Here are a few things that seem odd to me.
President Barack Obama and his family are touring Africa.
In conjunction with the trip, the White House put out a fact sheet titled “U.S. Support for Strengthening Democratic Institutions, Rule of Law and Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Cool.
But one of the very first items the White House held up for accolades was a $53 million program in Kenya enacted to help young people “obtain national identification cards, a prerequisite to voter registration.”
The document goes on to say:
• In Kenya, the $53 million Yes Youth Can program empowers nearly one million Kenyan youth to use their voices for advocacy in national and local policy making, while also creating economic opportunities. In advance of Kenya’s March 2013 general elections, Yes Youth Can’s “My ID My Life” campaign helped 500,000 youth obtain national identification cards, a prerequisite to voter registration, and carried out a successful nationwide campaign with Kenyan civic organizations to elicit peace pledges from all presidential aspirants.
Sounds really great, but I thought the White House was against voter ID laws. I thought that was voter suppression – a really bad thing.
In fact, the co-chair President Obama appointed to help lead the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, Robert F. Bauer, said during the 2012 election that voter ID laws are a Republican tactic to suppress lawful votes.
During the 2012 election, the Obama team chose Bauer to lead the legal teams for the campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Among his initiatives was one to fight voter ID laws enacted by a number of states. Those states were trying to combat voter fraud. During his time as the team’s organizer, Bauer told the Associated Press that he believes that the GOP was enlisting these new laws to impede the right to vote.
“The Republican Party and their allies have mapped out their vote suppression campaign as a response to our success in 2008 with grass-roots organization and successful turnout,” Bauer said. “This is their response to defeat: changing the rules of participation so that fewer participate.”
And here’s what White House spokesman Jay Carney had to say about a Texas voter ID law:
“And on the voter ID case, I can tell you that, as you know, this administration believes it should be easier for eligible citizens to vote – to register and vote. We should not be imposing unnecessary obstacles or barriers to voter participation.”
So which is it White House? Voter ID good, or voter ID bad? Or I guess if you’re in politics, you can just have it both ways.
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Seems the Central Intelligence Agency has been stockpiling arms in Jordan for U.S.-trained Syrian rebels for some time now.
Apparently, the CIA stored Soviet-made arms at a network of secret warehouses ahead of the Obama administration’s decision to arm the Syrian rebels.
It’s mostly small stuff, but also includes some anti-tank missiles.
The Wall Street Journal reported an August offensive against Damascus is being planned and that up to hundreds of fighters are being armed.
The CIA was picked to deliver arms to the Syrian rebels to limit public disclosures and restrict oversight to a small group of lawmakers, who would oversee the clandestine operation.
Now, without getting into a debate over the relative worthiness or moral compass of this exercise, I can’t help but wonder. If a Republican president was clandestinely funneling arms to a group of rebels that may or may not include Islamic extremists, wouldn’t there be a media firestorm?
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I think George Zimmerman, the guy on trial in Florida for gunning down 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is guilty of something.
He was the “neighborhood watch” character who profiled the kid as a bad guy, called 911, followed him, got into an altercation with him and then shot him to death.
Turns out the kid was on his way to his father’s fiance’s house armed with an energy drink and a bag of Skittles. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. Just walking home.
Zimmerman was some kind of cop wannabe guy and he really had no business following that kid on that night carrying a loaded gun.
The trouble began when Martin stopped, and according to his friend’s testimony, confronted Zimmerman and asked why he was following him. Things went downhill from there with Zimmerman alleging the kid – who was 6’1” and weighed 180 pound – punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground and started banging his head on the ground.
Zimmerman – 5’9” and 190 – claims Martin went for his gun and he shot him in self defense.
Now, if this Zimmerman guy doesn’t get convicted, there is going to be trouble down there in Florida.
Problem is, they charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder. I read a little bit about what second-degree murder is in Florida.
They call it murder with a depraved mind and, according to the Florida criminal code, “Murder with a depraved mind occurs when a person is killed, without any premeditated design, by an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind showing no regard for human life.”
Based on that description and the facts of the case so far, I think the prosecutor in this case is going to have a tough time convincing a jury beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman “evinced a depraved mind showing no regard for human life.”
I think if Zimmerman is convicted it all, it will be of a lesser included offense like reckless homicide or voluntary manslaughter.