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Archive for July, 2014

A New Old Regime

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

A New Old Regime
Scott Johnson, National Review
Every day the headlines bring news of the Obama administration’s rule by executive edict. From the regularization of illegal-immigrant DREAMers, to the rewriting of Obamacare and of federal drug laws, to the imposition of onerous environmental laws by agency regulation, the administration exercises or threatens to exercise executive power to write and rewrite and waive the duly enacted law of the land. Now Obama threatens to regularize the immigration status of millions more illegal immigrants by decree as well.

Israel Can’t Let Up in War on Terror
Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times
T here is a lot of talk about how Israel is faring in the propaganda war over terrorism in the Gaza Strip. There can be little doubt, though, that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the firm backing of 90 percent of Israeli Jews, is determined to win the actual war, to accomplish the worthy goal of crippling Hamas’ ability to wage terror on Israeli civilians.

Why Bill de Blasio Smears the NYPD
Michael Goodwin, New York Post
Maybe he’s feeling guilty about that glitzy vacation, or maybe he overindulged on “la dolce vita.” Whatever the cause, Mayor Bill de Blasio came home full of hot air.Less than an hour after two federal marshals and a city cop were wounded in a gunfight with a fugitive sexual predator, the mayor repeated many of his slanders of the NYPD. To say his timing was bad understates his boorish elitism toward the dangerous work of policing.

Who Lost Iraq?
Ari Fleischer, RCP Changing Lanes
The former White House press secretary discusses the turmoil in Iraq.


Cole: Israel’s Strategy is Causing War, Not Ending It

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Cole: Israel’s Strategy is Causing War, Not Ending It
Juan Cole: Israel has no strategic war aims in Gaza because it has no large scale, long term strategy concerning the Strip. Its war is all about tactics and minutiae. How many tunnels and rockets can it destroy? How much damage can it inflict on the Hamas leadership? But tunnels and rockets can be rebuilt and the dead leaders’ cousins will take over after them. It is frankly stupid to think the Israelis can, in Mitt Romney?s words, kick the can down the road forever on making peace with the Palestinians. It hasn’t tried because Israel wants Palestinian land and resources and won’t give them up.

Will’s Policy on Child Immigrants: ‘Welcome to America’
During a Fox News Sunday panel discussion, conservative pundit George Will said that Republicans need to stop pushing to deport the influx of undocumented minors crossing the border into the U.S. “My view is that we have to say to the children, ‘Welcome to America. You’re going to go to school and get a job and become Americans,'” he said. “We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can’t assimilate these 8-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous.”


Report: U.S. Lawyers Fear NSA Spying

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Report: U.S. Lawyers Fear NSA Spying
Researcher finds an ‘erosion of the right to counsel.’


Obama considers large-scale move on immigration

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama considers large-scale move on immigration
White House officials are making plans to grant work permits to potentially millions of immigrants who came to this country illegally


BarbWire.com: When A Hate Group Creates Its Own Conservative “News” Site

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

BarbWire.com: When A Hate Group Creates Its Own Conservative “News” Site

The vice president of a notorious right-wing legal organization has spent much of 2014 developing one of the most extreme anti-LGBT “news” sites on the internet. Now he’s using the site to hawk a treasure trove of right-wing merchandise and souvenirs.

In January of 2014, Liberty Counsel vice president Matt Barber launched BarbWire.com, a website that claims to offer news and opinion “from a decidedly biblical worldview.”

Though BarbWire isn’t exclusively an anti-LGBT website – the site spares some vitriol for immigrantsMuslimsreproductive choice, and President Barack Obama – LGBT topics have dominated its content since its inception. BarbWire’s first post championed Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for his comments comparing gay people to murderers and equating homosexuality with bestiality. 

In its short existence, the site has featured commentary some of America’s most notorious homophobes; Scott Lively, an American pastor closely linked to anti-LGBT persecution in Uganda and Russia; the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who blames gay men for the HolocaustLaurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, another anti-LGBT hate group; and Robert Oscar Lopez, an anti-gay activist who has made a second career of publishing bizarre gay erotica novels.

Unsurprisingly, BarbWire has become a hub for the kind of anti-LGBT propaganda that even many conservative news sites shy away from:

Hucksterism

But BarbWire is more than just a platform for publishing the Right’s more unsavory anti-LGBT sentiments – it’s also a money-making scheme for Liberty Counsel’s Barber.

In July, subscribers to BarbWire’s mailing list began receiving emails peddling products from Patriot Depot, a website that offers “supplies for the conservative revolution.”

There’s the “‘Say Hello To My Little Friend’ Garden Gnome,” available for $18.95: 


A tin “Don’t Tread On Me” sign could be yours for $14.95:

You could purchase an “Obama’s Last Day Countdown Clock” for $12.95:

And nothing will stick it to liberals quite like Rise, Kill, & Eat, a paean to “edible wildlife” from “Genesis to Revelation” featuring a foreword by Ted Nugent:


Dodd-Frank’s Achilles’ Heel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Dodd-Frank’s Achilles’ Heel
Robert Samuelson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Four years after Dodd-Frank became law, the question being asked is whether the country is safe from another financial crisis. It’s the wrong question. It presumes that major financial crises are routine events. They’re not. What happened in 2008-09 was the first in the United States since World War II. This sort of calamity requires much stupidity, incompetence and bad luck. With or without Dodd-Frank, the next one might be many years or decades away. The right question is: When a crisis occurs — as it probably will — does Dodd-Frank better prepare us to handle…

Kansas Experiment Blows Up Laboratory of Democracy
Joe Conason, RealClearPolitics
When Louis Brandeis wrote in 1932 that a “single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country,” he was suggesting that state innovations might advance reform on the federal level. The progressive Supreme Court justice surely wasn’t imagining anything quite like Brownbackistan. Under Gov. Sam Brownback, however, the old Brandeis metaphor is especially apt for Kansas, where a highly publicized “experiment” in extreme tax cutting has just blown up the entire laboratory. As Kansans peer…

Exonerating the Criminals
Richard Cohen, RealClearPolitics
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anti-Semitism is getting the better of him. Once again, the Turkish prime minister has trotted out the Hitler analogy in relation to Israel and what it has done in Gaza. “They curse Hitler morning and night,” he said of the Israelis. “However, now their barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s.” Erdogan’s Hitler fetish is both revolting and inaccurate. Hitler murdered an estimated 6 million Jews, not to mention millions of Poles, Russians, Gypsies and, as a group, homosexuals; the Israelis have killed in the current Gaza operation over 1,000 Palestinians. The difference…

Absent on Immigration Reform
Eugene Robinson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The Republican Party’s paralysis on immigration is so complete — and so utterly irresponsible — that President Obama has no choice but to act on his own. Just say the word immigration and most GOP members of Congress either change the subject or scurry away. Rather than tackle a suite of genuine issues whose obvious solutions would clearly benefit the nation, House Republicans prefer to pass yet more useless bills that seek — and fail — to take away people’s health insurance. Both parties agree that the rapid influx of more than 50,000 unaccompanied children from Central…


Beauty spots still at fracking ‘risk’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Beauty spots still at fracking ‘risk’
Government guidance that fracking licences can only be issued for beauty spots in “exceptional circumstances” receives a mixed response from campaigners.

Ministers plan student loan overhaul
Ministers have been working on a policy that could bring major changes to England’s student loan system, BBC Newsnight learns.

No guarantee Wales to bid for Games
There is no guarantee Wales will bid to host a future Commonwealth Games, says First Minister Carwyn Jones during a visit to the event in Glasgow.


GOP: Border patrol agents handcuffed by wildlife rules

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

GOP: Border patrol agents handcuffed by wildlife rules
Republicans say land protections are hampering efforts to stop the flow of immigrants.


Venezuelan Officers Linked to Colombian Cocaine Traffickers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Venezuelan Officers Linked to Colombian Cocaine Traffickers
The head of Venezuelan military intelligence was on the payroll of a Colombian drug lord, invested money in drug shipments and coordinated the shipment of cocaine, according to prosecutors.



World Briefing: Iraq: Grim Discoveries in Baghdad
The police on Monday said that they had found 17 bullet-riddled bodies in different areas of Baghdad and that other attacks killed 10 people.



Officials Pull Back From Crash Site as the Army Puts Pressure on Rebels
Fighting between rebels and the Ukrainian military forced an investigative team to retreat before it could secure the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and begin an investigation into the circumstances of the crash.



Filipino Rebels Kill 21 Villagers Over Peace Deal
At least 21 people, including 14 women and girls, were killed when men positioned on both sides of a road fired automatic weapons, military officials said.


To Escape Poverty, Hundreds Vie To Become Executioners In India

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 28th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

To Escape Poverty, Hundreds Vie To Become Executioners In India

Even the most grotesque of jobs can be appealing in order to escape crushing debt and poverty.

The post To Escape Poverty, Hundreds Vie To Become Executioners In India appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Shannon Greenwood is an intern at ThinkProgress.

Mock hangmen's nooses hang during a protest demanding the death penalty for six men accused of rape

Mock hangmen’s nooses hang during a protest demanding the death penalty for six men accused of rape

CREDIT: AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

With no one willing to kill its 16 death row inmates, the southern Indian state of Kerala has decided to offer 400 times more money to whoever wants to become the state’s newest executioner.

With executions a rarity in India, the low salary and dismal job description kept many from taking up the profession resulting in a nationwide shortage of hangmen. The government in Kerala, currently lacking anyone to fill the position, increased its pay for executioners dramatically hoping to find a sure fix to this problem. Over the weekend, the daily newspaper Mathrubhumi released a report detailing Kerala’s need for an executioner, and the lump sum it now plans on paying its hangman — 200,000 rupees per execution, the equivalent of $3,330, an increase from 500 rupees, or just $8.33.

The response to the announcement was immediate; hundreds flooded the state’s central jails, associated departments and even the daily newspaper who first reported the news inquiring about the open position. According to the Hindustan Times, Kerala’s Central jail, which has the most death-row inmates in the state, received over 70 applicants, some showing up in person to deliver their applications. One man, desperate to escape crushing debt, pleaded with Mathrubhumi News to be given the job saying he would be willing to hang all 16 inmates at once, a stark indication that, for some, the new economic incentive far outweighs the job’s morbidity.

According to the most recent statistics, 363 million people, or almost 30 percent of Indian’s population, currently live below the poverty line. With the nation’s ‘poor’ being defined as rural families of five spending less than 4,860 rupees ($80) per month and urban families of the same size spending less than 7,035 rupees, many in the country feel those numbers are not an accurate reflection. Though Kerala is one of India’s less-effected regions, with a poverty rate of just 11.3 percent, the mass turnout to become the state’s next executioner indicates that those numbers would be significantly higher in other parts of the country if every state offered the same incentive.

With the death penalty carried out in only the “rarest of rare” cases in India, the position would not offer immediate remuneration for any of its applicants. Between 1995 and 2011, the country executed only two of its inmates, despite thousands receiving the death penalty. Following the highly publicized gang-rape and murder of a New Delhi woman on a bus in 2012, the country has regulated stricter anti-rape laws which now include the death penalty for repeated offenders and fatal sexual assaults, but no executions have been carried out yet under that statute. Since 2012, there have been two executions in India, both were of convicted terrorists.

The 16 death row inmates in Kerala will still able to commute their sentences, a process that includes appealing to the High Court, the Supreme Court, and petitioning President Pranab Mukherjee for clemency.

The post To Escape Poverty, Hundreds Vie To Become Executioners In India appeared first on ThinkProgress.

California Judge Rules Against Donald Sterling, Paves Way For Clippers Sale

The judge’s ruling clears the way for the sale of the Clippers to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The post California Judge Rules Against Donald Sterling, Paves Way For Clippers Sale appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

CREDIT: AP

Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul said last week that if Donald Sterling still owned the team when the season starts in October, he and his fellow players, along with head coach Doc Rivers, would consider a boycott.

It appears now that Paul and the rest of his team won’t have to walk out.

A California probate judge on Monday ruled that Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly, had authority to sell the Clippers, all but paving the way for Shelly Sterling to sell the team to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Shelly Sterling agreed in principle to sell the Clippers to Ballmer weeks after her husband was caught on audio making racist comments about Magic Johnson and other African-Americans. She took the sale to probate court for approval, but Donald Sterling argued that the sale was improper because Shelly Sterling did not have the right to solely sell the team and that he had revoked the trust that owned it. Donald Sterling had authorized Shelly to negotiate a sale but later refused to approve it.

The judge issued preliminary rulings against Donald Sterling on each of the three major questions raised in the case, as the Los Angeles Times’ Nathan Fenno reported Monday:



The third question was most important in the immediate sense, as the judge agreed under California law that the sale constituted “extraordinary circumstances,” meaning that its completion will not remain pending should Donald Sterling appeal the ruling. As Sports Illustrated legal correspondent Michael McCann explained last week, Shelly Sterling’s lawyers argued that keeping Donald around as owner would cause immediate and significant damage to the value of the Clippers and the Sterling trust that owns the team and that it would not fetch the $2 billion Ballmer offered should it go to auction.

The ruling on that question means that Donald Sterling can still appeal, but doing so likely will not have any effect on the sale.

Donald Sterling is still pursuing litigation against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver over the league’s decision to ban him for life and levy a $2.5 million fine against him in April. But this is no doubt a happy day throughout the NBA, which will now likely manage to get rid of Sterling as an owner without holding a vote to terminate his ownership and put the team up for auction.

The post California Judge Rules Against Donald Sterling, Paves Way For Clippers Sale appeared first on ThinkProgress.