Secret Border Patrol group where joking about dead migrants is perfectly acceptable

❝ The Border Patrol Facebook group is the most recent example of some law enforcement personnel behaving badly in public and private digital spaces. An investigation by Reveal uncovered hundreds of active-duty and retired law enforcement officers who moved in extremist Facebook circles, including white supremacist and anti-government groups. A team of researchers calling themselves the Plain View Project recently released a hefty database of offensive Facebook posts made by current and ex-law enforcement officers.

❝ And in early 2018, federal investigators found a raft of disturbing and racist text messages sent by Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona after searching the phone of Matthew Bowen, an agent charged with running down a Guatemalan migrant with a Ford F-150 pickup truck. The texts, which were revealed in a court filing in federal court in Tucson, described migrants as “guats,” “wild ass shitbags,” “beaners” and “subhuman.” The messages included repeated discussions about burning the migrants up…

❝ The head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Joaquin Castro, reviewed the Facebook discussions and was incensed. “It confirms some of the worst criticisms of Customs and Border Protection,” said Castro, a Democrat who represents San Antonio. “These are clearly agents who are desensitized to the point of being dangerous to migrants and their co-workers.” He added that the agents who made the vulgar comments “don’t deserve to wear any uniform representing the United States of America.”

Of course, they will be defended by Trump, the GOP, and any other of the current crop of would-be conservatives whose standards place racism and bigotry above all else.

Oklahoma lawmakers say men must approve all abortions

Oklahoma ranks second behind Louisiana for the sheer number of abortion restrictions passed since 1973. And they’re still at it:


Governor Mary Fallin brags her state is the most anti-abortion state in the nation

❝ HB 1441…is disturbing, devoid of any nuance and completely unconstitutional. Written by another of the chamber’s freshmen, Rep. Justin Humphrey, the legislation would require a woman seeking an abortion first to obtain written permission from her sexual partner. It would also require her to provide his name to her doctor and would forestall the procedure if the man wanted the opportunity to challenge paternity.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar provision in 1992.

❝ Just as quickly as they were disposed of the first time around, both pieces of legislation have re-emerged: On Thursday afternoon the measures were put back on the committee agenda — slated for hearing on Valentine’s Day.

…“I think it’s universally viewed that our state, Kansas, and a few others are really the worst out there” for reproductive rights, said Rev. Shannon Speidel, a minister in Enid, Oklahoma, and a current member of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice’s board.

❝ Speidel has worked on issues of reproductive justice in Arkansas and on the national stage as a member of the Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute, which is sponsored by the Center for American Progress. “Especially with the institute I hear a lot about this work all over the country, and every single state has their fights — even the most progressive ones. Ours is recognized as one of the most hostile states in the nation.”…

❝ Of all the bills filed this session, HB 1441 has been most troubling to coalition members, said Speidel. “This one, by far, was the one that bothered us the most,” she said. “There were a lot of feelings about it. In a state that doesn’t really spend a lot of time on domestic violence issues it really just showed ignorance regarding what relationships can be for some women.”

Humphrey explains his reasons this way:

“I understand that they feel like that is their body,” he said of women. “I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant,” he explained. “So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

I haven’t anything civil to say about folks like this. Opinions which fail the smell test as thoroughly as any law advocating slavery or opposing universal suffrage have no place in American political discourse. The First Amendment protects stupid as well as ignorant; but, 19th Century minds waste the time and cost of running a legislature with crap like this.

Even if Congressional Republicans and their evil twin in the White House get to mess with the Supreme Court, I hope that civil reliance on the virtues of our Constitution give the state of Oklahoma nothing more than an outsize bill for their backwardness and patronizing beliefs.

Inside the Trump data bunker

trumps-plan-b
By Josh Green and Sasha Issenberg

❝ On Oct. 19, as the third and final presidential debate gets going in Las Vegas, Donald Trump’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are being manned by Brad Parscale, a San Antonio marketing entrepreneur…Parscale is one of the few within Trump’s crew entrusted to tweet on his behalf…On the wall, a poster of Julian Assange reads: “Dear Hillary, I miss reading your classified emails.”…

❝ When the debate wraps, Parscale leaps up, open laptop still in hand, and bolts from the trailer with Priebus and the rest of the senior staff to congratulate Trump as he comes off the stage. In the wings, Parscale joins Steve Bannon, Trump’s Machiavelli and campaign chairman, on leave from Breitbart News Network…and a clutch of Trump children and their spouses…

Parscale, now tweeting from his own account, celebrates the night’s haul: “HUGE 24hrs of online donations for @realDonaldTrump. 125,000+ unique donors grossing over $9,000,000! Thank you America! #MAGA.”

❝ …Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it. Yet even as he nears the end of his presidential run, his team is sowing the seeds of a new enterprise with a direct marketing effort that they insist could still shock the world on Election Day.

Beginning last November, then ramping up in earnest when Trump became the Republican nominee, Jared Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid. Trump’s top advisers won’t concede the possibility of defeat, but they’re candid about the value of what they’ve built even after the returns come in — and about Trump’s desire for influence regardless of outcome. “Trump is a builder,” says Bannon, in a rare interview. “And what he’s built is the underlying apparatus for a political movement that’s going to propel us to victory on Nov. 8 and dominate Republican politics after that.”

“When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official…When Bannon joined the campaign in August, Project Alamo’s data began shaping even more of Trump’s political and travel strategy — and especially his fundraising. Trump himself was an avid pupil. Parscale would sit with him on the plane to share the latest data on his mushrooming audience and the $230 million they’ve funneled into his campaign coffers. Today, housed across from a La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery along Interstate 410 in San Antonio, the digital nerve center of Trump’s operation encompasses more than 100 people, from European data scientists to gun-toting elderly call-center volunteers…

❝ Still, Trump’s reality is plain: He needs a miracle…To compensate for this, Trump’s campaign has devised another strategy, which, not surprisingly, is negative. Instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans…

❝ Regardless of whether this works or backfires, setting back GOP efforts to attract women and minorities even further, Trump won’t come away from the presidential election empty-handed…Since Trump paid to build this audience with his own campaign funds, he alone will own it after Nov. 8 and can deploy it to whatever purpose he chooses. He can sell access to other campaigns or use it as the basis for a 2020 presidential run…

Whatever Trump decides, this group will influence Republican politics going forward. These voters, whom Cambridge Analytica has categorized as “disenfranchised new Republicans,” are younger, more populist and rural — and also angry, active, and fiercely loyal to Trump. Capturing their loyalty was the campaign’s goal all along. It’s why, even if Trump loses, his team thinks it’s smarter than political professionals. “We knew how valuable this would be from the outset,” says Parscale. “We own the future of the Republican Party.”

RTFA. There’s a lot of it. Josh Green and Sasha Issenberg have constructed a truly detailed blueprint of the Trump digital attack on electoral politics.

Contemptible, disgusting, certainly anti-democratic – are the qualities that leap out as the themes of the campaign, the politics of Trump, Bannon and the rest. They’ve used disaffected Republicans and Democrats to build a populist, racist, sexist juggernaut easily the equal of George Wallace’s White Citizens Council. And in an age easier to mobilize in any direction – or just for random destruction – they’re getting ready to march ahead of the cockroaches still officially in charge of the Republican Party.

What the Republicans will munch on if the Tea Party sheeple march off to Trump’s drummers is questionable. They may retain some figurehead positions, of course. Trump knows he can always count on the least-principled opportunists to back him up. Eh, Jason?

“I don’t know if he was there to kill me”

I don’t know if he was there to kill me.

Monday night I was sitting in a hotel lobby in downtown Des Moines with my back to a wall of windows, my eyes fixed on the TV, my attention wholly focused on early caucus results. I didn’t notice until he was standing right next to me, much closer than is ordinary or comfortable. When he started he speaking it was like he was picking up in the middle of sentence, finishing a conversation we had begun earlier, but I couldn’t remember ever meeting him.

“…So what is it that you teach?”

“I am a professor of political science.”

“My wife is a professor of communications.”

“Does she teach here in Iowa?”

“What I want to know is how you got credentialed to be on MSNBC.”

I am not sure if it is how he spat the word credentialed, or if it is how he took another half step toward me, or if it is how he didn’t respond to my question, but the hairs on my arm stood on end. I ignored it. Told myself everything was ok.

“Well. It is not exactly a credential…” I began.

“But why you? Why would they pick you?”

Now I know something is wrong. Now his voice is angry. Now a few other people have stopped talking and started staring. Now he is so close I can feel his breath. Before I can answer his unanswerable question of why they picked me, he begins to tell me why he has picked me.

“I just want you to know why I am doing this.”

Oh – there is a this. He is going to do a this. To me. And he is going to tell me why

RTFA. Please. This creep is one of thousands, millions of self-deluded Americans who says they aren’t bigots, sexist. And he thinks he isn’t at all intimidating. Except when he want to be intimidating.

I’ve volunteered as bodyguard a number of times BITD. The big burly dude in a leather jacket who looks willing and able to break the arms off any creep who believes threatening activists with death is OK. Actually, my prime task was being willing to put my own body in the way if the threat seemed real and imminent. And that was OK with me.

But, the scumbags who sincerely believe their religious and/or political ideology justifies mortal harm to other civilians are nothing less than terrorists. No difference between them and ISIS. Especially if their God or the political idol they worship says they deserve heavenly reward for their violence.

RTFA. I’m an old and cranky geek, now – but, I wish I was there beside Melissa. That sucker wouldn’t have gotten away.

Racist, sexist St. Louis County cop suspended – finally!


Domestic violence? “If you don’t like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with…”

Officer Dan Page was outed as a racist extremist after video of his speech at an Oath Keepers meeting went viral Friday…A St. Louis County police officer who pushed CNN’s Don Lemon, a black television host, during live coverage of protests this week in Ferguson, Mo., has been suspended from duty after video of an hour-long racial rant against minority groups, women, liberals and politicians emerged online.

Officer Dan Page spewed the vile rhetoric during an Oath Keepers of St. Louis/St. Charles meeting in April, just months before he was tasked with keeping order among a crowd of majority black protesters in Ferguson.

Page’s first spin on live TV went horribly wrong: “Move out of the way, sir. Move!” he can be heard screaming as Lemon tries to do a live stand-up amid the crowd in broad daylight on Monday afternoon, footage from Mediaite shows.

“We’re on national television, so imagine what they’re doing to people when you don’t see it on national television, people who don’t have a voice like we do,” Lemon says as he’s pushed around.

The bizarre rant went viral after Page was on the frontlines of the Ferguson, Mo., protests in his duties as a St. Louis County police officer…And on Friday, Page was relieved of his duties in response to his vile comments raging against hate-crime legislation, the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” women and Muslims.

“You’re either gonna go to the ballot box or the bullet box in the next 18 months,” he demands as he decries Missouri’s two Senators.

“Roy Blunt (Republican) and Claire McCaskill (Democrat) won’t even talk to me, they say, ‘you’re an extremist’ and I say, ‘amen!’” the cop raves on video. “And I’m real good with a rifle. My best shot is 1,875 meters, I got me a gold star on that one. You run from me, you’re gonna die tired…”

For as many sensible cops, dedicated to Constitutional rights, that I have known – I’ve confronted dozens more in my lifetime as an activist. Even the otherwise-unemployables who treat their local police department as a safe job with benefits aren’t likely to have encountered anything approaching a high school civics lesson in the course of their job training.

Friends of mine who are serious about law enforcement as a professional career have had to change police departments more than once because a professional attitude, respect for equal justice, is judged unacceptable to the wardheelers and hacks who often float to up to command rank – like toasty turds in a septic tank.

And, please, don’t believe the public accepts the excuses and lies from the Saint Louis County PD that the ideology of this creep just suddenly surfaced. If anything, he’s been working his racist butt off trying to recruit other members of the force into his scumbag cell for years.

Thanks, Mike

A million protesters take to streets to oust Silvio Berlusconi


Rome’s Piazza del Populo
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

A million protesters, many of them women, took to the streets across Italy on Sunday calling on scandal hit Silvio Berlusconi to resign.

Marches were held in 200 towns and cities throughout the country as Italians voiced their anger and frustration at the 74-year-old Italian prime minister, who is facing charges of having under age sex with a prostitute and abuse of power. The aim of the rally was for women to protest at how their dignity and the image of the country had been offended by the media tycoon’s obsession with young girls.

Protests were held in Milan, Genoa, Naples and Bari but the largest was in Rome where thousands packed into the Piazza del Popolo which two months ago had been the scene of violent riots after Berlusconi won a confidence vote.

Demonstrators, including prostitutes and nuns, carried banners saying: “Berlusconi resign now” while another said “No prostitutes, no Madonnas, just women.”

The protests came a week after demonstrators had also attempted to march on Mr Berlusconi’s home at Arcore near Milan, where the alleged parties were held, in an attempt to throw knickers into his garden but police prevented them…

For almost a month now billionaire media tycoon Mr Berlusconi has been in the spotlight over claims of stripping nurses and policewomen at his infamous “bunga bunga” parties

Preliminary hearings judge Cristina Di Censo is not expected to announce before Monday or Tuesday whether she has granted the prosecution request to send the case to trial and if approved it could start as early as April.

I wonder when outraged citizens in Western nations will remember how to take to the streets en masse to protest against war and greed. I know, I know. Off topic.

Berlusconi is such a slimeball even his supporters, those who profited from his flavor of corporate patronage, are slitting off from his political party. It’s worth seeing the citizens of that ancient culture rise up against the debasement of their government.