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Member since: Sat Jun 23, 2012, 06:03 PM
Number of posts: 3,183

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What total Republican control of a state really means

The U.S. Constitution gives the states almost total control over how Americans live and vote. Republicans appear to have grasped the importance of this, but most Democrats have not. Since losing the White House and Congress in 2008, the GOP has focused time, money and talent on gaining control of state governments.

Their efforts have paid off. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, older, white and upper-income voters, including many Tea Party supporters, turned out in force, while Democratic constituencies, including many young and minority voters, stayed home. The result is that Republicans control both the governor’s mansion and legislature in 24 states, 70 of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, both chambers in 30 states, plus Nebraska’s single chamber, and 31 governor’s mansions.

Nearly 90 percent of the Republicans in the House of Representatives are on the far right of the conservative spectrum, described by Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution as “a radical insurgency — ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited policy regime [and] scornful of compromise.”

*In 2011, when the Republicans took over in North Carolina, they soon began to implement a conservative agenda. They loosened gun rules, limited citizens’ rights to bring civil lawsuits and cut funds for early-childhood education programs. After a state panel warned of rising sea levels from global warming in 2012, the legislature banned any use of climate-change science in setting coastal policy

In 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, state Republicans immediately introduced and passed a massive voter suppression law — it has 20 provisions, 19 of which make it harder to vote.

Since 2010, other red states have cut income taxes for upper-income earners, assuring voters that this would produce prosperity for all. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s tax cuts produced a budget shortfall of more than $442 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. His promised tens of thousands of new jobs and population increases never materialized."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Sun Aug 23, 2015, 01:23 PM (3 replies)

The incoherence of homophobes

There are good men and evil men. This is an evident fact and nobody can change that. Homophobes always existed, and they will continue to exist. Nobody can pretend that all people are smart enough to know that we are all equal and that our sexuality does not distinguishes people from others!

We can contrast homophobes, we can be happy when gay and lesbian people get married, we can celebrate big achievements like the fact that gay marriages are now legal in all the USA, but we cannot fix stupid minds.

*And as I just written homophobes are alone in this world... they even should not live in developed countries, in which hurting gay people is a crime. They should live in extremist countries, in which being gay is illegal and homophobes are welcome... but homophobes are still in our places, you can find them in your same road... because they are incoherent and they will never go living in other places. At the same time, they will still enjoy Google, Apple, Facebook, and in general all services provided by companies who made their rainbow logo during celebrations about gay marriages allowed in the whole USA... because "homophobes" and "coherence" are two very different words!

Posted by damnedifIknow | Thu Aug 20, 2015, 08:42 PM (1 replies)

Who Is Deez Nuts? Internet Meme Surges In 2016 Presidential Polls

Talk about an August of outsiders. Internet meme and presidential candidate Deez Nuts has pulled off a surprising feat in a North Carolina poll, raking in 9 percent of the vote in a theoretical 2016 general election matchup against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and real estate mogul Donald Trump (spoiler: Nuts still loses).

Nuts is running as an independent, and has actually filed necessary paperwork to be considered a candidate by the Federal Election Commission. But, who exactly is Deez Nuts and is this the start of a surge like that of Trump, who shot to the top of polls in the Republican primary field and has dominated the scene?

First things first: Nuts, while said to be the real, legal name of a person living in small-town Iowa, is actually just an Internet meme that dates back to Dr. Dre's 1992 album "The Chronic," according to the Week magazine. That record has a song titled "Deeez Nuuuts" and features Snoop Dogg telling a joke with a punch line that matches the name of the song. It later became an Internet meme.

*Nuts also has polled well in Minnesota (8 percent) and Iowa (7 percent) in addition to his North Carolina showing. It's too early to know how well Nuts is doing with fund-raising for his 2016 run, as he filed his statement of candidacy with the FEC after the most recent fund-raising disclosure deadline. He does not appear to have any super PACs associated with the campaign."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Aug 19, 2015, 07:51 PM (6 replies)

Hearing officer overturns discipline of Denver cops in separate alleged excessive force cases

DENVER - For the second time in less than a month, an appeal hearing officer has overturned the discipline of a Denver police officer captured on video using what the city alleged was excessive force.

On Tuesday, the appeal hearing officer, Terry Tomsick, overturned the city's 30-day suspension of Officer Choice Johnson, who was disciplined by the deputy manager of safety for shoving down a man, who was standing with his hands in his pockets, during a dispute outside a LoDo bar in July 2014.

*On July 30, Tomsick overturned the city's firing of Officer James Medina, who was shown on surveillance video placing his knee on the neck of an arrested woman, who then collapsed in a holding cell.

Siddhartha Rathod, the attorney for Schreiber, accused Tomsick of being biased in favor of police.

"This is the same hearing officer who ruled that Officer Medina's conduct was within conformity of the Denver Police Department (rules). So it's just a bias," said Rathod, whose law firm has won several high-profile excessive-force cases against Denver law enforcement agencies.

He said the Denver Civil Service Commission "is a corrupt system. It's a system that's designed to keep… bad police officers."

On the rare occasion that Denver does discipline a police officer, or terminate a police officer, the Civil Service Commission pretty much every single time, reverses that decision," Rathod said."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Wed Aug 19, 2015, 12:03 AM (3 replies)

These Are the U.S. Trans Women Killed in 2015

Transgender advocates have, for years, been calling for an end to what they label the "epidemic" of transphobic violence. And while every November 20, the community and its allies remember those lives lost on the international Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2015 has been a particularly deadly year for transgender women in the United States. In the first seven weeks of the year, seven trans women were killed in the U.S.

At press time, 17 transgender women have been murdered this year alone, most of them women of color — with one additional victim whose gender identity has been disputed in press reports and among family members and activists. That exceeds the number of transgender women killed in the U.S. in all of 2014, though neither of these totals account for individuals whose deaths were not reported or investigated, nor for victims who were misgendered or not regarded as trans women in death.

Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Aug 18, 2015, 07:20 PM (15 replies)

The Human Freedom Index

The index published here presents a broad
measure of human freedom, understood
as the absence of coercive constraint. It
uses 76 distinct indicators of personal and
economic freedom in the following areas:

Rule of Law

Security and Safety



Association, Assembly, and Civil Society



Size of Government

Legal System and Property Rights

Access to Sound Money

Freedom to Trade Internationally

Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business

The top 10 jurisdictions in order were Hong Kong,
Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. The
United States is ranked in 20th place.

Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Aug 18, 2015, 04:29 PM (2 replies)

America's despicable, hypocritical persecution of Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army private who was imprisoned for giving thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, was recently threatened with torture for supposedly violating the conditions of her detention.

As yet, the charges have not been officially verified. But Manning, who since her conviction has transitioned to female and been hired by The Guardian as a columnist, read the charges to one of her supporters, who posted them online. They are unbelievably petty. She is charged with: 1) sassing a guard; 2) spilling food on the floor; 3) possessing some books and magazines, including the Catilyn Jenner Vanity Fair issue; and 4) possessing an expired tube of toothpaste. There is to be a hearing on Aug. 18.

This is exactly the kind of trumped-up nonsense a pissed-off bureaucrat out for revenge would come up with. And as punishment, she apparently faces unlimited torture, in the form of "indefinite solitary confinement."

Contrast that with the treatment of David Petraeus, the former general and CIA chief, who leaked codeword-classified files to his biographer and lover, stored them in a totally unsecured location (his desk), and then lied about it to the FBI. Remember, these files were classified above Top Secret, while nothing Manning leaked was above Secret. What happened to him? After dozens of heavy-hitting elites wrote a letter to the sentencing judge begging for mercy — including former Sen. Joe Lieberman; Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham; and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair — Petraeus got a piddling two years probation.

A just legal system would treat lawbreaking identically, regardless of the wealth and power of the accused."

It is simply beyond dispute that punishment is meted out in cases like this according to the social status of the defendant. Mike Mullen, a retired Navy admiral and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, made this plea for leniency for Petraeus to the judge: "Dave is also humanly flawed, as many are, for which he has paid a huge price both personally and professionally."

Yet that Manning, too, is a flawed human being, that she has endured previous punishment, and that she has years of incarceration still ahead of her, are not enough to save her from threats of officially administered torture for having some toothpaste and a magazine in her prison cell. It's sick."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Aug 17, 2015, 09:39 AM (1 replies)

Native Americans Most Likely Victims of Deadly Police Force

The high-profile shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri last year focused international attention on police using deadly force against African Americans.

But another minority group in the U.S. — Native Americans — also claims they are frequently subjected to excessive force by police, and recent incidents and protests are drawing attention to their cause.

Three Native Americans are reported to have died during arrest or confinement last month.

One of them was Denver resident Paul Castaway, a 35-year-old Lakota Indian with a history of mental illness and alcohol abuse.

“He recently lost his job and he was devastated,” said his mother, Lynn Eagle Feather. On July 12, he returned home from an outing in a state of high agitation and began waving a knife.

Police found Castaway, armed with the knife, in a nearby trailer park and gave chase.

“There were about 18 children playing in the parking lot and they were running alongside of my son as the police were chasing him,” his mother said.

She says after Castaway came to a dead end, he ran back into the open street and stopped along a wooden fence. That’s when one of the officers approached him, took aim and fired.

After he fell, Eagle Feather said the officers rolled him over and handcuffed him.

“And he looked at them and said, ‘What’s wrong with you guys?’ That’s the last words that came out of his mouth,” she said."

Denver police officials say Castaway had threatened the officers with his knife. But according to Eagle Feather and a local television report, surveillance footage showed that Castaway had been holding the knife to his own neck."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Sat Aug 15, 2015, 11:23 AM (20 replies)

Policophobia: A Fear of Police

Case in point: myself. I know I must break about 20 laws a day. Not sure what they are, but I am sure that if a police officer wanted to stop me in my car, they could find something wrong. In today’s society of 1,000,000 + laws, we all must be breaking a law someway, somehow. But the point here is that I am afraid of police officers. Not to the extent that it is a phobia, but it may well be damn near close. But truth be told, I am afraid of police officers. They can be minding their business in their car behind me, bopping their heads to Stevie Wonder, Sting, or Lady Antebellum, it doesn’t matter, I fear them. They could be at the Donut Shop hanging out, not even eating a donut, to their credit.

*Policophobia, a fear of police officers is something that police officers have a knowledge of. So, wouldn’t it be helpful if police officers and citizens could have a way of identifying the traits that indicate if an average citizen may be afraid of the police? Shouldn’t there be a sign between citizens and officers, that protects the police officer and the citizen, so that, in the (un)likely event an officer observes a citizen acting out in their presence, it has less to do with a criminal act, or resisting arrest, but out of a fear of the presence of the Police Officer? Shouldn’t an officer, with all of their training, be able to recognize signs other than the possibility that someone is going for a weapon, but instead maybe going for their heart, or experiencing anxiety, that absence the presence of the officer, they would probably still be alive?


Posted by damnedifIknow | Sat Aug 15, 2015, 09:27 AM (4 replies)

How U.S. laws foster police brutality

A Dallas County grand jury in April declined to indict two Dallas police officers in the June 2014 fatal shooting of Jason Harrison, a mentally ill Red Bird man who was holding a screwdriver. Geoff Henley, an attorney who represented Harrison’s family, says laws make it too difficult to show excessive use of force by police.

Pervasive police brutality will persist far longer than the public suspects. Why? The answer is simple: the law allows it.

Under Graham v. Connor, the Supreme Court requires that Fourth Amendment excessive force claims be analyzed from the officer’s perspective during the incident. Judges are not to play Monday morning quarterback from the safety of their chambers. That’s a jagged pill to swallow for the mother of a dead teenager when it’s later shown that the deceased was unarmed.

Courts thus further require proof that the force was not just unreasonable, but “clearly” so. Though redundant, the standard requires proof that the force was so excessive that the officer would or should have known he was violating a person’s rights. If the law is not clear or settled, there is immunity. There is no jury trial; the case gets dismissed.

More troublesome are deadly force cases. In our Fifth Circuit, the court will exclude an officer’s escalation of an incident that might cause, for example, a mentally disturbed individual to subsequently react. The reaction might justify the officer’s deadly force.

An officer such as the one in Arlington who marched into the car dealership and killed an unarmed football player could still be immune — even if his reckless acts precipitated the victim to threaten deadly force. In sum, bad cops can bootstrap justifications for deadly force.

Smartphones and camera footage have shown myriad failings in our nation’s police departments. Technological advances, though, are meaningless, if the law does not likewise improve. Departments and police unions have resisted change. Changes within the law have been nonexistent, or glacially slow. It is past time to melt the ice."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Aug 14, 2015, 07:21 PM (4 replies)
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