Writer Leonard Pitts looks at the typical talking points made by pundits like O’Reilly, such as the black-on-black crime rate:
“…this has become the go-to “reasoning” for those on the right — Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh — when asked to give a damn about the killings of unarmed black boys and men.
“That formulation is false for multiple reasons.
“In the first place, being concerned over the shooting of unarmed black men hardly precludes being concerned over violence within the African-American community. Giuliani and others suggest a dichotomy where none exists.
“In the second place, they ignore the obvious: When black people commit crimes against black people, they face prosecution, but when police officers (or certain neighborhood watchmen) commit crimes against black people, they face getting off with little if any punishment.
“In the third place, what exactly is “black on black” crime?
“Do black people kill one another? Sure they do. Ninety percent of black murder victims are killed by black assailants.
“But guess what? White people kill one another, too. Eighty-three percent of white victims are killed by white assailants. See, the vast majority of violent crime is committed within — not between — racial groups. Crime is a matter of proximity and opportunity. People victimize their own rather than drive across town to victimize somebody else.
Gawker reports that it has secured partial transcripts from the custody trial of Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly in regards to the dispute with his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy.
The documents, which record testimony given last year, confirm that the ex-couple’s teenage daughter told a court-appointed forensic examiner that she witnessed O’Reilly “choking her mom” as he “dragged her down some stairs” by the neck.
The same transcripts also reveal that O’Reilly told his daughter that her mother is an “adulterer”; that he struggles to control his rage around his family; and that his daughter regards him as an absentee father.
The news publication Gawker claims that Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly committed acts of domestic violence during his marriage with Maureen McPhilmy.
“According to a source familiar with the facts of the case, a court-appointed forensic examiner testified at a closed hearing that O’Reilly’s daughter claimed to have witnessed her father dragging McPhilmy down a staircase by her neck, apparently unaware that the daughter was watching. The precise date of the alleged incident is unclear, but appears to have occurred before the couple separated in 2010. The same source indicated that the daughter, who is 16 years old, told the forensic examiner about the incident within the past year.”
O’Reilly and ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy split on April 2nd, 2010 and divorced on Sept. 1st, 2011.
McPhilmy began dating a detective to whom she is now married.
Recently, the “optical illusion dress” that came to worldwide attention was used in a Salvation Army public service announcement in South Africa. The announcement is targeting domestic violence against women and it uses the viral success of “The Dress.”
The ad featured a woman in a white and gold dress with a caption that reads, “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”
The caption in the ad further reads: “The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in 6 women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”
The advertisement features the logo for Carehaven, a home for abused women and their children run by the Salvation Army.
The charity says Carehaven has helped more than 5,000 people.
Ireland/Davenport, the South African advertising agency behind the image, told BuzzFeed News in an emailed statement, “For the past few days the internet has been swarming with comments about ‘the dress’ – overall people have been commenting how they hate the fact that an insignificant thing like this could take priority on the internet over more pressing topics such as abuse.”
The agency’s creative team created it within 24 hours and then approached the Salvation Army to ask if they would like to put their name to ad.
“After the idea had been cracked by the team there was no time to spare. We approached the Salvation Army and they were nothing but helpful and overjoyed to help us get their message out there,” the agency said. “With the help of favors from suppliers and production we managed to create and publish the ad in a day.”
The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism opened in the United States capital on Tuesday, February 17th. A group of 40 participants were at the beginning of the three-day event.
The summit was not just about the Islamic State, it also had a focus on American domestic issues.
“We all understand that in dealing with violent extremism, we need answers that go beyond a military answer,” said US Vice President Joe Biden. “We need answers that go beyond force. Countries, all of us including the United States, we have to work this from the ground up.
He added: “We have to work from the ground up and engage our communities and engage those who might be susceptible to being radicalized because they are marginalized.
Biden said societies need to provide immigrant communities with a sense of opportunity and a sense of belonging to counter radicalization.
“Societies have to provide an affirmative alternative for immigrant communities with a sense of opportunity, a sense of belonging – and that will discredit the terrorist appeal to fear, isolation, hatred and resentment.”
An important issue at the summit is how to stop lone-wolf attacks, which is usually violence plotted by a single person who may not share their plans with anyone.
Attention was also paid to social media.
U.S. intelligence and officials from Homeland Security have said that social media campaigns by extremist groups have fueled recruitment and inspired lone wolves in cities including Paris, Copenhagen, Ottawa and Boston.
To counter the messages by ISIS and al-Qaeda, the US State Department will expand its Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications to amplify its own messages.
President Barack Obama is set to address the meetings twice with an emphasis on how civil society and the private sector have roles to play in countering violent extremism.
The meeting – which features speakers and participants from the US and abroad – has been in the works for months as part of a program the Obama administration began in 2011.
It comes just as a new report warns of a rise in violence by “lone wolves” or “leaderless resistance” groups composed of no more than two people.
It comes at a time when recent events seem connected to Islam: The shooting deaths last week of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, N.C., by a suspect who may have been motivated by religious hatred as well as other issues, and the shooting attacks that killed two and wounded five at a free speech event and synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, over the weekend, believed to have been inspired by Islamic radicalism.
The vice president upheld as examples the work of Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, where the Justice Department has launched a series of pilot programs involving local religious leaders, law enforcement and advocacy groups. Administration officials said one goal of the conference was for leaders from those cities to share best practices with others.
Overcoming distrust has been a challenge for federal officials. Some critics say the apprehension of young men – such as Christopher Lee Cornell, recently charged with plotting an attack on the US Capitol – amounts to legally questionable entrapment.
The Los Angeles program has drawn criticism from civil rights groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is worried that the program will infringe on Muslims’ freedom of speech and religion, and might hurt their public image.
The council’s national office issued a statement ahead of the summit questioning the effectiveness of programs closely tied to a government that many Muslims don’t trust.
“Credible community voices who are not viewed as ‘being in the government’s pocket’ are necessary,” it said.
More than 22 Somali men from Minnesota have gone to Somalia to fight for the radical group al-Shabab. Several others have gone or tried to go to Syria to fight for the Islamic State group.
“The most important lesson we’ve learned, and we don’t always practice it, but it’s that inclusion counts,” Biden said of the need to effectively integrate minority immigrant groups into American society, particularly Muslims. “Let me say it again: Inclusion counts. Inclusion counts.”
The Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington has taken what it calls “a proactive approach to identifying and intervening individuals who may be susceptible to violent extremism.”
Authorities are studying whether the killing of the three Muslim students in Chapel Hill – allegedly by Craig Hicks – was a hate crime. On his Facebook page, he had written: “I hate Islam just as much as (C)hristianity, but they have the right to worship in this country just as much as any others do.”
Though Hicks apparently acted alone (possibly set off by a dispute with the victims over parking spaces), it’s unclear whether he can be thought of as a violent extremist “lone wolf” in the usual sense.
In a report last week – “Age of the Wolf: A Study of the Rise of Lone Wolf and Leaderless Resistance Terrorism” – the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) examined more than 60 domestic terror incidents. Almost three-quarters of these were carried out or planned by a lone wolf, a single person acting without accomplices. Ninety percent of the incidents were the work of no more than two persons, according to the report.
The study, which included violence from both the radical right and homegrown jihadists from April 1, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2015, also found that a domestic terrorist attack or foiled attack occurred, on average, every 34 days.
“It’s important to recognize the trend away from organized groups committing acts of domestic terror,” said Mark Potok, SPLC senior fellow and editor of the report. “As Timothy McVeigh demonstrated with the Oklahoma City bombing, lone wolves and small cells of domestic terrorists can create massive carnage.”
“It is imperative that authorities, including those gathering at the White House next week, take this threat seriously. Anything less would be an invitation to disaster,” said Potok.
Some European publications found that not enough attention was paid to America’s own right-wing extremism, whereas some American news sources felt that not enough attention was paid to ISIS or religious-related terms like “Muslim” extremism.
The Guardian: “On Tuesday, the White House will convene a national summit on combatting violent extremism – but, despite a plethora of attacks by domestic right-wing extremists and the increase in white supremacist hate groups, no one expects that to be on the agenda.”
Washington Times: “From Afghanistan and borderlands of Pakistan to Iraq and North Africa, radical Islamists eager to spread their strict interpretation of the Muslim faith and topple Western values have bombed, beheaded and slaughtered — undermining the White House narrative and raising questions about its strategy.”
Bloomberg claimed that the term “Muslim extremism” won’t be used much: “President Barack Obama and his staff have gone to lengths to avoid characterizing the ideology driving Islamic State and other terrorist groups as religious extremism. The semantic exercise is intended to avoid legitimizing acts of terror as expressions of religious belief. It’s also part of a strategy to draw in the domestic Muslim leaders who Obama is leaning on…”
After a delightful ceremony in St. Mary’s Church in the village of West Rainton in County Durham, England, the reception for Amy Dawson and her new husband, her long-term partner and father of her child, Gavin Golightly, in nearby Beamish Hall was full of love and laughter.
Then, at 12:55 a.m. the following morning, the newlyweds decided to retire to bed and Dawson asked Golightly to help take off her wedding dress.
Instead, he attacked her and she thought she was going to die.
“The defendant (Golightly) then tried to undo Ms. Dawson’s dress. She received a crochet (to undo the dress with), but the defendant then refused to undo his new wife’s dress,” prosecutor Sarah Traynor told Peterlee Magistrates Court, the Sunderland Echo reported.
“The defendant then jumped up from his chair, approached Ms. Dawson and pushed her over.
“He then sat on top of her and started punching her with clenched fists. He then got up and left the room. It appears that the defendant then came back to the room.”
Dawson received a cut above her left eye and bruises to her face and chest.
“When I first met Gavin, he was lovely, I couldn’t fault him,” Dawson told the Sunderland Echo. “He was caring and loving, and when we found we were having a baby, we were delighted…I fell pregnant after eight months, but almost straightaway, Gavin became controlling and manipulative. It was like walking on eggshells.
“When he lashed out at me on my wedding night, I thought I was going to die. I was terrified. He looked like he was going to kill me.”
Golightly said his drinks must have been spiked before the assault and he could not remember the incident. However, Golightly, a tattoo artist, pleaded guilty to a single count of assault causing actual bodily harm.
He was given a two-year community order, and a restraining order stopping him from contacting Dawson directly or indirectly was imposed. He was also ordered to pay Dawson compensation.
Dawson, an accounting student, has filed for divorce.
The Jeffrey Epstein / Alan Dershowitz / Prince Andrew child sex scandal has for the most part fallen through the cracks of mainstream media’s attention.
Billionaire Epstein previously somehow got off with a “slap on the wrist” for sex trafficking minors and there are accusations of “shady deals” with authorities.
In March 2005, a woman alleged her 14-year-old daughter had been taken to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl and paid money after stripping and massaging Epstein.
“Police started an 11-month undercover investigation of Epstein, followed by a search of his home. Subsequently, they alleged that Epstein had paid several escorts to perform sexual acts on him.
“Papers filed in 2006 state Epstein installed concealed cameras in numerous places in his property to record sex between prominent people and underage prostitutes for criminal purposes like blackmail.
“Instead of following police recommendation, the prosecutors considered the evidence weak and presented it to a grand jury, an uncommon procedure in non-capital cases.
“In June 2008, after pleading to a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14, Epstein began serving an 18-month sentence. He served 13 months, and upon release became a registered sex offender.”
Some think the story has the potential to become the “Bill Cosby scandal on steroids.”
Here, Mike Papantonio and Thom Hartmann discuss it.
A Massachusetts woman and her 9-year-old daughter were found hanged Friday in the basement of their home by police officers who later discovered what authorities called “written information” that’s being reviewed to see it if sheds light on what happened.
The bodies of Ariana Rosa-Soares, 32, and her daughter, Marley Soares, were found shortly before 10 a.m. in their home in Brockton, Massachusetts about 25 miles south of Boston, after a concerned family friend called police asking for assistance at the house, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said.
Cruz didn’t disclose the contents of the written information found at the scene and said it was too early to say whether the deaths were murders or a murder-suicide. He said the girl’s father was interviewed by state police.
A homicide investigation is under way, according to Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, but officials had not confirmed by Friday evening how the mother and daughter died.
Rosa-Soares recently divorced Marley’s father, Octavio Soares, according to friends and family members. The couple shared custody and Rosa-Soares worked two jobs – as a certified nursing assistant and a personal care assistant – “just to maintain food in the house,” said a friend of the family.
On Sunday, ABC’s This Week previewed the Super Bowl by discussing the tumultuous year the NFL has gone through, from child abuse charges to Deflategate.
During a panel discussion at the end of the broadcast, Gwen Ifil, anchor of PBS NewsHour, lamented the fact that millions of Americans “may know, the evidence may be in front of them, but it’s almost sad that many Americans just don’t want to be bothered with it.”
According to the website FiveThirtyEight, domestic violence arrests are the NFL’s worst category of crimes arrested for. However, the arrest rate is 55.4 percent of the national average.
FiveThirtyEight points out that this could be explained by the high incomes. In fact, people in the same income bracket as a whole have only a 39 percent arrest rate compared to the national average.