Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 7th, 2015

What they try to hide: Jeb! Bush edition

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Digby writes:

Emptywheel posted an interesting little story about all the debate transcripts being clipped to leave out this exchange:

Kelly: Governor Bush, let’s start with you. Many Republicans have been outraged recently by a series of videos on Planned Parenthood. You now say that you support ending federal funding for this organization. However, until late 2014, right before you started your campaign, you sat on the board of a Bloomberg charity that quite publicly gave tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood, while you were a Director. How could you not know about these well-publicized donations [a few boos] and if you did know, how could you help a charity so openly committed to abortion rights?

Bush: I joined the Bloomberg foundation because of Mike Bloomberg’s shared commitment for meaningful education reform. That’s why I was on it. We never had a debate about the budget. It was presented and we approved it. Not item by item. Here’s my record. As governor of the state of Florida, I defunded Planned Parenthood. [applause] I created a culture of life in our state. We were the only state to appropriate money for crisis pregnancy centers. We expanded dramatically the number of adoptions out of our foster care system. We created — we did parental notification laws. We ended partial birth abortion. We did all of this. And we were the first state to do a “choose life” license plate. Now 29 states have done it and tens of millions of dollars have gone to create a culture where more people, more babies are adopted.

Kelly: But did you know?

Bush: [pause] No. I didn’t know. But it doesn’t matter. I was working on this board because of the education. My record is clear. My record as a pro-life governor is not in dispute. I am completely pro-life and I believe that we should have a culture of life, it’s informed by my faith from beginning to end. [big applause] And I did this not just as it related to unborn babies, I did it at the end-of-life issues as well. This is something that goes way beyond politics. And I hope one day that we get to the point where we respect life, in its fullest form, across the board. [applause]

I know I heard this because I tweeted about the oblique reference to Schiavo in his “end-of-life comment.

This is bizarre. They have excised this entire passage. Why? Are they that worried that Bush is going to flame out prematurely?

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2015 at 5:26 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

Why the Iran Deal’s Critics Will Probably Lose

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James Fallows has an excellent column, specific and detailed, on why the Iran deal will pass. And he includes an analysis of Netanyahu’s speech and position, which, to be honest, are idiotic. Netanyahu used the term “no brainer,” and indeed his proposal seems to have been created without giving it any thought whatsoever: a true no-brainer.

Well worth reading.

And read as well Fallows’s account of Obama’s explanation of why we should sign the Iran deal.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2015 at 3:09 pm

Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence

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This one is worth reading: a cop offers to kill someone, and after that is known, he continues to be a member of the force—presumably because this sort of thing is more or less normal for Alabama cops. Jon Swaine reports in The Guardian:

A police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned.

Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident. Middlebrooks, a veteran of the US marines, said the man “needs a god damn bullet” and allegedly referred to him as “that nigger”, after becoming frustrated that the man was not punished more harshly over a prior run-in.

The payment was made to the black resident, Vincent Bias, after a secret recording of Middlebrooks’s remarks was played to the city’s police chiefs and the mayor. Elected city councillors said they were not consulted. A copy of the recording was obtained by the Guardian.

“This town is ridiculous,” Bias, 49, said in an interview. “The police here feel they can do what they want, and often they do.” Alexander City police chief Willie Robinson defended Middlebrooks. “He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that,” he said in an interview.

Within months of the recording, Middlebrooks was the first officer to respond to a controversial fatal shooting by a colleague of an unarmed black man in the city. He was closely involved in handling the scene and gave a key account of what happened to state investigators. His fellow officer was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing and both men continue to police the city of about 15,000 people about 55 miles north-east of Montgomery.

Middlebrooks, 33, made the threatening comments to Bias’s brother-in-law during a May 2013 encounter at his home, which Bias was visiting. Police came to the home after they discovered an unleashed dog.

A lawsuit from Bias that the city paid to settle before it reached court stated that while Bias remained inside the house and out of earshot, the officer remarked to Bias’s brother-in-law, who is white, that he was tired of “that nigger” being released from jail.

Middlebrooks had arrested Bias on drug charges earlier in the year and Bias had been released on bail after paying a bond, according to Bias and his attorneys.

Middlebrooks expressed his frustration. “Something’s going on with that fucking lawyer he knows, and that fucking … the judge or something,” he was recorded saying.

Middlebrooks allegedly said “the police were going to pull [Bias] aside on a routine traffic stop and [Bias] would get killed”. According to the lawsuit, which has since been filed to court in a separate ongoing case against the city, this prompted the brother-in-law to retrieve a voice recorder that Bias had been carrying around with him in an attempt to monitor alleged harassment by police, and then return to the conversation with the officer.

On the recording, Middlebrooks is heard suggesting Bias had been behaving threateningly towards his relatives. The officer said if he were in the same position, he would “fucking kill that motherfucker with whatever I had in that fucking house”.

“And before the police got here, I’d fucking put marks all over my shit and make it look like he was trying to fucking kill me. I god damn guarantee you,” Middlebrooks said. “What would it look like? Self fucking defence. Fuck that piece of shit. I’m a lot different from a lot of these other folks. I’ll fucking tell you what’s on my fucking mind.”

Middlebrooks also mocked the brother-in-law for allowing Bias to get the better of him. “That motherfucker right there needs a god damn bullet,” he said. “And you fucking know exactly what I’m talking about. The way he fucking talks to you? Like you’re a fucking child? Like he’s your … Are you his bitch or something? He talks to you like that.”

Robinson declined to make Middlebrooks available for an interview. . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Audio at the link.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2015 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

Psychologist helps government spy agency manipulate people on-line

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Andrew Fishman reports in The Intercept:

A British psychologist is receiving sharp criticism from some professional peers for providing expert advice to help the U.K. surveillance agency GCHQ manipulate people online.

The debate brings into focus the question of how or whether psychologists should offer their expertise to spy agencies engaged in deception and propaganda.

Dr. Mandeep K. Dhami, in a 2011 paper, provided the controversial GCHQ spy unit JTRIG with advice, research pointers, training recommendations, and thoughts on psychological issues, with the goal of improving the unit’s performance and effectiveness. JTRIG’s operations have been referred to as “dirty tricks,” and Dhami’s paper notes that the unit’s own staff characterize their work using “terms such as ‘discredit,’ promote ‘distrust,’ ‘dissuade,’ ‘deceive,’ ‘disrupt,’ ‘delay,’ ‘deny,’ ‘denigrate/degrade,’ and ‘deter.’” The unit’s targets go beyond terrorists and foreign militaries and include groups considered “domestic extremist[s],” criminals, online “hacktivists,” and even “entire countries.”

After publishing Dhami’s paper for the first time in June, The Intercept reached out to several of her fellow psychologists, including some whose work was referenced in the paper, about the document’s ethical implications.

One of the psychologists cited in the report criticized the paper and GCHQ’s ethics. Another psychologist condemned Dhami’s recommendations as “grossly unethical” and another called them an “egregious violation” of psychological ethics. But two other psychologists cited in the report did not express concern when contacted for reaction, and another psychologist, along with Dhami’s current employer, defended her work and her ethical standards.

A British law firm hired to represent Dhami maintained that any allegations of unethical conduct are “grossly defamatory and totally untrue.”

The divergent views on the paper highlight how the profession of psychology has yet to resolve key ethical concerns around consulting for government intelligence agencies. These issues take on added resonance in the context of the uproar currently roiling the American Psychological Association over the key role it played in the CIA torture program during the Bush administration. The APA’s Council of Representatives votedFriday to bar psychologists from taking part in national security interrogations or to advise on confinement conditions. . .

Continue reading.

There’s quite a bit more: it’s a lengthy article.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2015 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Government, NSA

The present situation of the Republican party

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Paul Krugman has an excellent column today, with a sound analysis of what the GOP has become. From the column:

. . . The point is that while media puff pieces have portrayed Mr. Trump’s rivals as serious men — Jeb the moderate, Rand the original thinker, Marco the face of a new generation — their supposed seriousness is all surface. Judge them by positions as opposed to image, and what you have is a lineup of cranks. And as I said, this is no accident.

It has long been obvious that the conventions of political reporting and political commentary make it almost impossible to say the obvious — namely, that one of our two major parties has gone off the deep end. Or as the political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it in their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” the G.O.P. has become an “insurgent outlier … unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.” It’s a party that has no room for rational positions on many major issues.

Or to put it another way, modern Republican politicians can’t be serious — not if they want to win primaries and have any future within the party. Crank economics, crank science, crank foreign policy are all necessary parts of a candidate’s resume.

Until now, however, leading Republicans have generally tried to preserve a facade of respectability, helping the news media to maintain the pretense that it was dealing with a normal political party. What distinguishes Mr. Trump is not so much his positions as it is his lack of interest in maintaining appearances. And it turns out that the party’s base, which demands extremist positions, also prefers those positions delivered straight. Why is anyone surprised?

Remember how Mr. Trump was supposed to implode after his attack on John McCain? Mr. McCain epitomizes the strategy of sounding moderate while taking extreme positions, and is much loved by the press corps, which puts him on TV all the time. But Republican voters, it turns out, couldn’t care less about him.

Can Mr. Trump actually win the nomination? I have no idea. But even if he is eventually pushed aside, pay no attention to all the analyses you will read declaring a return to normal politics. That’s not going to happen; normal politics left the G.O.P. a long time ago. At most, we’ll see a return to normal hypocrisy, the kind that cloaks radical policies and contempt for evidence in conventional-sounding rhetoric. And that won’t be an improvement.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2015 at 12:31 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

Aspects of the US criminal justice system

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Radley Balko’s morning links:

 

  • Lawsuit alleges that cops are handcuffing 8-year-olds for things like “not following directions” — in other words, acting like 8-year-olds.
  • New book tackles the lack of scientific intelligence in the criminal justice system.
  • Alabama police officer remains on the force even after he was caught in a recording allegedly proposing to murder a black man and cover up the evidence.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2015 at 12:15 pm

All the “job-killing” things Obama did resulted in a recovery better than Bush’s

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080715krugman1-tmagArticle

The chart above is from this column by Paul Krugman. We have been repeatedly told by the GOP has Obamacare kills jobs, etc., but apparently it has not harmed the recovery. More info at the link. And do read the comments.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2015 at 11:20 am

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