2012 GOP: “Empty chair lynchings.”

At least two recent incidents in which empty chairs were hung from trees by rope have critics decrying what they say are racially offensive displays meant to symbolize the “lynching” of President Barack Obama.

In Austin, Texas, a homeowner hung an empty folding chair from a tree branch in front of his house and later attached an American flag to it. He reportedly told a Democratic political blogger who inquired about it: “You can take [your concerns] and go straight to hell and take Obama with you.”


The RNC has released a new ad featuring President Obama consoling Nicole Hockley, a mother who lost her son in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, after Senate Republicans successfully filibustered bipartisan gun reforms that would have extended background checks.

h/t The Maddow Blog

The GOP's Principles for American Renewal

So, yesterday the RNC announced their “11 Principles for American Renewal.”  They are as follows:

  1. Constitution - Our Constitution should be persevered, valued and honored.
  2. Economy - We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that hard-working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.
  3. Budget - We need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.
  4. Healthcare - We need to start over with real healthare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.
  5. Veterans - Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.
  6. Security - Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.
  7. Education - Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.
  8. Poverty - The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.
  9. Values - Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.
  10. Energy - We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.
  11. Immigration - We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.

These are all fine and good, but they’re also slightly vague.  I’d rather see goals, instead of blanket statements.  I happened to bring my own list of goals I’d like to see the GOP announce.

  • We need to eliminate the Progressive Income Tax and replace it with an alternative method of revenue preferably not via an income tax.
  • If there is a tax, everyone, regardless of income, should participate equally.
  • We should end all foreign nation-building and democracy projects.
  • All foreign aid should end until the federal debt is zero.
  • We should repeal the 16th Amendment.
  • We should abolish the Federal Reserve and move to a fixed market currency
  • We want to eliminate the Internal Revenue Service too.
  • We need to abolish the death tax.
  • We should implement the Penny Plan to cut spending.
  • We need a permanent balanced budget amendment that caps federal spending.
  • We should do away with affirmative action because it is insulting to minorities.
  • We need to reform, grandfather current enrollees, and end Social Security.
  • We need to reform, grandfather current enrollees, and end Medicare.
  • We need to reform, grandfather current enrollees, and end Medicaid.
  • We should repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with nothing.
  • We should allow all citizens to invest tax-free dollars into private savings accounts from birth, as well as let anyone deposit tax-free contributions into them.
  • We should allow all citizens to deposit tax-free dollars into healthcare spending accounts from birth, as well as let anyone deposit tax-free contributions into them.
  • We need to apply serious tort reform.
  • We need to eliminate commerce restrictions on the selling of any goods or services across state lines.
  • We need to review, loosen, or eliminate all business regulations across the board and instead embrace common and civil law.
  • We should eliminate the food stamp program.
  • We should eliminate all welfare programs and allow charities and religious organizations offer help instead.
  • We should create an amendment prohibiting all elective abortions that are not medically necessary.
  • We need to abolish the corporate income tax which is a form of double taxation.
  • We should eliminate the Federal minimum wage and encourage states to do the same.
  • We should open up all federal land, outside parks and protected land, to drilling.
  • We should approve the Keystone Pipeline.
  • We need to review and repeal any gun regulations in any state that obstruct a citizen’s Second Amendment right.
  • We need to eliminate the majority of Federal departments, bureaucracies, and institutions.  I have some suggestions where to start.
  • We need to pass an amendment to the Constitution that applies term limits to every political position, appointment and job both big and small.
  • We should eliminate any and all public sector pension plans.
  • We should eliminate all public sector unions across the board.
  • All forms of federal lending and loans should end.
  • We should have an open forum online or otherwise that shows a proposed bill in simple language for the public to read before it is passed…just like Obama said he was going to do, but didn’t.
  • We should allow Congress and the state legislatures to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a three-fifths vote.
  • We should write an amendment to limit the seizure of private property by any form of government.
  • We should write an amendment that allows the states to overrides Congressional decision by a majority vote in two-thirds of state legislatures.
  • We should write an amendment that allows the states to amend the Constitution with a two-third majority of the states.
  • We should build a physical border and strictly enforce our immigration policies. 
  • We should reform our immigration policies to make it easier, cheaper and straightforward to become a US citizen.
  • Voter Identification should be mandatory across all states.
  • After abolishing the Department of Education, we should turn over all education decisions to the state governments, which in turn should turn everything over to the districts, which in turn should turn everything over to the individual schools, which in turn should turn everything over to each individual teacher. 
  • Anyone should be able to attend the school of their choice regardless of residence.
  • We should allow citizens opt-out of paying property taxes if they choose to enroll their children in private school.
  • The FCC should be abolished.
  • We should decriminalize drug use and drug ownership.
  • We should end the war on drugs.
  • We should remove any affiliation between marriage and the government in any aspect or regard.
  • We should allow all freedom of religious expression in any form of public property or event regardless if it offends someone.  If it does offend…too bad.

Now for a couple of my own personal ideas…

  • Fist fighting should be a fair way to settle differences.
  • Liquor stores should be open as early or late as they want.
  • There should be no more building codes or standards for anything.  I should be able to use the light bulbs of my choice; build my house anyway I so choose; and be able to sell my property to someone regardless of any requirements or standards it does or doesn’t meet.
  • You shouldn’t have to register your vehicle unless you want to have proof that you own it, just like any other form of property.
  • You should be allowed to own any type of firearm you so desire without obtaining a special stamp or obtaining any special permission.

Well, I could probably go all day…


The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary don’t give a damn about your sexual orientation or gender identity. I’ll say it again, my city is amazing.

I’m also pretty sure there’s an instrumental version of Born This Way playing in the background. So there’s that.

Why you should use a Compressor as a guitarist

I feel like writing about compression, so hopefully some guitarists out there will read this and make use of my sagely wisdom.

I’m sure you’ve seen one of these little boxes at the local guitar shop with only two or three knobs and words like “Attack” and “Sustain” written on them. Surely they can’t be very useful, right? Maybe you’ve even plugged one in and, to your surprise, it didn’t DO anything. Compression has got to be one of the most simple effects, but still it continues to confuse and elude all of us gearheads. In this article I’m going to explain what a compressor does and why you should have one in your rig.

Keep reading

New York City agrees to pay $18 million settlement to protesters of the RNC
January 16, 2014

The city of New York has agreed to pay $18m to settle a civil rights claim from hundreds of protesters who were rounded up and detained in overcrowded and dirty conditions after they rallied outside the 2004 Republican National Convention.

The settlement, between city hall and almost 500 individuals, brings to an end a long-running sore between the overwhelmingly peaceful protesters and the New York police department (NYPD) that had been pursuing aggressive surveillance and detention tactics in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. More than 1,800 people, including teenagers and many uninvolved bystanders, were caught up in the massive police sweep outside the convention that was held to mark the nomination of George W Bush for a second presidential term.

The deal, announced by the law department of the city of New York on Wednesday, does not come down on either side of the argument. It admits no liability on the part of the NYPD, noting that for nine years City Hall and the police department “had vigorously defended all these lawsuits, maintaining that the conduct of the police had at all times been constitutional”.

It nevertheless involves a payment of $10.4m to individual plaintiffs and to 1,200 members of a class action that alleged violation of their rights, and a further $7.6m in attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.

The settlement offers a note of agreement between the parties, saying that “both the plaintiffs and defendants recognize the difficulties in policing an event of this magnitude, especially in New York City.” But it adds that the circumstances of the arrests at the RNC had been “heavily disputed” and in the end “the parties and the court believed it was in the best interests of all involved to settle the outstanding claims at this time.”

The events of 30 August to 2 September 2004 in New York were among the most dramatic of any political convention in US presidential history. Tensions were running high over the invasion of Iraq the previous year and hundreds of thousands marched against Bush and the war in one of the largest expressions of public dissent against a president.

Wednesday’s settlement notes that the demonstrators “on the whole, protested lawfully and peacefully”. But a total of 1,806 were arrested, most on charges of parading without a permit or disorderly conduct.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the protesters renamed Pier 57, then a disused former bus depot in Manhattan where those arrested were taken, Guantánamo on the Hudson. “All that was missing were the orange jumpsuits. Under the guise of terrorism and the fear of terrorism, we are all losing our rights,” Jonathan Moore, the lawyer who filed the original lawsuit a few months after the convention, said at the time .

Pier 57 was not properly adapted for use as a detention center. In it, detained individuals were herded 30 or 40 at a time into 10ft by 20ft pens.

Some were held for more than two days without being brought before a judge, a violation of New York’s legal limit of 24 hours between arrest and arraignment. They were only released when a New York supreme court judge ruled the breach of the deadline a contempt of court.

Some released detainees were taken straight to hospital for treatment of rashes and asthma caused by oil-soaked floors and chemical fumes. Most had the charges against them were dropped immediately or within six months of the arrests, and some police claims of resisting arrest were later shown to be spurious through video evidence gathered by defence lawyers.

The announcement of the final settlement only two weeks into the term of New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, may not be entirely coincidental. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg, and his police chief Ray Kelly, had consistently defended the conduct of the NYPD in the week of the RNC convention, 30 August to 2 September 2004, saying it had been justified by intelligence of possible violent threats that had been uncovered. But the documentary evidence to support that claim has never been released.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks three years previously, Bloomberg and Kelly had expanded the activities of the NYPD dramatically to include surveillance and infiltration of political and protest groups. A year before the convention they received court approval to expand NYPD investigations into the work of political and social organisations, which Kelly said was necessary as “we live in a more dangerous, constantly changing world”.

When the convention came along, with its venue in the overwhelmingly liberal city of New York, tensions were running high particularly over the invasion of Iraq that occurred the previous year. Hundreds of thousands marched against Bush and the war in one of the largest expressions of public dissent against a president.

Before Wednesday’s settlement, the fact of which was first disclosed by the New York Times, the city had already spent more than $18m fighting legal battles in the aftermath of the convention: $2.1m to resolve 112 of the total of 600 individual claims, and a further $16m in legal fees. The final settlement brings the total cost of the police over-reach to $34m.