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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 12:20
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"Plain-Spoken" LePage? Hardly.

As Joan mentioned last week, there's a new TV ad produced by the Republican Governors Association airing up here in Maine that tries to sugarcoat Teapublican Governor Paul LePage's chronic foot-in-mouth disease. The ad opens with unnamed supporters praising him for being "blunt," "brutally honest" and "extremely candid."

Here's the thing: if LePage's bluntness happened in the heat of getting laws or policies enacted, that would be one thing. But that ain't the case. I'm reminded, for example, of this whopper from one year ago today:

Gov. Paul LePage told a group of Republicans last week that President Obama “hates white people,” according to two [GOP] state lawmakers who say they heard the remark directly.
WTF? That's not being blunt, candid or honest---it's just needlessly rude and racist-sounding. A few others off the top of my head:
• Told the Portland chapter of the NAACP to "Kiss my butt."
• Claimed the expansion of Medicaid, which would give 70,000 more Mainers health care coverage, is nothing less than "sinful."
Maine Governor Paul LePage
He's nasty, dishonest...
and often just gross.
• Claimed that “47 percent of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work."
• Claimed that mid-level state workers are "as corrupt as can be."
• Claimed that the worst effect of a chemical used in plastics called bisephenol A is "some women may have little beards."
• Said---out loud into a reporter's microphone---that a Democratic state senator "claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline." (Imagine a child hearing that and asking Mommy or Daddy what that means.)
• Claimed Maine "can't afford" to help eight refugee children who came to our state to stay in private homes while waiting for Immigration officials to hear their cases. Yes…eight. Children.
• Claimed the IRS is just like the Gestapo, but admitted that the agency hasn't started a holocaust---"yet."
• Calls global warming and climate change "good things happening."
If you're a Maine public employee, woman, minority, environmentalist, low-income earner, or you're unemployed because there are more people looking for work than employers looking for workers, you've been insulted by Governor LePage out of the blue, without provocation. That's not "brutally honest," as one of the people in the RGA's TV ad says. That's just nasty bullshit. Mean, stupid, thoughtless...and in some cases just gross.

We've had our share of bad governors, but never have we had one that has so quickly turned a beloved state---I mean, c'mon, who doesn't love Maine?---into a national embarrassment and late-night punchline. Oh, and a boatload of his policies suck, too.

Sane people know that we both want Democrat Mike Michaud to be our next governor…and we need Democrat Mike Michaud to be our next governor. Consider tossing him a few bucks.

I believe this is the part where I'm s'posed to write: /rant.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Bill in Portland Maine)" Tags: "Cheers and Jeers"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 12:00
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Leading Off:

FL-Gov: A new survey from Republican pollster Cherry Communications, taken on behalf of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, finds GOP Gov. Rick Scott leading Democrat Charlie Crist 41-35, with Libertarian Adrian Wyllie taking four percent. That might sound bad for Crist, but it's actually disappointing for Scott, who had a 41-38 lead in June. Yes, Crist's dropped a few points, but Scott hasn't seen his numbers improve despite a massive advertising campaign, so releasing these numbers is a bit of a bonehead move by the Florida Chamber, which has endorsed Scott.

What makes the choice even stranger is that the agreggated trendlines for all pollsters have in fact shown Scott ticking up around 4 points since March. Cherry's obviously does not show any upward movement, so the Chamber is no doubt banking that most media coverage will ignore their prior poll. They're going to have to try a lot harder to get one past us.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (David Nir)" Tags: "Adrian Wyllie, AFSCME, AK-Sen, Al Franke..."
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 12:00
Sad fish is sad that it's only Tuesday and already feels like Friday.
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Author: "rss@dailykos.com (David Waldman)" Tags: "Daily Kos Radio"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 11:38
The Washington Post:
It is good that federal authorities are conducting a thorough parallel investigation and that President Obama will dispatch Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to Ferguson this week. Federal officials should conduct their probe as quickly as possible and release as much information as they can, as soon as they can. Not only would that show more respect for the people of Ferguson than their own police have; it would apply pressure to local authorities to conduct themselves more responsibly.
The Denver Post:
President Obama's announcement Monday that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will go to a St. Louis suburb where civil unrest has erupted over a police shooting is a positive step that underscores the seriousness of the situation. […]
The editors at The St. Louis Post Dispatch reflect on the enormity of the events that have transpired over the last weeks:
Eventually, the television cameras and news reporters...will leave St. Louis, too, along with the visiting civil rights firemen, the outside hell-raisers and the self-anointed experts. The ubiquitous #Ferguson hashtag will fade.

We will be left to work this out on our own, beginning with the judicial process, including a Justice Department investigation. What does it say about St. Louis that the Justice Department doesn’t even trust a medical examiner’s autopsy? […]

This editorial page has proposed a gubernatorial Ferguson Commission to look at the events of last week and those that led up to it. We’ve proposed that St. Louis’s great universities study and make recommendations about a path forward. We believe greater educational opportunity is critical.

A generational event demands a generational response, a fundamental shift in the old way of doing things.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Georgia Logothetis)" Tags: "APR"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 04:27
Smoke trails tear gas canisters fired into the air after protests in reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown turned violent near Ferguson, Missouri August 17, 2014. Shots were fired and police shouted through bullhorns for protesters to disperse, witnes
Holding a sign and tossing a bottle prompts this kind of response in Ferguson, Missouri
Moments ago, police violence broke out again in Ferguson, Missouri, with tear gas canisters and stun grenade flying into the crowd protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown. What happened? What prompted this latest military response to the protesters? According to CNN's Jake Tapper:
Yeah, it's down near where that convenience store was before it was burned down nine days ago after the shooting of Mike Brown. There was obviously was a stand-off between protesters who were provoking the police, the militarized police, and they put up barricades in the street and it seemed like the tipping points came when one young person held up a "do not enter" sign and stood in the middle of the road challenging defiantly the presence of the police and then somebody threw a bottle.
And that prompted chaos.

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at  9:30 PM PT:

"I've been getting messed with by police my whole life." Asked his name by the media, he said, "Mike Brown." http://t.co/...


Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 9:43 PM PT: Good question. (And apparently the massive police presence is preventing a lot of people from getting back to their homes.)

"Why are they still here," Jake Tapper asks of the police. "It's like 100 members of the media and 20 protesters."

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 9:52 PM PT: CNN now showing a number of protesters being arrested, reportedly for kneeling in the street with their hands up, chanting, "It's our street, it's our hood, we're not leaving."

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 11:18 PM PT: Pathetic.

Two minutes apart. #Ferguson http://t.co/...

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 11:42 PM PT: At the end of the night:

"Tomorrow they are gonna tell u that there were people rioting in the neighborhoods. DO NOT LET THEM TELL YOU THIS STORY."  @elonjames
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Barbara Morrill)" Tags: "Ferguson Missouri, Michael Brown"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 03:00
night owls
Paul Rosenberg at Salon writes False facts and the conservative distortion machine: It’s much more than just Fox News. An excerpt:

Citizens are misinformed — often badly so. It’s not just that they lack good information — which would merely make them uninformed — they have plenty of bad information that leads them to believe untrue things. Or more likely the other way around: They believe untrue things, and that leads them to collect — even invent — bad information to flesh out what they already believe.

This was vividly illustrated by a 1991 study that found that the more people watched TV during the first Gulf War, the less they knew about fundamental issues and facts, even as they were more likely to support the war. Wanting to believe that the U.S. was involved in a noble cause, for example, only 13 percent knew that when Iraq first threatened to invade Kuwait, the U.S. said it would take no action, while 65 percent falsely “knew” that the U.S. said it would support Kuwait militarily.

Paul Rosenberg
Paul Rosenberg
But the problem is hardly limited to this one example, or to issues of war and peace more generally. Misinformation in public life isn’t the exception, it’s the rule, and researchers have been grappling with that fact, and its implications, for some time now. A new study published in Social Science Quarterly employs a “knowledge distortion index” and looks at two competing explanations for why this is so — one more top-down, the other more bottom-up — using three Washington state initiatives from the 2006 general election cycle to examine the dynamics of what is going on in this particular sort of political environment.

The study, “How Voters Become Misinformed: An Investigation of the Emergence and Consequences of False Factual Beliefs,” found that “voters’ values and partisanship had the strongest associations with distorted beliefs, which then influenced voting choices. Self-reported levels of exposure to media and campaign messages played a surprisingly limited role,” despite the presence of significantly mistaken “facts,” which were used to help construct the knowledge distortion index.

“Two of the competing theories on how people analyze political issues and develop factual beliefs are heuristics and cultural cognition,” the study’s lead author, Justin Reedy, told Salon. “Both of these theories recognize that citizens can develop distorted factual beliefs because of their political views, but they disagree about how those distortions might happen. Heuristics researchers generally think that citizens have limited attention for politics and try to process information quickly and efficiently.”
This is the more top-down approach, as we’ll soon see.

“People who are fairly politically knowledgeable can figure out whether political information and factual claims match up with their own ideology or not — and therefore whether they should accept or reject those,” Reedy explained. “Cultural cognition researchers, however, see political opinions as driven by deep-seated values about how the world works, and not contingent on someone’s political knowledge.”

Dan Kahan of Yale Law School is the figure most associated with cultural cognition approach (website here). He found the study useful. “I think it worked,” he told Salon. “It adds information.” He also found the broader project of studying the initiative process promising. “The opportunities to observe how people form their views will probably really be enhanced in many cases where there’s some kind of a high-profile referendum,” he said, “and where you can be confident that members of the electorate are engaged by it.”

“The two theories differ on the importance of media and campaign messages, too,” Reedy continued. “Heuristics theory argues that citizens need to get at least some information from the media or from a campaign itself, like endorsements from political parties or key politicians, to help them align their views with their ideology.” This is the sort of thing that campaign workers everywhere fervently believe. But they, too, could be misinformed. “Cultural cognitive theory, though, argues that citizens will get enough cues about nearly any issue in the public sphere to help them align their views on that issue with their underlying values.”

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Republican House Members Love DC:

It seems like Republican House members have decided that they'll have a better chance at reelection if they don't remind voters back home of their existence. We've seen it during this August recess while they flocked to the floor to play at being Congressmembers over drilling instead of hanging out in their districts having to deal with real constituents and real issues.

Now they've announced that they want to stay in DC all fall if that's what it will take to get a drilling bill through.

House Republicans said Monday they would refuse to consider any energy bill that came straight to the floor from the Democratic leadership’s offices, rather than working its way through committee markups — a process that can take weeks or months.
Granted, there's safety in numbers, and they like each other better than anybody else--particularly their constituents -- like them. But this would suggest they really are afraid of voters.

It also suggests that any need to find "compromise" with them on the part of House Democratic leadership is bullshit.

Tweet of the Day
if you have weed in your system, there's no telling what you're incapable of doing

On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Cantor out! Because everybody resigns on Mondays. The 18th. So we recount his chauffeured SUV story. Greg Dworkin rounds up Rick Perry indictment news, reports that evangelicals haz gots a sad, collects the latest on Iraq, things looking up on jobs, and some improvement at the VA. Back to Ferguson with stirrings on the grand jury front, John Oliver's much-discussed take, a read through Jeffrey Smith's insightful look at the Ferguson community's history, and Mark Sumner's backgrounder on the lengths to which conservative Missouri went to keep Ferguson under the boot. Finally, no, it's not just libertarians who care about this.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Open Thread for Night Owls"
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 01:30
Bill Nunn as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing
One of the most interesting things about art is how it can serve as a cultural milestone, and in many ways art proves the truth of William Faulkner's quote that "the past is never dead." This is especially true when you read a book or watch a film from two, three or even five decades ago and realize how on some issues we're still arguing over the same bullshit. While we can debate whether things are better or worse than they were, the sad truth is we're still wading through some of the same problems. So much wasted time and energy devoted to so much stupidity.

Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing just celebrated its 25th anniversary. The movie is considered by many critics to be one of the best ever made, as well as a milestone in African-American cinema. It follows a day in the life of a community in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, as racial tensions escalate after a young black man is killed by police. Do the Right Thing was very controversial when it was released in 1989, with claims the film was "anti-white" and some in the media actually warning the public that African-Americans may riot because of the movie.

But the movie is as topical and relevant as it was almost three-decades ago, especially given recent news events. Follow beneath the fold for more ....

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Doctor RJ)" Tags: "Do the right thing, irrelevant crap, Mov..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 23:00

It's not even dark yet in Ferguson, Missouri, but police are again cracking down on journalists and elderly Holocaust survivors.
SLPD arresting Getty's Scott Olson http://t.co/...
Hedy Epstein, 90+ Holocaust survivor, just arrested in #Ferguson http://t.co/...
Everything that the Ferguson police have done over the past week has been so counterproductive and over-aggressive that I'm beginning to wonder if the arrest of journalists and protestors is just part of an ongoing city grift. And I'm not the only one.

4:45 PM PT:

Getty photog Scott Olson arrested for reportedly crossing street too slowly. #Ferguson #MikeBrown http://t.co/...

Can't block streets or sidewalks when protesting. Can't cross the street "too slowly". Jaywalking gets you shot. All Ferguson law enforcement apparently revolves around ensuring smooth traffic flow.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "Ferguson, Getty, Michael Brown, Missouri..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 21:38

Leading off:

IA-Sen: Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has not had an easy campaign, but hopefully this very effective ad is a sign he's turned the corner. A veteran of the Iowa National Guard describes how his unit had its deployment in Iraq extended, but the soldiers were not paid. He praises Braley for helping fix the problem.

Some of Braley's past spots have been weak: After the primary he launched a very bland attack on Republican Joni Ernst that made it very easy for Ernst and her allies to call Braley sexist. Braley has since gotten a new media consultant. Hopefully, this new spot is a sign Braley's team has gotten things under control. Now if they can find a way to properly go after Ernst's insane views, they'll be golden.

Speaking of Ernst's insane views, the DSCC is starting to bring them up. They spend a lot of time tying Ernst to Sarah Palin, a big Ernst supporter in the primary. The narrator then describes some of Ernst's proposed ideas. It's a decent spot, but you have to wonder if swing voters really care that much about Sarah Palin almost six years after her vice-presidential bid ended. The narrator also quickly cycles through some of Ernst's plans (eliminate the national minimum wage, cut taxes for millionaires, and privatizing Social Security), so it's hard for them to really sink in.

Follow below the fold for an overview of new U.S. Senate, gubernatorial, House and ballot measure ads.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jeff Singer)" Tags: "DKE ad roundup"
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 21:38
Missouri State Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, who represents the city of Ferguson in the
state legislature, has called for Ferguson police chief to step down immediately.
After another night of clashes between police and protesters as well as some continuing violence and looting, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Monday called off a highly unpopular curfew in Ferguson, Missouri, and called in the National Guard. Civil rights groups have called the curfew unconstitutional. It was implemented after peaceful protests of the police slaying of 18-year-old Michael Brown were broken up by heavily armed riot cops firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds along with blasts from a sound cannon. Police also responded during the week in a hard-core fashion to looting and violence, at least some of which has been reported to have been the work of outsiders taking advantage of the situation. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
At his press conference after another night of violent clashes with protesters, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson said new security steps were planned but declined to detail them. In response to one of the few questions that were allowed, he said those plans were still in flux but did not include bringing in National Guard troops. But Nixon announced a short time later he would bring in those troops.
Terrific communication and coordination there. The St. Louis NAACP condemned the use of the National Guard, with Adolphus M. Pruitt, first vice president of Missouri State Conference of Branches and president of St. Louis NAACP, saying Ron Johnson, the state police captain assigned to oversee security in Ferguson, should get more time to get the job done.

The governor said in a prepared statement on calling out the guard:

Following coordinated attacks last night both on civilians and law enforcement officers, I signed an executive order directing the Missouri National Guard to help restore peace and order in Ferguson. The Guard's immediate and limited responsibilities under the direction of Colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are to provide protection, and ensure the safety of our Unified Command Center, which was the target last night of a coordinated attack. The Guard will concentrate its resources on carrying out this limited mission. [...]

Again, I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning the violent acts we saw last night, including the firing upon law enforcement officers, the shooting of a civilian, the throwing of Molotov cocktails, looting and a coordinated attempt to overrun the unified Command Center.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP Legal Defense fund, the Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law and 11 other organizations issued a joint statement Monday objecting to "the suspension of constitutional rights in Ferguson" and making several recommendations.

Please read below the fold to see the civil rights organizations' remarks:

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Ferguson Missouri, Jon Belmar, Maria Cha..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 21:30
A riot police officer aims his weapon while demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri August 13, 2014. Police in Ferguson fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse protesters late on Wednesday, on the fou
All those tea partiers complaining that Obamacare is turning America into a police state could learn a thing or two from this story:
It was around 2 a.m. Sunday, two hours after the new curfew mandated for Ferguson, Mo., but [Joshua] Hampton was sitting in his own car, smoking a cigarette in his aunt’s driveway. He thought he was obeying the law. [...] suddenly, Hampton says, his car was surrounded by police. “Put your [expletive] hands up!” he says they told him. [...]

“They kept telling me to get out of the car, but I didn’t want to make any kind of movement,” Hampton, 30, told The Post in a phone interview Sunday.

Hampton was one of seven people—five of whom had protested earlier in the day, all peacefully—arrested for violating the curfew. It's exactly the kind of thing you should be worried about if you're worried about a state abusing its power. And if that was really the tea party's concerns, they'd be standing right by Hampton's side. But they're not, they won't.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "Ferguson"
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 20:00
DKos Miner 14
The following diaries are examples of this week's Election Diary Rescue. This post features a collection of 49 diaries.

(Var-Sen) WV & OR-Sen: Meet The Two Female GOP Candidates Who Really Don't Support Equal Pay by poopdogcomedy - Republicans Shelley Moore Capito (WV) and Dr. Monica Wehby (OR) seem to be in the dark ages compared to their demorcratic opponents Natalie Tennant (WV) and Jeff Merkley (OR).

(VA-07) David Brat as a "Libertarian Catholic" is an Oxymoron by Frank Cocozzelli - The Tea Partier who defeated Eric Cantor in the Virginia primary is reportedly a convert to Catholicism. Who has apparently not yet encountered the church's social teachings...

(HI-Gov) Historic Upset Ejects Incumbent Hawaii Governor by nicoleweddington - Never before in Hawaiian politics has a Democrat incumbent governor been defeated. Yet this past Saturday, Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige crushed current Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the gubernatorial primaries.

November: The Democratic Party v The Tea Party by LaFeminista - The immigration debate signaled the final collapse of what was the Republican Party into the fearful hate filled realm of the Tea Party. Democrats can give the people a clear and honest differential and they will vote. Or we can do our usual and follow them ever rightwards and probably lose again.

This is the 32nd weekly edition of Election Diary Rescue. It covers rescued down-ticket election diaries published from Sunday, August 10 through Saturday, August 16. We hope you enjoy the following gems dug up by our dedicated team of miners.

VOLUNTEER ALERT! As the election approaches we will be switching back to our traditional daily schedule for producing this blog. We will need a few good Kossacks to join the team.

Please e-mail us if you would like the opportunity to contribute to this legacy project. DKosEDR@gmail.com.

Diaries: (49)
Senate: (12) posts, (5) states
House: (9) posts, (7) states, (9) districts
State and more: (20)
General: (8)

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Election Diary Rescue)" Tags: "Congress, Down-ticket, EDR, Elections, H..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 19:41
Demonstrators Aaron Little (R), Gianni Cook (C) and Troy Jones hold signs while protesting against the death of black teenager Michael Brown, outside St Louis County Circuit Clerk building in Clayton, Missouri August 12, 2014. Police said Brown, 18, was s
Sorry, conservative pundits bored now.
America's premiere surviving pro-segregation magazine just cannot figure out why there's so much fuss about these unarmed black teenagers getting shot by police or police wanna-bees.
Possibly the most sickening thing about America is its racial selectivity. White person kills white person. Zzzzz. Black person kills black person. Zzzzz. Black person kills white person. Zzzzz. White person kills black person — the world stops. Or explodes.
Or it might have to do with the circumstances of individual killings, but thinking about these things is haaaard and somebody's late for their afternoon pudding. Besides, all this anger over unarmed teenagers being shot is just so damn boring.
Michael Brown’s life or Trayvon Martin’s life would be just as valuable if a person of a different color had done the shooting. But we would not know the victims’ names, of course. [...]

I realize that Al Sharpton, Rand Paul, and the rest of America can’t react to the fall of every sparrow. And I know full well about the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. But maybe we could mix it up a little, for variety’s sake?

All right, America, you've heard the man. Your stories of racial tensions and distrust and ongoing segregation and unarmed black Americans being shot down are officially boring now. Bring him a story of a dead unarmed white guy shot by cops and maybe he'll feel refreshed enough to care again. Maybe. Probably not.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "Civil Rights, Conservatives, Ferguson, M..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 19:33
Common Ground Public Relations staff
H/T @nealcarter on Twitter:
The town of #Ferguson has hired a PR firm with a equal racial makeup of their police force http://t.co/... http://t.co/...
Is it possible for city leadership in Ferguson to be more clueless? You're doing a heckuva job, Fergie. Heckuva job.
We are providing short-term assistance to the City of Ferguson's media relations dept. in fielding media inquiries during this tragic time.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jen Hayden)" Tags: "Ferguson, Institutional Racism, Missouri..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 19:10
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Midday Open Thread"
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 18:26
Police standing over body of Michael Brown, post-assassination.
They see no problems here.
Yes, there are demonstrations in St. Louis in support of the officer that shot Michael Brown.
About 150 people gathered for an afternoon demonstration in downtown St Louis, 12 miles southeast of Ferguson, where Michael Brown, 18, was shot repeatedly by Darren Wilson last Saturday afternoon. Some wielded placards with messages defending the 28-year-old officer and his family. [...]

Sunday’s demonstrators said that they wanted to draw a contrast with what organisers called the “other side” – those seeking justice for Brown, who have mounted repeated nights of protest in which some threw bottles and rocks at heavily armed police, who have themselves repeatedly fired teargas and rubber bullets.

The protesters consisted of 150-ish lily white residents and one Black Republican Running for Something. The Black Republican Running For Something made darn sure the reporter got his message out.
“People are too quick to play the race card,” said Baker, 44, on widespread claims by black residents Ferguson residents that they are subjected to institutional racism by the city’s almost unanimously white authorities. “Lawlessness knows no colour.”

Baker said the demonstrators in Ferguson “want to see more crime, they want to see things get disrespectful. And there are some of us who refuse to allow it to happen”.

Expect that guy to be booked on Fox News before you finish reading this sentence. The rest of the crowd shared similar sentiments about how terrible this has all been for St. Louis:
“Ferguson will now be forced to hire 10 African American police officers just because of this terrible ordeal,” said Damon Andersen of Imperial City, Missouri. “Let the black officers see how difficult it is to try and deal with the black criminals on the beat they are patrolling.”
Now that's the sort of top-notch political analysis you can usually only hear from someone wearing a pillowcase over their head.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Hunter)" Tags: "Civil Rights, Ferguson, Law Enforcement,..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 18:22
The Nebraska State Patrol Light Armored Vehicle LAV 150
The Nebraska State Patrol Light Armored Vehicle LAV 150. It's one of the military items that
Rep. Hank Johnson has proposed to prohibit the Pentagon from passing along to local and state police.
The Pentagon's program of giving away surplus military hardware to state and local police agencies has been going on for a long time. Since 2006, the Pentagon has transferred 867 armored vehicles, 533 aircraft and 93,763 machine guns to local and state law enforcement. As noted here last week, there are some in Congress who want to cease handing over this matériel to local cops.

But, as Jed Lewison points out, the last time there was a vote, just two months ago, less than 15 percent of the House approved a proposal to defund the program. The question is whether what's happened in Ferguson, Missouri, in the past eight days and nights will make a difference when Rep. Hank Johnson's proposed legislative reform in that program gets a vote. Or if it even will get a vote.

The Georgia Democrat's proposal would scale back the program considerably. It would take out references to the war on drugs from existing law as contained in 10 U.S. Code §2576a and require annual reports from the secretary of defense about who got what. Among the items no longer transferable to local law enforcement:

(A) Automatic weapons not generally recognized as particularly suitable for law enforcement purposes, including those that are .50 caliber or greater.
(B) Tactical vehicles, including highly mobile multi-wheeled vehicles, armored vehicles, and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles.
(C) Armored drones.
(D) Aircraft.
(E) Flash-bang or stun grenades.
(F) Silencers.
The question is whether the invading-army appearance of the police presence in Ferguson could, just maybe, have sparked a new (and lasting) attitude among rank-and-file Americans about the unacceptability of militarization of local police forces that many were oblivious to previously. And whether such an attitude shift will also take place in Congress. No way the latter will happen without an aggressive activist push. And, while crucial, getting rid of the Pentagon's hardware giveaways is just one piece of action needed to redress the situation, although it is an excellent place to start.

The Pentagon's program, called 1033 from the section of the defense spending authorization that it is part of, had its origins in 1990 in the war on drugs. The idea was to give police forces weaponry and related gear so they could effectively confront better-armed gangs while absorbing Pentagon "surplus." At the time, the most commonly carried firearms of all but a few police forces were still six-shooters and shotguns.

There are more details below the orange tendrils of tear gas.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Meteor Blades)" Tags: "Hank Johnson, Militarization of Police, ..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 18:11
With tensions still running very high in Ferguson, Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon ordered National Guard units to the area in an effort to restore calm—and confidence—in the community. It would be hard for the guard to do worse than the local police, whose heavy-handed, confrontational tactics and shocking insensitivity only served to incite conflict. And if the Missouri National Guard wants to do better, it could try taking a page from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. In April 2003, the 101st's quick thinking, incredible restraint and a profound show of respect helped prevent a massacre in the Iraqi city of Najaf.

On April 3rd, 2003, Lt. Col. Chris Hughes, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, led his troops into Najaf to pursue Fedayeen fighters. But as they approached the Imam Ali mosque, one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam, angry crowds took to the streets. Many feared that the mosque would be destroyed and that the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, under house arrest for 20 years by Saddam Hussein, would be captured or killed.

What happened next wasn't a massacre, but among the finest moments for the United States in the entire war. As the New Yorker reported:

At that moment, an American officer stepped through the crowd holding his rifle high over his head with the barrel pointed to the ground. Against the backdrop of the seething crowd, it was a striking gesture--almost Biblical. "Take a knee," the officer said, impassive behind surfer sunglasses. The soldiers looked at him as if he were crazy. Then, one after another, swaying in their bulky body armor and gear, they knelt before the boiling crowd and pointed their guns at the ground. The Iraqis fell silent, and their anger subsided. The officer ordered his men to withdraw.
CNN described the scene of Hughes' cultural empathy and heroic restraint that won over the crowd and prevented what seemed like a certain loss of life on a large scale:
He yelled to his troops: "Smile, relax." Then he commanded his soldiers to take a knee and point their weapons to the ground. Some Iraqis backed off and sat down. But many more continued to yell and block the road.

"We're going to withdraw out of this situation and let them defuse it themselves," he told his troops through a loudspeaker. "All vehicles turn around."

Continued reading about the Najaf massacre that never happened below.
Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jon Perr)" Tags: "Ferguson, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq,..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 17:45

The training video at the top of this post isn't from the U.S. military preparing for action in Afghanistan—it's not even from Ferguson, Missouri. It's from Doraville, Georgia, population 8,842, and home to a police department with a fully stocked SWAT team to defend a community that has had one murder in the last 5 years.

Doraville's police department is one of the dozens of law enforcement agencies in Georgia that have received $200 million in military equipment from the Department of Defense through a program designed to supply local governments with excess weaponry. This program is a big part of the reason that it's becoming harder to tell police departments apart from Special Forces teams, and if Congress wanted to put it to a halt, they could.

But the last time the issue came up in the House—just two months ago—Republicans and Democrats alike voted to continue funneling military equipment to local police departments. Just 43 Democrats and 19 Republicans voted in favor of curtailing the program. But that needn't been the final story: If Congress wants help end the trend of turning police departments into military forces, it could vote to end the Department of Defense program. And if it fails to act, then it's getting exactly what it asked for.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Jed Lewison)" Tags: "Congress, Ferguson, Military"
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 17:42
An outline of the voting precincts in St. Louis County marked
Ferguson's voting precincts in St. Louis County. These precincts went 83 percent for Obama in 2008.

A consistent subplot to the horrors in Ferguson over the past week has been a consistent sense of wonder at how a city that has, over the past two decades, become a majority-black community could have a white mayor, a majority-white city council, and an almost universally white police force.

That wonder emanates from two simple facts: the city's population is more than two-thirds African American, and the voting precincts that make up the greater Ferguson area are overwhelmingly black and Democratic. And yet the political power structure in the city is white, and the mayor is not only white, he is a Republican.

As two must-read articles (one by Ian Millhiser of Think Progress, the other by Jeff Smith in the New York Times) affirm, the answer, in part, is electoral politics.

It would not be a stretch to say that municipal elections, in no small part, are rigged. Not in the classic "stolen election" sense, of course, but rigged in the sense that a number of factors, chief among them their scheduling, of all things, ensure that political change comes to communities at a snail's pace, if at all.

Please read more on this story below the fold.

Author: "rss@dailykos.com (Steve Singiser)" Tags: "Elections, Ferguson"
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