct, and false imprisonment, said Gray had an illegal knife, and challenged prosecutors to produce it. Baltimore City’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed the charges last week after receiving a police investigative report. She said the knife was legal under state law.

Source: Baltimore Sun

6.French lawmakers back bill likened to U.S. Patriot Act
The lower house of French parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would broaden the government’s spy powers. The bill, which is expected to easily pass in the Senate, was drafted days after gunmen killed 17 people in separate attacks — including one on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The so-called French Patriot Act would let intelligence agencies tap phones and monitor email accounts without a judge’s permission. Critics say it it is an unnecessary encroachment on liberty.

Source: The New York Times, AFP

7.Four sentenced to death for mob killing in Afghanistan
An Afghan court on Wednesday sentenced four men to death for participating in the March mob killing of a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda who was wrongly suspected of burning a copy of the Koran. Forty-nine people, including 19 police officers, were tried for their alleged roles in the fatal beating, which caused widespread anger and spurred calls for greater women’s rights in Afghanistan. Eight others were convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Charges were dropped against 18, and the rest will be sentenced Sunday.

Source: The Associated Press

8.California water regulators adopt mandatory conservation rules
California’s State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday approved the state’s first rules for mandatory water conservation as the state struggles with an historic drought that is entering its fourth year. The emergency regulations require communities to slash water use by as much as 36 percent. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) ordered the cutbacks, which hit urban users hardest while giving broad exemptions to the state’s giant agricultural sector, even though it accounts for 80 percent of the state’s water use.

Source: Reuters

9. Loretta Lynch meets with Freddie Gray’s family and police in Baltimore
Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited Baltimore on Tuesday, saying she was considering a request from City Council President Jack Young for a civil rights investigation into the city’s police department after the death of Freddie Gray. He suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody. Lynch met with Gray’s family, protesters, city officials, police, and religious leaders. Calm has returned to the city following protests and riots, but Lynch said tensions between residents and police remain.

Source: Politico, The Associated Press

10.Federal government approves ferry service to Cuba
The Obama administration on Tuesday granted licenses to at least four companies to offer ferry service between Florida and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. “I’m very excited, because this is a historical event in U.S.-Cuba relations,” said Leonard Moecklin Sr., managing partner of one of the companies, Havana Ferry. The move is part of an effort, announced by President Obama in December, to restore diplomatic relations between the U.S. and its former Cold War antagonist.

Source: Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Wall Street Journal

Hillary Clinton Goes Big On Immigration

HILLARY CLINTON

Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with student Betsaida Frausto at Rancho High School on May 5, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton said that any immigration reform would need to include a path to ‘full and equal citizenship.’ (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) | Ethan Miller via Getty Images

THE HUFFINGTON POST

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton vowed on Tuesday that she would not only support immigration reform and protect deportation relief policies put forward by President Barack Obama. If elected president next year, she would expand them.

“If Congress continues to refuse to act, as president I would do everything possible under the law to go even further,” the 2016 Democratic candidate said at an event with young undocumented immigrants, held at Las Vegas’ Rancho High School.

Clinton’s remarks, which essentially ran down the wish list of immigration activists, were more detailed than most expected. She argued that she would lean in on immigration, and she used that as an attack on Republican presidential candidates who have backed away from the issue.

On deportation relief, Clinton said she would do something that Obama hasn’t: extend protections to the parents of Dreamers, the young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. She said that other categories of undocumented immigrants should also be able to apply for such relief.

Some Dreamers are able to remain in the U.S. and work temporarily under Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. In November executive actions, the president extended similar protections to more Dreamers and to the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. Those executive actions are currently blocked in the courts, but if they move forward, as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants could gain relief. Millions more would remain without protections.

On Tuesday, Clinton defended Obama’s actions against attacks by Republicans. “He had to act in the face of inaction that was not on the merits but politically motivated for partisan reasons,” she said.

Clinton said it was unrealistic to act as though all 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. could be deported. She said the idea was “beyond absurd. That’s not going to happen.”

She also addressed less widely discussed immigration issues, arguing that those in deportation proceedings — at the very least, the young — should receive more legal representation.

Clinton said she believes that undocumented immigrants who are children, who are particularly vulnerable such as transgender individuals, or who generally are not criminals should not be detained. She also criticized the congressional mandate that a certain number of detention beds be maintained and the fact that private prison companies run many immigrant detention facilities.

“People go out and round up people in order to get paid on a per-bed basis,” she said. “That just makes no sense at all to me. That’s not the way we should be running any detention facility.”

Republican candidates have struggled with the issue of immigration in the past. Though it isn’t typically the number one concern for Latinos in polls, it does tend to be more personal to those voters. Republicans’ statements against undocumented immigrants likely contributed to the GOP’s poor performance among Latinos in 2012.

Clinton, on the other hand, has potential to do well among Latinos. They favored her over Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries, according to the Pew Research Center. And in the current campaign, she clearly views immigration as offering a positive contrast between herself and Republicans.

She said Tuesday that none of the GOP presidential candidates supports immigration reform the way she does. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), in particular, previously called for a path to citizenship but have since backed focusing on border security first or permitting undocumented immigrants to attain legal status only.

“When they talk about ‘legal status,’ that is code for second-class status,” Clinton said.

10 things you need to know today: May 5, 2015

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

THE WEEK

1.Texas police identify alleged gunmen killed outside Muhammad cartoon contest
The Islamic State claimed responsibility Tuesday for the attack outside a contest in Texas involving caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, calling the two alleged gunmen “soldiers” and threatening more attacks. Texas authorities identified the men, who were shot dead by police, as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. They were roommates in Phoenix, and allegedly drove to the Dallas suburb of Garland armed with assault rifles to attack the event. Simpson was convicted in 2011 of lying to the FBI in a terrorism investigation.Source: CNN, New York Daily News
2.Fiorina enters GOP presidential race, calling Hillary Clinton out of touch
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina formally launched a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday. Fiorina got started by criticizing Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton as a member of an out-of-touch political elite that has “disgusted” American voters. Fiorina’s announcement came on the day former neurosurgeon Ben Carson formally joined the GOP field, which already includes senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is expected launch his campaign on Tuesday.Source: The Hill, Reuters
3.New York police officer dies two days after being shot
New York City police officer Brian Moore died on Monday, two days after he was shot in the head by a Queens gunman. Moore, 25, belonged to an elite plainclothes unit. He had pulled up in his unmarked sedan behind a man he and his partner saw adjusting his waistband in a suspicious way. The man wheeled and fired at the car, hitting Moore in the cheek. A suspect, Demetrius Blackwell, was arrested after a search of the neighborhood. Charges against Blackwell are now to be elevated to first-degree murder.Source: The New York Times
4.Hillary Clinton agrees to testify on Benghazi again
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify later this month at a House hearing on the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, one of her lawyers saidMonday. Clinton, now the Democratic presidential frontrunner, has already testified to Congress, but the House Select Committee on Benghazi called her again following revelations about her use of a private email account. The lawyer said there was “no basis, logic, or precedent” for the committee to call her again, but that she would answer its questions.Source: Politico
5.Obama tapping Marine general as next Joint Chiefs chairman
President Obama reportedly plans to announce Tuesday that he is nominating Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford led the coalition in Afghanistan during a critical transition period in 2013 and 2014. He took over as commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps in October. The quick promotion won’t be the first for the widely respected Dunford. He went from one-star general to four stars in about three years.Source: The Associated Press
6.Small tsunami reported in New Guinea after earthquake
A small tsunami was reported near the South Pacific island of New Guinea on Tuesday after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck. The three-foot tsunami was spotted in the harbor of Rabaul, near the powerful quake’s epicenter. The earthquake knocked down power lines, cutting power to people in the Rabaul area, but there were few reports of damage to buildings other than cracks in some walls. No injuries were reported immediately following the quake.Source: The Associated Press
7.French far-right party suspends founder Le Pen
France’s far-right National Front party suspended its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, on Tuesday and said it would strip him of his title of honorary chairman for repeating his description of Nazi gas chambers as a mere “detail” of World War II. Le Pen’s daughter, Marine Le Pen, succeeded him as party chief in 2011 and chaired the executive committee that suspended him. The elder Le Pen responded by saying he is “ashamed” his daughter has his name, and hopes she loses her 2017 presidential bid.Source: Reuters
8.Tsarnaev cries as relatives testify on his behalf
Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev dropped his stoic demeanor for the first time in his trial on Monday, when his aunt took the stand in the penalty phase that will determine whether he gets the death penalty. Tsarnaev, 21, appeared to cry as the mother’s sister, Patimat Suleimanova, sobbed as she took the stand to testify on his behalf. A cousin said Tsarnaev was a “sunny child.” The defense says Tsarnaev’s radicalized older brother, Tamerlan, led him into the attack, which killed three and wounded 270. Prosecutors say the brothers were equal partners.Source: The Christian Science Monitor, The Associated Press
9. Silicon Valley executive David Goldberg reportedly died from gym accident
SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, the husband of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, died on Friday at a private resort in Mexico from head trauma and blood loss after a gym accident, Mexican officials said Monday. Goldberg, 47, apparently collapsed, then “fell off the treadmill and cracked his head open,” said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Mexico’s Nayarit State, where Goldberg was vacationing with family and friends.Source: The New York Times
10.Royal family announces name of new princess
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have named their new princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, Kensington Palace said Monday. The duke, Prince William, and duchess, Kate Middleton, left the hospital with the baby on Saturdaywithout revealing her name. Princess Charlotte is the fourth in line for the throne, after Prince Charles, Prince William, and her older brother, 21-month-old Prince George. Charlotte is the female form of Charles, the name of two former kings and her grandfather, the Prince of Wales.Source: BBC News

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

President Obama announced a new nonprofit group that is being spun off his My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

It’s truly a delicate balance when one is the scrutinized at every turn by right-wing lawmakers and similar adversaries…

THE NEW YORK TIMES

As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.

A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.

“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”

Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.

In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.

“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”

[…]

The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.

“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”

Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”

His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.

“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”

By

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Put Their Buffoonery on Display in South Carolina

Santorum-SC-GOP | Photo: Twitter @SCGOP

PoliticusUSA

Were I them, I’d cringe reading about the things they said at the 2015 South Carolina Republican Party State Convention on Saturday. Shouldn’t you save the really stupid stuff for where nobody can hear you?

Apparently not, as the Fabulous Five, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz, got together and agreed to collectively sound like Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

To show you the kind of brain power we are talking about here,CNN reveals that Rick Perry “got perhaps the biggest applause of the day when he said ‘the best defense against crime is an armed citizen.’”

This is demonstrably untrue, but then the entire Republican agenda is based on things that are demonstrably untrue, but which they wish were true, so this is hardly surprising.

The audience loved it, of course. You would expect them to. “The dumber the better” seems to be the cry for 2016.

And Ted Cruz proved it. The guy who can’t be bothered to show up for his job, who has introduced only one piece of legislation and failed to vote on most others, said loftily:

2016 isn’t going to be an election about whoever’s got the loftiest rhetoric. Folks are going to look past at what people are saying and look at what you’ve done.

He better hope not, cause he’s done nothing except talk.

But it is Lindsey Graham who may have won the Hasselbeck Prize when he said that, “I see a Republican Party” – this is the same Republican Party whose policies are in large part responsible for the Baltimore riots – “giving people in Baltimore and nearly every other big city hope like they haven’t seen in past eight years.”

Rick Perry told the be-dumbed, “The great issue of our time is a battle between western values of freedom and this totalitarian world view of Islamic fanatics.” And Lindsey Graham said, “They want to purify their religion and they want to destroy ours.”

Wow, I could almost forget the Republican Party’s own purity drive. And wasn’t it Rick Santorum who said mainline protestants are actually serving Satan these days, and aren’t even really Christians?

Graham went after Islam. No doubt tired of hiding under his bed from ISL, he complained, “I’ve never seen so many threats to our homeland as I see today.”

There are more terrorist organizations with more safe havens, more capability, more weapons, more men, than hit us on any time before 9/11.

Ted Cruz, not to be outdone, said,

We need a president who’s not an apologist for radical Islamist terrorism, suggesting that it’s just like the Crusades and the Inquisition. We need a president who says ISIS is the face of evil and we will stop it.

But as Bloomberg pointed out, it was Santorum who “led the Republican charge in South Carolina on radical Islam.”

Santorum agreed to forget all about his own past in particular and the GOP’s obsession with the past in general:

You can’t defeat ISIS unless you define the enemy for who it is. This is an enemy that wants to bring back a version of Islam that was popular in the 7th Century, a radical idea about beheading and crucifixions.

Ready for the punchline?

“This is not a modern Islam. It’s a 7th century Islam. So I have a suggestion: Let’s bomb them back to the 7th century.”

Like whatever bastardized abortion of a religion they’re promoting is somehow a modern-day Christianity. These guys sound like the Christian monks who murdered female mathematician and philosopher Hypatia in fifth century Alexandria, Egypt, for standing up for actually thinking, rather than believing.

Her murder effectively replaced the questing spirit of Hellenistic philosophy and science with the “Do not ask questions, just believe,” paradigm, which last until the Renaissance.

If any group does not have the right to call another religion backward-looking, it is the Religious Right.

One resolution which came up at the convention was “Cold War Victory Day” which would replace “May Day” on May 1, because May Day is, you know, so Communist, even though it’s been a festival since before Christianity.

They had a whole bunch of resolutions to consider, like teaching the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in public schools (presumably until they auction the public schools off to the highest bidder), and then violating the Constitution by letting the Senate have a say in the president’s negotiations with Iran (you immediately see the need to teach the Constitution), and of course, pledging loyalty to Israel.

Kinda wish they’d pledge loyalty to the United States of America, but I suppose that would be too much to ask.

Photo: Twitter @SCGOP

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Baltimore Police Union has the gall to start a ‘My Life Matters’ campaign after 6 officers arrested

DAILY KOS

What in the world?

After six Baltimore police officers were arrested on felony charges in the death of Freddie Gray, the tone-deaf Baltimore Police Union decided to start a new online campaign called #MyLifeMatters.

Mind you, not one of the officers who played a role in killing Freddie Gray was harmed in any way whatsoever by Gray or anyone else. Why even start such a campaign?

Of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America, being a police officer is not even on the list. Yet they’d have us believe that their job is as dangerous as it gets.

Yeah, your life matters, but we’d like for you to start acting like black lives matter, too.

Oregon Passes Gun Background Checks Bill

Handguns are displayed at the Ultimate Defense Firing Range and Training Center in St Peters, Missouri, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Ferguson, on November 26, 2014.  (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

The Daily Beast

Oregon lawmakers passed a bill requiring criminal background checks for private gun sales on Monday, sending it to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk for her signature. The bill passed the Oregon House in a 32-28 vote after nearly five hours of debate and requires background checks for most private sales and transfers, except between family members such as siblings. Oregon’s measure is the latest victory for supporters of stricter gun laws in the hotly contested subject of gun rights since the 2012 mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. Brown has yet to publicly comment on the bill, but Democratic Sen. Floyd Prozanki said he was confident she would sign it after speaking with her Monday.

Read it at OregonLive.com