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marble falls

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Name: had to remove
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Hometown: marble falls, tx
Member since: Thu Feb 23, 2012, 04:49 AM
Number of posts: 49,188

About Me

Hand dyer mainly to the quilters market, doll maker, oil painter and teacher, anti-fas, cat owner, anti nuke, ex navy, reasonably good cook, father of three happy successful kids and three happy grand kids. Life is good.

Journal Archives

'First They Came for Alex Jones': Ted Cruz's Crusade Against Facebook

‘First They Came for Alex Jones’: Ted Cruz’s Crusade Against Facebook Reaches New Extreme
While liberals and the media cower, the Texas senator heroically defends the influential conspiracy theorist — and all others — from the tyrannical censorship of Big Tech.



On this front, perhaps no politician has been more vocal and sanctimonious than Senator Ted Cruz. And he’s taking his virtuous crusade against Facebook’s political persecution of conservatives to new extremes, by tethering it to a vehement defense of the Austin conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones. When the social media giant decided to temporarily suspend Jones’s personal account in late July, Cruz was moved to speak out.

Predictably, he took an immense amount of flak for defending Jones, who is currently fighting defamation charges in court for peddling the stunning nonsense that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a government hoax. That’s just one in a long list of vile and dangerous theories — remember Pizzagate? — that Jones’ fringy media empire InfoWars has perpetuated over the years.

Am no fan of Jones — among other things he has a habit of repeatedly slandering my Dad by falsely and absurdly accusing him of killing JFK — but who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech? Free speech includes views you disagree with. #1A https://t.co/RC5v4SHaiI

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 28, 2018

But Cruz is not backing down. In an interview with reporters at the conservative Resurgent Gathering in Austin on Saturday, Cruz cast himself as the righteous defender of the First Amendment and free speech — including “offensive speech, bad speech, stupid speech” — and bemoaned liberals and the media for not joining him in his principled defense of Jones. (It’s worth noting that the moderation policies of a private corporation like Facebook are not a First Amendment issue.)

“As the poem goes, you know, first they came for Alex Jones. That does not end well,” Cruz said, referencing the famous Martin Niemöller poem about German cowardice in the face of ascendant Nazism. Apparently in this metaphor, Facebook is the Nazis and Jones is… the socialists?

“There’s a reason I picked someone who has been nasty to me: to illustrate this is not about defending someone I agree with,” Cruz said. “This is a First Amendment principle that everyone has a right to speak, and people can sort out those who are making sense from those who are full of crap.”

Despite the posturing, Cruz has refrained from strongly rebuking Jones, saying his ideas are simply “fringe” and “nutty.” As some have pointed out, Cruz is skilled at reading the political moment and the fact that he’s sticking his neck out for Jones — something even the president, a noted Jones sympathizer, hasn’t even done (yet) — could be a sign that he’s angling to shore up support among the fringe right.

Indeed, Cruz’s support did not go unnoticed. On his show last week, Jones called on his supporters to stand “with us against the unprecedented lying assault as they try to use us as the guinea pig to shut down everybody else. And Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson, they all get it. But certain people at Fox News and others don’t.”

Cruz insists that his defense of Jones is merely a noble necessity in the larger fight against Facebook’s tyrannical power, of which he has been bravely standing on the frontlines. Back in April, he used his senatorial soapbox to prod Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during testimony on election meddling and privacy concerns about what he called a “pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.”


“They have the ability, if there is a speaker who is disfavored, simply to silence the speaker — to shadowban them so that you might speak but your words float off into oblivion and nobody hears them,” Cruz said. “On the flip side, they have the ability to curate your feed so that every piece of news you hear is news they approve of.”


However, it’s been pointed out that the Harvard-educated constitutional lawyer’s legal analysis is highly flawed: Social media companies are in fact encouraged to moderate their platforms, and doing so does not come with an increased risk of liability for their users’ speech. It’s not an either/or.

Cruz hasn’t yet dissuaded media giants, who are under tremendous pressure to crack down on hate speech from alt-right figures like Jones. Late Sunday, Apple announced that it was removing five of InfoWars’ six podcasts from its iTunes library — the most sweeping enforcement action yet taken by a big tech company. On Monday, Spotify announced that it had completely banned “The Alex Jones Show” and Facebook said it had removed four of Jones’ affiliated pages for violating its hate speech policies.

To be clear, Cruz isn’t wrong to be skeptical of the power of social media companies and their ability to censor speech, and there is an important conversation about how to find a balancing point between moderation and free speech. But that’s not what this is.


Cruz could have used any number of other examples of speech he didn’t agree with — say, for instance, NFL team owners prohibiting their players from kneeling in protest during the national anthem — to take a stand on free speech. But by choosing to elevate Jones, someone he knows will only muddy the waters of the free speech debate, Cruz puts his credibility at risk. Cruz seems to have made a calculation to align himself with the feverish fringes of the far right — while wrapping himself in the glory of the First Amendment.


When it comes to the media, it’s almost like Ted Cruz is singing from the same hymnal as Donald Trump and Alex Jones.

Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or at miller@texasobserver.org.

The Border Patrol Serial Killer Is Part of a Long, Troubled History

The Border Patrol Serial Killer Is Part of a Long, Troubled History
A rash of violent crimes by Border Patrol agents in the Laredo area is nothing new for the agency sometimes dubbed the "green monster."


On Monday, five weeks into her official tenure as chief of Border Patrol, Carla Provost traveled from Washington, D.C., to Laredo to discuss a confessed serial killer within her ranks. Juan David Ortiz, a 10-year Border Patrol veteran and supervisor in the region, had admitted he spent September driving sex workers out to rural Webb County and shooting them in the head. He allegedly killed four women before a fifth escaped last Friday and reported him to a state trooper, leading to his arrest and a confession the local DA described as “cold” and emotionless.


The defense was necessary. In the Laredo sector alone, which hosts some 1,700 of the 20,000 total Border Patrol agents, Ortiz is at least the fourth patrolman to be arrested this year. The other cases include an agent who allegedly murdered his lover and 1-year-old child; another allegedly sexually assaulted a woman after threatening her with deportation. Yet another agent, who hasn’t been identified or arrested, shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old Guatemalan woman in May. In a question during Monday’s press conference, one reporter charitably dubbed this history “a series of very tragic coincidences.”

But the rash of Border Patrol misconduct in Laredo is nothing new for the agency sometimes called the “green monster.” Rather, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency has long been a hotbed of violence and corruption.

From 2005 to 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents were arrested 2,170 times for misconduct, such as domestic violence and drunk driving, government inspectors found. CBP, which includes Border Patrol and customs agents, was also the target of 1,187 complaints of excessive force from 2007 to 2012. Since 2004, more than 200 agents have been arrested on corruption-related charges, including at least 13 under Trump. And a 2013 government-commissioned report found that Border Patrol agents regularly stepped in the paths of cars to justify firing at drivers, as well as shooting at rock-throwers, including teenagers on the Mexican side, with the intent to kill.

According to public statements from former high-level CBP employees, the mess stems largely from the agency’s explosive growth in the feverish years following 9/11. During his second term, George W. Bush doubled the size of Border Patrol. “From an integrity issue, you can’t grow a law enforcement agency that quickly,” Robert Bonner, Bush’s own CBP commissioner, told Politico in 2014. In a court filing, two ex-officials who led the agency’s Office of Internal Affairs wrote that “inadequate” screening had led the agency to hire actual cartel members. They also accused Border Patrol of behaving more like a military agency than a civil police force, as well as abusing its extra-constitutional powers within 100 miles of the border.

Since his inauguration, Trump has tried, and so far failed, to replicate Bush’s mistake. Last January, Trump ordered the agency to add 5,000 Border Patrol agents “as soon as is practicable.” CBP has since streamlined its hiring process, including reducing polygraph requirements, and handed a $297 million contract to a private firm to help out. But so far, attrition has outweighed new hires, and the agency has fewer agents than when Trump took office. (Border Patrol jobs are relatively low-paying and based in remote locations; thanks to the economic recovery that began under Obama, would-be applicants might simply have better options.)

As Trump has pushed his ill-advised hiring surge, he’s paid no mind to screening for bad apples or weeding out corruption. Instead, he’s coddled and lionized immigration agents. In an August pep rally of sorts for Border Patrol and ICE, Trump — the first presidential candidate ever endorsed by the Border Patrol union — stumbled through a typical proto-fascist homage. He called the gathered officers “heroes,” then bashed immigrant rights activists for supposedly perpetrating an “unprecedented assault” against the agents.
Matt A.J./Flickr

“That you have to go through what you’re going through, being demeaned by people who have no idea what strength is, is really very sad,” Trump told the officers, whose agencies are still under fire for implementing his disastrous family separations policy. “They just have big, loud mouths and we don’t want to put up with that, and I just want you to know that you’re loved.”

In the same vein, Trump, along with Texas politicians including Senator Ted Cruz, leaped last November on reports that a Border Patrol agent had been killed near Van Horn, Texas, perhaps by rock-wielding drug smugglers. No government source had confirmed the account, but that was irrelevant; the story fit too nicely into their narrative of heroic border cops battling violent invaders. (No matter that it’s four times more dangerous to be a local police officer than a Border Patrol agent.) Three months later, the FBI announced it found no evidence of foul play in the patrolman’s death — prompting crickets from Trump et al.

On the subject of serial killer Juan David Ortiz, or the agent who killed the unarmed 20-year-old, or any other case within the steady stream of Border Patrol corruption and violence, the silence is equally deafening.

Brett Kavanaugh and the Terrifying Logic of the Boys' Club

The Texas Observer

Brett Kavanaugh and the Terrifying Logic of the Boys’ Club
Justice is about diffusing power; sexual assault reinforces and consolidates it.


by Andrea Grimes
September 24, 2018

Who among us has not gotten blackout drunk with a best friend, cornered a teenage girl at a party, dragged her together into a shuttered bedroom, together conspired to silence her by drowning her screams with our hands and loud music, and together attempted to tackle her and remove her clothing?

This seems to be the consensus take from Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s defenders, who are concerned that “every man should be worried” if something as piddly as getting blackout drunk with a best friend, cornering a teenage girl at a party, dragging her together into a shuttered bedroom, together conspiring to silence her by drowning her screams by force and with loud music, and together attempting to tackle her and remove her clothing, is now some kind of, I don’t know, bad thing.

I don’t know if every man has done something like this, or if most men have — I suppose I take any man who believes this kind of behavior is unremarkable at his word that it is at least unremarkable in his lived experience, which is an awful presumption for another essay.

But I do believe that Brett Kavanaugh has done this thing, because I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. And I believe that willfully treating any instance of sexual assault as if it is a harmless, youthful indiscretion is dangerous, but treating a conspiracy to commit sexual assault between two wealthy, drunk young men as some kind of understandable, bumbling accident that could happen to anyone is altogether more appalling.

Rape culture loves mixed signals and fuzzy memories. Anything to explain away predatory behavior as a hysterical overreaction, or merely a regrettable date and too much to drink. Rape apologists take comfort in the smoky, leather-lined boys’ club that occupies the space between he said and she said.


Is there a special room in the club for boys who say to other boys: Let’s do this one together? Brett Kavanaugh would be in that room, with his friend Mark Judge. They have done a lot of work on the boys’ club together, each in their way, over the years. Kavanaugh went the respectable route, using the tools of law to empower the patriarchy. Judge styled himself a recovered bad boy, spending unknown hours online attempting to discredit survivors of sexual assault and abuse, and writing self-indulgently and, perhaps tellingly, about masculine power.


After all, there is a terrifying logic at work when a man says to another man, Let’s see what we can do to this woman, together. It is eminently reasonable, in the most literal sense of the word, to deduce that two men claiming “we didn’t” is better than one saying “I didn’t.” It is objectively more effective, if your goal is to exert your power over a woman — and that is the purpose of sexual assault — to enlist the help of a friend in doing so.


Justice — true justice — is about diffusing power. This is why narratives about reclaiming America and rhetoric around law and order play so well in a political moment when progress has begun knocking at the door of the boys’ club. I imagine the boys inside parting the curtains, peering outside, talking about back doors and panic rooms, just in case.

I don’t believe that Brett Kavanaugh wants to make the world a more just place. I believe he wants to reinforce and consolidate power. Because he has done it before, and because it is, in the darkest and most disturbing ways, the logical thing for a boy like him to do.

Andrea Grimes is the manager of communications and development at If/When/How, where this column first appeared.

Kavanaugh folds under questioning by Jackson

Brett Kavanaugh Claims Past Virginity As Defense Against Sexual Assault Claims

Source: Huffpo

Brett Kavanaugh Claims Past Virginity As Defense Against Sexual Assault Claims
The Supreme Court nominee said he can’t have been a predator because he was a virgin in high school.
By Doha Madani

POLITICS 09/24/2018 08:32 pm ET

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s latest defense against two sexual misconduct allegations is that he was a virgin in high school and for “many years thereafter.”

Kavanaugh claimed he couldn’t have sexually assaulted anyone as a teenager because of his virginity in a Fox News interview on Monday. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who goes by Christine Blasey professionally, has accused him of attacking her at a party more than 35 years ago when they were both in high school.


“We’re talking about allegations of sexual assault. I have never sexually assaulted anyone,” the nominee told Fox News. “I did not have sexual intercourse, or anything close to sexual intercourse, in high school or many years thereafter.”


It should go without saying that virginity does not mean a person is not capable of drunkenly groping another person against her will.


Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brett-kavanaugh-virgin-high-school_us_5ba96904e4b0375f8f9fcf9a

Joe Biden questioning Anitia Hill.

Exactly what we don't want to happen again.

Let the FBI look into this. Have Dr. Christine Blasey Ford file charges in a correct jurisdiction.

3-D Printed Gun Promoter, Cody Wilson, Is Charged With Sexual Assault of Child

3-D Printed Gun Promoter, Cody Wilson, Is Charged With Sexual Assault of Child



Cody Wilson, who has been blocked from posting online plans for guns made with 3-D printers, was charged Wednesday with having sex with a 16-year-old girl in Austin, Tex.CreditCreditLynda M. Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press

By Tiffany Hsu

Sept. 19, 2018

Cody Wilson, whose push to post blueprints for 3-D printed guns online has made him a key figure in the national gun control debate, was charged on Wednesday with sexually assaulting a child in Texas.

But law enforcement officers said they were having trouble finding Mr. Wilson, who missed a flight back to the United States from Taipei, Taiwan, his last known location. During a news conference on Wednesday, Cmdr. Troy Officer of the Austin Police Department said that a warrant had been filed for Mr. Wilson’s arrest and that local detectives were working with national and international partners to find him.

Mr. Wilson, 30, is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl at a hotel in Austin on Aug. 15 and paying her $500 in cash, according to an affidavit filed in Travis County. The girl told the police that she had met Mr. Wilson through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com, where he was using the screen name “Sanjuro,” the affidavit says.

Commander Officer said detectives who had interviewed the girl said that “if someone mistakes her age, it would be because they think she’s younger, not older.”


Brett Kavanaugh Explains His 'Abortion-Inducing Drugs' Comment

Source: HuffPo

POLITICS 09/13/2018 10:29 am ET

Brett Kavanaugh Explains His ‘Abortion-Inducing Drugs’ Comment
The Supreme Court nominee followed up on his controversial comments in a written statement.

By Alanna Vagianos

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he was simply recounting the plaintiff’s views in a 2015 lawsuit when he used the phrase “abortion-inducing drugs” to describe birth control during his confirmation hearing last week.

“That was the position of the plaintiffs in that case, and I was accurately describing the plaintiffs’ position,” Kavanaugh wrote in response to a follow-up question from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released Wednesday.


“It was a technical matter of filling out a form, in that case with ― that ― they said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were -– as a religious matter, objected to,” Kavanaugh said in response to Cruz’s question.


“Kavanaugh didn’t use that term because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control ― the fact that birth control prevents fertilization of eggs in the first place. He used that term because it’s a dog whistle to the extreme right,” Clinton tweeted.


Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brett-kavanaugh-explains-his-abortion-inducing-drugs-comment_us_5b9a5af8e4b015089c0dfd82

"He used that term because it’s a dog whistle to the extreme right,” Clinton tweeted.

Putting Serena Williams into perspective ...


<big snip>

Would a male player have been treated the same way? Not likely. The Women’s Tennis Association and the U.S. Tennis Association both released statements supporting Williams. (The Guardian notes that while Ramos is a stickler for rules, he has “never penalized a player a game in such a high-stakes match” before.) WTA president Steve Simon noted the “difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men versus women” and USTA president Katrina Adams called out the “double standard” in treatment in an interview with ESPN. “I know what Serena did and her behavior was not welcome,” she said. “It’s a judgment call to give that last penalty because she called him a thief. They’ve been called a lot more.”

Adams’s comment speaks to a culture in which women who act out are punished while men are written off as “bad boys” who are just doing what boys do. There is plenty to back up her claim: Male tennis pros James Blake and Andy Roddick both admitted on Twitter to having said far worse to umpires and having no real repercussions. In the interest of keeping the discussion alive, we rounded up a few more examples here:

Novak Djokovic got into an argument with the same umpire, Ramos, at the French Open, and called him “crap”. While he received multiple warnings, he did not have any points or games docked.

Rafael Nadal threatened Ramos at the 2017 French Open. He got two verbal warnings, but did not have a point or game docked.

Andre Agassi got a warning for an audible obscenity at the U.S. Open and then called the umpire a “son of a bitch.” Play went on.

Marcos Baghdatis smashed four rackets during the 2012 Australian Open, but didn’t lose a point or a game. He did have to pay a $1,250 fine.

Nick Kyrgios got in a yelling match with Ramos at the 2018 Australian Open, but no code violations were issued.

Andy Murray got a code violation for allegedly calling the same umpire, Ramos, “stupid” at the Rio Olympics. Murray claims he called the umpiring stupid.

Novak Djokovic screamed at Ramos during the 2018 Wimbledon tournament, threw his racket, and even pretended to throw the ball at the umpire, but never lost a point or a game.

Andy Murray kicked a ball at an umpire’s head during a 2016 match, but did not get a code or point penalty.

To be fair, it’s not just men: Coco Vanderweghe was issued several warnings and a code violation for yelling at the umpire because there were no bananas on the court, and then calling her opponent a “fucking bitch.” She did not lose points or a game.
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