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Fri May 22, 2015 at 04:26 PM PDT

Who is training ISIS/Da'ish fighters?

by Spud1

Short diary.

I read repeated news reports that fighters of the so-called Islamic State, also know as Da'ish, are better trained by whatever government troops or militias they encounter.

My question is, "Who is training ISIS/Da'ish fighters?" Why are they so much superior to other forces?


I had forgotten about this, but it seems more appropriate today than ever. In 2012, then Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley delivered the Keynote Address to the Maine Democratic Party Convention, and made himself available to the news media immediately afterward.

Just hours before he was to speak, operatives associated with Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage issued a press release attacking O'Malley. When asked about it, O'Malley said:

"Some of these Tea Party new age Republican governors like LePage worship the false idol of tax cuts. The fact of the matter is that our nation's deficit problem is 55% percent of it is driven by tax cuts primarily benefiting the wealthiest of Americans."
The entire thing is worth watching, as O'Malley fields a variety of questions and speaks thoughtfully to all of them:

Those were good time during the halcyon days of the W Bush administration, when extraordinary rendition and waterboarding and other forms of torture - I mean, enhanced interrogation - were the way to deal with stuff.

But when the Man from Texas nominated Michael Mukasey to be the nation's next Attorney General, you would think that Democrats had shit themselves.

We had a war to fight with evil doers, and whatever it took to get the bad guys was acceptable, whether it was constitutional or not.

So yes, it does seem rather petty that Republicans are blocking the nomination of Loretta Lynch, over immigration policy that has nothing to do with national security. But there you have it.


Yesterday it was reported that Republican Maine State Sen. Michael Willette suggested that President Obama will see ISIS at family reunion.

Mike Tipping, who broke yesterday's story, did some more digging into Willette's facebook page, and the results should now come as no surprise: Willette has a long history of online hate and bigotry:

You might think from that statement that Willette’s post was a one-time occurrence or some kind of misunderstanding and that he doesn’t actually believe those kinds of slurs against the President. A review of some of Willette’s previous Facebook posts, however, shows that he has a long history of claiming that President Obama is a Muslim and has connections to and has facilitated various terrorist or extremist groups. Willette has also suggested on several occasions that Obama is purging the American military and planning some kind of armed seizure of power.

In addition, Willette has posted numerous comments and images attacking the President specifically along racial lines and he has made clear on several occasions that he believes American Muslims are dangerous fifth columnists bent on destroying the United States.

Click through the link to see for yourself.

There has been talk lately in Maine about what sort of legacy Gov. Paul LePage will leave the Pine Tree State, and it seems unfiltered comments is a early front-runner. Maine State Sen. Mike Willette should have thought a bit more before hitting the post button on his facebook page, as Mike Tipping reports:

“I’ve been very good over the last year and a half about not posting things about Obama, but this one was too good to pass up,” wrote Maine Republican Senator Michael Willette on Facebook on March 1st before posting an image with the caption “Why haven’t I done anything about ISIS? Because I’ll deal with them at the family reunion.” superimposed over a photo of the president.

Willette manages to combine some of the worst false slurs and conspiracy theories about President Obama’s family, faith and foreign policy in one meme, and seems to know he shouldn’t be posting it.

To be fair to Willette, this is his first time in the news for this sort of thing. But his lack of judgement is the real story here: how can an elected official not realize that this posting a link to this is simply wrong? I'm sure the race is on to scour his facebook account for other untoward posts.

Update: Willette has since released a statement:

I apologize for posting this on Facebook. Like too many people these days, I fell into the trap of posting something first and then thinking later. It was an error in judgment.
Have to watch our for those facebook "traps."

This is a short rant.

Like many of you, I continue to be outraged as each day seems to bring yet another story about law enforcement officers acting well beyond what the situation dictates, often leaving innocent people dead, wounded, and as was noted today, paralyzed.

But it seems to me that there is one consistent item in most of these events: someone who is scared of a person of color calls 911 in order for the police to "deal with it."

While the actions of law enforcement which have stepped over the line need to be discussed (and let's be clear - this is a very small number of the interactions that LEO have with the general public on any given day), shouldn't we also be talking about the unwarranted fear that some have in our society for others?

Shouldn't we be talking about how some fear men of color for no actual reason?


Sun Jan 11, 2015 at 08:48 PM PST

Children are not "suicide bombers"

by Spud1

This is a very short diary, but I want to make this point, since I've been reading headlines like this one in the Guardian today:

Two suspected child suicide bombers attack Nigerian market

Let me be very clear: children are not "suicide bombers." The two girls suspected of carrying bombs in the attack linked to above were ten years old.

Ten years old.

These kids have actually been murdered by the adults that convinced them to wear these bombs. These little girls were manipulated by older people. These two girls, who should be working on their multiplication tables at school, were knowingly duped by deluded adults to carry weapons that would lead to their own deaths, and the deaths of many others.

They are not "child suicide bombers."


The Washington Post has this poll out which claims that a majority says CIA harsh interrogations justified. But reading through the actual questions asked, it's no wonder they report what they do.

It begins by asking if respondents they think the report is biased against the CIA (they do) while reporting that most respondents think the "CIA intentionally misled the White House."

But then the next questions use the phrase "suspected terrorists" four times. No where is it mentioned how innocent people were detained and tortured - in some cases to death. No where is it mentioned that people who have not been charged with a crime are still detained.

No where is it mentioned that information garnered via torture is very often useless.

No where is it mentioned that the United States ratified the UN Convention against Torture in 1994.

It's almost as if the folks at the Washington Post that put this poll together are too busy watching 24 than they are watching the real world.


In an interview with reporters yesterday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage told reporters:

13% of the people who have Ebola, and who've died of Ebola, showed no symptoms, until a few hours before they died.

Sorry Sir - you need to do some homework.

Watch beginning at 1:35:

Matt Byrne of the Portland Press Herald did some fact checking and found:

Fever is the single most common early indicator of the illness. Fever was present in 88 percent of fatal cases and 84 percent of nonfatal cases, the study found. The assertion that 13 percent of people who died of Ebola showed no symptoms at all “until a few hours before they died” is false. Ebola does not sneak up on its victims like a heart attack, but builds over time until the patient is overcome with the virus. Once inside the body, the virus travels through the bloodstream until it attaches to a cell. The virus replicates itself to the point that it disrupts cell function and kills the cell. The process repeats in countless cells, with the virus attacking many types of tissue at once. After fever, the next most common symptoms are fatigue and vomiting. Patients who die of the disease often suffer uncontrollable diarrhea, and in the final stages, massive organ failure. (Emphasis mine)
This comes at a time when LePage's efforts to force a quarantine on Kaci Hickox were rebuffed by a local judge. Hickox is the nurse that returned from west Africa last month after working with Ebola patients, originally detained by authorities in New Jersey upon her arrival there.

The statement above joins a long list of such comments from LePage that have been shown to be untrue.

In three days time Mainers can end this four year long nightmare and elect Rep. Mike Michaud.


Joining a number of other prominent supporters who change their allegiance from Eliot Cutler to Rep. Mike Michaud (D), Sen. Angus King has endorsed Michaud for Governor of Maine.

King, who was governor of Maine for eight years, had endorsed fellow independent Cutler this summer.

All this follows an impromptu press conference held by Cutler this morning, at which he reiterated his desire that supporters vote for the candidate they think will win. Cutler and Michaud are trying to wrest control of the Blaine House, Maine's governor's mansion, form Tea Party Republican Paul LePage.

While I think endorsements normally have little influence on voters, that King and other prominent Mainers have changed allegiances will have some impact on fence sitters here.


Excepting a few outliers, polls of the Maine gubernatorial race have been relatively unchanged for months, showing Gov. Paul LePage (R) in a virtual tie with Rep. Mike Michaud (D) at 40%, with left-leaning unenrolled candidate Eliot Cutler in a distant third at around 15%. Cutler came in a close second to LePage in 2010 in a late surge as the Democratic Party candidate faded in the last week of the campaign.

While support for LePage among his base is strong, he has a hard ceiling of 40%. Thus, LePage's only path to victory is for Michaud and Cutler to split the remaining votes.

Most polls so far have Michaud beating LePage in a two way race by five to eight points. With Michaud consistently polling in the high thirties, LePage needs a strong showing by Cutler to siphon votes from Michaud.

For months, Maine Republican operatives have withheld any criticism of Cutler, while bashing Michaud at every opportunity. It's become so obvious to politicos here that GOP shills are routinely called out for it on Twitter and other social media.

But this latest ad from the Republican Governors Association (RGA) makes it plain for all to see. For the unknowing, it would appear to be an ad directly from the Cutler campaign:

Gov. Paul LePage has been called "an embarrassment," and his crass and crude statements are known nationwide. It is time to show LePage the door, and you can help by visiting Michaud for Governor.


First Lady Michelle Obama will be speaking at a campaign rally for Re. Mike Michaud, the Democratic Party candidate in Maine's gubernatorial race. The rally is being held at the University of Maine campus in Orono, near Bangor. Rep. Michaud is scheduled to speak at 4:25 EST, with the First Lady immediately following at 4:35.

You can live stream the event here.

Rep. Michaud is locked in a three-way race with Gov. Paul LePage, known to shooting from the lip first and thinking second, and unenrolled businessman Eliot Cutler, who finished in second in the 2010 contest that saw LePage take the Blaine House.

For more info about Mike see Michaud for Govneror.

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