The Greatest City in the World now has Ebola and a hatchet-wielding assailant. But is the hatchet incident terror inspired by islam, Black Power, or mental illness? Obviously, the Mayor and the NY Times will push hard for mental illness.
However, two law enforcement sources said a review of some of the suspects postings and interviews with people who know him paint a picture of a disturbed loner who was angry about what he felt was the unfair treatment or oppression of African Americans.
While there are some Islamic references, and there remains concern he may have been inspired in part by images of radical terrorists overseas - his views seem if anything linked to black radical ideology of the 1970s, law enforcement sources said.
Thompson allegedly called for a revolution on American soil on his Facebook page, but the messages were no longer visible early Friday.
"America's military is strong abroad, but they have never faced an internal mass revolt,” Thompson posted on the social media site. “They are weaker at home. We are scattered and decentralized, we can use this as an advantage. They are centralized and strong, which can be exploited as a weakness. Think of a swarm of bees (negroes) that surround and attack an elephant (America) to death."
The suspect also called for guerilla warfare.
"Helicopters, big military will be useless on their own soil,” another post read. “They will not be able to defeat our people if we use guerilla warfare. Attack their weak flanks ... If you get wounded who cares. If you die who cares. Eventually they will surrender and then the war will be over."
Thompson was a "very educated" proponent of "black power" and a graduate of the College of New Rochelle in Harlem, one classmate who asked not to be identified told the Post.
Jackie Calmes of the Times takes her paper's endless push for immigration "reform" to an analysis of Republican plans for regime change:
Economists See Limited Gains in G.O.P. Plan
WASHINGTON — Anticipating a takeover of Congress, Republicans have assembled an economic agenda that reflects their small-government, antiregulation philosophy, but also suggests internal divisions that could hinder a united front against President Obama — much as happened in the 1990s, when a Republican-led Congress confronted President Bill Clinton.
The proposals would mainly benefit energy industries, reduce taxes and regulations for businesses generally, and continue the attack on the Affordable Care Act. It is a mix that leaves many economists, including several conservatives, underwhelmed.
Yeah, yeah - conservatives are disappointed that they aren't going big and liberals hate it because they are liberals. So whatever.
So what is the Republican goal?
With the prospect of Republicans’ winning control of the Senate and maintaining control of the House in the midterm elections, interest is rising over what they would do to address what polls show is voters’ top concern: economic growth and jobs.
Speaker John A. Boehner has been promoting a roster of 46 House-passed jobs bills that Republicans say could finally make it to Mr. Obama’s desk if voters put them in charge of the Senate for the first time in the president’s tenure. On Twitter, Mr. Boehner’s hashtag for the initiatives is #StuckInTheSenate.
Polls say "growth and jobs"; Boehner's bills say "jobs". So what does the Times say? Gosh this is suspenseful!
Missing from both Republican lists are two pillars of Mr. Obama’s agenda that many economists consider important for expanding the labor force and promoting long-run growth.
One is significantly higher spending for infrastructure. The International Monetary Fund recently called for such spending, saying it would pay off in broader economic growth.
More big government spending on infrastructure! Let's literally build a bridge to the future. As one of Nate Silver's 538er's points out, most infrastructure spending (including most transportation spending) occurs at the state level - e.g., the feds have provided a bridge loan to temporarily finance the new Tappan Zee bridge but eventually the locals will, or won't, pay for it. And of course, Republicans pay lip service to being federalists, so they might not gravitate to big Federal giveaways.
Let's move on to the other pillar of Obama's agenda, which somehow has not become part of the Republican agenda:
The other is an overhaul of immigration laws. Despite business pressure to provide a path to citizenship for the millions here illegally, and to admit more foreigners with skills, Republicans’ opposition has only hardened in this campaign. A bipartisan Senate-passed bill on immigration would increase economic growth by 3.3 percent in a decade and save $175 billion by then, the Congressional Budget Office estimated.
CBO’s central estimates also show that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law. Average wages would be slightly lower than under current law through 2024, primarily because the amount of capital available to workers would not increase as rapidly as the number of workers and because the new workers would be less skilled and have lower wages, on average, than the labor force under current law. However, the rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades.
So stagnant wages for workers but a better return to owners of capital - the rich get richer and the rest of us get, well, the warm glow that comes from being a responsible citizen of the world. And the thrill of sticking it to the dominant white patriarchy by letting them earn more on their ill-gotten wealth while paying workers less, pending their overthrow.
WITH ENOUGH PROGRESSIVE PROFS LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT ANSWER... Per Brookings, we learn that a 2012 study found that waving in more unskilled workers raises the wages of even the unskilled, so now we know. No more studies! And no more common sense!
Red state Democrats trying to run for the Senate and away from Obama are finding it hard to escape the Big Anchor:
Obama: Dem candidates avoiding me 'have supported my agenda'
President Obama delivered a blow to Democratic Senate candidates looking to distance themselves from his flagging approval ratings Monday, saying lawmakers avoiding him on the campaign trail were “strong allies and supporters” who have “supported my agenda in Congress.”
The president said that Democrats faced a “tough map” and noted during a radio interviewwith Rev. Al Sharpton that many Democrats in crucial races “are in states that I didn’t win.”
“And so some of the candidates there — it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout,” Obama said.
“The bottom line is though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress; they are on the right side of minimum wage; they are on the right side of fair pay; they are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure; they’re on the right side of early childhood education.”
Obama went on to say that his feelings weren’t hurt by Democrats who were reluctant to campaign with him.
“These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me, and I tell them, I said, ‘You know what, you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure our voters turn out.’ ”
To be fair, someone needs to attempt to rally the Dem faithful, so Obama is just hoping/wishing that these conflicting messages can be compartmentalized. The plan here may be that audio from an Al Sharpton radio show does not make as ghastly an attack ad as video. Still, Obama providing the voiceover while images flash of the Democratic candidate should work fine.
Last week Obama, living the metaphor, delivered the old har-de-har with a story about his credit card being turned down at a NYC restaurant. At a fundraiser last night (can't golf at night!) he delivered the rest of the story:
White House Deletes Obama's 'Unpaid Bills' Admission from Transcript
Last night at a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago, President Obama mentioned that there are some "unpaid bills" on his desk in Chicago--which he left when moved to the White House after winning the presidential election in 2008. Here's what he said:
"One of the nice things about being home is actually that it's a little bit like a time capsule. Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills (laughter) -- I think eventually they got paid -- but they're sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff."
Geez, I thought the 'unpaid bills' was a reference to closing Gitmo. Or imposing a carbon tax, or cap-and-trade. Or dialing back the Cheney Surveillance State, or redirecting everyone's war on drugs.
Instead, it's just a straight admission that he can't administer his own household and pay his own bills.
Damn. I blame Obama. Who of course blames harsh Republican budget cuts. Now, if the quest was for a hovering golf cart...
ERRATA: From the article, an allusion to the poor man's alternative to the hoverboard:
Dustin Rubio, 39, an electrician who grew up skateboarding and saw “Back to the Future Part II” when he was a teenager, is not thinking quite that big.
This year, Mr. Rubio turned “a leaf blower, some plywood, some plastic and duct tape” into a small hovercraft that his daughters used to glide down the driveway at his home in Napa, Calif. “I was like I’m just gonna make something funny and see if it works,” he said.
In the course of pondering Ezra Klein's odd views on due process with respect to "Yes Means Yes" and rape allegations, I have come across the following popular notion, written by Tara Culp-Ressler of Think Progress and endorsed by Michelle Goldberg of The Nation. Their gist - women don't lie about rape. To which I say, sure, maybe - in the current enviroment that is stacked against them. But what about after the system is made more victim-friendly?
In addition Ms. Goldberg asserts that
It is, after all, a right-wing canard that acquaintance rape cases tend to stem from misunderstanding rather than predation.
She points to a survey of self-confessed rapists as support. To which I say, a guy who sincerely believes he was persisting rather than intimidating and assaulting (Ezra explains) won't show up in a survey of self-confessed rapists. In addition to overlooking guys who would feel misunderstood if accused, this survey made no attempt to query woman as to whether they felt assaulted. Right wing canard it may be, but this isn't the study to make the case.
Let's press on. From Ms. Goldberg:
Some people have argued that it doesn’t really matter if those lines are blurry, because, contrary to what men’s rights activists claim, women have no incentive to abuse the system. (The law is gender neutral, of course, but it’s clearly women who are most likely to be sexually assaulted.) We know that women very rarely lie about rape, and so they’re unlikely to go to authorities if their partners deviate from the letter but not the spirit of the new rules. “If both partners were enthusiastic about the sexual encounter, there will be no reason for anyone to report a rape later,” wrote Tara Culp-Ressler in ThinkProgress. “So if college students are worried about protecting themselves from being penalized, it’s not hard—all they have to do is stick to engaging in physical contact with people who are clearly receptive to it at the time.”
Women won't lie for anger or revenge? So much for "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". This whole crazy ex-girlfriend thing is a myth with no foundation whatsover? I try to learn something new everyday.
In any case, the linked study suggests that about 6% of rape accusations are false-false; not just unprovable, not just subsequently dropped, but (as best as can be verified, sometimes by a recantation by the "victim") actually fabricated. As to the reliability of that result, Cathy Young has lots more.
Whether 6% is a little or a lot is a matter of opinion. But let me note a minor objection and then my major one.
The study looked at 136 rape allegations, or so they say (microagression alert!) since the numbers in Table 1 sum to 137. In any case, the authors tells us that there were 32 stranger rapes, 90 acquaintance rapes, and 15 where the appropriate categorization was unknown.
One might wonder whether the false rapes occured proportionately across those three categories; my unresearched guess is that the frequency of fabricated stranger rape claims is low relative to fabricated claims against an acquaintance.
The researchers can answer that question, but I can't. As an upper bound, if all eight false claims among the 136 (?) examined could be attibuted to the 90 cases of acquaintance rape, that would be a 8.9% fabricated charge rate. Might be worth knowing.
But my much bigger objection is this: we are seeing a 6% fabricated charge rate in a system that by wide agreement discourages women from coming forward. Presumably a system that discourages truthful accusations also discourages false ones. Is there any reason at all to think that the fabricated charge rate will go down, or even remain constant, in an environment that is much more supportive of the accuser?
So who has a reasonable guess as to the percentage of fabricated charges when the accuser will be put on a golden throne and the accused will have essentially no rights at all? Where would such a guess come from? And why are we comfortable restricting the rights of the accused lacking that information?
AND SINCE I AM HERE: Ms Goldberg gives me yet another opportunity to reflect on how two intelligent people can look at the same study and walk away with different conclusions. Here she is, my emphasis
The law might force couples into dialogue about their desires—obviously a good thing [because, and this is bad news for the Irish, we need to arrest people who aren't open about their feelings - TM]—but it’s hard to see how that alone will address rape. It is, after all, a right-wing canard that acquaintance rape cases tend to stem from misunderstanding rather than predation. Research at one campus by the scholars David Lisak and Paul M. Miller shows that most rapists are serial offenders who have committed other acts of violence as well. “This portrait is more consistent with the data on recidivism among sex offenders than with the still-prevalent image of a male college student who, under the influence of alcohol, mistakenly crosses the line between sexual pressure and rape,” they write. Yet California’s law treats the campus rape crisis as a communication problem, even as it blurs the parameters of what sexual assault is.
Hmm. The study involved a survey of men on some unidentified campus, a 6.4% of whom voluntarily and confidentially confessed to rape. Among that group of 120 men, 44 were one-time rapists and 76 were serial offenders, so it was a mix of predators and one-timers (some of whom, I suppose, would be more accurately called "first-timers", since even predators have to start at zero).
However, Ms. Goldberg seems to be engaging in a version of the No True Scotsman fallacy. We are not offered any data at all about rape and assault reports from the victim's perspective. Let's take for granted that every person on the other side of these self-reported rapes would agree that a rape had occurred. Does that speak to the frequency of misunderstanding and acquaintance rape? No - this is a study of men who understood themselves (at least upon reflection) to be committing rape.
But are there (mostly) women walking around feeling as if they had experienced an unreported rape while their (mostly male) counterparts and objective observers would sincerely disagree? That was not part of the survey so the data is not here, but if there are such women (as seems possible) then this study does not and could not give us a clear estimate as to what proportion of acquaintance rape allegations could be considered a misunderstanding.
This study, as best I can read it, was not designed and can't be used to support the conclusion offered by Ms. Goldberg.
Leaving us where? Some well-regarded feminist writers are reaching conclusions about the likelihood of fabricated charges and acquaintance misunderstandings based on studies that simply don't get them where they want to go. I will risk arrest by concealing my true feelings, but at a minimum, there is some confirmation bias being displayed by someone here. Maybe me!
Turkey Says It Will Aid Kurdish Forces in Fight for Kobani
KAREEM FAHIM OCT. 20, 2014 MURSITPINAR, Turkey — Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday that the country would facilitate the movement of Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as pesh merga, to the embattled Syrian town of Kobani to join the fighting there.
At a news conference in Ankara, the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that his government was “helping the pesh merga cross over to Kobani,” an apparent shift from Turkey’s previous refusal to allow any military assistance to Kurdish fighters in the town.
That is a big deal because, whatever its original strategic significance, Kobani has become a symbolic test of strength and commitment for both all sides:
The announcement, along with an American decision to use military aircraft to drop ammunition and small arms to resupply Kurdish fighters to Kobani, reflected escalating international pressure to push back Islamic State militants who have been attacking the Kurdish town for more than a month. The battle has become a closely watched test for the Obama administration as it embarks on a fight reliant on air power against the militant group in Iraq and Syria. It has also raised tensions across the border in Turkey, where Kurds have accused the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of abandoning the city to the Islamic State militants, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
We could use a win here so locals want to ride the strong horse. Now, on to Baghdad!
After Delay, Iraq Appoints Two to Posts for Security
By Kirk Semple
BAGHDAD — After weeks of negotiations, Iraq’s Parliament approved on Saturday two nominees to lead ministries responsible for the nation’s security forces, filling voids that exposed sectarian tensions in the government as the country tries to mount an effective military response to the Islamic State.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had struggled to fill the powerful cabinet posts as he sought candidates with enough support to win approval but not so contentious as to undermine the tenuous unity government of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.
The ministries — interior and defense — are particularly important because each controls an array of security forces fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Many lawmakers, regardless of their misgivings about one candidate or the other, welcomed the vote as a matter of survival for the country.
It is an uneasy coalition government:
For interior minister, a coveted post overseeing the nation’s police forces, the lawmakers approved Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, a member of the Badr Organization, a Shiite political group that controls a militia fighting alongside government forces against the Islamic State.
The Badr Organization had been pressing Mr. Abadi to name one of its members to reflect the party’s strong showing in the recent parliamentary elections.
Mr. Abadi had been reluctant to pick a Badr candidate because he feared that appointing someone closely associated with a militia would jeopardize his plan for a more inclusive administration. The Badr Organization’s armed wing has been accused of torturing and killing Sunnis, especially during the sectarian violence of the mid-2000s.
Mr. Abadi had won praise from Sunnis for resisting the candidacy of the Badr Organization’s chief, Hadi al-Ameri. Badr officials, however, reportedly threatened to withdraw from the government if one of their members was not nominated for the post.
Notwithstanding those differences:
Hamid al-Mutlak, a Sunni lawmaker from Anbar Province, said that while Mr. Ghabban was “not exactly what we want,” he voted for him all the same. “I voted yes for both of them because we are in need of these two ministers — not them specifically but in general we need ministers for these ministries,” he said.
Who needs Congress anyway? David Sanger of the Times reports that Team Obama is strategizing to "suspend" Iranian sanctions rather than end them, therby sidestepping any need for action by Congress. No word on whether this will follow or precede executive action on immigration.
Obama Sees an Iran Deal That Could Avoid Congress
WASHINGTON — No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iranthat would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it.
Even while negotiators argue over the number of centrifuges Iran would be allowed to spin and where inspectors could roam, the Iranians have signaled that they would accept, at least temporarily, a “suspension” of the stringent sanctions that have drastically cut their oil revenues and terminated their banking relationships with the West, according to American and Iranian officials. The Treasury Department, in a detailed study it declined to make public, has concluded Mr. Obama has the authority to suspend the vast majority of those sanctions without seeking a vote by Congress, officials say.
But Mr. Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Mr. Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote.
The President was eventually able to find legal advice that the military action against Libya did not involve the War Powers Act, so this sanctions question must have seemed easy by comparison.
This part of the strategy seems to involve a bit of fantasy:
White House officials say Congress should not be surprised by this plan. They point to testimony earlier this year when top negotiators argued that the best way to assure that Iran complies with its obligations is a step-by-step suspension of sanctions — with the implicit understanding that the president could turn them back on as fast as he turned them off.
“We have been clear that initially there would be suspension of any of the U.S. and international sanctions regime, and that the lifting of sanctions will only come when the I.A.E.A. verifies that Iran has met serious and substantive benchmarks,” Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said Friday, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency. “We must be confident that Iran’s compliance is real and sustainable over a period of time.”
The President can turn the European sanctions back on? Hmm, with their economies fading, I have the idea that once sanctions are suspended our European allies will find billions of reasons to keep them suspended.
Jennifer Rubin of the WaPo has more on the bad deal coming down the tracks.