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Matt Taibbi:

‘Even people on Wall Street were blown away.’

“The decision to not prosecute in this instance belies everything that the government has ever done with regard to drug prosecutions everywhere. I mean, when you think about the way they behave toward ordinary people who get caught up in drug cases, where they seize all your property and they use absolutely the maximum sentences they can possibly avail themselves of, and in this case they catch a bank that launders billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels … for years on end, and they can’t find something to charge these people with?”

“If the law doesn’t apply equally to everybody, then you don’t really have a system of law. And so you have a built-in defense for everybody in every drug case forever. I mean, if you get caught with a stem of marijuana, how do you not stand up and say, ‘You’re going to send me to jail for this where a guy who laundered a billion dollars for a bunch of murderers gets nothing?’”


This is really nuts:

An Indiana man convicted of setting fire to a mosque in Ohio told a judge on Wednesday that he committed the crimes because Fox News and conservative talk radio had convinced him that “most Muslims are terrorists.”

Randolph Linn, 52, accepted a plea deal in which he pled guilty to all charges in connection to setting a fire in the prayer room at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo on Sept. 30. Under the deal, Linn is expected to serve 20 years in prison instead of 40.

Linn explained to the court that he had gotten “riled up” after watching Fox News.

“And I was more sad when Judge [Jack] Zouhary asked him that, ‘Do you know any Muslims or do you know what Islam is?’” one mosque member who attended the hearing recalled to WNWO. “And he said, ‘No, I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio.’”

“Muslims are killing Americans and trying to blow stuff up,” Linn also reportedly told the judge. “Most Muslims are terrorists and don’t believe in Jesus Christ.”

Linn claimed that he had consumed 45 beers in the 6 hours before leaving his Indiana home to set fire to the mosque, which he had discovered while working as a truck driver.

After his arrest on Oct. 2, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ava Dusten said that Linn had told officers, “Fuck those Muslims… They would kill us if they got the chance.”

Linn is due back in court on April 16, 2013 for a formal sentencing.

Mormon feminists

The older I get, the less respect I have for most organized religion. I give these women credit for breaking out of the Mormon rut, but damn. In the United States in 2012, this is a feminist statement? It only shows how far their church has to go:

LAS VEGAS — A call for Mormon women to wear pants to church, begun this month by a small group of women, has stretched across the globe, but not before creating a backlash and even generating death threats.

“Wear Pants to Church,” an event on Sunday, was meant to draw attention to the role of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, using attire as a symbolic first salvo in a larger struggle over gender inequalities.

Though the Mormon Church has no official policy against women wearing pants to church, many say they feel peer pressure to wear a dress, particularly in the Western United States, organizers said. So on Sunday, thousands of Mormon women arrived at church in pants in places like Cambridge, England; Heidelberg, Germany; Austin, Tex.; the Marshall Islands; and Kotzebue, Alaska. A number of the women posted their photos on Facebook and other Web sites. Others said they could not participate because they were fearful of ridicule or reprimand.

A Google map, begun so women could show they participated, included posts like this one, from Kari White, in Sheboygan, Wis.: “felt free to be an authentic me for the first time in my nearly 5 years of membership in the church.”

Joanna Brooks, a professor at San Diego State University and the author of “The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith,” called it “the largest concerted Mormon feminist effort in history.”

Skin in the game? Sorry, no skin left!

Here’s what I think of all this crap about “shared sacrifice” and “skin in the game”: We already have so much damned skin in the game, we’re flayed.

And to us, it’s not a game, anyway!

We’re the people who lost our jobs, our savings, our healthcare, our home equity (and in many cases, our homes). Our public and private pensions have been pillaged, and for far too many of us, all we have left is Social Security and Medicare.

What are we willing to put on the table? Frankly, not another damned thing. Why should we? We’re not the millionaires and billionaires. We’re not the bankers who crashed the economy and walked off scot-free and richer than ever.

Hey, here’s a bright idea. Why not cut Social Security?

“It’s not a cut,” they say. Really? What would you call it if a Republican president was trying to impose this on us? This is a solution in search of a problem.

I am so thoroughly disgusted by the charade of what’s going on. Nancy Pelosi is saying the chained Consumer Price Index will contribute to the “strengthening” of Social Security. Sure it will — in the same sense that Bush’s Blue Skies act stopped air pollution, I guess. If it will indeed strengthen Social Security, why is the White House pretending that the Republicans are forcing them into it? What’s the part, then, that Pelosi says she’s “not crazy about”?

Our democracy is now so perverted that our “leaders” no longer bother to pay us the compliment of wooing us to support what they propose. Instead, they hide behind the skirts of deeply dishonest ploys like the chained CPI. This is the coward’s cut — it hurts the most vulnerable, and pretends to be a tweak.

Oh, and it raises taxes on those who make less than $40,000 a year.

Once again: What does Social Security have to do with the deficit? That’s it in a nutshell. You don’t have to argue against people who insist changing the COLA formula to one that doesn’t count heating oil or healthcare costs is an accurate reflection of the elderly’s expenses. All you have to do is get an answer to that question: Why are we cutting Social Security when it has nothing to do with the deficit?

And all this is President Obama’s response to an election in which he claimed that he would “protect” Social Security and Medicare. He used weasel words that fooled people. But what he’s doing now is so cynical, so manipulative, that if he gets away with it, he will cause real harm to the very idea of democracy.

And I don’t say it lightly. This paternalistic politician has consulted with his corporatist friends and from the very beginning, has been determined to find a way to cut Social Security. For our own good, of course!

Why? Who does he really work for — us, or Pete Peterson?

And why is the president is only pushing for a two-year extension on the debt ceiling? Gee, wouldn’t be because he’ll have another lame duck session and can go back for the cuts he couldn’t get the first time, would it?

The thing that kept Social Security safe and sound for so many years is that politicians were afraid to touch it. When a Democratic president not only accepts, but encourages cuts in the crown jewel of Democratic policy, how much easier will it be to hack at it in administrations to come? All they have to do is point to President Obama.

You need to call. If you’ve already called, call again. This is our only chance to scare our elected officials into representing us for a change.

White House 202-456-1111
Your senators
Your House member.

No cuts to Social Security.

The stupidity of Social Security cuts

Robert Reich:

The median income of Americans over 65 is less than $20,000 a year. Nearly 70 percent of them depend on Social Security for more than half of this. The average Social Security benefit is less than $15,000 a year.

Even Social Security’s current cost-of-living adjustment understates the true impact of inflation on elderly recipients, who spend far more on health care than anyone else – including annual increases in Medicare premiums.

Hands off Social Security. If the Republicans are willing to raise tax rates on high earners but demand more spending cuts in return, the President should offer larger cuts in defense spending and corporate welfare.

Village Voice

Finally, they’re bringing their sex ads in line with their human rights value.

Uh uh

I guess I’ll have to move to Florida, where it’s cooler.

Chuck Hagel

David Swanson on why we should support him for Secretary of Defense.


Plain fucking crazy:

A Florida man defended his decision to shoot an impatient pizza customer over the weekend, citing the state’s infamous “Stand Your Ground” law.

Michael Jock, a 52-year-old resident of St. Petersburg, was standing in line behind 49-year-old Randall White at a local Little Caesars on Sunday when Jock grew angry over White’s complaints about the speed of service. The two got began to shove one another, prompting Jock to pull out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver that had been concealed on his person and fire twice, hitting White both times in the lower torso.

The Tampa Bay Times has more:

After the shooting, both men went outside and waited for police. Jock told officers the shooting was justified under “stand your ground,” [police spokesman Mike] Puetz said.

“He felt he was in his rights,” Puetz said. “He brought it up specifically and cited it to the officer.”

He told officers he feared for his life. He mentioned that he thought White had an object in his hand, then backed off that when officers pressed him. Florida’s “stand your ground law” says people are not required to retreat before using deadly force.

Police, however, disagreed with Jock’s interpretation of the law and arrested him on charges of aggravated battery and firing a weapon within a building.

Can’t get through?

Lots of busy signals. Got a fax?

White House: 202-456-2461
Sen. Bob Casey: 202-228-0604
Sen. Pat Toomey: 202-228-0284

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