Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Secrecy at Chicano Federation San Diego County Child Nutrtion Program?

Update August 29, 2014:

The California Department of Education (CDE) is in charge of direct oversight of Chicano Federation. 

Sandip Kaur, appointed by Tom Torlakson as Director of Nutrition Services of the California Department of Education in 2012, seems to have some strange ideas about exactly how "oversight" should be conducted.

When I sent Sandip Kaur a copy of a letter from Chicano Federation that threatened me with legal action for complaining to the CDE, I got no response from CDE to my complaint.  Tom Torlakson and Sandip Kaur seem to agree with Chicano Federation that a citizen should not be allowed to complain about how USDA funds are handled!

Original post:

My conversation with Raymond Uzeta:
"Maura Larkins: You get federal money so you should be revealing information."
Raymond Uzeta: "I don't thing this conversation is going to go anywhere. I have someone waiting at the door...Bye."
(See more of the conversation below.)


Fiscal Year Starting: Jul 01, 2011
Fiscal Year Ending: Jun 30, 2012

Revenue Total Revenue $18,935,564

My conversation at noon April 29, 2014 with Chicano Federation CEO Raymond Uzeta

(Mr. Uzeta returned my call to Pam Portillo.)

I asked a question about the Child Nutrition Program.

"We don't provide that information. What else can I help you with?"

"Do you feel that you helped me with that question?"

"Is that the only question you have?"

"Not by a long shot...I have concerns about the professionalism of your Child Nutrition Program."

"Where did you get those concerns? You need facts."

"That's why I'm calling. I'm trying to get facts."

"Where did you get your suspicions? Did you just wake up one day and feel suspicious?"

"I am not going to reveal my sources. You get federal money so you should be revealing information."

"I don't thing this conversation is going to go anywhere. I have someone waiting at the door...Bye." He hung up.

Chicano Federation Leadership

Raymond Uzeta/ President and CEO

Ray Uzeta – Interim CEO

Pam Portillo, Chief Operating Officer

Pamela Portillo, VP of Housing and Community Development

Pamela got a BA in Environmental Planning from UC Santa Cruz and MA in Urban Planning from UCLA. She is a member of the San Diego Association of Realtors and the San Diego Housing Federation.

Vic Salazar/ Communications and Fundraising

Vic Salazar joined Chicano Federation team in 2009 as a member of the Board of Directors. He became Chairman of the board in 2011.  He served as Interim Executive during a transition period in 2012, apparently after Arnulfo Manriquez left and before Raymond Uzeta came back. Vic has a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He started Vic Salazar Communications, a Public Relations company, in 2008.

Vic was a news anchor at NBC 7 and KGTV10.

Vic likes Cottonwood Golf Club.

Chicano Federation San Diego County Child Nutrtion Program

To apply for the Nutrition Program or if interested in obtaining a State Child Care License contact Rosa Ortiz at (619)285-5600 x 328, or email ortizr@chicanofederation.org. - See more at: http://www.chicanofederation.org/nutrition.aspx#sthash.KyWCYtLS.dpuf

Monday, April 28, 2014

Donald Sterling NAACP award cancelled; girlfriend confirms audio tape of Sterling demanding that she not bring black people to games

Donald Sterling's girlfriend insists tape of Clippers owner 'launching racist rant' at her is authentic but denies she released it to the media Daily Mail April 28, 2014 Photo AP

Compare this story to Cliven Bundy saga.

Exclusive: The Extended Donald Sterling Tape
Kyle Wagner
Dead Spin
April 27, 2014

Deadspin has acquired an extended, 15-minute version of the conversation between Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his then-girlfriend V. Stiviano. If the original nine-minute tape acquired by TMZ left any questions about Sterling's opinions regarding minorities, the audio here should remove all doubt that he's a doddering racist with views not too far removed from the plantation.

You can find the new audio in the above video, which contains the transcript. (This version is also a little crisper than the original and has some extra background activity around the edges, which indicates that this was recorded in a house.) As with the original, we don't know if this has been edited in some way. The NBA is investigating. Thus far, Sterling's team has offered only a tepid response, lightly suggesting the possibility that the original audio had been doctored and pointing out that V. Stiviano had recently been sued by the Sterlings.

v NAACP will not present award to Donald Sterling amid controversy
By USA TODAY Sports staff
April 27, 2014
By Thomas O’Toole

A May 15 banquet for the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People just became a lot more intriguing. The group is planning to honor Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime achievement award. This is the 100th anniversary of the L.A. chapter.

[UPDATE]: The NAACP has announced on its official Twitter account that Sterling will not receive the award.

But in light of racist comments attributed to Sterling on a recording that surfaced on the TMZ website, the banquet plans might be changing.

L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti is also scheduled to be honored with a Person of the Year Award, as is the Rev. Al Sharpton. But, Yusef Robb, the mayor’s spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, “In light of recent events, we will be discussing the event with the Los Angeles NAACP.”

On the chapter’s website, the list of honorees still included Sterling late Saturday night. An email and phone call from USA TODAY Sports to the office was not immediately returned.

The NBA announced Saturday it was investigating to determine if racist comments heard on the audio were indeed from Sterling. The audio obtained by TMZ has a man telling a female associate “why are you taking pictures with minorities, why?” and telling her not to bring to Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson to Clippers games. The person said it bothers him that she posted photos of herself with black people on her Instagram account. After a recent Clippers game, the woman took a picture with Johnson.

In a statement, Clippers president Andy Roeser, said of the recording that the club does “not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. … Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life.”

According to the website Deadspin, this would not be the first time Sterling would be honored by the NAACP at an inopportune time. He received another Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 around the time of former GM Elgin Baylor’s discrimination lawsuit. Deadspin posted this excerpt from an L.A. Times story:

Clippers owner Donald Sterling, accused of racism and embracing a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” in a lawsuit filed in February by Elgin Baylor, will be given a lifetime achievement award next week by the NAACP. . . .

Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles branch of the civil rights organization, says of the much-maligned Sterling, “He has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.,” revealing that the owner donates anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a game to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game.

Noting that the NAACP had made plans to honor Sterling before Baylor filed suit, Jenkins says, “We can’t speak to the allegations, but what we do know is that for the most part [Sterling] has been very, very kind to the minority youth community.”

On Sunday morning, the NAACP tweeted the following update:


#DonaldSterling will not be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the LA Branch of the NAACP. #MTP

Happy Birthday Donald Tokowitz Sterling you Jewish oreo
April 27, 2014
by Jan Tucker

Donald Sterling was born Donald Tokowitz April 26, 1934 in Chicago to Jewish immigrant parents Susan and Mickey Tokowitz...

From Wikipedia:

In August 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination in using race as a factor in filling some of his apartment buildings. The suit charged that Sterling refused to rent to non-Koreans in the Koreatown neighborhood and to African Americans in Beverly Hills.[13] The suit alleges Sterling once said he did not like to rent to Hispanics because they “smoke, drink and just hang around the building,” and that “Black tenants smell and attract vermin.”[13] In November 2009, ESPN reported that Sterling agreed to pay a fine of $2.73 million to settle claims brought by the Justice Department and Davin Day of Newport Beach that he engaged in discriminatory rental practices against Hispanics, blacks, and families with children.[14] In addition, Sterling was also ordered to pay attorneys’ fees and costs in that action of $4,923,554.75. [Order Granting Motion for Prevailing Party's Attorneys' Fees and Costs, dated November 2, 2005, C.D. Cal. Case No. 2:03-cv-00859-DSF-E Dkt No. 454]. In granting the attorney’s fees and costs Judge Dale S. Fischer noted “Sterling’s’ scorched earth’ litigation tactics, some of which are described by the Plaintiffs’ counsel and some of which were observed by the Court. The Court has no difficulty accepting Plaintiffs’ counsel’s representations that the time required to be spent on this case was increased by defendant’s counsel’s often unacceptable, and sometimes outrageous conduct.”

I’ve seen Judge Dale S. Fischer in action and she is a no-nonsense judge whether I agree or disagree with her rulings (on occasion I’ve been on both sides). Given that Donald Sterling is himself a member of the Bar (California License 31124 issued 1/11/61) and is perfectly capable of supervising attorneys representing him you’d think that maybe, just maybe, the State Bar might consider some kind of disciplinary action against him for his legal behavior...

The sickest thing about Sterling’s sordid record on race relations is that the Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP was just about to honor him with a second lifetime achievement award on May 15, 2014 (they gave him one in 2009 while he was being sued by Elgin Baylor). As Wikipedia explains the Baylor lawsuit:

In February 2009, Sterling was sued by former longtime Clippers executive Elgin Baylor for employment discrimination on the basis of age and race.[15] The lawsuit alleges Sterling told Baylor that he wanted to fill his team with “poor black boys from the South and a white head coach”.[13] The suit alleges that during negotiations for Danny Manning, Sterling said “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.”[13][16] The suit noted those comments while alleging “the Caucasian head coach was given a four-year, $22-million contract”, but Baylor’s salary had “been frozen at a comparatively paltry $350,000 since 2003″.

There is a long tradition (not a time honored one but a quietly carried out and usually unspoken of) of shaking down racists by so-called civil rights movement organizational poverty pimps when they get into public trouble for their depraved behavior. I saw the Anti-Defamation League do this when they accepted a huge contribution from Marriott Corporation to give them their organizational seal of approval when an Ethiopian Jew stood up to Host International’s refusal to allow him to wear his Yarmulke at work. ADL accepted Marriott’s word that the guy was delusional without any semblance of a legitimate investigation. So carrying on that sordid tradition, NAACP was prepared to honor Sterling and whitewash his longtime pattern of discriminatory behavior, but apparently with his statements on tape and being made public for once, it’s too embarrassing. These Negroes are not just embarrassed, they’re apparently afraid that honoring him will so discredit them that it will interfere with their further poverty pimping in the name of civil rights, so the estimated $10,000-$15,000 he gave Los Angeles NAACP in the past year alone is no longer enough to buy the organization’s loyalty.

ESPN Deportes tells the details of Sterling’s slum-lording at http://m.espn.go.com/wireless/story?storyId=4187729&lang=ES&cc=3888

The article, which came out as a birthday present yesterday for Sterling contains such choice details as:

Jones had repeatedly walked to the apartment manager’s office to plead for assistance, according to sworn testimony given by her daughter Ebony Jones in the Housing Rights Center case. Kandynce Jones’ refrigerator dripped, her dishwasher was broken, and her apartment was always cold. Now it had flooded. Davenport reported what she saw to Sterling, and according to her testimony, he asked: “Is she one of those black people that stink?” When Davenport told Sterling that Jones wanted to be reimbursed for the water damage and compensated for her ruined property, he replied: “I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch.”

Up And Down In Beverly Hills
Eccentric multimillionaire Donald Sterling has been a flaming success as an L.A. real estate mogul and a dismal failure as the owner of the Clippers
Franz Lidz
Sports Illustrated
April 17, 2000

In the Eerie silence of the empty foyer of Sterling Plaza, you can almost hear the grunts of the Hollywood tycoons who made and broke stars as casually as they lit and crushed out their cigars. MGM cofounder Louis B. Mayer built this Art Deco landmark in Beverly Hills 70 years ago, when the silents were turning to talkies.
v The seven-story edifice, which boasts bronze-plated elevators, marble-lined corridors and formal parlors, could have been created by the set designer of Top Hat.

For more than a decade, the most opulent office space in 90210 has remained virtually unoccupied. The building's sole tenant is its landlord, Donald Sterling, whose billion-dollar real estate empire occupies the sixth and seventh floors. "Some people think I'm eccentric for keeping Sterling Plaza to myself," Sterling says. "I like riding up and down the elevators alone. It's a luxury I've earned."

...Sterling, a spectacularly successful real estate baron who owns the Malibu Yacht Club, the Beverly Comstock Hotel and nearly half the apartments in Beverly Hills, speaks plaintively of his spectacularly unsuccessful team. "How do I handle losing year after year?" he says. "How do I cope with the ridicule? Let me ask you something: How would you cope with the ridicule?" Sterling has a way of lobbing people's questions back at them. He seems to do it not so much because he wants to elude hard questions but because he wants to know other people's answers. "How do I cope?" he repeats. "It's very hard. I've suffered. Oh, how I've suffered. Do you know what it is to truly suffer?" Do you? "Yes, I suppose I do," says the 63-year-old Sterling. "The pain, the torment, the absolute torture! How do the owners of the Chicago Cubs get through it? How does anyone get through a difficult experience? I'll tell you how. You just keep going, keep fighting, keep living. Life goes on, and you hope it will improve." It's fitting that Sterling set up shop in the House That Mayer Built. He seems benign and avuncular, but he has the furtive, feral charm of an old-time movie mogul. "I try to be warm and ingratiating with people and make them feel important," he says. "I never met anyone I didn't like. I'm very open, very honest, very caring." Of course, the moguls of yesteryear were neither open nor caring. They were difficult, and Sterling has a similar reputation. Few Sterling hirelings utter a word—much less a discouraging one—about their boss. Chris Ford, who coached the Clippers from 1998 until he was fired in February, declines to comment on Sterling. Jim Todd, the man who replaced Ford, says only, " Elgin [Baylor] and Mr. Sterling have always been very supportive of me." Baylor, the Clippers' general manager, who has known Sterling for 15 years, limits his remarks to a terse, "He's always treated me great." Even Bill Walton, the team's outspoken TV color man, is mute on the subject of Sterling. About the only Sterling employee willing to go public is Lynn Lewis. "As an employer, he's tremendously loyal, magnanimous and compassionate," says Lewis, a Sterling assistant since 1994. "He's always ready to talk to you, to hear you out, to stand behind you. He treats everyone like family." Lewis ought to know. She is Sterling's kid sister. For all his loyalty and magnanimity, Sterling is as eccentric as the next multimillionaire. (When Sterling moved the Clippers to L.A. in 1984, Alan Rothenberg, then the team president, said about his boss, "You're going to call him the Howard Hughes of the NBA.") In the living room of his Greco-American-South mansion in Beverly Hills, Sterling once conducted a get-acquainted meeting with a top draft pick and his agent Bob Guccione—style, wearing nothing but a bathrobe open to his navel. While entertaining friends at restaurants, he sometimes suggests entrees for others to order but doesn't get anything for himself. "The idea," says Michael Selsman, his former publicist, "is to make his guests share with him." When it comes to pinching pennies, Sterling is an embarrassment of riches. Old NBA hands still talk about how he reportedly tried to cut costs during his first season by asking coach Paul Silas if the players really needed a trainer and if Silas would mind taping them before games. Sterling is also said to have proposed to trim the team budget for his second season by slashing training-camp expenses from more than $50,000 to about $100, scouting from more than $20,000 to about $1,000, advertising from more than $200,000 to less than $9,000 and medical expenses from about $10,000 to $100. (Sterling says he doesn't remember this, but Clippers executive vice president Andy Roeser, who wasn't around at the time, says, "None of these cuts were ever proposed.") Sterling saved money last season by not hiring a new coach until the six-month lockout was over. "Let's put it this way," says Ray Melchiorre, the team trainer from '96 to '99. "Going without a coach didn't make the Clippers any worse." Sterling played his quintessential cheap trick in San Diego in 1981, just after he bought the team. As a goodwill gesture, he invited prominent lawyers and real estate agents to have lunch, meet the players and enter a foul-shooting contest: Win and take home a $1,000 prize. Among the attendees was lawyer Michael Spilger, captain of San Diego State's 1969-70 basketball team. Spilger made nine of 10, only to be told the offer had been rescinded. The new prize was five days and four nights in Puerto Rico. "There was one catch," says Spilger. "The deal didn't include airfare, transportation or food. I'd have to pay my own way." So Spilger told Sterling he'd take the $1,000. He remembers Sterling countering, "How about double or nothing?" "No thanks, I'll take the $1,000." Next, according to Spilger, Sterling asked if he'd settle for two season tickets, and Spilger said, "I already have some." So Sterling promised him that the team's promotions department would work things out. Two weeks later, Spilger got a letter congratulating him for winning the top prize: Three days and two nights in Las Vegas. Unpaid but unbowed, Spilger sued the Clippers for fraud. At the home opener in '82, a team official tracked him down and offered a compromise: a $1,000 donation to his favorite charity. "I'll see you in court," said Spilger. Two days later—and more than a year after he sank his free throws—he got his money. The Clippers' rebuilding program is in its third decade. They are lottery regulars, and Sterling has held at least two lottery parties at his Beverly Hills estate. The galas were the highlight of the Clippers' season. Sterling has often prepped for his parties by placing newspaper ads for "hostesses" interested in meeting "celebrities and sports stars." Prospective hostesses have been interviewed in the owner's office suite. One former Clippers coach recalls dropping in on Sterling during a cattle call. "The whole floor reeked of perfume," he says. "There were about 50 women all dolled up and waiting outside Donald's office, and another 50 waiting outside the building. The chosen few got to dress scantily, mingle with C-list actors and serve wine in plastic cups." Sterling has been the one constant through the years, so it's easy to blame the team's failure on him. "The truth is," says Carl Scheer, the team's general manager from 1984 to '86, "there have been a lot of bad decisions by people who've worked for him, including me." Those decisions have ranged from bad draft picks to bad trades to bad contract negotiations that radiated bad vibes. "Being a Clipper can be real tough," says retired point guard Pooh Richardson, who toughed it out with the Clippers from 1994 to '99. "It's almost a given that you won't win and that the team won't hold on to its best players." Indeed, not one of Sterling's nine lottery picks before 1998 re-signed with the team. Typically, the Clippers draft a promising player, nurture him and then watch him bail as soon as he's a free agent, spreading their lottery legacy throughout the league. "To have a decent team you need to keep a core of players together and let them grow," says Los Angeles Lakers guard Ron Harper, a survivor of five Clippers campaigns. "Sterling doesn't do that. He's not a builder, he's a meddler." Actually, Sterling doesn't so much meddle as delay. He hedges. He vacillates. He agonizes. "Most NBA owners are distant and aloof and give only the pretense of being in control," says player agent Arn Tellem, general counsel of the Clippers from 1983 to '89. "Donald is so angst-ridden and vulnerable, you just want to hug him. He's constantly seeking the advice of others." Read last four pages HERE.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Response to Cliven Bundy: Why is it you never hear conservative American Christians stating that white people receiving government assistance would be better off as slaves?

See all Cliven Bundy posts.

Cliven Bundy: 'I'm Not a Racist'

By Wanda Carruthers
25 Apr 2014

In an attempt at an apology for remarks about race, embattled Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy said Friday he was "not a racist."

Bundy expressed his regrets by citing civil rights icons the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks on CNN's "New Day," and began the interview by stating, "No, I'm not a racist."

A battle with the federal government over grazing rights brought Bundy to national attention when he faced down armed agents from the Bureau of Land Management as they seized several hundred of his cattle.

Story continues below video.

The government's overreach prompted a groundswell of support from people across the country. The New York Times then reported Bundy's remarks about race in which he wondered if blacks were better off as slaves or living on government assistance.

While Bundy, 67, admitted that he might not be aware of "what I actually said," he said that perhaps he had "sinned" and needed "to ask forgiveness."

...Bundy called the criticism of his words on race a form of prejudice.

"We're talking about not being able to exercise what we think in our feelings. We don't have freedom to say what we want.

"If I say Negro or black boy or slave, if those people cannot take those kinds of words and not be offensive, then Martin Luther King doesn't have his job done yet," he said.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Capuchin monkeys reject unequal pay: this video is hilarious

2 Monkeys Were Paid Unequally; See What Happens Next
Sara Critchfield Sara Critchfield

This is short, but it definitely packs a punch. Be sure to pay close attention from 1:34 to 2:06; it's like equal parts "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Econ 101."

The government is a protection racket for the 1 percent

The financial crisis was clearly good for some people.

“In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.”

The government is a protection racket for the 1 percent
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Moyers & Company
April 21, 2014

The evidence of income inequality just keeps mounting. According to “Working for the Few,” a recent briefing paper from Oxfam, “In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.”

Our now infamous one percent own more than 35 percent of the nation’s wealth. Meanwhile, the bottom 40 percent of the country is in debt. Just this past Tuesday, the 15th of April — Tax Day — the AFL-CIO reported that last year the chief executive officers of 350 top American corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average US worker. Those executives made an average of $11.7 million dollars compared to the average worker who earned $35,239 dollars.

As that analysis circulated on Tax Day, the economic analyst Robert Reich reminded us that in addition to getting the largest percent of total national income in nearly a century, many in the one percent are paying a lower federal tax rate than a lot of people in the middle class. You may remember that an obliging Congress, of both parties, allows high rollers of finance the privilege of “carried interest,” a tax rate below that of their secretaries and clerks.

And at state and local levels, while the poorest fifth of Americans pay an average tax rate of over 11 percent, the richest one percent of the country pay — are you ready for this? — half that rate. Now, neither Nature nor Nature’s God drew up our tax codes; that’s the work of legislators — politicians — and it’s one way they have, as Chief Justice John Roberts might put it, of expressing gratitude to their donors: “Oh, Mr. Adelson, we so appreciate your generosity that we cut your estate taxes so you can give $8 billion as a tax-free payment to your heirs, even though down the road the public will have to put up $2.8 billion to compensate for the loss in tax revenue.”

All of which makes truly repugnant the argument, heard so often from courtiers of the rich, that inequality doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the one percent. It buys all those goodies from government: Tax breaks. Tax havens (which allow corporations and the rich to park their money in a no-tax zone). Loopholes. Favors like carried interest. And so on. As Paul Krugman writes in his New York Review of Books essay on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, “We now know both that the United States has a much more unequal distribution of income than other advanced countries and that much of this difference in outcomes can be attributed directly to government action.”

Recently, researchers at Connecticut’s Trinity College ploughed through the data and concluded that the US Senate is responsive to the policy preferences of the rich, ignoring the poor. And now there’s that big study coming out in the fall from scholars at Princeton and Northwestern universities, based on data collected between 1981 and 2002. Their conclusion: “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened… The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” Instead, policy tends “to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations.”

Last month, Matea Gold of The Washington Post reported on a pair of political science graduate students who released a study confirming that money does equal access in Washington. Joshua Kalla and David Broockman drafted two form letters asking 191 members of Congress for a meeting to discuss a certain piece of legislation. One email said “active political donors” would be present; the second email said only that a group of “local constituents” would be at the meeting.

One guess as to which emails got the most response. Yes, more than five times as many legislators or their chiefs of staff offered to set up meetings with active donors than with local constituents. Why is it not corruption when the selling of access to our public officials upends the very core of representative government? When money talks and you have none, how can you believe in democracy?

Sad, that it’s come to this. The drift toward oligarchy that Thomas Piketty describes in his formidable new book on capital has become a mad dash. It will overrun us, unless we stop it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The San Diego Reader's Jim Holman compares abortion to the Holocaust, pays big money to manipulate voters

See below for link to Jim Buchy video.

Jim Holman thinks that he and his fellow right-wingers have a right to control women's bodies--rather than allowing women to control their own bodies--because...the Holocaust. Does he seriously not understand the concept of keeping your hands off other people's bodies?

The Holocaust is indeed a case of people interfering with other people's bodies, but the analogy fits Mr. Holman's efforts better than it fits a woman making decisions about her own body. Why? Because it involves GOVERNMENT action against a massive number of individuals who belong to a specific group. Of course, Mr. Holman does not demand that women be placed in concentration camps. He just wants the them to be locked out of the doctor's office so he can make sure that they remain pregnant.

So should we have laws giving women control over men's bodies? We might have less crime. But our concept of the rights of human beings does not allow our government to control men's bodies--or women's.

Mr. Holman, why don't you let God interfere with women's bodies if he wishes to do so? Why don't you settle back and accept that God decided to give women, rather than you, control over fetuses? In fact, abortions have been decreasing dramatically in recent years. What exactly can you hope to accomplish? It seems that control over women, not preserving human life, is your real objective.

See all Jim Holman posts.

Nefarious claims
By Aaryn Belfer
City Beat
Feb 17, 2009

“At JP Catholic we have an event called On Mission. The night consists of a guest speaker speaking about living out your Catholic faith in business or media, and after that there is confession and Eucharistic Adoration.”

So begins a Feb. 9 student blog post on the website of the unaccredited John Paul the Great Catholic University located in Scripps Ranch. Now, maybe you’re snickering about the “speaker speaking.” Or perhaps the mention of “Eucharistic Adoration” gives you a mysterious hankering for a Carr’s Water Cracker followed by a session of heavy petting.

But what’s notable in the post is not the redundancy in an opening paragraph by a kid who needs the guidance of a publicly validated learning institution. Nor is it a sudden, overwhelming hunger for crudités and kink. Rather, it’s the who who spoke, and what he said.

“Recently at JP Catholic,” the blogger continues, “Jim Holman, founder and editor of The San Diego Reader and a pro-life supporter, recently spoke to the students about the recent election cycle and Proposition 4 in California.” I think it’s fair to say our author effectively established that the speaking happened recently.

“He made an interesting comparison that rocked my world,” the blogger wrote of Holman, whose speech centered on his beloved-yet-failed parental-notification initiative last November. The conspicuous overlord of the gay-loathing, right-leaning, dressed-up-in-alt-weekly-clothing publication best used as an Ambien substitute—since it’s both sleep-inducing and non-addictive—inspired this student to “stand up vocally” on behalf of the unborn, by comparing abortion with the Holocaust.

...Thanks to JP Catholic and its speaking speakers, we can be assured of a whole bunch of mini-Holmans flooding the business and media industries in the near future with their right-wing extremism, average writing skills and susceptibility to snow jobs.

Abortion notification backers not giving up
By Bill Ainsworth
April 14, 2008

SACRAMENTO – Jim Holman, owner of the San Diego Reader, has spent millions trying to persuade Californians to pass a law requiring parents to be notified before their underage daughter has an abortion.

After two failed ballot measure campaigns, Holman said last year that he didn't want to try again.

But when other anti-abortion advocates, including winemaker Don Sebastiani, launched a third campaign, Holman couldn't resist opening up his checkbook once again.

“Sebastiani was not deterred. He said, 'We have to go back again and again,' ” Holman said. “He led with big donations and I sort of followed.”

The result could make California political history.

The $1.8 million donated by Holman and Sebastiani so far is likely to put a parental-notification initiative before voters for the third time in four years. The measure would require a physician to notify a parent or guardian 48 hours before performing an abortion for a girl under the age of 18.

If the measure qualifies, it would be the first time since the California initiative process was established in 1914 that the state's voters will consider the same measure so many times in a four-year period.

Opponents predict another defeat for Holman, who has spent a considerable personal fortune on the three measures, about $4.6 million so far...

“Never in the history of California has one person manipulated 36 million people through his electoral hoops based solely on the extremism of his ideology and the balance of his checkbook,” said Vince Hall, spokesman for Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside counties.

Holman has spent about twice as much as Sebastiani on the ballot measures, but both wrote big checks to qualify nearly identical measures rejected by voters in 2005 and 2006.

“They don't give up easily,” said Katie Short, a spokeswoman for the ballot measure...

“I'm a dad with daughters,” said Holman, 61. “But beyond my personal situation I see it as a great horror that young girls under 18 can be whisked away to hide an abortion.”

Holman, who is a devout Catholic with seven children, said he has stayed active because he believes he can fill a gap. He charged that others, including Catholic bishops, are too afraid.

“The bishops of California are cowards,” he said.

In the past, Holman hasn't talked about the issue publicly, instead preferring to remain behind the scenes. Last week, he agreed to a rare interview.

Holman compared his efforts to the persistence shown by civil rights advocates, who eventually succeeded in eliminating discriminatory laws.

The current campaign, which is based at the San Diego Reader offices on India Street in Little Italy, expects to turn in the 694,000 valid signatures needed to place it on the November ballot...

The new initiative also provides another option. Girls who say they are victims of parental abuse can tell a physician to notify another adult relative who is at least 21 years old, including a grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling. Existing law requires health practitioners to report known or suspected child abuse to authorities.

To bypass a parent under the initiative, the girl has to accuse a parent of abusing her in the past and sign a written statement saying she fears physical, sexual or severe emotional abuse in the future. Her statement then would go to the adult relative who is being notified about the abortion.

“We're modifying the law to respond to Californians who were concerned about abusive parents,” Short said. “It's a progressive law for a progressive state.”

Planned Parenthood's Hall said the new provision changes nothing.

“It's a deceiving, phony solution,” he said.

Hall said the provision would require a girl to level an accusation against a parent under a penalty of perjury. Hall believes that this provision would intimidate the most vulnerable girls.

“Anything that puts a barrier between pregnant teenagers and health care is a dangerous public policy,” he said...

Campaign spokeswoman Short, who has nine children and is counsel to the Legal Life Defense Foundation, acknowledges that the measure is promoted by those who favor outlawing abortion...

Holman said that backers of the measure are motivated by their beliefs, while opponents are promoting their financial interests. He has been arrested demonstrating in front of San Diego's Planned Parenthood clinic and was honored for his anti-abortion activism by the San Francisco-based Ignatius Press.

“I don't have an economic interest in this and neither does Don Sebastiani,” Holman said. “Planned Parenthood does because they perform abortions and they make a lot of money.”

Hall disputed that, saying Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that serves clients at low or no cost, depending on the woman's ability to pay...

Holman and others first backed this issue in the special election of 2005, but Proposition 73 was rejected, 53 percent to 47 percent.

In November 2006, the next parental-notification measure, Proposition 85, fared worse, with 54 percent against and 46 percent in favor.

Tony Quinn, co-editor of the California Target Book, which analyzes state politics, said the vote in favor of parental notification declined in 2006 because Republicans made up a lower percentage of the electorate...

Rep. Jim Buchy

(video) A Dude Trying To Ban Abortions Is Asked A Question He Never Considered. It's So Obvious It Hurts.
Rajiv Narayan

So, Rep. [Jim]]Buchy [R-OH], here's some realtalk: You don't need to be a woman to know why women seek abortions. And even if you did, maybe you shouldn't use the power of public office to legislate against things you admit you don't understand.

Rachel Maddow: Al Jazeera English just made a really good documentary in which they interviewed a state legislator from Ohio. This guy is a co-sponsor of a bill in Ohio to dramatically roll back the time in which a woman is allowed to have an abortion in that state. So he gets interviewed by Al Jazeera and he tells Al Jazeera in the interview that what he really wants is for there to be no legal abortion at all in Ohio except to save a woman's life. Then, this is the important part, watch what happens next. Watch what happens after he says that with the follow-up question here from the reporter. This is kind of amazing, watch:

Reporter: What do you think makes a woman want to have an abortion?

State Rep. Jim Buchy: Well, there's probably a lot of... I'm not a woman, so I... I'm thinking, if I'm a woman, why would I want to get a... Some of it has to do with economics. A lot of it has to do with economics. I don't know, it's a question I've never even thought about.

Rachel Maddow: Why would a woman want an abortion? "I've never thought about it" says the man who is doing his best to ban abortion in Ohio. Amazing moment from that new Al Jazeera documentary. It's called "The Abortion War", you can watch it on their website. We've posted a link to that at MaddowBlog if you want to see it. I highly recommend it.

Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child
CREDIT: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Why Chelsea Clinton’s Pregnancy Is So Baffling To Abortion Opponents
By Tara Culp-Ressler
Think Progress
April 21, 2014

Last week, the news that Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first child inspired its fair share of headlines — even fueling suggestions that it was somehow carefully timed to benefit her mother’s potential presidential run. The announcement also made the rounds in the right-wing blogosphere, inspiring several op-eds attempting to highlight the apparent contrast between the Clintons’ stance on reproductive rights and their daughter’s decision to have a child.

Abortion opponents expressed confusion that the Clintons would refer to Chelsea’s unborn child as a “baby” and not a “fetus,” suggesting that’s wholly incompatible with their support for legal abortion. “When it’s their own grandchild, it appears the Clintons see things differently, with their words most definitely betraying their true feelings on the matter. No talk of a non-person fetus, only of a child,” a Christian Post editorial noted, declaring that the Clintons must actually believe that life begins at conception.

The insinuation, of course, is that the people who support abortion rights must always opt for abortion over pregnancy. But that’s an incredibly black-and-white view of reproductive rights that doesn’t actually reflect the reality of Americans’ experiences — including the women who have chosen to end a pregnancy at some point in their lives.

Although the issue of reproductive rights typically separates people into two camps, either “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” there’s increasing evidence that those labels don’t accurately capture Americans’ complex relationships to abortion. Many people identify as both, and say their attitude about the procedure depends on the situation. Some people who tell pollsters they’re “pro-life” don’t actually support overturning Roe v. Wade. It’s possible to believe you are carrying a baby and choose to end the pregnancy anyway. Many times, personal experiences with abortion fall into what’s known as a “grey area” between the two political camps.

Furthermore, the idea that “pro-choice” women never want to give birth is demonstrably false. About 61 percent of women who choose to have an abortion have already given birth to at least one child. It doesn’t make sense to construe the women who support abortion rights as being anti-family or anti-pregnancy. But the fact that most women who have abortions are parents simply doesn’t fit into the anti-choice community’s narrative, which relies on the assumption that the women who seek out this procedure don’t value children.

In a society that understands women are capable of making complicated moral choices, there’s nothing unusual about Chelsea Clinton or any other “pro-choice” women who decides she wants to parent. Simultaneously, there’s nothing unusual about another woman who decides to end a pregnancy because she can’t currently financially support another child. But as demonstrated by the barrage of state-level restrictions attempting to legislate women’s bodies, not everyone lives in that world yet.

This isn’t news to reproductive rights supporters, who are well aware of the fact that Americans often have huge misconceptions about abortion and the women who choose it. That’s largely because of a persistent stigma surrounding the procedure that makes women feel like they’re not allowed to talk about it. In order to change the narrative — which could eventually help lead to a policy shift in this area — advocates are attempting to create more safe spaces for women to be “open” about their wide range of experiences.

Advocates are also challenging the fundamental misconception that reproductive rights begin and end at abortion. Lawmakers are increasingly calling for a range of pro-woman policies to support people at every stage in their lives, including when they may want to have a child — comprehensive packages that include maternity care, pay equity, and the preservation of abortion access. But the anti-choice community often doesn’t take such a holistic view.

Apparently, We Need To Remind People That Pro-Choice Women Are Allowed To Have Babies
The Huffington Post
by Samantha Lachman
v Chelsea Clinton is pregnant, and some anti-abortion activists responded to the news Thursday by showing they don't understand what being "pro-choice" means: being able to choose to have a baby, or not.

Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child "later this year." LifeNews didn't seem to understand Thursday how a woman who supports a person's decision to not have children could be excited about her pregnancy:

Abortion supporter Chelsea Clinton announced today that she’s pregnant — not with a fetus or clump of cells but with a “child.”

This is the same Chelsea Clinton who lamented last year that her grandmother didn’t have access to Planned Parenthood.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hoax story claiming 'Marijuana overdoses kill 37 in Colorado' fools some -- not all; story spoofed 1st day of legal pot sales in Colo.

Hoax story claiming 'Marijuana overdoses kill 37 in Colorado' fools some -- not all
Story spoofed 1st day of legal pot sales in Colo.
Alan Gathright
Jan 3, 2014

DENVER - A satirical website fooled some people with its hoax story headlined: "Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization January 2nd, 2014."

"Colorado is reconsidering its decision to legalize recreational pot following the deaths of dozens due to marijuana overdoses," read the spoof story by DailyCurrant.com, which attributed the death toll to the Rocky Mountain News, the Denver daily newspaper that closed in 2009.

The Daily Current website's "About" section states: "Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world."

The story quoted a fake "Dr. Jack Shepard," claiming he was "chief of surgery at St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver."

"It's complete chaos here," the fake doctor ranted. "I've put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute."

"We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures," the doctor raved. "By next week the death toll could go as high as 200, maybe 300. Someone needs to step in and stop this madness. My god, why did we legalize marijuana? What were we thinking?"

"Dr. Jack Shepard" was a character on the TV show "Lost." The spoof story forced the real Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center to issue a news release clarifying that "there is no such doctor as 'Jack Shepard' on our medical staff and that there have been no deaths due to marijuana at our hospital. The article is a completely fabricated work of fiction created by 'The Daily Currant.'"

In case you're curious about the medical conditions cited by the fictional doctor: "Hypospadias" is a birth defect affecting the penis; "Trimethylaminuria" is a genetic disease formerly known as "Fish Odor Syndrome," because it is causes an offensive body odor that some compare to the "smell of rotting fish," according to MedicineNet.com.

The bogus story also tweaked the goal of Amendment 64, the ballot measure passed by Colorado voters in 2012, that recreational marijuana possession and sales should be legalized "regulated like alcohol and heavily taxed."

"One of the principal arguments of legalization advocates was that cannabis has long been considered safer than alcohol and tobacco and was not thought not to cause overdose. But a brave minority tried to warn Coloradans of the drug's dangers," the story said.

Another fake Daily Current quote: "We told everyone this would happen," says Peter Swindon, President and CEO of local brewer MolsonCoors, "Marijuana is a deadly hardcore drug that causes addiction and destroys lives."

"When was the last time you heard of someone overdosing on beer? All these pro-marijuana groups should be ashamed of themselves. The victims' blood is on their hands," the fictional beer company executive declared.

The real President and Chief Executive Officer of Molson Coors Brewing Company is Peter Swinburn.

Many people clearly got the joke, but some people on social media were fooled.

One stunned man said in a YouTube video commentary: "This story just blows me away. Thirty-seven people died in Colorado on New Year's Day when marijuana was legalized…Doctors say they expect hundreds more imminent deaths. This is more deaths than an average day in Iraq and the Afghanistan wars combined."

The man later posted on his YouTube account: "This story ended up being a hoax! I got sucked in by a 'news article' published in The Daily Currant, a satirical web site that falsely quoted The Rocky Mountain News as its reference source about the (fictitious) 37 deaths from marijuana drug overdoses."...

Why does this man want to end the U.S.-Israel special relationship?

Why does this man want to end the U.S.-Israel special relationship?
In a no-holds barred conversation, Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev talks at length with Prof. Stephen Walt, coauthor of the notorious 'Israel Lobby,' about accusations of anti-Semitism and U.S. foreign policy.
By Chemi Shalev
Apr. 17, 2014

A few minutes after this interview got under way, Stephen Walt began to lose his patience with me. You’re wrong, he snapped. You didn’t read carefully. You are repeating yourself. You keep on interrupting. Why don’t you let me finish? Do you want to hear my answer or are you only interested in your question?

When I listened later to the recordings, I had to admit that Walt had a point. My questions were at times unpleasant, even rude, and I did keep cutting him off, uncharacteristically, if I may add. It’s true that I had warned myself that some readers wouldn’t appreciate a cozy interview with a man who has been widely described as an Israel-hater, if not an anti-Semite, but I assumed that any feigned belligerence on my part would be largely symbolic. As far as I could recall, my own views were not all that distant from his.

My attitude changed in the 48 hours before the interview, especially during the last four hours, on the train to Boston, when I finished re-reading the book that Walt had written with his colleague John Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” I did not remember that the book had upset me as much when it was first published in 2007, but maybe I only skimmed it then. By the time I walked the two blocks from the Harvard Square subway station in Cambridge to the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where Walt teaches, I was already seeing red.

The essence of the book – and I’m sure Walt could provide quotes to correct any misrepresentations on my part – is that there is a multi-faceted and all-powerful “Israel lobby,” as the authors term it, that plays a decisive role in forging American foreign policy toward the Middle East. Were it not for this lobby, the United States would not have gone to war in Iraq in 2003, a decision that most people now view as a strategic and tragic mistake. The dominance of the lobby is the reason for the “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S., which not only harms wider American interests in the region but is also a prime motivator of jihadist terrorism aimed at the U.S., including the attacks of September 11.

Walt and Mearsheimer’s lobby is an omnipotent octopus with countless tentacles that deters Congress, controls the media and runs rings around the White House. It includes not only the usual suspects, such as AIPAC, the ADL and the Conference of Presidents and all of its constituent members. According to Walt, even J Street, which was created after the book was published and which is shunned by the Jewish establishment, is part of the Jewish lobby. The lobby encompasses not only Jewish and Christian groups that support Israel, but also a nation-wide web of individuals who are part of a “community,” in one way or another, that works “to defend, advance or protect” the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. in any way, shape or form. This includes not only journalists such as the conservative Charles Krauthammer, but also Thomas L. Friedman, who has criticized the lobby and would no doubt be surprised to be listed as one of its active members.

“So are you a part of the anti-Israel lobby in America?” I ask Walt.

“There is no anti-Israel lobby,” he replies.

“But you say it doesn’t need to be an organization, only a community of interests, and you are actively engaged in trying to undermine the special relationship between Israel and the U.S.,” I insist.

“No”, he answers again, “I actively work in favor of what I think would be a normal relationship between the United States and Israel, which would be better for both countries. That’s not anti-Israel, that’s pro-Israel.”

“But that’s what Safire and Krauthammer and all the rest of the people that you place in the lobby also believe. They work to support the special relationship and you work to undermine it,” I persist.

“Excuse me,” Walt says, raising his voice, “Don’t accuse me of being anti-Israel, because I’m not. We don’t use those terms. Our point was to try and explain why the U.S. and Israel have this very unusual relationship, with enormous amounts of support, that no American politician will criticize in public. One way to explain it is to say that this is domestic politics, and maybe it’s the operation of a very powerful interest group that is skewing American policy, making it different than our relationship with France or Japan or other democracies.”

Walt says that one should not overstate Israel’s strategic importance to the United States, “which is not to say that Israel isn’t occasionally useful, but the idea that it is this island of stability that helps us in all sorts of ways is overstated.” He also claims that the support of the American public doesn’t explain the “special relationship,” because that support is “very soft.” Most Americans, he says, don’t really care one way or another.

So there are Congressmen walking around with a belly full of complaints about Israel that they are too afraid to utter out loud?

“Absolutely. If I were a Congressman, I’d be very reluctant to do it. It just buys you trouble.”

Maybe it’s not that important to them. They don’t go around criticizing France or Britain either.

“We don’t give France and Britain $3 billion a year, and we don’t have people flying planes into buildings because of them.”

That’s an offensive claim. The fact that Osama bin Laden may have asserted that he was standing up for the Palestinians doesn’t mean that I have to believe him. I don’t believe that the U.S. is a ‘Crusader’ country either. Most researchers don’t think that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an essential part of his worldview.v “Well, then, we disagree on the literature. I think most researchers who have looked carefully at bin Laden’s career and his thoughts would argue that his concern for Palestine was a key motivation for him. Not the only one, but one of them.”

Do you propose that if one neutralized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American support for Israel, there would be no conflict between radical Islam and America? Is the Arab Spring connected to Israel?

“No. It is not a magic bullet. We say explicitly in the book that if the United States had a different relationship with Israel and if you solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it would not end all problems in the region. Nonetheless, despite the Arab Spring, the Palestinian issue continues to resonate in the Arab street, which makes it harder for the United States to get their cooperation. That’s what the last two U.S. commanders of CENTCOM [U.S. Central Command, which oversees the military theater of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia] told Congress – that the Palestinian conflict handicaps America’s efforts to deal with other problems in the region. This is a direct result of our remarkable relationship with Israel. It’s a puzzle that has to be accounted for. Something peculiar is going on here.”

‘Modern blood libel’

Walt and Mearsheimer’s quest to solve the “peculiar puzzle” began in 2002, when the Atlantic Monthly approached Walt, then the academic dean at the Kennedy School, and Mearsheimer, co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, to research the sensitive topic. “After 9/11, everyone kind of understood at some vague level that there was something wrong with America’s relationship with this part of the world, but there was a part of that story that wasn’t being talked about very openly,” Walt says. But after almost three years of work with the Atlantic, its editors decided to dump the project, possibly because they anticipated the kind of storm that broke out in 2006, when Walt and Mearsheimer’s paper was posted on the Harvard website and published in the London Review of Books. And even that storm was only a prelude to the typhoon of controversy and the torrents of condemnation that engulfed the expanded book version that was published by Farrar, Straus Giroux in the summer of 2007.

One of the main reasons for the outburst of protests against the book was the eminent academic credentials of its authors. Both Walt and Mearsheimer are considered to be leading theoreticians of the realist school of international relations. Walt created the concept of “balance of threats,” which modified the prevailing rule of “balance of power” in explaining the behavior of nation-states, while Mearsheimer is credited with the theory of “offensive realism,” by which states tend to try to realize the maximal power that their relative position in the world enables.

“We didn’t ask to do this – we were asked,” Walt says of his sudden interest in the domestic aspect of U.S. foreign policy, an angle of observation usually shunned by contemporary realists. “But we felt that we were in an unusual position to do this. One, we were a couple of boring, mainstream academics. We weren’t Noam Chomsky. We weren’t Norman Finkelstein. We weren’t easy to dismiss. We weren’t married to Palestinians. We’d never taken any money from the Saudis. We had a certain amount of credibility in the sense that we had nothing to gain from doing this. And therefore, if we weren’t willing to, with tenure at two major universities, who would?”

The timing of the publication of both the article and the book also played a major role in both the publicity and the notoriety that it achieved. In the summer of 2007, the American public had already realized that it had been misled by the Bush administration over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The cost of that deception, intentional or not, was 4,000 American dead and 22,000 wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties, a staggering financial cost measured in the trillions and the emergence of the U.S. as the most hated country in the world.

And then these two well-respected academics show up to pin the blame squarely on the shoulders of Israel and its (mostly Jewish) lobby. To put it crudely, Osama bin Laden destroyed the Twin Towers because of the “special relationship” between Israel and the U.S., and George Bush crippled America because of that relationship’ssupporters.

Walt’s Harvard colleague Alan Dershowitz described the findings as a “modern blood libel.” Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel called the paper “the same old anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist drivel.” Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg blasted its “malignant and dishonest spirit.” Political science professor Eliot Cohen, of Johns Hopkins University, declared it anti-Semitic, plain and simple. The ADL’s Abe Foxman published an entire book to undermine Walt and Mearsheimer’s “myth of Jewish control.” Even Chomsky and Finkelstein said that Walt and Mearsheimer were exaggerating.

Walt dismissed the many criticisms that I insisted on reading out to him, saying that most of them “were not serious” and had either distorted what was written in the book or actually invented things that were the complete opposite. The Nation’s Eric Alterman “didn’t read the book very carefully,” the objections of The New Yorker’s David Remnick were “silly,” and Chomsky “is wrong on this, as he is on many things.”

“It’s laughable when we’re accused of saying there’s some kind of conspiracy going on. This isn’t a conspiracy – it’s American politics, pure and simple. The entire political system in America is set up to empower interest groups of all kinds. The United States has had an embargo on Cuba since 1960. Everybody understands this embargo is a complete and utter failure, that our policy toward Cuba is a joke, right? But we still have it. Is that because the American people are overwhelmingly hostile to the aging Castro family and want to maintain this embargo forever? No. It’s because for a long time, we have had a well-organized community of Cuban-Americans who care greatly about this particular issue, and nobody else in America cares at all.”v “Another example: The National Rifle Association. Why is there no gun control in the United States, even in the wake of school shootings and other disasters? It’s because there’s a very powerful, well-organized lobby. Every year in the United States, they pass a farm bill. Every agricultural economist in America knows it’s not a very good piece of public policy, but it’s what the political system produces. Or take the finance industry. Why is it so hard to regulate the finance industry in the United States, despite what happened in 2008? Because financial organizations give enormous contributions and are well wired into the political system. “

I’m sure you understand that accusing the lobby of responsibility for the war in Iraq is in a different league than these other issues that you’ve mentioned. Don’t you think the neoconservatives in the Bush administration wanted to go to war without any connection to the Israeli lobby?

“We made it abundantly clear that we didn’t regard AIPAC or even the neoconservatives as solely responsible, and we say in several places that under different circumstances they would never have been able to get the administration to go to war. We also make it clear that [President George W.] Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney played a critical role. But the neoconservatives had been pushing for some kind of military action against Saddam since the late 1980s, and they hadn’t convinced [President Bill] Clinton and they hadn’t convinced Bush until after 9/11. Then we have a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances. The Iraq War wouldn’t have happened absent the lobby’s influence, but the lobby alone could not get the United States to go to war in Iraq.

“But once the campaign for war begins in 2002-2003, other organizations and other individuals that we would call part of the lobby weigh in to help sell it. The Israeli government itself was quite ambivalent about this idea when it first came out of the United States, and actually was more worried about Iran, as I think it remains more worry about today. It was only after Bush and company said, look, we’re doing Baghdad first, and then we’ll turn our attention to these people in Tehran, that the Israelis got on board.”

But you know very well that some parts of the Israel lobby won’t do something that’s connected to Israeli security unless they’re not sure the Israeli government supports. Were they more gung-ho than the Israeli government? That hardly sounds credible.

“We documented pretty carefully that AIPAC quietly supported going to war, and the [executive director] of AIPAC, Howard Kohr, said as much. That that was one of his major accomplishments in 2002. This is in the period where I think Bush has already made the decision, right? But he’s got to get public support for it, he wants to get congressional approval, and the interesting question is what if all these [Israel lobby] organizations had been completely neutral? Or, God forbid, what if a few of them had opposed the war?”

There still would have been a war.

Not so sure.

Not so sure is one thing, writing a book is another.

“I have to pound this into your head: We do not say the Israel lobby was solely responsible for the Iraq war. We say it would not have happened if the lobby had not existed and had not pushed forth.”

That’s very close.

“No, excuse me. If 9/11 had not happened, I don’t think we would have invaded Iraq. If we’d had more trouble when we went into Afghanistan, if that campaign had gone badly from the beginning or if we’d had the kind of trouble we had later in Afghanistan, I think Iraq would have been put off. Major decisions like this involve a whole series of things coming together. Nine-eleven, which was a shocking event for the United States, gets the Bush administration to think about alternatives. They happen to have a number of people who are big advocates of invading Iraq in key positions. Then the apparent success in Afghanistan convinces Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld that we have this magic military that can go in and do wonderful things on the cheap, and so there’s not much risk involved. It makes it very hard for potential critics to object.“

So we’re talking about an administration that was hawkish, influenced by its success in Afghanistan, with a tendency to solve things by force, with this unsettled account with Saddam, whom it believes has weapons of mass destruction. It doesn’t seem like Bush and Cheney needed a lot of persuasion, so the Jewish lobby played, at best, a supportive role.

“But, isn’t it peculiar that after the United States is attacked on 9/11 by Osama bin Laden, who is located in Afghanistan, that we respond to that by attacking Iraq? A country that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11?”

So, you’re saying the Israel lobby made that connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11?

“They didn’t come up with the idea themselves.”

Do you have proof of that?

“Paul Wolfowitz, four days after 9/11, at Camp David, said that our first response should be to overthrow Saddam Hussein. So the idea is put in front of – “

But Paul Wolfowitz is part of the administration. He’s the deputy secretary of defense. Why is this the Israel lobby?

“Wolfowitz is part of the Israel lobby. It’s been clear throughout his career.”

Aren’t you absolving the American hawks, who ruled this country for at least eight years, of any responsibility? Are you saying that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld were just putty in the hands of the Israel lobby? Are they simpletons?

“Well, if you’ve read the book and I haven’t persuaded you, then I haven’t persuaded you. And we’ve spent almost all of our time talking about one chapter of the book.”

Israel has won

So we moved on to the Palestinians. Walt says that Israel has, in fact, “won the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” because when the Palestinians accepted Israel’s existence, “they were essentially saying you guys won.” But Israel failed to be magnanimous in victory, as Winston Churchill counseled, because it only offered them “a small statelet” which they couldn’t hope to sell to their own public.

Walt believes that future historians will look back at the 1990s, to the Oslo Accords and Bill Clinton’s terms in the White House, and reach the conclusion that a golden opportunity to make peace was missed. When I ask him to assess responsibility for the failed peace talks in Camp David in 2000, he gives Israel and the U.S. 40 percent each, and the Palestinians 20 percent, “because they are the weaker party.” When I make the remark that weaker parties don’t necessarily resort to terrorism, he agrees that the Palestinians “committed crimes” but says that “they were doing it in the context of Israel failing to fulfill its commitments.” When I suggest that the book is rather skimpy about Hamas, Palestinian terrorism or Arafat’s machinations he replies: “Both sides have done things that we would regard as objectionable, reprehensible, whatever.”

You say that terrorists use the U.S.-Israeli relationship, of which you are highly critical, to justify their terrorism and then you say that it should be scrapped. Aren’t you both justifying terrorism and succumbing to it?

“Of course not. Killing innocent people is always a bad thing. The point is to understand why something is happening. If there’s a phenomenon that you don’t like, and you want it to stop, one of the ways of figuring out how to get it to stop is to figure out why it’s occurring. So, if people are engaging in anti-American terrorism because of our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and we have 10,000 troops in Saudi Arabia, we ought to ask ourselves: How badly do we need those troops? Is terrorism a price we ought to pay, or if that’s what’s causing this, maybe we could do something else with those troops. Similarly, if in fact some people are committing acts of terrorism because they have become convinced that the United States is backing Israel, and Israel is doing horrible things to the Palestinians, we ought to understand that, and ask ourselves what that means for our policy.”

Let’s move on to Iran. You compare it to the Soviet Union in the Cold War, but Israelis will tell you Tehran is nothing of the sort. How can you dismiss the Israeli concerns?

“I think that the Israelis and some in America have exaggerated the danger that a nuclear Iran would pose. Of course, I think it would be better if Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon. But people have been worried about every country that has acquired nuclear weapons. When Russia got it, we thought it would be horrific. Ultimately it wasn’t. When China got a weapon in the 1960s, people were saying that Mao was an acknowledged mass murder, who had real contempt for human life, who had written things about nuclear wars. So, he got nuclear weapons, not much happened. I see no evidence that Iran’s leadership is suicidal and there’s no reason to believe that if they ever got a nuclear weapon that they would actually use it against Israel or anyone else, because to do so would be an act of national suicide.”

Do you think you might feel different if you were living in Jerusalem in 2002, and every two or three weeks there was a suicide bomber?

“There is no question that I might feel different, but one of the things that we’re paid to do is step back and ask, does that really tell us very much about what Iran’s leaders might do? They might send soldiers to die, as they did in the Iran-Iraq war, often in some pretty gruesome ways, but that doesn’t mean they will do something that puts their entire regime at risk.

“So, Israelis and Americans and plenty of other people recognize that Iran’s nuclear program is a problem. Where the disagreement has been is over what’s the best way of dealing with this problem. Do we try to work out a diplomatic arrangement with them, or do we use military force to try and disarm them?

“I’d make two points. One is that you can’t really solve this problem with military force, and you’re more likely to make it worse. And second: This is a beautiful illustration of a point we tried to make in our book, which is that the Israel lobby doesn’t control everything. They have been the most persistent and loudest advocates of a military response to this problem, but they’ve been unable to persuade the Obama administration. And the AIPAC-sponsored sanctions bill never got out of the Senate, because the Obama administration said look, this is not helpful to us right now.”

But that’s can also be an illustration of the idea that the Israel lobby only succeeds in persuading administrations to do what they’re predisposed to do.

“I think that’s too simple. Lobbies often have an impact, not just by getting their preferred outcome, but by making sure there are some policies that never even get considered. You can move the range of debate, the set of acceptable options, partly out of the way, even if you don’t get all the way to your preferred outcome. So, Congress has raised the bar for what a deal with Iran will have to be and that puts some constraints on what Obama is able to negotiate. But needless to say, our experience in Iraq, and in Afghanistan now have also made it harder to persuade anybody in the United States to get into another war in that part of the world.”

I ask Walt whether he is disappointed with Obama’s performance, given his advocacy against the special relationship with Israel.

“Yes,” he says, “but I think he’s been more of a disappointment to himself. His goal when he took office was to get a two-state solution and to end the war in Iraq. He very much wanted to diminish the amount of bandwidth the Middle East was taking up. He failed completely on the two-state solution, and while he did get out of Iraq, he can’t be particularly happy with what’s happened there. And then I think he was blindsided by the Arab Spring, and he discovers that the Middle East is still taking up enormous amounts of time and attention.

“There has been some unusual friction between the United States and Israel,” Walt says approvingly, “although there have been bumpy moments in the past. I think the administration did not think long and hard what its strategy was going to be. Going back to 2009, when Obama was really riding high, he gave the Cairo speech, and he tried to put pressure on Netanyahu, but I don’t believe the administration ever thought through what they would do if Netanyahu dug in his heels and said no, which is essentially what he did. They had no plan B, and they began to realize that the political costs here in the United States were considerable.

“At that point, Obama made a decision that it was really only the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth issue on his agenda and that there were other things that mattered more. But if that’s what you were going to do, why start down that road?

“He underestimated how hard it was going to be. There has been this view in American politics, and it harkens back to [Yitzhak] Shamir and [George H.W.] Bush, that it’s absolutely important for an Israeli prime minister to have a good working relationship with the U.S. president, and that it can cost an Israeli prime minister a lot if that relationship looks bad. That may have been true 20, 30 years ago, but I’m not sure it’s true anymore. Netanyahu became more popular in Israel the more he quarreled with Obama. I don’t think Obama handled this issue well.”

I ask Walt what he would do if it were up to him: “I’d be having a much more blunt conversation with our Israeli friends about where we think our interests are aligned and where I think our interests differ. I wouldn’t try to cut off the aid package, because it would go through Congress regardless of what I wanted to do. But if that were in my hands, I would make American support for Israel much more conditional on an end to settlement construction. A more serious willingness to engage with the Palestinians before it’s too late to actually get a peace deal.”

But the Israeli people may have chosen a government that is not amenable to those demands.

“Countries don’t always have the same interests, and if our interests are in [there being] a two-state solution, and if Israel decides it wants to go a different way, so be it. That’s Israel’s choice, and they can do that. But then the United States should be able to make its own choices, too.”

Understanding Putin

Do you agree with John Kerry’s assertion that the U.S. is engaged in 21st-century diplomacy while Vladimir Putin is pursuing 19th-century imperialism?

“I think we have focused far too much attention in the United States on Putin’s personality and far too little on the basic geopolitical interests at stake. If you’re Russia, and you’ve been invaded three times in a couple of hundred years, at extraordinary cost, and you’ve watched the West expand NATO eastwards, you have seen the United States put ballistic missile defenses in Poland, and they tell you that it’s about Iran, but you know that Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons yet, and doesn’t even have long-range ballistic missiles yet... And then, finally, if you’d seen what happened in 2008 when the Bush administration proposes an action plan for Ukraine and Georgia, and the next thing you know, we get the Russian-Georgian War. Why we didn’t think there was going to be a reaction is beyond me. I think it’s quite clear they were – the administration was completely blindsided. As were the Europeans.” Is there a common thread of naiveté here? “I don’t think it’s naiveté. It was certainly a failure to think through what the basic interests were. And I think when the Ukrainian revolt against [former President] Yanukovych began, we were too quick to side with the demonstrators and too slow to reiterate that our long-term interest was in a neutral Ukraine. Not really in their sphere. Not necessarily in our sphere. And some combination of collaboration and reassurance, as well as a warning to the Russians back several months ago, was probably the best way to approach it, as opposed to what we did.”

Is the Obama administration conducting a “realist” foreign policy?

“They certainly they have not approached Ukraine in a way that I would regard as particularly realist. But if realism means pragmatic, then I think they have been fairly pragmatic in their dealings with the Middle East. There’s no clear unifying principle in their response to the Arab Spring, for example: It’s different in Libya than in Bahrain, and Egypt is another matter altogether. I wrote a book on revolutions, and the thing about major social upheavals is they are really hard to read. A lot of people, me included, have some egg on our faces for trying to forecast where Egypt was going, for example.

“I think Morsi himself was surprised by the outcome he got, and the fact that the [Muslim] Brotherhood screwed up as badly as they did is partly a reflection of a movement that had lived for 70, 80 years as essentially a dissident, underground or quasi-underground movement suddenly being asked to run the country, and failing very badly.”

Israelis think events in the Middle East have proven them to be realists, and everybody else to be idealists.

“With the exception of the attempt to incorporate the West Bank, and all of the demographic problems that that creates, I would argue that the Israelis were sort of the ultimate realists, at least during the first 25-30 years of the existence of the state. Israelis like to say, understandably, that they are in a very difficult neighborhood and they can’t be too sentimental: You had to cut deals where deals needed to be cut, and you had to be ruthless when things needed to be ruthless. If I were to be critical of Israeli strategic judgment, it would be that after the miracle of ’67, strategic judgment got worse over time. And so you get the Lebanon War in 1982, and the occupation, which becomes an enormous headache later on.”

Do you support the two-state solution?

“Yes. Which unfortunately means that I’m now a supporter of something that I think is less and less likely. And I don’t know quite what to do with that.”

Generally speaking, after the reaction to the Bush administration that brought about the election of Obama, is the pendulum now swinging the other way?

“I actually think that the continuities in American foreign policy after the Cold War ended are quite striking. The aberration, which I do not attribute solely to the Israel lobby, is the first four years of the George W. Bush administration. It’s the only time the United States takes huge risks. Clinton was very busy in foreign policy, but he was very careful not to put ground troops in any place where they might get hurt. He wanted to use air power. And Obama’s been very similar. Obama’s willing to send Special Forces and drones and a few more ground troops to Afghanistan, but by and large, he does not want to do anything big and expensive. But the continuity of America wanting to be the indispensable nation, wanting to exercise global leadership – that really hasn’t changed.”

But Republicans accuse Obama of diminishing America’s aspirations to be dominant.

“I don’t think that’s correct. I think he’s given plenty of speeches in which where he’s made it clear that keeping the United States number one is an important priority. I think you couldn’t come out of the financial crisis and Iraq and Afghanistan without getting some adjustment. You make a bunch of big mistakes, you pay a price. But we’re still very busy in lots of parts of the world. We still have military power deployed, you know, on every continent. We still have the world’s largest, most capable military. The one thing we may have learned is that we’re not very good at occupying and running other societies. Nobody’s very good at doing that.”

No regrets

We are reaching the end of the interview, which has become much calmer – or perhaps we are both just worn out. I ask Walt whether he had anticipated the ferocious response to his article, and how it affected his life.

“We knew that we would face a firestorm of criticism, because we had seen what had happened to a few others who said similar things in the past,” he says. “The precise nature of it, and the speed, the immediacy of the response, did surprise me. It was literally going to bed one night and getting up the next morning in a rather different world. I didn’t fully anticipate that.

“How has it affected my life? I think it has altered the trajectory I might have had. I think it’s made it impossible for me to serve in the U.S. government, because it would be just too politically controversial. Even if someone wanted me, say, to work on U.S. policy in Asia, it would just be not worth it. I’m not so valuable that a president or a secretary of state would want to deal with the political fallout. It has probably had some impact on my upward mobility in academia – if I wanted to be a dean or something like that.

“But it has not a major impact on my friendships or my relations with other scholars. I don’t think I’ve lost any truly close friends as a result of this, including people who might have disagreed with me, and who have talked about it with me. And it opened up a whole set of new professional connections contacts, many of them in the American Jewish community... So there were some friends out there I didn’t know I had until after this got written.”

Does it bother you that people think you’re an Israel hater or call you an anti-Semite?

“Nobody should like being accused of being an anti-Semite, so I don’t enjoy that aspect, but I know it’s false, so I’m sorry that people have a mistaken view of my attitudes. That’s all I can do. I can’t correct them. I’ve said what I’ve said, and if they have an erroneous view of what my character is really like, that’s unfortunate.”

As we get ready to say goodbye – to the relief of us both, I think – Walt says that he has no regrets about the book and that besides updating it, his perceptions haven’t changed with the passage of time. He thinks that his book with Mearsheimer did indeed “break the taboo” about the Israel lobby and I tend to agree. I think it’s also true to say that the lobby itself has significantly downsized its public profile as a direct result of the book and the ensuing controversy.

But I also tend to agree with political commentator and scholar Walter Russell Mead’s observation that, “Although Mearsheimer and Walt make an effort to distinguish their work from anti-Semitic tracts, the picture they paint calls up some of the ugliest stereotypes in anti-Semitic discourse. The Zionist octopus they conjure – stirring up the Iraq war, manipulating both U.S. political parties, shaping the media, punishing the courageous minority of professors and politicians who dare to tell the truth – is depressingly familiar.” And I agree with the many critics of the real-life pro-Israel lobby who have written that there is a book to be done about its influence and the possible damage that it has caused to both the U.S. and Israel – but this book isn’t it. In my view it is one-sided, tendentious, distorted and, yes, prejudiced.

On my way back to New York, I suddenly remembered my mother, of blessed memory, who grew up in the Sudetenland, in Czechoslovakia, before World War II in a very small Jewish community in a German-speaking town. In those circumstances, she would say, Jews developed a sixth sense that allowed them to detect both Jews and anti-Semites who may have been pretending to be something else. It is a shame, I thought, that I have not inherited her gift.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cliven Bundy turns Glenn Beck into a voice of reason; Why Christian conservatives think they’re above the law


MUST-SEE: Jon Stewart rips into Cliven Bundy and his demented defenders [VIDEO]
by BruinKid
Apr 22, 2014

Last night, Jon Stewart really took it to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his hypocritical band of supporters.

SEAN HANNITY (4/9/2014): And by the way, when your cattle graze there, that keeps the price of meat down for every American consumer.

Yeah, most goods are cheaper when you steal the raw materials necessary to make them. (audience laughter) ... How out there is Hannity on this issue?

GLENN BECK (4/14/2014): I have cattle, and I have people that graze on my land. ... Grazing fees are normal, and you stopped paying them. ... There are some people that would say that you are, and if I may quote, "a welfare rancher."

Sean Hannity has now made Glenn Beck the voice of reason. (wild audience laughter and applause)

If you want to challenge the amount of federal land the government owns in the state of Nevada, fine, make your case to the voters. If you want to challenge the concept of grazing fees, fine. But Hannity's puffery and armed friends don't make you a patriot.

CLIVEN BUNDY (4/11/2014): I guess maybe I'm a little bit like the Founding Fathers.

(audience groans in disgust)

Dude, you're a welfare rancher trying to pull off the world's largest cattle dine 'n' dash.

Cliven Bundy

Cliven Bundy syndrome: Why Christian conservatives think they’re above the law
From Hobby Lobby to the Nevada rancher, members of the far right share a dangerous, anarchic pathology
Amanda Marcotte
Apr 18, 2014

The situation with Cliven Bundy of Nevada should be a no-brainer for people from both the left and the right. Bundy has been stealing from the taxpayers for years, illegally grazing his cattle on federal lands while refusing to pay for the privilege. Both liberals and conservatives pay taxes, so such blatant theft should outrage everyone equally. Indeed, conservative media claims to take theft from taxpayers very seriously, with Fox News spending so much time on the minuscule problem of food stamp cheats that the number of minutes spent on it has likely long ago exceeded the number of pennies lost to this non-problem.

Bundy has stolen far more than any hypothetical food stamp cheat ever did, but when the government tried to show up and take what was theirs, he met them with armed resistance, pushing him from the “ordinary fraud” category to the “violent criminal” column.

And yet, for some reason, Bundy’s outrageous theft of services from the taxpayers is not being taken seriously by the right-wing press. As Roy Edroso of Village Voice and Eric Boehlert of Media Matters have chronicled, the conservative response to the whole incident has ranged from minimizing the seriousness of the crime to outright cheering Bundy on in his efforts to use the threat of violence to continue stealing from the taxpayers.

It’s tempting to write this reaction off as a matter of idiocy married to identity politics. Bundy is a white guy in a cowboy hat wielding guns, which reads as “one of us” to many on the right, so they refuse to accept that he’s a bad guy no matter how much he threatens violence against federal officers simply for enforcing a law that applies to everyone. And no doubt that is part of what’s going on here. But really, what’s going on runs deeper than a knee-jerk desire on the part of the right to believe every white guy in a cowboy hat is a good guy. This is the logical extension of a push that’s grown in recent years from conservatives to argue that they, and only they, have special rights to simply disregard any law they don’t want to follow. And unfortunately that’s an argument that may be making headway this year in the Supreme Court.

The past couple of years have seen a surge in conservatives demanding special rights to disobey universally applicable federal laws on the grounds that they don’t believe in them. This argument has largely been treated favorably by right-wing media that would definitely not extend that courtesy to anyone else. The Hobby Lobby case is simply the most prominent. To recap, Hobby Lobby is arguing before the Supreme Court that because they don’t believe certain forms of contraception are allowed by their god, they shouldn’t be required to meet federal minimum standards requiring that contraception for healthcare plans offered to employees as part of their compensation package, even if the employees don’t believe in a birth control-hating god.

It’s alarming to think that Hobby Lobby is arguing that anyone should be able to ignore any law they want just by stating they don’t “believe” in it, but reading between the lines of their lawyer Paul Clemente’s arguments before the Supreme Court, it’s clear they think this right to exempt yourself from federal regulations should be exclusive to Christian conservatives.

When Justices Kagan and Sotomayor pressed Clemente to explain how being able to opt out of the contraception mandate wouldn’t lead to being able to opt out of offering insurance that covers vaccines or blood transfusions, Clemente waved their concerns off, saying that contraception was “so religiously sensitive, so fraught with religious controversy” in a way those other things aren’t. But, of course, there are religious groups that do think vaccines or blood transfusions are just as “fraught” as contraception, if not more so. The only difference is those groups don’t have the backing of the Christian right. Even without stating so explicitly, therefore, Clemente’s arguments rested on the assumption that the opt-out opportunities he’s pushing for would be for Christian conservatives and only them. The rest of you can go hang.

Similar logic was in play with the push in various states to pass laws giving rights to businesses to discriminate against customers or employees on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, as long as they ascribed their desire to do so on the grounds of “sincere religious belief.” Being allowed a special exemption to universally applicable laws doesn’t get any more blatant than that. There wasn’t even an attempt at propping up the illusion of fairness by, say, allowing gay or female business owners to discriminate against religious bigots. Being a religious conservative was the only way to be eligible for this special privilege of treating customers and employees like dirt if you want to.

While that spate of bills was defeated after public outcry, the narrative that conservatives have a special right — privilege, really — that no one else should have to defy any laws they happen not to like had rooted itself into right-wing media, which enthusiastically championed the idea that conservatives should be able to opt out of all sorts of laws as long as they wielded “religious belief” as an excuse.

Cliven Bundy doesn’t use religion as his excuse, but he still insists that since he doesn’t believe in the “United States government as even existing,” then he shouldn’t have to follow its laws. It’s a logical extension of the anti-gay and anti-contraception “opt out” arguments, rooted as it is in a belief that conservatives have a unique claim to simply reject any laws they don’t want to follow, even as they, like Bundy, take advantage of the amenities of citizenship.

No wonder conservative media is so warm to the guy. To be clear, none of these actions should be confused with civil disobedience, though some have tried. Civil disobedience is about changing unjust laws, not trying to get a special exception from the law for you and people like you. The only reason right-wing media is giving sympathetic coverage to Bundy is that he’s identifiable as a conservative and therefore his desire to make money off the backs of taxpayers without paying his fair share gets sympathetic treatment. But if he was black or female and got away with even a dollar more food stamps than he was owed, he would be treated like public enemy No. 1 by Fox News. Being able to shrug off laws you don’t like is a privilege reserved for the few in the world of conservative media.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and journalist. She's published two books and blogs regularly at Pandagon, RH Reality Check and Slate's Double X.

Here's another story on the topic:

Fox News’ demented poster boy: Why angry rancher Cliven Bundy is no patriot
The right's new fixation: An angry old white man who thinks freedom means not having to follow the law
Edwin Lyngar
Apr 17, 2014

This story is from Daily Kos:

Rancher Cliven Bundy (back 2nd L) talks on stage beside Clark County
Sheriff Douglas Gillespie (back 3rd L) in Bunkerville, Nevada, April 12, 2014.
Gillespie announced the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was ceasing its cattle
roundup operation. Armed U.S. rangers had been rounding up cattle on federal
land in Nevada in a rare showdown with Bundy, a rancher who has illegally
grazed his herd on public lands for decades, as conflict over land use
simmers in western states. The standoff with the BLM stems in part from
Bundy's belief that their right to graze the land predates the federal
government's management of it, and that the county and state should
ultimately have authority over lands in their boundaries.

That's a funny definition of patriotism you've got there, fella
by Hunter
Daily Kos
Apr 16, 2014

Hmm. I have a question about the Nevada rancher who nearly caused various of our nation's fine militia folks to start shooting at federal agents, so determined they were to protect Mr. Cliven Bundy's right to graze his private herd of cattle on whatever land he feels like free of charge forever and ever because libberty.
Bundy doesn’t recognize the federal government. Speaking to conservative radio host Dana Loesch last week, he said he believes in a “sovereign state of Nevada” and abides by all state laws, but, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”
So if that's the case, why does he keep waving American flags around?

See also: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/04/13/1291642/-Cliven-Bundy-is-a-Big-Fat-Million-Dollar-Welfare-Dead-Beat

Is Mr. Bundy's son one of the criminals supporting armed interference with the law? He seems to have inherited some of his father's affinity for lawlessness.

Legal History of Cliven D Bundy
janbtucker.com Blog
Jan B. Tucker: Private Investigator
April 18, 2014

...As far as I can tell from a cursory search anyway, aside from a couple of tickets in the State of Arizona, Cliven D. Bundy doesn’t have any record of criminal actions or infractions prior to his current problems with the United States government….but his son, Cliven Lance Bundy sure as hell does. He’s currently on probation on felony convictions for Burglary and Grand Larceny of a Firearm and still owes the government money and at one point was arrested for violating probation, but this was his original sentence:

01/02/2013 9:00 AM


Statement by Ms. Ballou. COURT advised Deft. he will give him probation, but ADMONISHED Deft. this is his ONLY chance and if he messes up, he will be revoked. COURT ORDERED, in addition to the $25.00 Administrative Assessment Fee, and the $150.00 DNA Analysis Fee WAIVED as previously taken, and $1,615 RESTITUTION, $715 payable to EZ Pawn at 3050 E. Desert Inn, ; $850 payable to Bargain Pawn at 1902 E. Las Vegas Blvd; and $50 payable to $50 to Gold and Silver Supply at 1300 E Sahara Blvd; Deft. SENTENCED to: CT 1 – a MAXIMUM of NINETY SIX (96) MONTHS and a MINIMUM of TWENTY FOUR (24) MONTHS in the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDC); CT 2 – a MAXIMUM of NINETY SIX (96) MONTHS and a MINIMUM of TWENTY FOUR (24) MONTHS in the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDC) to run CONCURRENT to CT 1 and CR01719012; SENTENCE SUSPENDED; Deft. placed on probation for indeterminate period NOT to exceed FIVE (5) YEARS under the following SPECIAL CONDITIONS:

1. Abide by any curfew imposed by the Division of Parole and Probation.

2. Enter and complete the Drug Court Program in Clark County unless P&P determines that Lincoln County is acceptable.

3. Submit to any evaluation deemed appropriate and complete any recommended counseling.

4. Pay restitution during term of probation.

5. Have no contact with witnesses whatsoever. 6. Have no contact with any listed pawn shops whatsoever. 7. Pursuant to NRS 176A.400, Defendant to be supervised in P & P’s Intensive Supervision Program to include Electronic Monitoring for a period deemed appropriate. FURTHER, matter SET for hearing in Drug Court, Deft. to remain in custody until that date. 1/17/13 10:15 AM FIRST APPEARANCE: DRUG COURT...