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An Israeli sniper posted a picture of what appears to be the back of a Palestinian boy’s head, as seen through his targeting scope. The image was posted to soldier Mor Ostrovski’s Instagram account — now deleted — and the Israeli Defense Forces are investigating the incident. A member of an organization of ex-Israeli soldiers sympathetic to Palestinians said, of the photo, "This is what occupation looks like."  The now two-week-old conflict between Israel and Gaza has claimed the lives of more than 500 Palestinians and at least 14 Israelis(Image and caption via The Guardian)

Israel must be stopped.


These days it seems like there’s always a new story on immigration. To help you keep up, here’s a recap of NPR’s immigration coverage from April 2014 to present.

Unaccompanied minors began arriving at the border in record numbers this year. Hundreds of planned anti-illegal immigration protests this weekend follow on the heels of isolated uprisings in Lawrenceville, Virginia and Murietta, California. These protesters attempted to block immigrant children from reaching detention centers. As lawmakers started the conversation on what can be done, NPR talked to legal experts about how the system deals with underage migrants and the 2008 law that is slowing down the process. We also went to the source, hearing an on-the-ground look from Honduras at how gang violence drives the surge and investigating the particular challenges Mayan immigrants face. Tell Me More picked up the story in Brownsville, Arizona with a look inside an immigrant detention center.

Last week’s exclusive interview with R. Gil Kerlikowske, the new Customs and Border Protection commissioner, shed some light on how the border patrol addresses its agents’ use of deadly force. The border patrol-use of force story goes back to at least 2010, when 14-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez was shot by a U.S. border patrol agent while standing in Mexico. In July, a federal appeals court found that Hernandez can claim constitutional protection. The border patrol’s use of force policies have been getting an overhaul, with the publishing of the official policy and the firing of Internal Affairs Chief James Tomsheck.

In Washington, Scott Horsley and Ailsa Chang reported on Obama’s request for funding to address the border crisis. House Republicans countered Obama’s proposal with their own ideas, and Mara Liasson told us that some funding will probably get approved, just not $3.7 billion. Meanwhile, a complete overhaul of the immigration system becomes a pipe dream, especially after Eric Cantor’s primary defeat.

And in other news…A Republican proposal to grant residency in exchange for military service, and a discouraging Supreme Court verdict for some 20-year-old immigrants with pending visa applications. Representative Pete Gallego from Texas gave us a first-hand look at the border crisis in his district, and relics of St. Toribio Romo, the patron saint of immigrants, paid a visit to southern California churches.

Images: Getty Images, Kainaz Amaria/NPR, Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

A special thanks to Solvejg Wastvedt at NPR West for putting this together!

– Alexander


Allen West, Asshole of the Day for July 18, 2014

by TeaPartyCat ()

Yesterday Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down along the Russia-Ukraine border, and it appears it was targeted by Ukrainian separatists who have been armed and encouraged by Putin. Some even suggest that they are actually Russian soldiers, as was the case in Crimea.

It’s a pretty big deal when a civilian passenger flight gets shot down, and since everyone is covering it, every crackpot and partisan is also chiming in with their usual agenda and hackery. Rush Limbaugh was nearly Asshole of the Day today for his assertion that maybe Obama had some part in the shooting of the plane as a way of distracting from the border crisis, though he was careful to say he wasn’t accusing him. And then old Rush entertained callers with conspiracies for an hour without pushing back on their crazy talk. So much for careful.

And then former congressman Allen West wrote:

Sadly, hundreds of Ukrainians and 298 souls on MH17 have paid the price for the weakness and abject cowardice of Obama’s “flexibility.”

And here in America we quibble over a lawsuit against this charlatan. The blood on Vladimir Putin’s hands was poured by Barack Obama who is indirectly responsible, accountable accountable [sic] and no different than Neville Chamberlain’s weakness in the face of the 20th Century maniacal dictator Adolf Hitler.

Yes, you see, according to Allen West, there wouldn’t be any conflict between Russia and Ukraine if it weren’t for Obama’s “weakness and abject cowardice”.

As I’ve pointed out before, guys like Allen West and other neocons are really hard to satirize. Before Allen West spoke up, I had satirized GOP reaction as:

and more generally

And then here’s Allen West saying it today  for real.

Now I’ve said this before with regards to Putin, but now that it has escalated, I’ll say it again: Obama doesn’t have control over the whole world. We may be a super power, but that doesn’t confer super powers on our president. Things happen in the world that we don’t control, can’t control.

There was never, ever a chance that the US was going to send troops or start bombing Russia or Crimea. Never. Ever. And Putin knows that. No amount of tough talk or cowboy hats was going to make Putin worry about what we thought as he conducts his border policy. So this plane, this conflict on Russia’s border is on Putin. He started it. He continues to manipulate it. And Putin bungled it.

And it is time to stop already with the Chamberlain comparisons as a valid criticism of foreign policy. Every time you bring up Chamberlain you are saying that it was Chamberlain’s fault what Hitler did, not Hitler’s, at least in some way. And all the Chamberlain talk doesn’t answer the big question of whether the UK had the military power at the time to stop Hitler if they refused to give him what they want. It’s not cowardice to give up what you can’t defend anyways.

This is part of a larger trend with neocons that goes back quite a long ways, at least to Iraq. Despite what those neocons think and bluster about, the US cannot do everything. We can’t fight a war everywhere. And we won’t. Two simultaneous wars have made America war-weary, and the GOP is responsible for that weariness. The neocons started the wars, and they bungled them, and until they can admit that, it’s time we pushed back on their bluster about all the wars we should be fighting, or at least be willing to.

So, for saying that flight MH17 being shot down is somehow Obama’s fault, Allen West is Asshole of the Day.

It is Allen West's second time as Asshole of the Day. His previous wins was for blaming sexual assault in the military on women serving in combat.

Full story: Media Matters

This guy is a perpetual asshole.

BREAKING: Obama To Sign LGBT Anti-Discrimination Executive Orders Monday


President Obama is slated take action Monday to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The President has chosen to amend existing executive orders, one signed five decades ago by President Lyndon Johnson, the other signed in 1969 by President Richard Nixon. Obama will amend the orders rather than create brand new guidelines. 

"Obama intends to amend Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, to add the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity," Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade reported this afternoon. “Additionally, Obama plans to amend Executive Order 11478, which prohibits discrimination in the federal civilian workplace — and was already amended by President Clinton to include sexual orientation — to include gender identity.”

But the amendments also won’t repeal President George W. Bush’s amendment to EO 11246, which allows religious-affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion, officials said.

Officials said they anticipate the executive action barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity will take effect “early next year” after the Department of Labor writes regulations to implement the amendment. The executive action prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the federal workplace will take effect immediately, the officials said.

The executive order related to federal contractors will impact an estimated 24,000 companies who receive federal contractors and employ 28 million people, or about one-fifth of the nation’s workforce, officials said.

In December of 2002, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13279 - Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations, designed to “to ensure equal protection of the laws for faith-based and community organizations, to further the national effort to expand opportunities for, and strengthen the capacity of, faith-based and other community organizations so that they may better meet social needs in America’s communities, and to ensure the economical and efficient administration and completion of Government contracts.”

The Williams Institute calls it “a move that will protect approximately 22 percent (or 34 million) of civilian workers in the U.S., according to research by the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.”

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