Friday, July 31, 2015

UPDATE::Due to a health emergency,,,

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I suffered a stroke and I am now dealing with the aftermath.  Initially I had no idea what to expect as I was in pretty bad shape, but I am improving slowly and re-gaining some of my physical strength.  Thankfully, from a cognitive standpoint there doesn't seem to be any deficits other than I'm a bit slower and maintaining multiple thought streams isn't as sharp.  Hence why my postings are a bit erratic and take a bit longer to put together.

Overall, I guess things are going as well as can be expected and attempting to maintain Havoc and Chaos has in some ways helped; not being able to work has been a  major bore for me.  Which brings me to the why of this post.

At the behest of friends and acquaintances who are familiar with my financial situation (more like lack there of), they wanted some means to help.  So this GoFundMe campaign was born and as you can see much has transpired.  I am eternally grateful and have no words to express my thanks.

To save time and to avoid being redundant, I have been and will be posting any pertinent updates via GFM in order to keep those that have donated apprised of how your money is being spent and my progress to return to work.  Although I loathed having to take this route, I am glad I have and it has been a great success thus far.

Again I thank you all for your generosity!!

Need Help::Healing from a Stroke by Beth A. Hambridge - GoFundMe

Catholic Church leaves Antarctica | Radio New Zealand News

The National Science Foundation (NSF), which over-sees the US Antarctic Programme said the decline in people attending services at McMurdo Station meant there was no longer the need for a Catholic Priest.

A military chaplaincy will remain at the base providing inter-denominational religious services and personal support to the population.

Co-ordinator of the Catholic Church in Antarctica Father Dan Doyle has spent 14 summers on the ice since his first trip in 1984.

"There is a gradual decrease in religiosity, there is also a decrease in the number of people working at McMurdo Station and the South Pole and budget cuts so all of these factors have led to the decision that only one chaplain is necessary."

Father Doyle said he has been working with the NSF on the transition that would bring an end to a 57-year relationship between the Diocese and the Programme.

Catholic Church leaves Antarctica | Radio New Zealand News

Paul Rolly: Mormon church moves to build a city in Florida | The Salt Lake Tribune

If you remember, back in January, I made this post "A Catholic City?" from Americans United concening Dom­ino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan's attempt to create a Catholic paradise, Ave Maria, Florida.  Now we have the Mormons following suit albeit for, what appears to be, different reasons.
The Mormon church is going to Disney World.

The church-owned Deseret Ranches is going through the bureaucratic process in Florida to win approval to transform rural farmland, used for 65 years to raise cattle, into a metropolis of a half-million residents within a 133,000-acre corner of Osceola County, not far from Orange County, the home of the world-renowned Disney resort in Orlando.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the project would be the biggest development ever planned in Florida. The Sentinel reported the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a statement saying the development would cause no "adverse impacts" to water, wetlands and wilderness.

But other state agencies are not so sure and want a more detailed review of the project's population densities on what is now ranchland southeast of Orlando International Airport.

Deseret Ranches is a for-profit cattle operation begun by the LDS Church in 1950. It originally covered about 54,000 acres in central Florida, but it grew over the years to 312,000 acres and reportedly became the world's largest beef ranch.

Eric Jacobsen, general manager of Deseret Ranches, says turning portions of the ranch into a residential and commercial development is simply a practical business decision.
And that brings us to Hemant Mehta's question, "why money that was tithed is being used — directly or indirectly — to finance things that don’t involve spreading the word of God,,,.  Of all the things you’re supposed to do with tithed money, building a shopping center or a full-blown community — even if profits eventually get used to promote the religion — isn’t on the list. And if making money is part of your Church’s mission, why are members getting tax exemptions for their donations?"

Paul Rolly: Mormon church moves to build a city in Florida | The Salt Lake Tribune

WWII 70 years later: Preserving the truth at Auschwitz

Among the artifacts at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, at the site of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps of World War II, are 110,000 shoes, 3,800 suitcases, 246 tallits (Jewish prayer shawls), 8,000 letters from prisoners and reams of documents from the SS, Adolf Hitler’s terrifying paramilitary force.

The sheer size of the archive that documents how 1.1 million people perished there during the Holocaust forces the museum’s keepers to at least try to distance themselves emotionally from their work.

“We usually treat these buildings or blocks just like we would treat any other preservation objects,” says Agnieszka Tanistra, acting head of the museum’s preservation department. “It’s a job to be done.”

Yet even seven decades after the camps were liberated by Soviet troops, it’s still impossible to fully maintain that distance.

Within the worldwide community of Holocaust scholars, some wonder whether the preservation efforts are worth it. At great expense and effort, the museum has transformed a horrible place into a popular tourist destination. They question whether visitors can understand the depth of the suffering that occurred there.

“Is there a case for abandoning the site and letting nature take its course?” says Robert Jan Van Pelt, an architectural historian and Holocaust scholar at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “There is, and there isn’t. I continue to argue with myself on that.”

Museum officials believe the effort to remember is what matters. As the last survivors of Auschwitz and Birkenau die, the museum recounts their experiences for the tens of thousands of visitors who pass through the camps every week.

WWII 70 years later: Preserving the truth at Auschwitz

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Miracle cures come and go, but quacks are forever

Let’s put aside exactly what GcMAF is (you can read about it here and here) and discuss the type of person who would promote one miracle cure and then suddenly jump to the next. According to Kerri, as recently as 3 months ago, parasites caused autism and shoving bleach into a child’s rectum repeatedly and often removed those parasites and reversed the symptoms. But today, she says autism has a completely different biological mechanism and a completely different cure that has nothing to do with the previous “miracle cure”.

Perhaps this should tell you something about what what “cure” means to a person like a Kerri. It seems “cure” means “anything I can convince vulnerable parents to give me money for”.  In other words, she takes advantage of a vulnerable population, convinces them of something that is not true and makes money off of her lies. I think there’s a term for that.

Miracle cures come and go, but quacks are forever

No, U.S. Air Force, There Is No Separation Between Standup Comedy and State | Chris Rodda

Despite the alarmist claims from the religious folk in Congress that the poor, persecuted Christian military chaplains are being forced to perform services contrary to their religious beliefs, the investigation found no evidence of this, saying:
"we identified no instance in which a commander forced or attempted to force a chaplain to perform a service contrary to his or her conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs."
Yes, the claims that military chaplains are being forced to promote the so-called "gay agenda" and will be forced to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies are as completely unfounded and ridiculous as the similar tales of ministers in the civilian world being forced to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies under threat of legal punishment. No military chaplain has had to do anything, or will ever have to do anything, that is contrary to their beliefs.

But, while being forced to promote beliefs contrary to their own is a made-up problem when it comes to military chaplains, it is actually a very real problem for other service members, and a good example of this also came up last week, the day before the DoD IG's report was released.

Distributing a flyer promoting an evangelical Christian "Gospel Explosion" through the command's email distribution system is a blatant violation of this Air Force Instruction. The "leaders at all levels" in this email distribution chain were absolutely officially endorsing and extending preferential treatment for the Christian faith by using this email distribution system to distribute this flyer. Not only did the end recipients of the flyer receive it from their immediate superiors, but any airman in the chain who was told to distribute the flyer to their distribution list was being told not only to violate regulations, but to promote a religious event that might have been contrary to their beliefs by sending the flyer on.

No, U.S. Air Force, There Is No Separation Between Standup Comedy and State | Chris Rodda

Man dies after being bitten while handling snake during Bell County church service | State |

To get bitten is beyond stupid. To refuse the medical attention that is totally asinine.
A man died after being bitten by a snake he had been handling during a church service in Bell County on Sunday.

John David Brock, 60, of Stoney Fork, was bitten on the left arm while handling the snake at Mossy Simpson Pentecostal Church in Jenson, according to the state police.

Brock refused medical treatment and went to his brother's home, where he died.

Bell County Coroner Jay Steele said he pronounced Brock dead at the home of his brother Bobby Brock in the Kettle Island community at 4:25 p.m. Sunday.

Steele said an investigation into the incident is continuing.

Man dies after being bitten while handling snake during Bell County church service | State |

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

News: Why The Duggars Needed A Payment Processor

So the clown car, vagina family is still in the news:
So it turns out that not only do the Duggars have a new money making scheme since their show on TLC was cancelled but they also need someone to do the online payment processing of credit cards. Hence Duggar Processing LLC and Fivestone Group LLC. Turns out that the Duggars are starting to ask for money from anyone watching their videos on YouTube, at least all the Duggar Studios videos which seem to be an endless procession of kids going to the dentist Josiah Duggar stoned out of his gourd on pain meds while Jim Bob drives him home from having his wisdom teeth removed, lip synching to music or doing other every day things. They have also done a promotion of Bill Gothard’s Alert Academy. Josh and Anna Duggar have their own channel. At least Josh and Anna aren’t trying to shake anyone down for money, yet. But at the Duggar Studios page,,,

Here’s what I’m predicting based upon the news of the payment processor registrations by Jim Bob and Josh Duggar combined with the money request on their YouTube channel. Before too long there will be a paid access online portal, not necessarily YouTube, where you can see new videos on the Duggars on a weekly or daily basis. It’s a good way to keep the reality television dollars rolling in so that Jim Bob Duggar doesn’t have to abase himself like the rest of us and get a regular job. All this merely confirms my notion that Jim Bob Duggar in particular is mostly a grifter wrapped in Jesus-speak.
And to think, I used to think this family was quaint,,,sigh!!

News: Why The Duggars Needed A Payment Processor

Religious group threatens lawsuit over Kentucky policy banning anti-gay comments at juvenile jails | Faith & Values |

Dan Arel offers some excellent commentary in reference to Ken Ham's asinine reaction supporting Liberty Counsel's filing.

Restricting the free speech of a Baptist minister is a violation of the federal and state constitutions, Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast Jr. wrote to Hayter. As he counseled young offenders, some of whom had been sexually abused or were sexual abusers themselves, Wells would tell them what the Bible said about homosexuality, Mast wrote.

"It is not 'hatred' or 'bias' to lovingly point out the harms of homosexuality, and the power of Christ to change lives, should the occasion require it," Mast wrote.
Yet there is nothing unconstitutional about the policy because the prison is government run. They can dictate what volunteers and employees can and cannot do. This is not a religious test, they are not barring Wells from volunteering, but if he wants to volunteer, he must abide by policies put in place to keep these youth safe. Calling them names does not keep them safe is not a religious right.
What Wells wishes to say inside his own church is his business, but he is not allowed to walk into a government facility and say whatever he pleases if he wishes to be a volunteer.
Wells was traveling Monday and could not be reached for comment. Pastor J. Dale Massengale of Pleasant View Baptist Church, in Breckinridge County, said Wells leads his church's ministry at the detention center, where they counsel children as young as 8 and 9 years old. The church has been active at the detention center for 13 years without any previous complaints, Massengale said.
,,,By reaching out to homosexual youth who are struggling through life and already in the prison system and then to call them abnormal, deviant, etcetera is only going to hurt the well-being of the juveniles in the state’s care.

This is once again, a religious plea to be allowed to oppress, discriminate against and shame those they do not agree with,,, 
Many youths in custody are sexually confused and need to be educated about "unnatural affection or, as it's cataloged in the Scripture, sodomy," Massengale said.

"We're dealing with juveniles who have been prostituted since they were infants because their mothers needed money for drugs, or who have been sodomized all their lives. They feel like this is the only life they've ever known," Massengale said. "Under this policy, we can't even go in there and read the Bible to them to give them a message of hope."
As one comments notes,  "Volunteers should be banned from religious proselytizing to minors/prisoners unless it's some sort of Sunday-service and the youths go voluntarily."
As the article notes, and something Ham et al ignore, 
"There are no other state agencies with a policy on this issue because DJJ is the only agency with facilities that house youth, and therefore it really is unique to us," Flooden said. "There are other states that have similar policy."

Although individuals ordinarily have the right to free speech, including religious expression, that's not always true if they work at a state or federal institution and might be seen as speaking with the government's voice.
Religious group threatens lawsuit over Kentucky policy banning anti-gay comments at juvenile jails | Faith & Values |

From Raw Story we have this as well, 
Speaking up in defense of Wells, Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver complained, “Many juveniles are in DJJ custody because of sexual crimes. Pastor Wells must be able to discuss what the Bible says about matters of sexuality with the juveniles he is trying to help. To remove the Bible from a pastor’s hands is like removing a scalpel from a surgeon’s hands. Without it, they cannot provide healing.”

The letter went on to state: “The Bible explicitly prohibits any expression of sexuality outside of the confines of man-woman marriage. It recognizes that every person, regardless of personal proclivities or attractions, is separated from God because of sin, whatever form that sin may take. Many juveniles are in DJJ custody because of sexual crimes, and Mr. Wells must be able to discuss the Bible and matters of sexuality with inmates, and he therefore was unable to sign the form.”
Who the fuck gives a rat's ass what the bile teaches,
Let the pastor consider how he would feel if a non-Christian counselor were to tell all the young offenders who are Christian that Jesus was a fraud because that's what he believes. His right to speak as he wishes to would be that person's right to speak according to his desires.

A Manhattan Project Veteran Had a Unique View of Atomic Bomb Work - The New York Times

Benjamin Bederson turned past the page in the diary from long ago, the page he had burned a hole through, and mentioned things he had done since that summer of 1945.

“Was an experimental atomic physicist,” he said. “Worked as a professor at New York University, taught almost every course in physics, was editor in chief of the American Physical Society and helped usher physics journals into the electronic age.”

He left out the part about helping to usher in the atomic age — the part about testing the ignition switches for the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. The part about having been one of the lowest-ranking soldiers assigned to the Manhattan Project, the huge research-and-development effort that delivered the first atomic devices, and as a corporal or a private in his early 20s, one of the youngest. The part about having been one of the few soldiers sent to key spots at key moments as the work progressed.

“That makes it sound a little grandiose,” Dr. Bederson, now 93, said modestly.

A Manhattan Project Veteran Had a Unique View of Atomic Bomb Work - The New York Times

News -- Testing God: Zimbabwe Pastor fails to resurrect after telling people to bury him alive

Zed 24 News reports that High Court Justice Owen Tagu heard how on that day, the late pastor had been invited to attend the home in the Muzarabani district, which is situated along the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border, by their priest, Zvidzai Muchengeti.

The five men had requested the priest to help them clean their home of evil spirits, because it was causing mysterious deaths in their family.

Responding to their request to perform a healing ceremony, Kanyama had ordered his followers to dig a grave and bury him alive because that was the way he summoned more healing powers to ward off evil spirits. However, the plan backfired on the prophet when instead of being resurrected as he supposed, the men dug up the grave again to find him dead.

Kanyama helped to dig his own grave before praying and jumping inside, Father Zvidzai, who has turned State witness, told the High Court. He continued that after laying face down in the grave, he ordered his followers to start covering him with soil. 

"He pegged a grave-shaped pit in front of my hut and asked for help to dig the pit," Zvidzai continued. "Deceased requested to be buried alive so that he would gain power to drive away the evil forces."

News -- Testing God: Zimbabwe Pastor fails to resurrect after telling people to bury him alive

Detroit-area cancer doctor gets 45 years in prison for fraud | Fox News

Calling the scheme "horrific," a judge sentenced a Detroit-area cancer doctor to 45 years in prison Friday for collecting millions from insurance companies while poisoning more than 500 patients through needless treatments that wrecked their health.

U.S. District Judge Paul Borman this week heard stories of brittle bones and fried organs as patients chillingly described the effects of excessive chemotherapy at the hands of Dr. Farid Fata.

Fata "shut down whatever compassion he had as a doctor and switched it to making money," Borman said.
Moments earlier, the judge called it a "huge, horrific series of criminal acts."

Fata, 50, offered no excuses before getting his punishment. Stone-faced all week in court, he repeatedly broke down in loud sobs as he begged for mercy Friday.

"I misused my talents, yes, and permitted this sin to enter me because of power and greed," Fata said. "My quest for power is self-destructive."

Detroit-area cancer doctor gets 45 years in prison for fraud | Fox News

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Citing Religious Freedom, Native Americans Fight To Take Back Sacred Land From Mining Companies | ThinkProgress

For generations, members of the Apache Native American tribe have viewed Oak Flat as a holy, sacred place. Located about an hour due east of Phoenix, Arizona, the land has long served as a site for traditional acorn gatherings, burial services, and rite of passage ceremonies for young women. The flat is tucked inside Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, and has historically been protected by the federal government.

“It’s our sacred land — it’s where we come to pray,” Carrie Sage Curley, an Apache woman, told ThinkProgress.
But last year, the land quietly became something else: A proposed site for a massive copper mining project spearheaded by Resolution Copper, an organization run by two multinational corporations based in the United Kingdom and Australia.

The aggressive mining operation resulted from a last-minute addition to the National Defense Authorization Act, a “must-pass” military spending bill pushed through in December 2014. The language, which was inserted at the 11th hour by Arizona Senators John McCain (R) and Jeff Flake (R), essentially traded Resolution 2,400 acres of Arizona (including Oak Flat) in exchange for 5,300 acres of private land they already own. The swap is believed to be one of the first instances of federal land being given to a foreign corporation.


The religious connections to Oak Flat are so powerful that mining the land could constitute a violation of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. That law, which was passed in 1978, stipulates that the federal government has an obligation to protect the religious liberty of Native Americans — including guaranteeing access to sites they hold sacred.

“It’s the same thing as a church,” Curley said. “We protect these temples, why can’t we do the same for our sacred land?”

Citing Religious Freedom, Native Americans Fight To Take Back Sacred Land From Mining Companies | ThinkProgress

Show Notes::Call it what it is,,,BULLSHIT!!

As some of may be aware of, I recently suffered a stroke to which I am now in recovery.  It's slow going and I am looking at it as a new adventure.

Now I will admit there are many matters I am quite ignorant of because, well, it could never happen to me.  Having a stroke and dealing with the aftermath is one of those issues.  So off to Google I went (actually DuckDuck.go), to find basic information.  And boy was that a trip,,,, Facebook was quite helpful as well, but for another reason, that is the topic of which I am going to rant about.

The internet can kill my friends, and the fact that it is allowed carte blanche boggles my mind; but that is a whole other topic.

So how helpful was FB, well we have this gem "Natural Remedies to Reduce High Blood Pressure in 5 Minutes".   It starts out by stating, "One of the more dangerous diseases of modern age is the high blood pressure which is caused by increased stress, sleeps deprivation, obesity, salty food, smoking and increased consuming of alcohol."

No, no and no!! these are not causes but contributing factors. In "essential hypertension" which 95% of cases a HBP fall, the cause is UNKNOWN.

Might want to get proper medical advise as to what high blood pressure is because "the muscles get really tense, the blood vessels contract and the pressure increases" doesn't even begin to cover it. Your muscles have nothing to do with it.

As you might well guess, it devolves from there.

A second piece of medical woo was shared by a friend of the show with a warning for me to take my BP into consideration.  It was a photo post of the "New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine" with all sorts of crap plastered on the cover,  In response, I noted, "are they trying to kill their readers?"

Which then led to a third piece of woo, a meme entitled Mind in Action:

Needless to say, I became quite irritated,,, Hell if I was in my old fundie days, I would most likely be dead or severely incapacitated,,, it's bad enough I'm a stubborn ox (it took Deb and friend of the show Dave Foda over three hours to convince me to go to hospital) but people don't need to be pushing this shit,,,

What I posted,,,
I'd be fucking dead if I relied on god,,, quit pushing shit before you kill someone.  Recent stroke survivor saved by science not an imaginary sky fairy.
It was deleted within 24 hrs

As frustrating and galling as this situation is, there is hope.  There are people actively combating this shit.  People like Professor Stephen and Rachel Brown of AoA.  Individuals like our very own Heretic Woman.  But there are many professionals as well who blog daily about the dangers of bad science.  Who take time from their careers as scientists, doctors and researchers to put forth useful, scientifically solid information for the lay public to devour. But the most important group are the ex-woomeisters and that is what I would like to highlight for a moment in closing.

Amongst all the crap I have came across, this article, IT HAPPENED TO ME: Alternative Medicine (And Poor Critical Thinking Skills) Almost Killed Me,
Back home, I tried more alternative medicine for three more years before ending up in the ICU with acute kidney failure and out of control inflammatory bowel symptoms from all of the useless drugs and supplements I was ingesting without proper follow up with a qualified medical professional.

I decided that perfect health wasn’t possible for me, and decided to have the total colectomy. I had not fully transitioned out of my hatred for modern medicine and conspiracy mindset. I had just decided that I didn’t care about being perfect anymore. I just wanted to end the UC flares and eat food again. I agreed to the surgery and all of its risks.

Now I am healthy. Turns out, there’s this thing called a J-pouch, which I now have. I also finally got real help for my mental illness, too. I made friends who don’t moralize food choices and who accept me as I am. I got married to the best person on Earth.

I still have a very complicated relationship with food. Since my surgeries, I’ve allowed myself to eat an unrestricted diet in order to maintain emotional stability and so I ended up gaining a lot of weight.

I’d like to be thinner, but my mental well-being takes precedence. I have to let go of all of those memories of people complimenting me on how great I looked when I was obviously sick and painfully thin. I had to let go of how pious I felt when I was eating “right.”

Someday, I hope to get to a place where I can handle a real healthy lifestyle without conflating determination with obsession. And maybe…someday…women will be allowed to be fat.

Thankfully I never quite fell into that trap in my younger days.  Yes I was vegan, but not for ethical reason, I just didn't like the taste of animal proteins.  Yes, I dabbled in the woo, but science in the end always won out.  Yes, it is an issue I still struggle with at times and the author of the above offered and explanation of why.
I'm certainly not the first to say this, but alternative medicine is a fundamentalist religion. It is the same sort of victim-blaming, life-shaming, sacrificial culture that my husband dealt with growing up in an evangelical church. We discuss our parallel experiences often. Alternative medicine is a salvation based religion, except that instead of an eternity in heaven, you get perfect health.

Just as we battle religious and political ideology so to must we battle the charlatans of science.  Then maybe, just maybe, we won't have to read about people like Belle Gibson, who according to her mother are allowed to “tell little porky pies”.
Australian health and wellbeing blogger Belle Gibson gained a large online following and was due to release a Whole Pantry app and a book on the basis that she had treated her own terminal cancer by shunning medical treatments in place of a healthy diet and alternative therapies. She encouraged readers to lead healthier lives to beat cancer, rather than accepting medical treatment.

It was revealed earlier this year however that Gibson had never been diagnosed with cancer.

Her mother, Natalie Dal-Bello, has now defended her daughter’s actions in an interview with The Herald Sun. She said: “Belle told a white lie, aged 23-and-a-half. So what?

“Belle is allowed to tell little porky pies. Who the hell doesn’t tell a lie in their life? Nobody complained about Belle when she was helping people and now they want to put her under the microscope.”
Sorry to say Ms. Dal-Bello, most people that tell a lie, don't injure or possibly kill people in the process.

When you see the junk, whether it be science, medicine or religion, call it out.  Call it for what it is,,,BULLSHIT!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

UPDATE::Catholic Brother Bernard Hartman jailed for three years over sex attacks on children in 1970s and 1980s | Herald Sun

THE Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne knew a Marianist brother was a sexual predator of children decades ago but it was not until today his victims finally saw him jailed.

In another scandalous blow to the church, Brother Bernard Hartman was jailed for three years, with one year suspended, for sustained sexual attacks on two young girls aged under 11 in the 1970s and a male student in the early 1980s.

County Court Judge James Parrish described the offending as “blatant” and a grave breach of Hartman's position as a teacher at St Paul's College in Altona North.

The decades-long delay in bringing Hartman to justice was used by him to argue for a reduced sentence because he had lived under the burden of his crimes for more than 40 years.

But all three victims told the court their lives had been devastated by Hartman's offending, each suffering anxiety and feeling they are unable to trust people.

Catholic Brother Bernard Hartman jailed for three years over sex attacks on children in 1970s and 1980s | Herald Sun

David Barton: Churches Are Required to Hire Pedophiles to Run Church Nurseries

With uninformed pundits like Barton headlining church conferences, no wonder many evangelicals are worried the sky is falling.  I hope Mr. Mitchell will consider giving equal time or at least informing his listeners that Barton was wrong and the First Amendment still exists in America.

Throckmorton offers a concise take-down of all of Barton's talking points:
No. Just no.

Barton is completely wrong about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. It never passed both houses of Congress during the same session, and it is not law today. It was not introduced in the 109th Congress (2005-2007). As an aside, the House speaker during that Congress was Dennis Hastert and the Senate president was Dick Cheney.  ENDA passed the House in the next Congress but not the Senate. Another version of the legislation passed the Senate in 2013 but not the House (see this timeline).

Barton told Mitchell’s audience that President Obama’s executive order forbidding discrimination by federal contractors came “as a result” of ENDA. Not so. Barton claims faith based groups have to hire homosexuals. However, this order only applies to federal contractors not all faith based groups. Then he uncorked a doozy by claiming that churches have to hire pedophiles who want to run church nurseries. Of course, this is ridiculous fear mongering.

Stop a minute to think about that claim. Anyone who has any knowledge of church work or volunteer work with children knows Barton’s claim is ridiculous. In many schools, you can’t volunteer to accompany your child’s classroom on a field trip without criminal and child abuse clearances. In recent years, churches have been required by liability insurers to screen all volunteers before working with children. Barton’s claims are absurd and irresponsible.

On the claim that a church has to hire an openly gay applicant, Barton offers no evidence. I know of no case where a non-gay-affirming church was required to hire a gay person for a religious function. Churches discriminate on the basis of religion all the time by hiring only those who agree on even fine points of doctrine. Many churches also discriminate on the basis of gender by not hiring women for certain functions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance makes it clear that “governmental regulation of church administration, including the appointment of clergy, impedes the free exercise of religion and constitutes impermissible government entanglement with church authority. The exception applies only to employees who perform essentially religious functions, namely those whose primary duties consist of engaging in church governance, supervising a religious order, or conducting religious ritual, worship, or instruction.” Clearly, youth directing is an essentially religious function.
David Barton: Churches Are Required to Hire Pedophiles to Run Church Nurseries

Tampa, Florida Sees Tenth Trans Woman Murdered in U.S. in 2015 |

India Clarke, a 25-year-old black trans woman, was found beaten to death Tuesday morning outside Tampa, Florida's University Area Community Center, reports Tampa Bay TV station WTSP.

A park employee called police after discovering Clarke's body just before 9 a.m. near the basketball courts. She died from blunt force trauma to the upper body. Family told the TV station that they had last seen her on Sunday spending time with her nephews.

Her killing marks the tenth murder of a trans woman in the U.S. this year, nearly as many as in all of 2014.

Tampa, Florida Sees Tenth Trans Woman Murdered in U.S. in 2015 |

Entrance of pro-LGBT Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer defaced with graffiti | The Augusta Chronicle

The comments on this story are just priceless,,,
Vandals spray-painted Tuesday morning a Bible passage that condemns homosexual sex on a downtown church whose pastor was part of the first gay couple to receive a marriage license in Richmond County.

The Rev. Rick Sosbe, senior pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in Augusta, answers calls at the front door of his church Tuesday after it was spray-painted with graffiti that refers to Bible verses.

“Burn Leviticus 18:22 Lies” was painted across the double front doors of the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer on 557 Greene St. On the front steps was another passage, Leviticus 18:20, with the words “You’ll Burn.”

The vandalism comes almost three weeks after a rainbow flag had been stolen from the front of the church.

The church’s pastor, Rick Sosbe, said a church member texted him a picture of the vandalism as he was preparing to go to the church for his regular office duties.
Entrance of pro-LGBT Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer defaced with graffiti | The Augusta Chronicle

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Toledo Diocese says local priest should leave U.S. - Toledo Blade

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo has determined that a priest placed on administrative leave two months ago, after a child complained of improper conduct, should return to his home diocese in India and have no priestly ministry or access to children in Toledo in the meantime.

The Toledo diocese had suspended the Rev. Samuel Punnoor on May 22 following the allegation that he had violated the diocesan code of pastoral conduct as it pertained to sexual abuse of minors. Since then, according to a diocesan statement issued Saturday, a Lucas County Children Services investigation found no actions meeting the statutory definition of sexual abuse.

But an ecclesiastical investigation submitted to the Diocesan Review Board resulted in findings that Father Punnoor violated two standards relating to physical contact with youth and sexual harassment, with the latter including unwanted sexual advances or touching, according to the statement. Bishop Daniel Thomas has accepted the review board’s recommendation that Father Punnoor remain on administrative leave and return to his home country, the diocese said.

Toledo Diocese says local priest should leave U.S. - Toledo Blade

Ousted Orthodox bishop serving in Pennsylvania parish - Chicago Tribune

 The former Chicago bishop of the Orthodox Church in America who was asked to retire amid allegations of sexual misconduct two years ago has been serving as a parish priest in eastern Pennsylvania without permission from the national church.

Bishop Matthias, born David Lawrence Moriak, has been serving at the parish in Hermitage, Pa., at the request of another bishop, said a church official. He stepped down from his post as head of the Midwest diocese in April 2013 after the church deemed sexual misconduct what he described as "unwelcome written and spoken comments to a woman that she regarded as an inappropriate crossing of personal boundaries."
At the time, Metropolitan Tikhon, leader of the denomination in North America, said Matthias would not return to his leadership post in Chicago. Whether he would be allowed to serve in a ministry role during his retirement was unclear.

"The healing of the diocese and of the complainant as well as Bishop Matthias' own healing would not be possible should he be returned to the diocese as a ruling hierarch," the Metropolitan said in a statement at the time. "The Holy Synod offered him some time to reflect upon this action and to plan for his transition."

But victims advocates say allowing the bishop to return to any form of active ministry violates the church's zero-tolerance policy.

Ousted Orthodox bishop serving in Pennsylvania parish - Chicago Tribune

Catholic school teacher charged with touching two teenage students - The Washington Post

A teacher at a girls’ Catholic school in Potomac was arrested Thursday, shortly after a teenage student said that he had touched her inappropriately.

A second person told police that the teacher had also touched her when she was a student at Connelly School of the Holy Child.

Justin Andrew Gordon, 40, of Poolesville faces two charges of sexually abusing a minor and two of fourth-degree sexual offense. Montgomery County police said they think other students might have also been abused. Anyone with information about other possible victims can call police at 240-773-5400.

Shannon Gomez, head of school at the independent Catholic school, said that the teenager’s family told the school July 10 that Gordon had abused the girl. The school contacted police that day and banned Gordon from the campus.

Catholic school teacher charged with touching two teenage students - The Washington Post

Evangelical pastor arrested for sex abuse after being found with 13-year-old girl in backseat of a car

California youth pastor has been accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl after police found him in the backseat of a car with her on a highway turn out.

Yanhao “Eric” Ren, 24, of the Los Angeles County community known as Rowland Heights, was arrested Monday on suspicion of a number of sex crimes with a child, local station KTLA reports.

Ren has been a pastor for Evangelical Formosan Church of Rowland Heights for two years and has allegedly carried out a sexual relationship with the child since May, the station reports.

Evangelical pastor arrested for sex abuse after being found with 13-year-old girl in backseat of a car

Addicting Info – Youth Pastor Molested Girl 100’s Of Times, But Christian Righties Say Gays Are Danger To Kids (VIDEO)

A Missouri youth pastor has been arrested for molesting a girl hundreds of times over the course of five years, yet conservative “Christians” still insist gay people are the true threat to children.

For years, conservatives have portrayed gay people as pedophiles when it turns out the real pedophiles who have been stalking and molesting children are employed by the church.

Cameron Patterson served as a youth pastor at Ballwin Baptist Church and now he is behind bars after he sent an email to a girl apologizing for molesting her for five years.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “the charges involve one victim who allegedly was sexually assaulted by Patterson hundreds of times over a period of five years. The alleged victim was between the ages of 12 and 17 at the time.”
Addicting Info – Youth Pastor Molested Girl 100’s Of Times, But Christian Righties Say Gays Are Danger To Kids (VIDEO)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The radicalism of Rubio's foreign policy | MSNBC

Here is a man who is outright causing chaos on a global stage with his grand standing; he sees nothing wrong with it.  You sure you want this petulant child any where near the button?  
The surface-level issue is the concern that the GOP senator is using a serious foreign-policy debate for campaign grandstanding – Rubio wants far-right activists to see him, not his rivals, as the party’s fiercest critic of nuclear diplomacy. All of the top Republicans are talking about their plans to abandon the U.S. commitment in this area, and Rubio sees value in being a top member of the club.
But just below the surface, Rubio’s posturing even far more serious.
The GOP candidate is describing a foreign-policy dynamic in which every new American president, upon taking office, effectively tells the world, friend and foe alike, “Maybe I’ll honor  U.S. commitments, maybe not. I’ll let you know.”
American foreign policy has never worked this way, because it can’t. The United States is a global superpower – by most measures the global superpower – in part because the world values the consistency of our leadership. If we abandon agreements reached with our allies after every election, that consistency disappears.
The radicalism of Rubio's foreign policy | MSNBC

Republicans schedule new 'Obamacare' repeal vote | MSNBC

"The very idea of repealing an effective health care law is increasingly bizarre, and as Senate GOP leaders realize, there’s zero chance of the repeal measure passing. The fact that Mitch McConnell sees this as a necessary part of the debate,,,"
Bizarre considering their own people have said it is working,
Obamacare is working. There's no better evidence of this than a brief filed on behalf of the government in King by the Hospital Corporation of America, better known as HCA, the largest health care provider in the country (once run by Obamacare foe Florida Gov. Rick Scott). HCA argues that the legal theory advanced by the plaintiffs is "absurd," but, more importantly, it presents detailed data drawn from its own operations that demonstrate that the health care law is helping patients and the company itself.

Republicans schedule new 'Obamacare' repeal vote | MSNBC

Friday, July 24, 2015

Growing Up Fundie: The Painful Impact of Conservative Religion

When I expressed interest to them in sharing their stories, there was one common response from all of the subjects: every single one of them wanted to remain anonymous. Despite having left their religions, they remain fearful of judgment, of being found out, and of disappointing their families. So in each case, the names used are not their real names.
Unfortunately, racism still permeates even in the most progressive cultures. According to Lifeway Research, Sunday morning is one of the most segregated times in America, with churches by and large existing without diversity. And even though I like to think of my particular fundamentalist religion as more advanced, the truth is that when my sister started dating a boy who was black, there was some hateful push back against it from members of our church and older relatives. Now that they’re married, the same people pretend there was never an issue.

She ended up relocating several times during her childhood, so she attended churches of varying denominations, like Baptist and Assemblies of God. At the age of thirteen, she was accused by her youth pastor of witchcraft for causing a sixteen year-old boy to “sin.” But she still saw herself as a Christian. In fact, she decided, along with her high school boyfriend, to attend a Christian university and become missionaries together.

However, when she was exposed to the missionary curriculum and met actual missionaries, she felt repulsed by their arrogant, colonialist attitudes. The professors, former missionaries in some cases, were rude and judgmental about the same people they claimed to serve. She switched her major to anthropology. And at age nineteen, she stopped going to church.

Growing Up Fundie: The Painful Impact of Conservative Religion

Why Did the Schaibles Let Their Children Die?

Although the Schaible case has been decided for over a year, I am still fascinated by the associated mind-set that went with the whole debacle.  Ewo things standout in this 2013 article, both center around the cults leader.  One, keep 'em dumb; and two, blame the supplicant for their lack of faith.  It is never the teachings or the teacher fault.
In the 20 years Nelson Clark has been First Century Gospel’s head pastor, the church’s message has also changed very little, especially in its core beliefs. Pastor Clark later sums these up in an email: how “the divine power of God … is able to heal our body without drugs or medicine; supply our needs without laid-up cash for the future; protect our family without firearms or anti-theft devices; bring about justice without legal action or attorneys; and to save our soul by a believing faith that endures to the end of our life.”

As to what may seem idiosyncratic or even absurd, such as not wearing seatbelts or correcting bad eyesight with glasses, the explanations get interesting. The problem with seatbelts, Pastor Clark says, is that “anyplace we are told to do something in case something happens is a breach of faith or denying of faith in God to protect you.” This same idea of trust applies to vision. “If God made eyes, obviously He can heal vision problems to see normally. We don’t use mechanical devices to make it better—it’s a matter of trusting God for normal vision.”

The pastor offers up anecdotes of answered prayers: a badly broken leg simply wrapped up that heals perfectly; a hand seemingly smashed to pulp in a work accident that returns to full use; any number of severe illnesses cured not in hospitals—which often, the pastor points out, fail to heal—but through the suffering congregant on his or her knees, hands clasped, praying for the grace of a cure.

The church has its own school for congregants that cuts off at 10th grade (although Clark says their education is equivalent to a high-school diploma); Herbie Schaible, who left after ninth grade, taught seventh and eighth grades there for almost two decades. Done with school, the boys get jobs and the girls tend to work either in their homes, helping out with younger siblings, or with other First Century families. No one goes off to college, to avoid the dangerous pull of the secular world. Simple work keeps congregants humble, for as Pastor Clark says, “Pride is the base of all other sins.” He concedes that outsiders would see the limits on education as restrictive.
Pastor Clark describes why Brandon Schaible, and Kent Schaible before him, died: “God’s healing power was somehow hindered, because of a spiritual lack in Herb and Catherine. It could be anything from a wrong attitude to adulterous thoughts, but something allowed Satan to take his life. Both Herb and Catherine are well aware of that.”

The Schaibles themselves, in other words, were to blame for their children dying—not for failing to doctor them, but because something was lacking in their relationship with God.
In the end, what’s most stunning about First Century members is the spiritual hardship they’ve chosen. No matter how wrong—or ludicrous—praying for a sick child instead of taking him to a doctor might be, the burden of that failure rests with Herbie and Cathy Schaible in a way that really is beyond the legal system: God failed to save Kent, and then Brandon, because of some spiritual roadblock in Herbie and Cathy’s relationship with Him.

Imagine trying to live with that—with the belief that your prayers went unanswered because there was, in fact, something wrong with the prayers. Something wrong with you. It’s hard for an outsider to make sense of that.
Why Did the Schaibles Let Their Children Die? - Articles

Elderly woman rips Jeb in townhall: "I paid into that for years - now you want to take it away?”

A bit of and addendum to my last post:

“We’re not going to have adequate coverage for our children or our grandchildren without Medicare. I paid into that for years and years just like all these other seniors here and now you want to take it away?” said the woman, who did not identify herself and left before the town hall concluded. “Why are you always attacking the seniors?”
“Well, I’m not,” Bush responded. “Here’s what I said: I said we’re going to have to reform our entitlement system. We have to.”

“It’s not an entitlement,” the woman shot back. “I earned that.”

“It’s an actuarially unsound healthcare system,” said Bush, who said something must be done before the system burdens future generations with $50 billion of debt. “Social Security is an underfunded retirement system; people have put money into it, for sure.

“The people that are receiving these benefits, I don’t think that we should touch that; but your children and grandchildren are not going to get the benefit of this that they believe they’re going to get or that you think they’re going to get, because the amount of money put in compared to the amount of money the system costs is wrong.”
Elderly woman rips Jeb in townhall: "I paid into that for years - now you want to take it away?”

Jeb Bush ‘should be embarrassed’ by his overtime pay claims, economists say

Just how far out of touch is Bush version 3.0 with the everyday life of the average American,  First he and his ilk have been attacking Social Security from a variety of angles - privatization of some form [1], outright elimination based on the sound biblical principle that Noah never retired [2] because it is a Pagan concept [3] or raising the retirement age.  In their minds destroying a long standing social safety net is just one way to humiliate the poor.

Recently, Bush3.0 "began" attacking the work ethic of those of us who have to grind it out at lower paying jobs in order to survive.  Stating,
"(That) means we have to be a lot more productive. Workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for their families. That's the only way we are going to get out of this rut that we're in," Bush had said.
But yet this week he is against support for expanding overtime protections for mid-management working those same long hours. In other words, working longer hours shouldn't necessarily gain you more income for your family. 
“It’s this prescribed top-down approach that is the wrong approach,” Bush said. “The net effects of the overtime rule will be, if history is any guide, there will be less overtime paid, less wages earned.”
The reality, 
“If employers want to avoid overtime pay, they hire more workers on straight time and that creates new jobs,” Bernstein said. “Even staunch opponents agree with that and disagree with Mr Bush.”
So what really is your agenda Mr. Bush?

[1] In good economic times this would make sense, over the long term stocks typically fare better. But recent history tells us how fool hardy that plan may be.  No one has been able to answer this one question:  What if the stock market goes bad just before retirement, will the government guarantee against this loss?

[2]  In regards to Greg Gianforte's comments

[3] From Right Wing Watch,  "One of the great indications that something is not part of what God wants is the fruit that accompanies it," he continued. "And one of the things that I’ve always believed is Deuteronomy 6:24, He says, 'Everything I tell you is for your benefit, that you can enjoy a long life, that you can prosper,' and so if we see something in the way of statistics or science that shows that we don’t have a long life, that will diminish our life, then we know that’s not part of what God wanted us to do."

For a bit more snark on the matter:  ‘God Hates Retirement’ Is Wingnuts’ Hot New Reason For Killing Social Security
Jeb Bush ‘should be embarrassed’ by his overtime pay claims, economists say

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Democrats' Schedule That Work Act To Outlaw 'Unfair' Hours | The Daily Caller

Highlights of the bill according to Laura Clawson for Daily Kos Labor:
Protects Workers who Ask for Schedule Changes
All employees of companies with more than 15 workers will have the right to request changes in their schedules without fear of retaliation. Employers would be required to consider and respond to all schedule requests, and, when a worker's request is made because of a health condition, child or elder care, a second job, continued education, or job training, the employer would be required to grant the request unless a legitimate business reason precludes it.

Incentivizes Predictable and Stable Schedules in Occupations with Known Scheduling Abuses
Employees in food service, cleaning, and retail occupations—as well as additional occupations with documented scheduling abuses designated by the Secretary of Labor—will now get their work schedules two weeks in advance and will receive additional pay when they are put "on-call" without any guarantee that work will be available; report to work only to be sent home early; are scheduled for a "split shift;" or receive changes to their schedule with less than 24 hours notice.
What will be prevnted,
,,,These days it's common for workers to not know their schedules more than a week ahead; to be on call, ready to go to work with no notice, but not guaranteed any pay; for their hours (and therefore their paychecks) to vary enormously month to month; or to be forced to work split shifts, with a few hours of work in the morning and a few hours at the end of the day.
The repug or conservative reaction,,,
“This bill is extraordinarily intrusive in how it would direct employers to run their operations,” Marc Freedman, an executive director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said according to law firm Seyfarth Shaw’s Employment Law Lookout.

“It will not create new jobs, open up opportunities, nor spur economic growth,” he continued. “In fact, one potential consequence is that employers will cut back on the number of part time and other non-full time employees they carry.”
 But yet they have no issue in regulating a woman's vagina.

Democrats' Schedule That Work Act To Outlaw 'Unfair' Hours | The Daily Caller

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

UPDATE::Accused Anti-Gay Hate Attackers Offered Plea Deal By Philadelphia District Attorney - The New Civil Rights Movement

Lawyers for Williams and Knott confirmed their clients are considering an offer from the Philadelphia district attorney, though details of the offer were not disclosed by either side.

Cameron Kline, spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, told that the office does not comment on plea offers, but observed that if convicted on all charges, the maximum sentence could be as high as 34 to 68 years in prison. Though no one expects the three first-time offenders to be given the maximum, the specter of decades behind bars could be a strong incentive for the three not to roll the dice with a jury.

Chuck Peruto, a Piladelphia criminal defense attorney contacted by speculated that the sentence could be in the 1-4 year range. 

Accused Anti-Gay Hate Attackers Offered Plea Deal By Philadelphia District Attorney - The New Civil Rights Movement

Breaking: In Historic Ruling, EEOC Finds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Already Illegal - The New Civil Rights Movement

For the basics:
After decades of fighting for protections against discrimination in the workplace, gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees are actually covered under federal law already, the EEOC has ruled this afternoon. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds GLB workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC finds today that "allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex," as Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner first reported.

Today's ruling is historic, and sets an important precedent that no doubt will lead to a Supreme Court case in the future. 

Technically, the ruling covers federal workers directly, but, as Geidner notes, "it also applies to the entire EEOC, which includes its offices across the nation that take and investigate claims of discrimination in private employment. And, while only the Supreme Court could issue a definitive ruling on the interpretation, EEOC decisions are given significant deference by federal courts."

In short, the commission today has ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is discrimination based on sex, and thus covered under federal law.
From Ari Ezra Waldman over at TowlerRoad, who expands a bit more,
This is a groundbreaking development because federal judges listen closely to EEOC decisions. The EEOC is the agency in charge of interpreting and implementing Title VII; the Commission is the expert in the law of employment discrimination. And basic principles of administrative law state that the judiciary should give significant deference to agency conclusions because, unlike generalist judges, EEOC commissioners are the experts in this field of law. So, although we would feel better if this ruling were handed down by a federal court, the EEOC has taken an enormous jump in that direction.

The EEOC case involved a federal employee, so the Commission’s decision gives federal employees an avenue for justice. But for those who work for most private companies, things are not so certain. True, the decision does not directly apply to them and their employers. However, the basis for private companies’ decisions to discriminate against gays is that Title VII allows it. It will be hard to make that argument now: at least according to the EEOC, Title VII does not permit anti-gay discrimination.

Still, more work needs to be done. We need to take this decision to the Supreme Court to ensure it applies to all workers. We also need a comprehensive anti-gay discrimination law passed at the federal level because this decision (and Title VII) only applies to employment discrimination. Gays are discriminated against in the provision of housing, education, and a host of other social services. But remember this EEOC decision. It will pop up again, and again, as we march further toward full equality.
Why is this important,
When one looks at the decision rendered by SCOTUS [in regards to Hobby Lobby ruling] it has to be through the lens of the Reich's overall agenda -  starting with a "reformed" interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause or an outright repeal of the First Amendment,  continuing with the abolition of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ending with the implementation of dominionist ideology in order to govern by theocratic control.  With the ruling in Hobby Lobby, the Reich will "now" be able to exempt themselves from any laws that they don’t like; that they find “religiously objectionable.” 
It just may throw a kink into their plan as exemplified by Newland v. Sebilius.

Breaking: In Historic Ruling, EEOC Finds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Already Illegal - The New Civil Rights Movement

ADDENDUM::Exposing the Koch Brothers' Stunning Hypocrisy on Criminal Justice Reform | Alternet

Back in January we had this:
Ten years ago, he began giving money to support efforts by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to help train defense lawyers and reverse what some see as a national trend to get tough on crime, which has resulted in the tripling of the incarceration rate since the 1980s and has stripped the poor of their rights to a legal defense.

He’s going to give more to that effort, he said.

“Over the next year, we are going to be pushing the issues key to this, which need a lot of work in this country,” Koch said. “And that would be freedom of speech, cronyism and how that relates to opportunities for the disadvantaged.”
Which at the time sounded great.

Now we have this,

A new report traces the exceptional hypocrisy of the Koch brothers’ recent high-profile interest in criminal justice reform.

"The Koch Brothers’ Criminal Justice Pump-Fake," by American Bridge 21st Century, a watchdog group “committed to holding Republicans accountable,” traces how the Kochs became interested in criminal justice reform after losing a years-long battle with federal environmental regulators that began in the late 1990s. The study details how the Kochs have long supported candidates and elected officials whose tough-on-crime policies have created the criminal justice crisis they now insist must be reformed—by imposing harsher sentences, building prisons and narrowing probation and parole. The report notes how their efforts to partner with left-leaning groups like the ACLU have led to a public relations bonanza eclipsing their deeper record of supporting politicans who have delivered—and stand by—their draconian crime policies.

“For all their professed concerns about reforming the criminal justice system, the Kochs don’t really care— not about the impacted families and individuals, anyway— their only concern is their bottom line,” the authors said. “The Kochs’ criminal justice charade is just that — a public relations scam.”
Exposing the Koch Brothers' Stunning Hypocrisy on Criminal Justice Reform | Alternet

Sunday, July 19, 2015

American Taxpayers Fund the Largest Christian College In America and the World

Rmuse is quite scathing in his write-up concerning Liberty University.  Some of the numbers presented are astounding,,,

"Liberty University is like every church in America and is exempt from paying taxes, but it is not exempt from collecting other Americans’ tax dollars."

As a recent report reveals, and it is a very disturbing revelation, one of the Republicans’ most coveted welfare recipients, Liberty University, the fundamentalist “institution” founded by Baptist scam artist Jerry Falwell has become the largest “private, Christian, tax exempt” conservative candidate mill  in the United States of America. The slap in the face to American taxpayers, and an affront to the Constitution’s Separation Clause, is that taxpayers are furnishing a majority of the funding, and huge profits, to the Christian madrassa in two distinct ways. First, Liberty University, and calling it a legitimate university is an abomination, brings in the majority of its revenue from taxpayer-funded federal aid, and because it is a so-called “charitable religious organization,” the bible school and its substantial staff of clergy are exempt from paying taxes.

As one religion writer noted, “evangelical students find Liberty attractive because they can take courses online and have taxpayer-funded welfare cover their living expenses. Federal aid to Liberty’s students has grown so high that it now exceeds all other revenue collected by the university.” To be clear, federal financial aid, like grants, does not go directly to the ‘university,’ but it does go directly to Christian students to pay for enrollment and tuition at the Baptist bible school. In fact, education experts say one of the reason evangelical conservatives love attending the bible college is that taxpayer money pays for all their school expenses as well as their living expenses while they “profit” from an evangelical educational experience. In return, taxpayers are now suffering from Republicans who were educated in how to legislate “the Christian worldview” as the law of the land.

One wonders why Americans are not outraged that they are funding a private “bible school” with $800 million of their hard-earned tax dollars; particularly since it teaches “university-level” creationism, evangelical fundamentalism, Republican politics, support for Koch-style capitalism and free enterprise, and theocratic conservatism. In fact, the entire curriculum is centered around indoctrinating into student’s psyche a religious commitment to promote the “Christian worldview;” the same worldview that Republicans in Congress and state legislatures are busy legislating into law.

American Taxpayers Fund the Largest Christian College In America and the World

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Due to a health emergency,,,The Warning Signs of Stroke

I will have to place Havoc and Chaos on a semi-hiatus,,,

To put it bluntly I am suffering from the after-effects of stroke like symptoms caused by stage II hypertension and have lost partial use of the right side of my body. This includes my right eye (double vision, which is making reading and writing extremely difficult.) This was unexpected and came about with no warning (or warnings I may have ignored.)

Although I will not be posting as much, I do plan to continue with projects at a much slower pace (if I am able) and sharing the wacky shit coming from the Reich via twitter (@dune9998) if you are interested. There is no time table as to when I will be able to return as I'm only in day two of this whole mess and it is new territory to explore. 

Stroke Warning Signs

Sometimes symptoms of stroke develop gradually. But if you are having a stroke, you are more likely to have one or more sudden warning signs like these:
  • Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side
  • Confusion or trouble understanding other people
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble seeing with one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking or staying balanced or coordinated
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache that comes on for no known reason
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a "mini stroke" from a temporary blockage. Although a TIA doesn't cause permanent brain damage, it may cause stroke warning signs, which may last minutes or even hours. Think of this as a warning sign you shouldn't ignore.
OR (still being determined as the ER may have dropped the ball),,,
An ischemic stroke happens when a vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked. It can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, fatty deposits in arteries ( atherosclerosis) can cause blood clots to form. Sometimes a blood clot forms in the heart from an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It then travels to a place where it blocks an artery supplying the brain.
I thank you for your support and I do hope to see y'all on twitter,,,LLP!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Show Notes:: Oregon silences bakers,,,Not (Pt 1)

There has been a lot of stink of late surrounding the recent BOLI ruling concerning Sweet Cakes by Melissa.  The Oregon bakery  that refused service to a lesbian couple.  My introduction to said hyperbolic rantings by the Reich concerning the aftermath of the ruling came via Todd Starnes:
Shut up! Don’t say another word.

That’s what the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) is telling the owners of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, a bakery owned by Christians who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding.

On Friday the state ordered owners Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple they turned away in 2013.

The state also slapped a gag order on the evangelical Christian bakers – banning them from speaking publicly about their refusal to participate in or bake wedding cakes for same-sex unions.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” Mrs. Klein wrote on Facebook. “According to the state of Oregon, we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”
So three points are at issue
  • Yes, the Kleins were ordered to pay 135K in damages.  Damages being the key word.
  • No, the Kleins were not "slapped with a gag order"
  • And, no the Kleins First Amendment rights have not been infringed upon.
I am only going to hit one issue for now for the sake of brevity:  In order to understand the damages awarded, one must look at the timeline of events as a whole.

According to the BOLI ruling, or final order as it is termed, the timeline of events is laid out starting on pp 3-21, The initial complaint was filed in 2013. In 2014, BOLI commenced an investigation and found that the Kleins did indeed discriminate based on sexual orientation. At that time BOLI began a conciliation process between the two parties to see if a settlement could be reached. It was not successful and charges were pursued by the state before an administrative law judge.

During this time period, Aaron Klein inadvertently revealed the (now) Bowman-Cryer's names and address.  As explained by BOLI beginning on page 9, Laurel Bowman was unaware of the disclaimer on the BOLI form for submitting a complaint (explained in the ruling). On page 12 it continues with BOLI notifying the Kleins of said complaint with the names and address of the Bowman-Cryers included.

The next day Klein published the first page of said complaint to F/B, it was removed later in the day. By the next day it hit the news. It devolved from there.  Keep in mind the Bowman-Cryers only released 1 media comment via their attorney, all subsequent media comments concerning said case came via the Kleins, their mouthpieces or BOLI.

According to BOLI's ruling Aaron Klein was not the initiator of the media interviews mentioned above (p 19) nor did BOLI feel he released the names of the Bowman-Cyers other than on F/B.  As BOLI notes when Aaron Klein posted to F/B he only had "17 friends". BUT then again the Kleins continued with their media frenzy though according to BOLI contact was not initiated by the Kleins.

That is where I think Lars Larson's influence comes into play as well as Alliance Defending Freedom (and you all know my feelings toward ADF).  It was not the Kleins per se that where doxxing the Bowman-Cryers but those on their side of the case pushing the media driven agenda for sympathy and money for the coffers; from Franklin Graham to the American Family Association.  But ultimate responsibility falls on the Kleins.
The Alliance Defending Freedom wants to take America back to the 3rd century. Literally. On the website for its legal fellowship program, the organization explains that it “seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries.”

“This is catholic, universal orthodoxy and it is desperately crucial for cultural renewal,” the explanation goes on. “Christians must strive to build glorious cultural cathedrals, rather than shanty tin sheds.”

While the Arizona-based organization has not made much progress in its mission of restoring the religious sentiments of the Byzantine Era, it has built a massive “legal ministry,” relying on 21st century attorneys and an eight-figure annual budget to reshape American law and society.
So all of this factored into the awarding of damages, and it is important to keep in mind, the Bowman-Cryers, during all of this, where trying to adopt their foster children and told by state officials that if they couldn’t protect the foster children in their home from the harassment that resulted from the Klein’s public posting of their home address, etc., they would lose the children (pp. 13-14).

As to why the damages awarded may seem so high:
The BOLI Final Order awards $60,000 in damages to Laurel Bowman-Cryer and $75,000 in damages to Rachel Bowman-Cryer for emotional suffering stemming directly from unlawful discrimination. The amounts are damages related to the harm suffered by the Complainants, not fines or civil penalties which are punitive in nature.

The Final Order notes that the non-economic damages are consistent with the agency’s previous orders, such as an earlier ruling against a Bend dentist In the Matter of Andrew W. Engle. In that case, BOLI awarded a Christian employee $325,000 in damages for physical, mental and emotion suffering due to religious discrimination and harassment
Since the Kleins brought the case to the media’s attention (Aaron's F/B posting and subsequent aftermath) and kept it there by repeatedly appearing in public (numerous interviews) to make statements it would be foreseeable that this attention would negatively impact the Bowman-Cryers, which makes the Kleins liable for any resultant emotional suffering experienced by Complainants.

In all honesty, I am surprised that the damages awarded were not higher.  Although the mark the award is set at, I believe, is explained quite well within the BOLI ruling.

Remember what I said in regards to "those on their side of the case pushing the media driven agenda for sympathy and money for the coffers; from Franklin Graham to the American Family Association."

This came across my news feed late last night:

As it stands now the Kleins have yet to pay damages although they have raked in $405,000+ in fundraising all because they chose to break the law. In the process they humiliated 2 individuals and put their children in harms way.
NCRM has reported before on the fundraising efforts promoted by religious extremists, from Franklin Graham to the American Family Association. A week ago donations to various fundraising campaigns came to about as much as the Kleins' $135,000 fine – which reportedly has yet to be paid. Now, those efforts have turned into a cash cow for the Kleins. Whenever they ultimately decide to cash out, they'll be rolling in the dough.

As we noted last week, Franklin Graham has been hosting a fundraising campaign for them via his Samaritan's Purse charity, and a GoFundMe campaign delivered reportedly about $60,000 after taxes before it was shut down, although some state that number was closer to $80,000.

Another fundraising campaign via Continue To Give last week had taken in over $55,000. Today, eight days later, that figure is about $345,000. Most of those donations appear to be anonymous, but Continue To Give lists 7,537 separate donations, an average of about $45 each.

The anti-gay hate group American Family Association has been promoting the fundraising campaign as a way to grow their own donor base, asking supporters to sign a petition linking to the Continue To Give campaign, while handing over their email addresses so AFA can later spam them. The petition also falsely claims a "gag order" is in place, generating even more sympathy for the Kleins.

The American Family Association is far from the only right wing group promoting the Kleins as religious celebrities. The Heritage Foundation, headed by the virulently anti-gay former U.S. Republican Senator Jim DeMint,,,
So please tell me again what this case is all about?

Hopefully, if your interest wasn't already piqued by these "religious liberty" type cases, I may gently shove you into paying attention.  In the end these cases (and other like then) have nothing to do with baking a cake.  To borrow from something I have stated before,
It is just this issue that Barry Lynne of Americans United for Separation of Church and State was concerned about in regards to the Hobby Lobby case. Lynn stated that the primary concern is contraceptive coverage under the ACA; but the agenda of the Religious Right is the right to opt out of ANY federal or state law(s) they do not like because of actual or alleged violation of THEIR religious principles.

All the legal mumbo jumbo aside, the Kleins and the ADF are still blatantly asking to be allowed to break a law because they are special. They are asking for a special privilege because they are religionists. Even if one where to take religion out of it, they are still wanting to break the law.
And guess what?  We get to have this conversation all over again in a few weeks/months, as ADF has another fundraising case on the dockets as I type, although this is an appeal. 

There will be more to come!!