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Reposted from Comics by Barbara Morrill

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Former New York Gov. George Pataki
George Pataki
They're coming thick and fast now. Just hours after Rick Santorum announced his presidential run, he was followed by George Pataki. Yes, the former New York governor who's been out of office for nearly a decade. (The same length of time as Jeb Bush, to be sure, but 1) Pataki is not a Bush and 2) New York is not a swing state.)

Pataki announced with a slickly produced video in which he almost does a Lou Reed kind of thing, speaking rapidly and a bit rhythmically over unusually obtrusive background music. In the video (which you can see below the fold), we learn a few important things about Pataki. He ties his own shoelaces with great authority, but prefers to be seen reading a newspaper while riding shotgun rather than driving a car. His big applause line at New Hampshire campaign events is "God bless you all, and lunch is on me." And he plans to run as a man who led New York through the aftermath of 9/11, because that worked so incredibly well for Rudy Giuliani in 2008.

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Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by Jeff Singer
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) questions witnesses at the Senate Finance Committee in Washington May 21, 2013.  A Senate panel will try on Tuesday to pry more details out of current and former officials of the Internal Revenue Service about the agency's target
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey
Leading Off:

PA-Sen: In the last few months, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has looked like the favorite in light-blue Pennsylvania. Two polls gave him a strong job approval rating, and national Democrats aren't happy to see their 2010 nominee, ex-Rep. Joe Sestak, making another run. However, a new survey from Public Policy Polling paints a very different picture of next year's Keystone State contest and finds that while Toomey starts with a lead, he's far from secure in a race that could decide control of the Senate.

44-35 vs. ex-Rep. Chris Carney

44-35 vs. state Sen. Vincent Hughes

44-34 vs. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski

46-41 vs. ex-Gov. Ed Rendell

42-38 vs. 2010 nominee Joe Sestak

44-33 vs. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams

Against all comers, Toomey takes between 42 and 46 percent of the vote, a bit far from the 50 percent mark he'd like to be at. PPP finds Toomey's approval rating underwater at 30-37, not a great place for an incumbent in an unfriendly state to be. A March Quinnipiac poll and May survey from Harper Polling gave Toomey a 49-24 and 54-32 approval rating respectively, and there's no easy explanation for why PPP finds something so different.

Head below the fold for more.

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Daily Kos Radio logo
It looks like the week is a wash for new episodes, since tomorrow was going to be another planned absence. So in a way, I guess this was a relatively good week to run into technical problems.

Just to keep you company, here's a rerun of the May 30, 2014 show:

Greg Dworkin sampled the morning's headlines. The House actually passed a gun background check funding amendment. Further UCSB fallout and gun safety roundup. Honest conservative snipe hunt. McConnell called out for ACA buffoonery. No, the VA is not an Obamacare preview. Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer looks to buy the Clippers from the most-hated man in America. More NSA & national security state discussion, based on Eben Moglen's "Privacy under attack."

Listen at 9:00 ET, here: Click this Link to Listen on your iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player

Daily Kos Radio's Kagro in the Morning show podcasts are now available through iTunes.


Listen to Stitcher
Help support the show through Stitcher's revenue sharing program. Be one of 5,000 "active listeners" per month, and, well, they send us money. All you need to do, believe it or not, is listen to 30 seconds of a show, once in a month. Seriously! Choose any one of the shows at this link, listen to 30 seconds' worth, and you're on board!

Did you happen to miss our last LIVE show? You can catch it here:

The Josh Duggar shocker takes up a considerable amount of time today. The Boy Scouts of America are finally coming around to reality, it seems. Irish abroad are heading home to vote in today's historic referendum on marriage equality. Greg Dworkin agrees to come in (and fight through technical difficulties) on his birthday to round up stories on ACA's increasing popularity and entrenchment, Chris Christie's attempt at recovery that hometown papers aren't buying, handicapping who gets into the Gop debates, Obama's (un) lame duck status, a peek inside the American Board of Internal Medicine's finances, and Bill O'Reilly's in hot water (and in denial) again. NYT reporter goes way out on a limb on Hillary. Armando joins in to discuss the Duggar & O'Reilly news. Kansas, whose governor blows a lot, takes punishing the poor to a new level. Journos begin admitting they were wrong about the "Fight for $15." Self-driving cars might not necessarily kill us all.

Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.

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The Things You Find Between the Sofa Cushions

Please rise and place your hand over your heart as Billy in Portland Maine, age 7 circa 1972, leads us in the Pledge:


I [Up arrow] pledge a legence to the
flag of the United States of
amiarica and to
the repuBlic for witches
stand on n nation under
god idavisible with
iberty and justis for all.
Thank you. Please be seated. Let us eat paste.

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


Which of these folks born in May would you rather do lunch with?

17%309 votes
24%427 votes
3%70 votes
3%62 votes
3%59 votes
1%35 votes
2%52 votes
9%165 votes
1%30 votes
14%257 votes
11%204 votes
4%83 votes

| 1753 votes | Vote | Results

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Conde Nast TagID: cncartoons031763.jpg/Photo via Conde Nast
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had some harsh words Wednesday for Republicans who have blamed the rise of Islamic extremism in Iraq and Syria on American disengagement with the Middle East.

In an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Paul was asked about the criticism he's received from GOP hawks like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who have argued that America's failure to arm moderate rebel groups in the Syrian civil war created space for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to grow.

"I would say it's exactly the opposite," Paul said. "ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb [Syrian dictator Bashar] Assad, which would have made ISIS's job even easier."

Newly-minted presidential candidate Rick Santorum today slammed fellow 2016 hopeful Rand Paul, who said he blames Republican hawks for the rise of terrorist group ISIS.

“I think that is just fundamentally a misunderstanding of the nature of the enemy we face,” Santorum said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

“ISIS didn't come about because of ... the arms that America left behind. ISIS came about because they hate everything that we believe in and we stand for,” Santorum added. “I think the idea that we accept now that this tripe from the left that it’s our fault that ISIS exists -- go back to the thousand-year history of Muslim expansionism, and look at some of the horrible things that were done to spread radical Islam. That is not something that America had anything to do with.”

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, Sen. Paul asserted GOP hawks “created” ISIS.

“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” he said. “They created these people.”

Walker Defends Mandatory Ultrasounds
More politics, policy and Rand bashing below the fold.
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Fox News program discussing Iran deal. Chyron: 'OBAMA'S DEAL WITH THE DEVIL'
James Fallows:
Let me recommend for your weekend reading, or for your weekday reading if you’re seeing it then, a detailed study by Bruce Bartlett called “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.” You can download the 18-page PDF from this site of the Social Science Research Network. [...]

Bartlett’s accumulation of detail [shows] (a) that Fox’s core viewers are factually worse-informed than people who follow other sources, and even those who don’t follow news at all, and (b) that the mode of perpetual outrage that is Fox’s goal and effect has become a serious problem for the Republican party, in that it pushes its candidates to sound always-outraged themselves.

As Fallows says, none of this is particularly new news. But Bartlett collects past analysis on the phenomenon into one tidy package, and as a longstanding cog in the Republican machine he approaches the problem from the standpoint of someone who sees genuine damage being done to the cause. He approvingly cites Columbia University political scientist Lincoln Mitchell's 2012 election autopsy:
Fox has now become a problem for the Republican Party because it keeps a far right base mobilized and angry, making it hard for the party to move to the center or increase its appeal, as it must do to remain electorally competitive....One of the reasons Mitt Romney was so unable to pivot back to the center was due to the drumbeat at Fox, which contributed to forcing him to the right during the primary season. Even after the primary season, when Fox became a big supporter for Romney, the rift between official editorial position and the political feelings of Fox viewers and hosts was clear.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003Rumsfeld backtracks on WMD claims:

Before the war, Rumsfeld was so sure that Iraq had WMDs, that it disregarded CIA evidence to the contrary and formed his own little in-house intelligence agency to butress the claims.Now even he has to admit that perhaps he was wrong.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has suggested publicly for the first time that Iraq may have destroyed chemical and biological weapons before the war there, a possibility that senior U.S. officers in Iraq have raised in recent weeks.

Rumsfeld has repeatedly expressed optimism that it is just a matter of time, and of interviewing enough senior Iraqi scientists and former government officials, before military teams uncover the illicit arms that President George W. Bush cited as a major reason for attacking Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein's rule.

While Rumsfeld repeated that assertion Tuesday, he added, "It is also possible that they decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict." Major General David Petraeus, commander of the army's 101st Airborne Division, now in northern Iraq, mentioned the same possibility two weeks ago.

Given that WMDs were the administration's primary justification for war (as it made Iraq a clear and imminent danger), is the realization that no WMDs existed mean that all the death in the conflict was for naught?How can Bush justify the death of 18-year-old Army private David Evans, who leaves behind his three-month-old son?

On Sunday and Monday seven other brave Americans, like Evans, were sacrificed at the altar of Bush's incompetence and political opportunism. And there is no end in sight. (We may have suffered four more losses today.)

Tweet of the Day
If billionaires are buying candidates, they should give them vanity names, like Foster's Pride, Sheldon's Tiny Dancer, or Kissing Koch.

On today's encore Kagro in the Morning show is our 5/29/14 episode. Greg Dworkin rounds up then news. More from Kinsley. Why he's wrong. EPA to regulate emissions by executive authority, and the likely fallout. Terry Lynn Land is terrible. McConnell fares no better. And could Andrew Cuomo be a test case for pulling Hillary left? Want to help Charles Gaba (aka Brainwrap) help MI? Gun news roundup: a public AR-15 whoopsie; WalMart #GunFAIL nearly took out a newborn infant; more bullets fly in Isla Vista. Conclusion of Andrew O'Hehir's "The empire strikes back," and the start of Eben Moglen's "Privacy under attack" set us up for some serious discussion of the national security state.

High Impact PostsTop CommentsThe Evening Blues

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Long exposure to capture the full array of police car lights. 12MP camera.
How in the hell is this even possible?
Officer William Reese Oxendine was convicted in October on two counts of assaulting a female and two counts of sexual battery. Oxendine pleaded guilty on May 7 and the sexual battery charges were dropped. The two counts of assault were consolidated.

According to court records, Oxendine will have to pay a $250 fine as well as $372.50 in court costs. He faced 60 days in jail, but that sentence was suspended and he will instead be placed under 12 months of supervised probation.

Oxendine, an officer in North Carolina for the Pembroke Police Department, also agreed to surrender his officer certification as a part of the agreement.

How, though, was this man able to avoid spending a single day in jail when peaceful protestors get more time than he did?

In any case, this sweeping under the rug for sexual assault should never be possible.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks at a town hall meeting on topics ranging from education to U.S.-Israeli relations to business support in Tempe, Arizona May 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Deanna Dent - RTX1D077
Jeb Bush is a "total nerd" for Charles Murray.
ThinkProgress is the latest to review Charles Murray's new book. Yes, that Charles Murray. The one who wrote The Bell Curve and other pseudoscientific efforts supposing that white menfolk have better genes and are therefore superior to everyone else. The one Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush cited as one of his most-liked authors, and someone who "shaped" his views. If you haven't heard, his new book is a real piece of work.

Yes, we have bad news to report: Charles 'Bell Curve' Murray has lost faith in American democracy.

Murray admits that the kind of government he seeks, a libertarian fantasy where much of our nation’s regulatory and welfare state has been dismantled, is “beyond the reach of the electoral process and the legislative process.” He also thinks it beyond the branch of government that is appointed by elected officials. The Supreme Court, Murray claims, “destroyed” constitutional “limits on the federal government’s spending authority” when it upheld Social Security in 1937. Since then, the federal government has violated a “tacit compact” establishing that it would not “unilaterally impose a position on the moral disputes that divided America” (Murray traces the voiding of this compact to 1964, the year that Congress banned whites-only lunch counters).
Please note that Charles Murray continues to be Not Racist, according to his many Republican vouchers-for. The fellow who made his career arguing that white folks were genetically superior to black folks just happens to trace the fall of the republic back to that time when the courts said you couldn't bar black Americans from sitting in your restaurant.

Anyhoo, Murray has a plan to deal with this. His plan—and again, this may be why Jeb Bush likes the cut of this fellow's jib—is to give up on our current doomed government institutions and instead install a fourth branch, which will consist entirely of one fabulously wealthy American (cough, Mr. Koch, cough) ponying up the money to sue the government so often that it cripples government's ability to enforce those laws that Charles Murray that rich person doesn't like.

“The emergence of many billion-dollar-plus private fortunes over the last three decades,” Murray writes, “has enabled the private sector to take on ambitious national or even international tasks that formerly could be done only by nation-states.” Murray’s most ambitious proposal is a legal defense fund, which “could get started if just one wealthy American cared enough to contribute, say, a few hundred million dollars,” that would essentially give that wealthy American veto power over much of U.S. law. [...]

The federal government, Murray claims, cannot enforce the entirety of federal law “without voluntary public compliance.” Federal resources are limited, and only a small fraction of these limited resources have been directed towards enforcement. Thus, Murray argues, by simply refusing to comply with the law and contesting every enforcement action in court, regulated entities can effectively drain the government’s resources and prevent it from engaging in meaningful enforcement.

It's a bit like Ayn Rand's vision of wealthy Americans going Galt, but with more frivolous lawsuits. We have fabulously wealthy people these days, people so wealthy they could break not only our election systems but very the rule of law itself, if they tried; they should do that. Then we wouldn't have Social Security, or anti-pollution laws, or black Americans sitting at Charles Murray's precious damn lunch counter.

Jeb Bush's favorite author, everybody. He's not racist, but he does want rich people to rise up to single-handedly cripple the elected government's ability to enforce established law. You can see why he's got the ear of Republican presidential candidates.

Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by Jeff Singer
Pennsylvania Republican senatorial candidate Pat Toomey (L) shakes hands with Democratic senatorial candidate Congressman Joe Sestak before their debate at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 20, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaff
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (left) faces a rematch with Democrat Joe Sestak
In the last few months, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has looked like the favorite in light-blue Pennsylvania. Two polls gave him a strong job approval rating, and national Democrats aren't happy to see their 2010 nominee, ex-Rep. Joe Sestak, making another run. However, a new survey from Public Policy Polling paints a very different picture of next year's Keystone State contest and finds that while Toomey starts with a lead, he's far from secure in a race that could decide control of the Senate.
• 44-35 vs. ex-Rep. Chris Carney

• 44-35 vs. state Sen. Vincent Hughes

• 44-34 vs. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski

• 46-41 vs. ex-Gov. Ed Rendell

• 42-38 vs. 2010 nominee Joe Sestak

• 44-33 vs. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams

Against all comers, Toomey takes between 42 and 46 percent of the vote, a bit far from the 50 percent mark he'd like to be at. PPP finds Toomey's approval rating underwater at 30-37, not a great place for an incumbent in a hostile state to be. A March Quinnipiac poll and May survey from Harper Polling gave Toomey a 49-24 and 54-32 approval rating respectively, and there's no easy explanation for why PPP finds something so different.

Head over the fold for more.

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Officers Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan
Chicago Police Officers Jerome Finnigan and Timothy McDermott
The Chicago Police Department fought to keep private this horrendous photo taken between 1999 and 2003 of Officers Jerome Finnigan and Timothy McDermott posing with a black man as if he were a dead deer.

Maybe it's because the cash-strapped city has already paid over a half a billion dollars in settlements because of police misconduct the past 10 years alone?

Maybe it's because it was recently revealed that the Chicago Police Department has a secret facility it has been using to harass people off the record?

Maybe it's because the City of Chicago just passed a reparations bill for the many victims their police have tortured?

Even more likely, though, is that they really didn't want the identity of these two officers in the spotlight.

Officer Jerome Finnigan

Officer Jerome Finnigan, pictured on the left, is in prison for ordering a hit on another officer. Known as one of the most corrupt officers in the history of the Chicago Police Department, details of his crimes—as part of the department's secretive Special Operations Section—continue to emerge to this day.

In his plea agreement, Finnigan stipulated that he unlawfully stopped and detained persons, conducted illegal searches, and arrested individuals based on false evidence.

SOS gained notoriety in 2006, when Finnigan and others were indicted for breaking into homes without warrants, and stealing money from and even kidnapping suspects. SOS was disbanded in 2007.

Another officer, Keith Herrera, is awaiting sentencing. Two other officers were federally convicted, and seven more officers were convicted of lesser state charges.

The most egregious theft listed in the article was when Finnigan and two partners stole  $450,000. The group, according to the article, stopped a driver of a pickup truck and handcuffed and frisked him. Then, with guns drawn, they searched his house, finding a leather bag filled with bricks of cash. Finnigan split the money with the two officers.

The City of Chicago seems to want Finnigan, currently housed in a Florida prison, to keep quiet because he continues to implicate other officers who have never been held responsible for the roles they played in widespread corruption of the worst kind.
Finnigan, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2011, told Levin the group’s stealing from suspects was more widespread than what the public knows. He told Playboy he knows of 19 officers who stole cash and personal possessions during SOS searches.
The federal complaint against Finnigan is mind-blowing. He openly discussed the different gang members and hitmen he would use to execute another officer who was giving him trouble. So prolific was Finnegan at corruption that he and the three officers he supervised accumulated over 200 internal affairs complaints. 200? How the hell is that even possible without action being taken?

Nine years before Finnigan ever spent a day in prison, he and other officers, according to a civil suit, broke into the home of a man who turned out to be a Chicago fire-fighter and tortured him in front of his wife and kids. When the fire-fighter reported it, look at what happened:

The following day the plaintiff called the Chicago Police Department ("CPD") to report the incident. The next day, May 30, 2002, an investigator from the CPD came to plaintiff's home to discuss his complaint. The investigator told plaintiff that plaintiff was a drug dealer and that his complaint was "bogus."

A day or two later, the investigator returned to plaintiff's house and told him that if he pursued his complaint the police would cause him to lose his job. Plaintiff told the investigator that he would not pursue the case so long as the police did not arrest him, plant drugs on him, or have him fired. As the investigator left plaintiff's home, he told plaintiff, "just forget about this; otherwise kiss your job goodbye, and you're fucked."

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Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich at debate during campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination
This is bad news for Rick Santorum
In the wake of a 2012 Republican campaign season that did not go off as planned, the anti-LGBT religious conservative group run by noted crackpot and birther Bob Vander Plaats is not planning to require conservative presidential candidates to sign an official Family Leader "Marriage Vow" pledging themselves to various tenets of Bob's personal religion. The 2012 version generated considerable controversy because among the planks candidates were asked to sign off on in addition to pledges to not commit adultery and-so-on were statements that Muslims were attempting to impose sharia law in the United States, that homosexuality is a "choice" and a public health risk, and that black American children were better off under slavery.

While presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum eagerly signed the pledge because of course they did, eventual actual nominee Mitt Romney declined, which peeved evangelicals greatly but probably helped Romney look not entirely insane. (An irritated Vander Plaats would go on to endorse Santorum, but not before making the rounds of other candidates in an apparent attempt, according to Republican insiders, to sell his endorsement for cash.

Alas, it looks like there will be no repeat of these shenanigans in 2016. The notion that American children were better off under slavery, etc., so damaged the "Marriage Vow" brand that they don't have the clout to demand candidates sign an updated version. Or, to put a better spin on it:

"One of the reasons why we are not doing it this time is that we saw it as more of a distraction" than as a benefit, Vander Plaats said. "We thought that there were other ways to do this. You know, our opponents want to pick apart things that we do. We want to make sure that the candidates are full-spectrum, pro-family conservatives."

As an alternative, The Family Leader is sponsoring a series of meetings with presidential candidates, Vander Plaats said. Included are four regional leadership forums, a family leadership summit in Ames in July, and a presidential forum in Des Moines in November.

So they won't be requiring candidates to put ink to paper because that didn't work out so well last time around, but they will be requiring candidates to run through a gauntlet of their own sponsored events in order to gain the important and still-coveted Family Leader approval. That should provide ample entertainment, and even more chances for the groveling candidates to humiliate themselves.
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