They’re Idiots. Dangerous Idiots — But Still Idiots.

malheur militia show biz danziger
(Jeff Danziger’s website)

First, the earnest truth from Mr. Charles P. Pierce…

This is an act of armed sedition against lawful authority. That is all that it is, and that is quite enough. This is not “an expression of anti-government sentiment.” Flipping off the governor as he drives by is “an expression of anti-government sentiment.” What Alex Jones does every day is “an expression of anti-government sentiment,” and god bless them all for it. That’s what the Founders had in mind. This is not an “occupation” following “a peaceful protest.” That would be all those folks who got bludgeoned and pepper-sprayed out of Zuccotti Park a couple of years back. (And when exactly did ABC News decide it wasn’t a news organization anymore?) These are men with guns who have declared themselves outside the law. These are men with guns who have taken something that belongs to all of us. These are traitors and thieves who got away with this dangerous nonsense once, and have been encouraged to get away with it again, and they draw their inspiration not solely from the wilder fringes of our politics, either. Ammon Bundy and his brothers should have been thrown in jail after they gathered themselves in rebellion the first time.

This is another step down the road that leads to the broken shell of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. There are respectable people in our respectable politics who have been shamefully silent on the subject, and there are respectable people in our respectable media who seem terrified of calling this what it is. You want an example of the deadening effect of “political correctness” in our politics? Watch what the people running for president have to say about this episode. Look at how it is being framed already—or ignored entirely—by the elite political media. There is a constituency for armed rebellion in this country that is larger than any of our respectable political and social institutions want to admit. It is fueled by reckless, ambitious people who engage in reckless, ambitious rhetoric…

There is no actual tyranny in this country against which to take up arms. There is bureaucratic inertia. There is pigheaded bureaucracy. There even is political chicanery. But there is no actual tyranny in the Endangered Species Act, or in the Bureau of Land Management, or in the Environmental Protection Agency, or in the Affordable Care Act, or in IRS dumbassery, or even in whatever it is that the president plans to say about guns in the next week or so. Anyone who argues that actual tyranny exists is a dangerous charlatan who should be mocked from the public square. Anyone who argues that there is out of political ambition, or for their own personal profit, should be shunned by decent people until they regain whatever moral compass they once had…

malheur konstatutionamalism ohman

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
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But still… Albert Burneko, in the Concourse, on “Those Jamokes in Oregon”:

The American political lexicon has an appropriate word for the armed men conspicuously loitering in part of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge instead of going home. It is not terrorist or militia or occupation or revolution or movement or front or army or resistance. The word is jamoke. “Get a load of these sad jamokes!” is the thing you say about them…

Imagine the grade of sad, stunted halfwit who decks himself out in paramilitary regalia and lethal weaponry to stage a sit-in at what is for all intents and purposes a remote wildlife park’s visitor’s center. Okay, men, when I kick in the door, you three move on the 74-year-old v0lunteer who shows the birdwatching slideshow to elementary-school field trip groups; if she makes a move, be ready to take her down with force. The rest of us will establish a defensive position behind the cardboard beaver. If bigger goobers than these exist on our planet, you identify them by the bruises from where they poked themselves in the eye while trying to pick their noses…

Here is the thing. These men are not frightening. They are jamokes. They are exactly jamokes. Their guns, on the other hand, are very frightening—for precisely and entirely the same reason and to absolutely the same degree that those same guns would be frightening in the hands of toddlers. Not because the people holding those guns are serious, but because the people holding those guns are not serious.

This, my good buddies, is the entire American pro-gun argument made (embarrassing, oh my God so fucking embarrassing) flesh. A big scary gun lends a degree of real power even to the variety of sad, corny-ass loser who invades and occupies what is essentially a fancy birdhouse in the name of ending tyranny. That is the whole reason to have a big scary gun. Not as a safeguard against home invaders or the totalitarian state, but as a safeguard against a clear-eyed reckoning with plain reality. A gun is—or at least these jamokes hope it is—a Get Out Of Getting Laughed At Free card. When you call these horse’s asses “terrorists,” you are not only dignifying their ridiculous, impotent actions, you are doing them the biggest favor for which they can hope…

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Bevin Makes His Move

As promised, newly elected Kentucky GOP Gov. Matt Bevin announced today that the plan is to scrap Medicaid expansion for 400,000 Kentuckians and to replace it with…something…in 2017.

Bevin, who campaigned on a pledge to reshape Medicaid and the expansion under the Affordable Care Act, said it will take time to change the program but he expects to succeed.

“We are going to transform the way Medicaid is delivered in Kentucky,” Bevin said.

Bevin has enlisted the help of Mark Birdwhistell, a former secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services under former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Birdwhistell, vice president for health services at the University of Kentucky, said he’s ready for the challenge.

“The people of Kentucky need a Medicaid system that is affordable and sustainable,” he said.

Bevin and Birdwhistell said Kentucky will begin work on a waiver they will ask the federal government to approve to let Kentucky establish its own Medicaid plan, as Indiana and some other states have done.

They expect to introduce the plan in 2017.

Bevin Wednesday morning voiced support for a Medicaid waiver system similar to the one used by Indiana to hold down costs and said an effort during the coming six months will show “whether this will work or not.”

Bevin went on to blame former Gov. Steve Beshear for getting Kentucky into an “unsustainable” Medicaid expansion which he called a “lie”, and mentioned Indiana’s Healthy Insurance Plan program as the model, which of course leaves the question “If Indiana’s Medicaid expansion replacement plan is working so well, why is GOP Gov. Mike Pence so upset about it being evaluated?”

Richard Mayhew can probably answer way more about this than I can, but so far to me it looks like Bevin is trying to set up Steve Beshear (and of course President Obama) to blame when a “workable alternative” to the current expansion magically fails to materialize six months down the road.

 

Richard Mayhew here: I am even more cynical than Zandar but more optimistic.  Bevin looks like he is setting up a committee to set up a committee.  It is a bureaucratic dodge as every hospital executive in the state has talked to Bevin’s people by now and told them they need Medicaid expansion to balance their books.  What will happen is the alternative plan will be more punitive, more confusing and more expensive than a straight up expansion but it will still cover 400,000 or more people in the summer of 2017.  It just won’t be called Medicaid Expansion, it will be Bevin AwesomeCare with Health Savings Accounts and Personal Responsibility Initiative Points.



Dispatches From Bevinstan

The Kaiser Family Foundation discovers the problem with Kentucky and Medicaid expansion here now that Matt Bevin has taken office.

Majorities of Democrats (89%), Independents (75%), and even Republicans (54%) want to keep the state’s Medicaid expansion as is.

Of the people who voted for Matt Bevin last month, 50% want him to cut Medicaid.

My problem is with the 42% of Bevin voters who expect Bevin to keep Medicaid as is.  “Bevin won’t take coverage away from me“, they said. “Just, you know, those people.”  And Bevin may in fact figure out a way to do it.

But my guess is there’s going to be a substantial chunk of Bevin voters who are going to find out the hard way that when politicians tell you exactly who they are, you should believe them…



Sow The Trump, Reap The Whirltrump

The Trump campaign, not racist or anything, just number one with white supremacists as Team WIN THE MORNING accidentally commits journalism to tell us.

The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.

As hate group monitors at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League warn that Trump’s rhetoric is conducive to anti-Muslim violence, white nationalist leaders are capitalizing on his candidacy to invigorate and expand their movement.

“Demoralization has been the biggest enemy and Trump is changing all that,” said Stormfront founder Don Black, who reports additional listeners and call volume to his phone-in radio show, in addition to the site’s traffic bump. Black predicts that the white nationalist forces set in motion by Trump will be a legacy that outlives the businessman’s political career. “He’s certainly creating a movement that will continue independently of him even if he does fold at some point.”

Yes, that movement is called “The Republican Party” as Bloomberg News reminds us.

Almost two-thirds of likely 2016 Republican primary voters favor Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., while more than a third say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Those are some of the findings from a Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies PulsePoll, an online survey conducted Tuesday, that shows support at 37 percent among all likely general-election voters for the controversial proposal put forward by the Republican front-runner.

“We believe these numbers are made up of some people who are truly expressing religious bigotry and others who are fearful about terrorism and are willing to do anything they think might make us safer,” Doug Usher, who runs polling for Washington-based Purple Strategies, said in his analysis of the findings. “This indicates that, despite some conventional wisdom expressed in the last 48 hours, this is unlikely to hurt Trump at least in the primary campaign.”

Why would it, when the entire party is currently running a dozen nativist assholes for President and has been as loudly and as boldly racist as possible for a long time and virulently so since Barack Obama came on the national scene?  Why would it when a bunch of Republican governors are trying to kick brown people out of their states? Why would it when you have a racist asshole base that finds Trump’s nuclear-powered foghorn hate speech towards anyone darker than a paper bag a refreshing reason to vote for the guy?

Trump is not the cause, he is the inevitable result of today’s GOP, and much like herpes the body politic breaks out in overt racism and produces pustules like The Donald time and time again in American history, it’s just a matter of how big they get and how sick we get before they are lanced.  The names are different, the disease remains the same, and America has been infected with it since the start, kids.

The fact is if he was the GOP nominee, he’d get 45% of the popular vote minimum. Maybe he’d lose 55-45 to Clinton or Sanders, but maybe not. And if anything, Trump is heavy cover for the kinder, gentler racist fascism of Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and the rest of the GOP. The country club section of the party on their fainting couches saying that Trump doesn’t represent them were very happy to support calls to limit Middle Eastern immigration to Christians.

Trump is just the latest face on this evil Mr. Potato Head of nativist hatred, the problem is with all the Republicans who like the cut of his jib…and oh yeah, the Democrats looking the other way and/or still playing the “not a dime’s worth of difference” game.

We’re just going to have to weed out the garden again, and that’s going to take work.  It’s what we do, but damn it would be nice if we just got a backhoe and dug up the whole place one of these decades, huh.



Post-Racial America Update, Alabama Edition

So it turns out that even Southern state cops have their limits when it comes to racism, and that the systematic planting of evidence by cops on black men in Dothan, Alabama for the last couple of decades has finally become too much to bear.

Members of a narcotics investigation squad for the police department in Dothan, Alabama planted drugs and weapons on young black men since the mid-1990s with the approval of their superiors — one of whom is currently the state’s Assistant Director of Homeland Security.

According to the Henry County Report, Andy Hughes was a sergeant in the department while overseeing the unit. But he was also a leader in a neo-Confederate group comprised by squad members, along fellow supervisor Steve Parrish. Parrish, at the time a lieutenant, is currently the city’s police chief.

Documents obtained by the Alabama Justice Project indicate that Parrish and Hughes are frequently mentioned in an internal affairs investigation. However, then-Police Chief John White and District Attorney Doug Valeska did not notify federal or state officials regarding the probe, as is required by department policy.

What we basically have here is white supremacists running the Dothan PD, planting evidence on black men to send them to prison, and getting promoted for it.  One is now chief of the Dothan PD, the other is now the state’s Assistant Director of Homeland Security.  Internal affairs investigations were flat out covered up.  The full story linked above is devastating as several officers have agreed to come forward to support a federal investigation.

The documents shared reveal that the internal affairs investigation was covered up to protect the aforementioned officers’ law enforcement careers and keep them from being criminally prosecuted.

Several long term Dothan law enforcement officers, all part of an original group that initiated the investigation, believe the public has a right to know that the Dothan Police Department, and District Attorney Doug Valeska, targeted young black men by planting drugs and weapons on them over a decade. Most of the young men were prosecuted, many sentenced to prison, and some are still in prison. Many of the officers involved were subsequently promoted and are in leadership positions in law enforcement. They hope the mood of the country is one that demands action and that the US Department of Justice will intervene.

The group of officers requested they be granted anonymity, and shared hundreds of files from the Internal Affairs Division. They reveal a pattern of criminal behavior from within the highest levels of the Dothan Police Department and the district attorney’s office in the 20th Judicial District of Alabama. Multiple current and former officers have agreed to testify if United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch appoints a special prosecutor from outside the state of Alabama, or before a Congressional hearing. The officers believe that there are currently nearly a thousand wrongful convictions resulting in felonies from the 20th Judicial District that are tied to planted drugs and weapons and question whether a system that allows this can be allowed to continue to operate.

Members of the Henry County Report have spent weeks analyzing the documents. The originals, secured at an N.G.O. in Canada, are being shared directly with attorneys in the U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division, and are being made available to the lawyers of those falsely convicted that seek to clear their names.

You are nuts if you think this is the only police department where this is going on, too.  Once again, hundreds of black men wrongfully and systematically imprisoned by police and investigations into it were ignored or covered up.  Loretta Lynch and the DoJ need to be all over this.  A thousand wrongful convictions just in one Alabama city? What about the rest of the country?

It’s insanity, and it proves once again that systematic racism is alive and well in America and has been for a very, very long time.



Post-Racial America Update

The only thing I’m surprised about when it comes to five Black Lives Matter activists at a vigil in Minneapolis being shot last night by a couple of white men is that it took this long to happen.

Five protesters were shot late Monday night near the Black Lives Matter encampment at the Fourth Precinct police station in north Minneapolis, according to police.

Those who were shot sustained non-life-threatening injuries, said police spokesman John Elder in a statement.

Miski Noor, a media contact for Black Lives Matter, said “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.”

One of the three counterdemonstrators wore a mask, said Dana Jaehnert, who had been at the protest site since early evening.

When about a dozen protesters attempted to herd the group away from the area, Noor said, they “opened fire on about six protesters,” hitting five of them. Jaehnert said she heard four gunshots.

The shootings occurred at 10:45 p.m. on Morgan Avenue N. about a block north of the precinct station.

The attackers fled. No arrests had been made by midnight Monday. Police said via their Twitter feed that they are searching for three white male suspects.

I used to live in the Twin Cities area and still have friends there.  Minneapolis is a great city, too.  It’s a shame that this happened, and it’s a shame that Jamar Clark had to die to police in the first place, the reason for the vigil.

The protesters, angry over the fatal police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15, have maintained a presence outside the police station ever since.

Eddie Sutton, Jamar’s brother, issued this statement early Tuesday morning in response to the shootings:

“Thank you to the community for the incredible support you have shown for our family in this difficult time. We appreciate Black Lives Matter for holding it down and keeping the protests peaceful. But in light of tonight’s shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th precinct ended and onto the next step.”

I’m thinking the assholes who did this want to go to the “next step” too.



Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated

Well gosh, that sure didn’t take long, did it?

A top Tennessee Republican lawmaker believes the time has come for the National Guard to round up any Syrian refugees who have recently settled in the state and to stop any additional Syrian refugees from entering Tennessee.

“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can,” said House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin, referencing refugees.

“I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.’ “

Hell, we might seriously get to “Round up all the Muslims!” before Thanksgiving at this rate.

Nothing has changed since 9/11.  Nothing.