Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dusty's Corner - Why Americans Vote for Mitt Romney & Newt Gingrich Plus Bonus Game Change Trailer The Sarah Palin Edition

Why Americans are voting for anybody but Willard “Mittens” Romney boils down to just one simple point- The man could not tell the truth if a gun was held to his head and nor does the man understand the concept of empathy for others. 

Most Americans know Mitt is rich and they do NOT have an issue with his wealth nor do they care that he has offshore bank accounts. Rich people and offshore bank accounts and evading paying their fair share of taxes all go together in America. Admit it, it is not his wealth or the fact that he has offshore bank accounts and he obviously knows how to only pay the bare minimum in taxes that bothers you, it is the lying and the lack of empathy for his fellow Americans. 

The real issues with Mitt is that the man sees absolutely nothing wrong with lying about anything- big lie, small lie it doesn’t matter to Mitt. Politicians, Lawyers, Sales and Marketing professions all know how to ‘lie’ within the context of their professions to market themselves, their clients or their product otherwise they wouldn’t be successful. Lying is an accepted practice known as just ‘Politics’ or just ‘Sales’ but in Mitt’s case his lying goes much, much deeper and is much more dangerous as he has been running for President for quite a long time and he has very, very deep pockets in which to pay his way into office. Time and time again it has been proven that people do not like nor do they respect a liar.

What separates Mitt from other Politicians, Lawyers and Sales and Marketing professionals is his complete and utter distain and lack of empathy for those who are not just like him. Mitt like Sarah Palin has completely mastered Personal Greetings and Charm School 101: How to shake hands, use eye contact and mutter the superficial greeting “Hi, how are you? Oh, that is great” and leave them charmed and blinded by your warmth. It is when the next person in line doesn’t respond as expected that the world (well only those who are really looking) sees the real Mitt. 

Mitt does not like other people who are different from him or his beliefs. He has no patience or empathy for anyone who is in need or doesn’t subscribe (Note to Sarah Palin- that is how to correctly use the word subscribe in a sentence) to Mitt’s rigid views. Mitt like Rick Santorum holds a very rigid view of the world and he only functions at his best when he is operating within the confines of his rigid views. Mitt will never support the Dream Act, Gay Marriage or the American Affordable Health Care Act unless his church tells him to or unless he sees an opportunity to make money or prestige.

Where President Obama has said repeatedly that he did not have the patience nor the tolerance for ‘politics as usual’ neither did Mitt. Mitt’s only public office was ten years ago as a one term Governor of Massachusetts. He did not run for reelection. Ten years ago he was the Governor of Massachusetts! A lot of things have changed in ten years, but the one thing that has stayed the same is Mitt. He did not understand the world outside his world then and he still doesn’t understand it now. A man who would allow a dog to ride in a pet carrier on top of his car while in distress is not a person who should ever be elected to a position that requires thinking outside the box. If anyone could get Mitt to tell the truth would anyone be surprised if Mitt said he didn’t run for reelection for the simple reason he could not govern within his own rigid sets of rules and ethics?

I am sure you are thinking now, well hell Dusty, why are people voting for Newt? Newt has issues with the truth & ethics and there is that whole thing with his warped family values too. The man just has a ton of baggage. So why would anyone vote for him?

The people who vote for Newt are those who hate or fear anyone who does not have their same pasty white skin color and refuse to deal with change. Newt is the polar opposite of President Obama. He is white, older, overweight, married multiple times, fiery personality aka a bully, he is the master in the ‘politics as usual’ game and his middle name is Leroy. How much more common can you get than with a middle name than of Leroy? Again no offense to anyone named Leroy or anyone who knows someone named Leroy. 

Newt is was master politician of his time, but that time has passed. I would have used the title of fly by night used car salesman but I didn’t want to offend any fly by night used car sales people out there by comparing them to Newt. I firmly believe that if Newt had not been run out office in 1999 he would still be in Congress today or had retired from Congress by now.

Average Americans generally don’t hold grudges for long so almost all of Newt’s ethics baggage is pretty much water under the bridge since it was 1999 when he was booted out of office. Multiple marriages and affairs while in office or out of office is par for the course for politicians and some Americans. However there has been an increase in race baiting and bullying since 2008 and quite frankly those who vote for Newt or support Newt cannot stand the thought of a bi-racial man as President of the United States. 

I am refusing to call President Obama a black man from this point forward because he is in fact a bi-racial man and I am sick to death of the racism that is once again running rampant in our county. To continually refer to President Obama as a black man discounts his white roots and his white heritage and places the focus on half the man not the whole man.

The people who vote for and support Newt are those who continue whine that President Obama is in a bubble and he doesn’t connect with the American people. That President Obama is too controlled and does not make use of the ‘bully pulpit’. Notice those two words ‘bully’ and ‘pulpit’? Yep those are the folks who will vote for Newt. Those who want a bully in office and those who failed to comprehend the separation of church and state.  

So while Calista Gingrich has contacted Nancy Reagan's stylist to assist her with revamping her image from one of the much younger third wife (wonder when they'll confess she is much older than 45) to an image of one worthy of an elder statesmen's third spouse it will be money ill spent as all that glitters is not gold and Newt will soon to be another failed politician.  

The world of politics has changed since 1999 and while Newt is digging in his old bag of tricks from the past, his biggest cheerleaders are Sarah Palin and Herman Cain. One a failed politician who has yet to meet a thought she can articulate coherently or correctly and a one a failed candidate who has the morals of an old dinged up alley cat.  Can't see anything wrong there can you? To the Moon Newt...To the Moon and Godspeed. 

Happy One Year Anniversary PoliticalGates! 

My gift to you is an awesome positive campaign ad that will bring a smile to your face. May this brighten the day of those who have been or who are currently being bombarded with the negative attacks ads that are the product of the republican party and their superpacs. 

Sarah Palin sooooooo did not want to go back to Alaska. Glimpse the meltdown and the awful, dawning realisation by the campaign staff and John McCain that Palin is nuts. Trailer for the film Game Change h/t to Carriesblank.




Remember how Sarah reacted when she was asked about the upcoming HBO movie...?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Roundup, January 23-29, 2012

by Blueberry T

Tuesday, January 21, 2012
Sunnyjane gives a clever and astute review of the GOP’s responses to the State of the Union address during President Obama’s term: we the people have suffered through Jindal, McDonnell, Ryan and now Daniels (too bad it was Mitch instead of Jack). For a little background on Governor Daniels: During his tenure as head of the Office of Management and Budget, from 2001 to 2003, the federal budget went from an annual surplus of $236 billion to a deficit of $400 billion, and Daniels's projection of a return to surplus by 2005 proved to be inaccurate.” Sunnyjane reminds us that not long ago, Daniels espoused conciliatory positions regarding labor and social issues, but is now carrying out the Koch doctrine in Indiana with a vengeance, including defunding Planned Parenthood, reducing the corporate tax rate and pushing right to work legislation that just passed the Indiana House this week.

Wednesday, January 22, 2012
Nomad finally is able to make sense out of the endless stream of inane debates that the GOP has put on this fall and winter. [God is that all? It seems like it’s been going on for years. But I digress.] He argues that it makes much more sense, seen in the context of shows like American Idol and DWTS, where the contestants get eliminated week after week while others showcase their, ahem, talents. [Okay, I admit that the Republican candidates do sort of remind me of the farce when Bristol Palin was on DWTS, and for some reason I can’t shake an image of Newt wearing Bristol’s red vamp costume.] Nomad’s analysis of the talents of Newt, Mitt and Rick is really spot on. Newt’s talents are to “re-emerge from the scummy swamp over and over” along with “his ability to make a laughable position on nearly any issue seem perfectly sensible is indeed dazzling.” For Mitt, it’s his “masterful manipulation of capital and commerce – without the heavy burden of conscience…” Rick Santorum has “an ability to make fanaticism seem reasonable and clever and wholesome.”

Thursday-Friday, January 23-24, 2012
Nomad investigates the sordid story of sexual abuse of inmates at the West Texas School by the assistant superintendent and others. The “school” is a juvenile detention center run by the Texas Youth Commission; most of the inmates are there for non-violent crimes but once there, they are at serious risk of becoming the victims of violent crimes at the hands of the school administrators and other personnel, it appears. The story of the failure to stop this abuse of so many inmates touches upon many of those in power in Texas, including familiar names like Rick Perry and Alberto Gonzales. Thankfully, there were some actual “good guys” who also played roles in this sad story, one of those being Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski, who spent years investigating the crimes and trying to get officials to take appropriate action against the perpetrators. Predictably, his efforts were stonewalled for several years. Caseworker Nelina Garza also met with resistance when she tried to get action to stop the abuse. In part, the delays were apparently due to the desire NOT to have such an ugly scandal derail or inconvenience Rick Perry’s reelection campaign in 2006. After his reelection, the media began reporting the story and the corruption at TYC could no longer be ignored. According to a retired inspector general for TYC, Randal Chance, “The TYC has established a dynasty of corruption that condones the mistreatment of youth in its care…Staff are being paid your tax money to rape your children." It became clear that the agency’s problems were systemic and that thousands of cases of abuse had occurred [during Rick Perry’s administration, BTW]. The level of corruption was astonishing.

Saturday, January 28, 2012
Rick Santorum is, frankly, nuts. Kathleen’s post calls out his latest statement, that a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant should consider the child a gift from God and should not have an abortion. OMG; please, voters, spare us from these lunatics! WHY does someone like Rick Santorum have a platform to take these extreme positions? And does anyone truly believe that if Rick’s wife or daughter were raped, he would insist that she carry the baby to term and raise it and consider it a gift from God? Just as he now claims there should be no abortion even to save a mother’s life AFTER he chose to save Karen Santorum’s life rather than her unborn baby Gabriel’s life, I strongly believe that we would see another double standard if the Santorums had to actually face such an ugly decision about carrying the baby of a rapist. He should be called out for what he is – an extremist and zealot who wants to control women’s lives according to his own radical beliefs. [Trying not to scream, I’m so angry about this…]

Sunday, January 29, 2012
Kathleen and Patrick started this wonderful blog a year ago – that is so hard to believe, because it has accomplished so much, covering a wide range of topics and developing such a great team of contributors and commenters. It is wonderful to see that several of our most popular posts had nothing to do with Sarah Palin; I suspect that will continue to be the trend, as she will become even less relevant over time, unless of course Newt wins the Presidency and appoints her “Governor of the Moon” (H/T Azure Ghost). The post has a serious message, too, about the need to ensure that journalists, and particularly citizen journalists, can convey the truth about what is happening in this country, as we watch civil liberties being denied to peaceful Americans trying to exercise their constitutional rights. The post also reports that the U.S. has fallen 27 places in measures of its treatment of journalists; this is due to all the arrests of journalists covering the OWS protests. Wow, that’s pretty sobering. Finally, the post includes an attempt by the right wing to redefine dissent as terrorism, and concludes with a citizen journalist’s report of the Oakland protest and how far we are along the road to a police state.

Some comments and links:

AKRNC: …Recalling Newt Gingrich's efforts to divide the country further into the "right vs. the left" and at the same time casting judgments on others when his own personal life was in a shambles, it brings to light the hypocrisy of the current GOP as they push this ignoramus to the forefront for the privilege of serving as the nominee for President for their party. There really are no words that can describe the depths to which this man will sink to attain the power he craves.
In contrast, we see a true hero of the House of Representatives and of our country… What an inspiration Gabrielle Giffords is…
Jolly Roger: Newt is compelled, somewhere deep inside him, to destroy himself periodically. We almost have to be at that end of his cycle now. I'm stunned that he hasn't done it yet…
Nomad: How many chances have the Republican party elites given people like Newt Gingrich? Each time Newt is allowed back into the political forum, he is treated more and more like an elder statesmen by the media and by colleagues, instead of the self-serving loudmouth woman-hating hack that he actually is.
Linda1961: Seems that the gop "grand strategy" of blaming President Obama for everything wrong and giving him no credit for anything good, plus being nasty and mean to the rest of us, in order to gain the WH, the Senate and keep the House this year, is backfiring big time. The endless gop debates, which has showcased how vindictive and mean-spirited they are, and now Newt and Mittens at each others' throats have no doubt helped sink the gop 's prospects.
Didn't the gopers in Congress look like a bunch of sourpusses last night? Bet their reaction will be to double down on the obstruction and meanness ("that boy can't tell us what to do!) rather than working with the rest of us to rebuild America and get those still unemployed working again.
indy_girl: OT, Sarah trying to get her 5 seconds of news time by claiming Gingrich is being "crucified" by the media. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... Wasn't it was nice of her to get down off the cross for a change so someone else could have a turn? best post on HP article by poster Realmystical: "We have a national bird, a national seal, a national song, and Sarah has established herself as our national joke."
KatieAnnieOakley: Po'gates is a daily sanity stop for me, an island of progressive calm in my GOP ocean. I think of all of you as friends and more, and the get-together(s) with Chicago-area (and LEADFOOT!) gators makes it more than just a blog. My life is so much better with politicalgates and you, each and every reader / contributor in it. I find myself looking back with fondness, and looking forward with anticipation. Thank God I'm a Po'Gator!
Nomad found this article on Republican voter fraud; the article includes a link to another article focusing on Mitt and Ann Romney’s claim that their residence was in the basement of their son’s Massachusetts home, and how they voted in the special election for Scott Brown when they were actually living in California.
Older_Wiser linked to this Daily Kos piece reminding us of the anniversary of the constitutional amendment prohibiting poll taxes – only ratified in 1964.
Cheeriogirl found this on the Romneys’ investments in Iran and Nomad had a comment about Bain Capital’s investments in Iran; Nomad wondered if this is why Romney doesn’t want to release his tax returns. Cheeriogirl also found this in WSJ: The GOP Deserves to Lose and this on whether Newt is a lobbyist.
indy_girl: OT, Sarah trying to get her 5 seconds of news time by claiming Gingrich is being "crucified" by the media. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... Wasn't it was nice of her to get down off the cross for a change so someone else could have a turn?
best post on HP article by poster Realmystical: "We have a national bird, a national seal, a national song, and Sarah has established herself as our national joke."
Mmboucher found this on Alternet; here’s part: But her appeal to commonsense constitutional conservatism is a fraud. It's opportunistic bullcrap. It's her way of appealing to the ideology of the moment, It might be hard to believe but Alaska is the most socialist state in the Union. Alaska citizens receive checks from the oil companies. The largest dividend ever paid ($3,269 per citizen) was in 2008, while Sarah Palin was governor. That was because Governor Palin supported a one-time $1,200 Alaska Resource Rebate. Imagine what Republicans in Washington would say if the Democrats tried to force the oil companies to give a $3,000 check to every citizen of the country. How is that for redistribution of wealth, for meddling with business, for pure socialism
Carriesblank linked to Andrew Sullivan on the possible return of Queen Esther.
Older_Wiser pointed out this from Thom Hartmann on Scott Walker’s troubles in WI.
The Last Word:
EbbtideMB: I love this site… Politicalgates takes on so many important issues, and does a thorough, well-written documentation and exposure of many of them.
Thanks to all who have researched and written so many brilliant posts.
Thanks to Patrick and Kathleen for keeping it all going.
Thanks to the many comments that provide illuminating points of view, informative links, and smile-inducing snark (I'm looking at you JCos!)
The "rising tide lifts all ships" theory really works here, as I think the comments and the posts bring out the best in everyone involved.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Politicalgates: Our first anniversary - Blogging for democracy, freedom and truth

By Kathleen and Patrick

Today is Politicalgates first anniversary. That's right. This little baby is now one year old.

To mark the event we have a new and fun Politicalgates contest and we hope that entrants will be as creative as possible.

Describe what Politicalgates means to you. What are the good and bad things about the blog that you would like to see changed or emphasised or do you like things just as they are? Your suggestions can be either serious or funny and can be in any form that you like. For example you could submit a picture (remember our Blingee competition at Palingates), a poem or a short essay. The more creative and original the better.

The winner will receive a prize of $50.00 and will be published in a separate blog post.

Entry will close on Friday 3rd February and results published on Saturday 4th February.


Our anniversary is also a good opportunity to take a look at our stats, as they give another indication of what our community has achieved as a whole in the first year.

This screenshot of the internal blogger stats which was taken today shows what happened during the first twelve months of our existence. For most of the year, we had between 200,000 and 250,000 pageviews per months. After Sarah Palin finally announced that she is not running for president, we immediately had a significant drop in pageviews, a drop which other blogs experienced as well, and since then it has been very stable between 140,000 and 145,000 pageviews per month.

The internal blogger stats also gives us an overview about the stats of the most popular "all-time" posts:

I would have never thought at the beginning of the year that two "non-Palin related posts" would be at the top. I was particularly pleased about the fact that the important "Plutonomy" post got a lot of attention. I am equally happy about the fact that our fabulous friend and tireless contributor Nomad also made it into the top-ten with his post about the contributors to Mitt Romney's Super-Pac.

Therefore we can look forward to another exciting year. Blogging is a challenging business as it consumes a lot of time and energy, but there should be no shortage of topics in 2012, and we do hope that all our contributors will continue to write lots of excellent posts that will continue to drive Politicalgates forward!

But there are not only the regular contributors, there is also our close-knit community of readers who support Politicalgates on a daily basis with many more facts, stories and opinions. We view ourselves as an interactive blog without censorship and moderated comments. The internet is a great tool for citizens, and it should be used extensively, in the fight for freedom, democracy and truth.


A strong movement of citizens journalism, meaning journalism outside the commercial media, is desperately needed especially in the USA, as civil rights are now being attacked virtually on a daily basis. We have documented several times at Politicalgates how the "police and surveillance state" is on a seemingly unstoppable rise in the USA. The FBI is rolling out a multi-billion dollar "Next Generation Identification" program (see an enthusiastic review here), and protesters will be amongst the most important targets. The privacy of all Americans is under huge threat due to these new measures.

But there is also a change of perception, a change of words. It is apparently now "OK" to call OWS protesters "domestic terrorists", just because they are a big nuisance to the right-wingers - as happened yesterday in several tweets by Fox News host Todd Starnes:

We know what can happen to "terrorists" these days.

Scenes from yesterday at Occupy Oakland, with the police firing tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets:

This footage was taken by OakFoSho via live streaming.

So where are they, the "domestic terrorists?" More raw-footage from yesterday, showing the protesters from above, by AP:

"Terrorists" actually cause "terror." They don't just protest on streets, or burn a flag - an act which is, by the way, protected by the US constitution, according to the US Supreme Court. But it seems only a matter of time until more right-wingers pick up this new "meme" about the OWS-protesters.

More warning signs about the "new reality" in the USA, where you might quickly transform from a demonstrator to a terrorist, are visible. A few days ago, it was reported that according to "Reporters Without Borders", the largest press freedom organization in the world, the USA has dramatically dropped in the latest world press freedom ranking from place 20 to place 47.

The reason was also made public:

The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.

The USA can now be found within a rather non-exceptional neighbourhood in the 2011/2012 ranking by "Reporters Without Borders." There is now more freedom of the press in Ghana and Botswana than in the USA:

People like Todd Starnes don't care. But we should, and it's time to fight for our freedoms, or they will just slip away.

Especially since the rhetoric of the right-wingers gets more and more aggressive by the day. Yesterday, at a Lincoln Day Dinner in New Jersey, the already notorious "Tea Party" Republican Rep Allen West had no hesitation to say that Obama, Reid and Pelosi should "get the hell out of the United States of America."

Watch (for a longer clip of this inflammatory speech, click here):

But these remarks are not even the most frightening thing. What is even more worrisome is the fact that the audience seemed to be ecstatic about these remarks and cheered wildly! So they apparently think that Allen West, who clearly is a rabble-rouser and a right-wing extremist, is a great guy.

Obama-bashing is all the rage now in 2012. The more vicious, the better.

Politicalgates will continue to take a close look at all these developments. In the recent interview on Fox News with Jeanine Pirro, Sarah Palin said: "Annoy a liberal, vote for Newt Gingrich!"

Short excerpt (long version here, in which Jeanine Pirro challenges Palin, much to her displeasure):

Following Sarah Palin's suggestion, I guess it should be one of our goals here at Politicalgates in 2012 to continue to annoy those people who want to change the USA into an authoritarian state in which dissent is "terrorism."



The blog "Boogie Man Journal" has a detailed and extremely interesting first hand report about the Occupy Oakland protest yesterday where about 300 protesters were arrested - excerpts:

Because of the incident earlier in the day, I realized they were effectively treating the peaceful march as a riot. There was not rioting, or intentions to riot, just dancing, optimism, hope, and walking. But clearly the police thought differently, and I knew they would try to trap us again without warning. From the moment I saw riot police running towards are march from both directions, I knew the constitution would not apply in Oakland tonight. The police made that very clear. My friends thought differently, thinking that they would not be arrested for marching. They are currently in jail.
The second, and successful, kettle occurred as the protest was headed back up Broadway, at Broadway and 24th. Again, the police appeared quickly in front of the crowd, as well as a line behind the crowd. This time there was no side street. A few people attempted to escape into the YMCA; some mis-infonformed news reports claim that the YMCA got 'occupied'. Around 300 people were trapped, mostly young people. At this point I had fallen behind the line of riot police in back of the crowd, and when the kettle was sprung I was on the other side of the police line. I have a policy of avoiding arrest, but I feel like I've been striped of some dignity. I've seen some shit go down in oaktown, but I've always avoided arrest because it was easy. Most mass arrests occur when people choose to break the law (like occupying Bank of America in downtown SF and pitching a tent to send a statement to UC Regent Monica Lozano on BofA's board - respect). At 'unlawfully assemblies', people are usually extracted by a quick attack of 5+ cops, and their often 'targets' (previously-identified and profiled protesters). If the crowd is too large, they use tear-gas.
Tonight was different. When I fell behind the group, I knew they were going to arrest a very large number of peaceful protesters without declaring an unlawful assembly at the location. And then they did. I thought this shit was reserved for G20's and WTO meetings. I felt shame for being intimidated away from my rights. 'Unlawful assemblies' feel like a boot stomp on the first amendment, but this was like them wiping their ass with the constitution and force feeding it to me. 300+ were arrested, corralled below the YMCA @ 23rd and Broadway. The only announcement that was made was one I've never heard before: "You are under arrest. Submit to your arrest." The 300 protesters were then arrested, one by one. They were ziptied and sat in rows while they waited to be processed. OPD set up an entire processing station behind police lines, where they searched and identified every protester. They were slowly loaded onto buses, including local public AC transit buses. This took about 4 or 5 hours. 
A note about police militarization: I saw some big guns and scary gear tonight. Alameda County Sheriff seems to have an endless budget for that shit. But tonight I saw something much scarier, that I've never seen before. First, I saw that the police have a printed profile books of protesters. I saw a cop flipping through pictures with descriptions, talking about who on their list they've seen today. When resting in Oscar Grant Plaza, a cop was filming the plaza from a rooftop in an adjacent building. They're always filming, some have cameras on their bodies now, but this was clear spying and sophisticated intelligence gathering and analysis. Second, a very large tank on wheels, with a water cannon on top, rolled on scene. Someone said it was called a "grizzly", but I can't find a photo anywhere. help? It was massive, and I stood right next to it before they brought it behind police lines. It was a hardcore, modern urban tank. The police are funded and prepared to use a water cannon on protesters, if need be. Know that.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Whatever Rick Santorum May Think, Pregnancy From Rape Should Never Be Considered As A "Broken Gift" - PLUS: NC Representative Larry Pittman supports "public hangings for abortionists"

By Kathleen

I have been "out of the loop" the last week and happily spent a lot of time away from the internet. Still, the most outrageous statements made by the GOP presidential candidates last week were waiting for me -- drawing me in. This resulted in my either silently seething or loudly fuming at the screen of my laptop. Yes, I was vexed. And there was much to feel vexed about.

But it was Rick Santorum who caused me to feel most agitated when I watched his interview with CNN's Piers Morgan. The interview mostly focused on Santorum's views regarding rape and abortion and the advice he would give his daughter if she had been raped and significantly that she wanted an abortion because her life was ruined. Sanctimoniously, Santorum pronounced "You can make an argument that if she doesn't have this baby, if she kills her child, that too could ruin her life." Pressing further he added: 

"I believe and I think that the right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless, in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving you. As you know, in lots of different aspects of our life we have horrible things happening. I can't think of anything more horrible, but nevertheless we have to make the best of a bad situation. And that is making the best of a bad situation."


So basically Santorum's advice is "make lemonade out of lemons" because turning down a "gift" even though it is "horrible" would be a sort of churlish thing to do. God damm it woman, you are so ungrateful! Take your gift and be thankful for it. 

Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss Santorum's advice and what it means for women:


UPDATE (by Patrick):

It is worth remembering that Sarah Palin gave a very similar answer in a TV-debate during her run for Governor in Alaska in 2006. Back then, Palin said that if her daughter was raped, she "would choose life."

Afterwards moderate Republican Andrew Halcro, who is widely credited with being one of the most intelligent politicians in Alaska, provides an excellent response in this TV-debate.

Also, in a post at Palingates from December 2009, I revealed that Sarah Palin blatantly lied about the content of this particular TV-debate in her biography "Going Rogue."

Watch the clip:

Meanwhile in North Carolina, Republican Larry Pittman believes that it would be a great idea to bring back public hanging as a deterrent against murderers, rapists, kidnappers and you guessed it people who perform abortions. Pittman let his views be known in an email that he accidently sent to every member of the General Assembly of North Carolina.

Jessica Pieklo at Care2.com writes:

Pittman expressed this view in an email to every member of the North Carolina General Assembly. From Pittman’s email: “We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”

Criminalizing abortion is of course the very goal of the right, so it is no surprise to hear that a conservative lawmaker would view abortion providers as criminals. What is more telling is that Pittman’s position is quickly becoming the “center” for the right on the abortion issue. Last year alone Republicans in Nebraska, Iowa and South Carolina all pushed legislation that would essentially criminalize abortion and 2012 promises even more such measures.

And the harder to the right Republicans go on the abortion issue, the more violent their rhetoric. The more violent their rhetoric the more violent their actions. To call Pittman lumping abortion providers in with murderers and rapists as those who are first in line for a public hanging irresponsible would be generous.

Health care providers are not criminals, and it’s time conservatives get a grip and stop trying to treat them as such.

(See also the additional reporting by Think Progress about this issue.)


Pieklo makes a good point, the more violent the rhetoric the more violent the actions. What method of deterrence would Pittman advocate for those who kill doctors who provide abortions or who bomb abortion clinics? Unfortunately I doubt very much that there is any deterrence against such ingrained hate. 

Public hanging is barbaric and should not be condoned by anyone, especially not a politician. Larry Pittman has accidentally revealed that he is all for using fear as a tool to control society. No surprise there -- the GOP has been jumping on the fear train for as long as the American public has accepted it. 

So what can we expect next from the Grand Old Party? The public stoning of women who have an abortion? The lynching of gay people? The forceful breeding of women whether they want to bear children or not? Only you the American public can decide.

Let Larry Pittman know what your thoughts are on his facebook page.

His contact details at the North Carolina General Assembly.

Larry Pittman

 Larry Pittman explains his biography on facebook:

In a response to the outrage that followed after Pittman accidentially hit the "Reply to All" button and sent his email to every member of the NC General Assembly, Pittman came up with an explanation - he "got a bit carried away", because he was upset that a convicted murderer wasn't executed quickly enough:

"I was filled with anger, disgust, and frustration, as well as a profound sense of grief for the family of the young woman he killed," Pittman said of Hembree. "I felt a need to 'vent' some of these feelings and intended to do so to him alone. In the process, I got a bit carried away and overstated my case. I am sure I am not the only one who has ever done that."


Patrick and I would like to give a big shout out to Nomad who took over the running of the blog for a week while we caught up with family and friends in the UK. I am sure that you will all agree that Nomad did a great job. Thanks again, Nomad. 


Please re-tweet:






Friday, January 27, 2012

Scandal in Lock Down Mode: Rick Perry and the Texas Youth Commission 2/3

by Nomad
In the second part of this series, I will continue the story of the Texas Youth Commission scandal, how the investigation was handled (or mishandled),  and the excuses that were made .
A truth that disheartens because it is true is of more value than the most stimulating of falsehoods. - Maurice Maeterlinck
Whatever He Wanted
It took years for the Texas Youth Commission scandal to get much attention by the authorities and it took still longer to bring the accused to trial. The case had begun in February of 2005 when Texas Ranger Burzynski began looking into the allegations of sexual misconduct of juvenile inmates at a facility. The accused were the West Texas State School principal John Paul Hernandez and the West Texas State School assistant superintendent, Ray Edward Brookins

For two years, while Burzynski repeatedly tried to alert law enforcement and justice officials, all action was delayed. Clearly nobody in the governor’s administration wanted to touch the issue, especially not with Rick Perry’s 2006 re-election taking shape. Anybody could see this was dynamite and few people in the governor’s office wanted anything to do with it. Political plutonium, in other words.

An internal investigation by The Texas Youth Commission, the agency responsible for oversight of the youth incarceration facilities, was conducted. 

That report was, however, not released until after the Perry’s successful re-election on February of 2007. 

That investigation was conducted, as the introduction of the report states, “in an effort to determine how the conduct of Brookins and Hernandez went undiscovered as long as it did, given the duration of the incidents and number of youth involved.” 

The TYC’s response to the investigative report was predictable, a practice in understatement:
"There are definitely places where we had opportunities we missed," said Tim Savoy, TYC spokesman. "We regret doing that."
Ray Brookins
If the report was anything to go by, the scandal was easily preventable had it not been for a systematic failure by the authorities. The TYC was an agency begging for reform and proper oversight. For example, when Ray Brookins worked at San Saba School  (prior to the West Texas School ) there had been a number of complaints about his quality of work, that he spent too much time on the Internet and that graphic pornography had been found in his computer. Unsubstantiated rumors about unusual and suspicious contact with youth in his office also rose-even before he began working at West Texas. Despite that glaring red light, Brookins was able to apply and obtain a position as Director of Security in 2003, before being selected and transferred to West Texas. 

A few years later, when the same types of rumors began again at West Texas School, rumors about suspicious private meetings with students behind closed doors and closed blinds, reports about the unusual activity were filed but not taken seriously.  
The Administrative staff, including the Human Resources Administrator, Training Specialist and Director of Clinical Services all noticed Brookins taking youth into secluded areas to be alone with them in the evenings, weekends and holidays. Furthermore, the Assistant Principal stated that he had also noted Hernandez being alone with youths behind closed doors with lights off in May 2004. All of these people stated that they had informed Lemuel "Chip" Harrison, the superintendent of the facility of their concerns.
TYC's inspector general said Harrison received repeated reports of wrongdoing, but those reports were "not properly reported and not addressed with documented supervisory intervention by Mr. Harrison."
For this negligence, Harrison was put on probation for 90 days as a result. However, he was subsequently promoted to director of juvenile corrections for TYC. In his defense, he told reporters that he had not seen the TYC report, but, "I don't know of anybody who ever covered up anything." (The superintendent's point is that there is a difference between ignoring accountability and hiding involvement.)

Brookins indeed hadn’t tried very hard to hide things. He felt confident that he would not be challenged for his misbehavior. As one informant would later say:
“He was just like, he could do whatever he wanted,” said Anthony W. Halterman, a former correctional officer who supervised the supposed victim’s dorm. “He made it very clear.”
Ray Brookins, former assistant superintendent, and John Paul Hernandez, former principal, both resigned their jobs in 2005 in lieu of termination. At that time, no criminal charges were brought against either of them. Hernandez would later go on to become a principal for a charter school in Midland, Texas. (Laura Bush’s hometown!)

Bad Apple Excuse
And so the scandal bomb was dropped when Nate Blakeslee of The Texas Observer on February 16, 2007, reported the story. three days later, The Dallas Morning News’ Doug Swanson followed. Once the cat was out of the bag, the DMN eventually published more than seventy articles about abuse and mismanagement within the Texas Youth Commission. As one source put it:
The TYC’s culture was thoroughly corrupt: rot had spread to all thirteen of its facilities.
Pete C. Alfaro with wife

Immediately after the scandal hit the headlines, Governor Perry dismissed TYC chairman Pete C. Alfaro
Alfaro had been named to the commission by then-Governor George Bush back in 1995 and was appointed chairman by Mr. Perry in 2004. When appointed to the commission, Alfaro had been a former mayor of Baytown, Texas and a retired Exxon Mobil engineer. His other qualifications included being a charter member of the Family Selection Committee for Habitat for Humanity of Baytown, serving on the board of trustees of San Jacinto Methodist Hospital and a vice chairman of Baytown-West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation. He was a past chairman of the Bay Area Rehabilitation Center Board of Directors and the Baytown Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. As far as relevant qualifications for the job, that’s about all there is.
Predictably, Alfaro’s own response to the investigation was the oldest denial in the book and one that crops up in practically every scandal. 
"If you get a bad apple, that bad apple, like in this West Texas case, can really mess things up," Alfaro said.
The bad apple excuse didn't hold much water with most people. Many were far more adamant that this case and these revelations were only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the problems in the agency. As one former insiders told reporters,
The TYC has established a dynasty of corruption that condones the mistreatment of youth in its care," Randal Chance, a retired inspector general for the agency, said in a story in Sunday's edition of The News. "Staff are being paid your tax money to rape your children."
Essentially, Randal Chance’s assessment, while shocking and attention-getting, is accurate. Not only that, the staff had reportedly used intimidation and physical violence to guarantee that their activities would go unreported.
Since January 2000, it turned out, juvenile inmates had filed more than 750 complaints of sexual misconduct by staff. Even that number was generally thought to underrepresent the true extent of such abuse, because most children were too afraid to report it: TYC staff commonly had their favorite inmates beat up those who complained. And even when they did file grievances, the kids knew it was unlikely to do them much good. Reports were frequently sabotaged, evidence routinely destroyed.
Journalists investigating the TYC found that, according to corrections officers, “it was common for documentation of abuses—broken bones, black eyes, concussions—to go missing. Photographs of injuries would vanish from infirmary files. Logbook pages would disappear.” 
It seemed as if there was more than one bad apple in the TYC basket.

A Full Plate, Smoke Signals and Unconnected Dots

It didn’t take outside investigators very long to find that the problems at the West Texas School were not, by any means, isolated incidents or the misconduct of a single employee. There were plenty of ignored complaints from other TYC facilities across the state that would, should have led to a closer look. 
The investigations by both Sergeant Burzynski and the TYC became a catalyst for a complete long over-due statewide review of the Texas Youth Commission’s common methods of intimidation, sexual assault, and sanctioned oppression. A Houston Chronicle reporter put it this way:

What emerged in the scandal is a portrait of a state agency with thousands of physical and sexual abuse cases that are inadequately investigated and often are not properly referred to prosecutors. There also was inadequate oversight of the agency staff by its board, the governor and the Legislature, many of those involved now acknowledge.
"Our plate was so full that (TYC) was not raised to the level that it was a huge problem," said House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson. "It's probably our fault. I've got to admit a lot of guilt sometimes, saying, 'Why didn't we get involved with it more?' "
Jay Kimbaugh
As we see, even in the recrimination storm that followed, there was still a strange lack of depth and feeling. (Would they have made the same shrugs and excuses if it had been their own sons or daughters being sexually abused?) After years of apathy, now everybody wanted to be seen to be doing something.
Following the explosive news stories about the West Texas case and the failings of the Texas Youth Commission, Governor Perry on March 2, 2007, appointed Jay Kimbrough, to serve as “special master” to lead an investigation of the charges. Kimbrough had been Perry’s chief of staff and homeland security director and was described as "Gov. Rick Perry's policy point-man for almost every crisis."
Incidentally, last year, (2011), when Kimbrough was abruptly fired as counsel and deputy chancellor for Texas A & M University (for which he was paid $300,000 annually)the long-time adviser admitted brandishing a pocket knife and telling staff he would only surrender his office keys if ‘anyone is man enough to take them.’  According to the report,
Jay Kimbrough told a school attorney at Texas A&M University to ‘bring it on’ before he was escorted off campus as he was sacked from his job as deputy chancellor. As he left the grounds he quoted an Army war hero - 'I shall return!' - before riding off on his motorcycle.
What, no pepper spray?
In any case, only after news of the West Texas School broke that did the TYC see fit to halt its policy of allowing convicted felons to work as administrators in the system. In fact, the practice had actually required that prior criminal record be destroyed for hired employees.

Faced with extreme pressure and public outrage, the entire Texas Youth Commission governing board resigned on March 17, 2007. By May, Kimbrough’s investigation led to the dismissal of 66 employees with records of felony charges or arrests, including one convicted of homicide and another who had pleaded guilty to attempted murder. As an article in The New York Times reports:
“The smoke signals were clearly visible; the dots should have been connected,” said Mr. Kimbrough, faulting a variety of watchdogs, from the youth commission headquarters itself to a West Texas prosecutor, the governor’s staff and legislative officials.
And yet, the evidence had been presented to people who then refused to step in and take charge. As Mother Jones reports:
The TYC's own numbers tell the tale. The commission officially reported 535 cases of abuse at its facilities in 2002, more than double the total from just four years earlier. Likewise, the number of residents diagnosed with mental illnesses skyrocketed during that same period, from 27 percent in 1995 to nearly half in 2002. And despite his office's initial denials, top Perry staffers had been formally briefed on abuses at juvenile justice facilities as early as 2005.
Unsurprisingly, Rick Perry was desperate not to discuss that finer point. He told reporters,
"I think this 'When did you know? When did you know it? Do you think someone should have done more?' is missing the point of how are we making progress to getting these kids the protections that they need."
In fact, it was revealed in March 2007 that the governor's office had known as early as April 2004 but had carelessly dismissed the warning by former TYC Inspector General Randal Chance (mentioned above). His book, Raped by the State, outlined abuse allegations in TYC -- especially at the West Texas State School. Needless to say, the reviews from the Perry offices were not good.

Chance sent an email to Perry's office complaining that TYC employees were threatening him over his self-published book.
Chance's e-mail was forwarded to TYC by Perry criminal justice advisor Janna Burleson and copied to press secretary Kathy Walt and the general counsel's office.
An e-mail from TYC Chief of Staff Joy Anderson to the governor's office said the book was an "angry, rambling, racist, sexist attack against the agency'' and "offered little detail that would enable us to investigate further.'' Burleson wrote back: "No need to respond to him (Chance).''
Even if the book was the ramblings of a disgruntled former employee, the email exchange shows neither TYC executives nor the governor's office tried to investigate whether there was any subtance to what Chance was saying.
Chance said when he did not hear back from the governor, "I assumed they did not take it seriously.''
On Apr 10th, 2007, a grand jury, having heard evidence against accused Brookins and Hernandez, indicted them both on a total of 13 counts of sex abuse charges involving six students, ages 16 to 19. As one source reported:

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appeared in person at the grand jury proceeding. “With today’s indictments, the victims of sexual abuse at West Texas State School are a step closer to the justice they deserve,” he said, adding that his office will continue investigating possible wrongdoing at TYC facilities.
This was the very same man who had stalled and dismissed the Texas Ranger Burzynski’s original calls for an indictment some two years earlier, citing insufficient grounds.
The long and winding path of justice for the sexually abused juveniles from the West Texas School had finally begun.
In part Three of this investigation, I want to examine some of the underlying factors in this case, why, despite the fact that the rates for violent crime are dropping, the rates of incarceration are soaring. We shall also conclude the story with a review of Texas justice.