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Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a U.S. organization that "defends the rights of Catholics," issued a statement titled "Muslims are right to be angry." And then goes on to say “what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated, but neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction."

There it is, the dangerous hallmark of fundamentalist religion, Muslim or Christian: We cannot/should not tolerate anyone satirizing a deity.  And if that means killing the offenders, well, they’ve been warned. How small and feeble these gods must be, that human beings have to defend them.

[more below the golden free speech symbol]

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Sun Oct 26, 2014 at 01:05 AM PDT

Ernst - Why Iowans Should Vote

by river0

Many of Joni Ernst's basic beliefs would be laughable if they weren't so damn dangerous.  Ernst doesn't believe in human-driven global warming, she dismisses international scientific consensus (though she has yet to claim ebola is a consequence of having very dark skin), AND she twists the historical record of the United States into an unrecognizable pastiche: Washington supported the Second Amendment so citizens could overthrow the national government - really?  Then why did President Washington gather, arm, and lead 13000 federal troops to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion instead of suggesting the rebelling western Pennsylvanians use their "Second Amendment remedies"? What a ludicrous idea. State law trumps national law? surely she jests. Eliminating regulation increases the safety of agricultural products, car safety, safety from an Ebola pandemic - really? (Though I must admit the CDC has a lot to answer for.) Ernst's extreme political positions would foster anarchy, disease, economic chaos, civil unrest, and perhaps bloodshed.  Iowans should insist she take a semester off for a course on the Constitution she's sworn to protect and defend AND two semesters of American history, 1770 to 1970.  And Ernst might bother to spend an evening wandering the tortured, twisted landscape of the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi and visit the Iowa State Memorial at dusk; when the Memorial's finely crafted marble glows in memory of Iowa's 1,800 Vicksburg casualties.  That monument is one of Iowa's most sacred places, honoring the Iowans who fought, died, suffered there to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States.  In 1861, the immigrants who settled Iowa volunteered in record numbers to help save the country they'd just themselves joined, surely they would expect more of Joni Ernst, a lot more.  A hundred fifty three years later so should we.

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Nowhere near Ferguson, MO: "Rosie," the Riviting Non-eyewitness

Immediately after police officer Wilson shot Brown, a number of eyewitnesses told a number of news and other sources what they’d seen.  Those accounts were aired within fifteen minutes of the shooting.  Some eyewitnesses knew Brown, some did not; none of the eyewitnesses knew each other.  These contemporaneous accounts differ here and there but basically tell the same story.  In the end, they may be inaccurate (re the shaky history of eyewitness identification), but at least these accounts come from persons who were at the scene.

                                   [More under the golden monogram.]

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Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 04:01 PM PST

Character and Barack Obama

by river0

Character's what you do when no one's watching.  In case any one missed the story last time around, I thought I'd dig it out again. The story is not urban myth despite powerful forces trying to make it so. The story first ran on the Daily Kos, October 4, 2008 (thanks imrdkl).


If not, you may need to stay out of Oklahoma.  Check out the birth control law Oklahoman Dominic Pedulla, M.D. has proposed and the medical pseudoscience he's conjured to support it. When The Onion seems more real than reality, we're in trouble, folks.

Oklahoma May Deny Women Affordable Birth Control Because It ‘Poisons Their Bodies’
By Tara Culp-Ressler on Feb 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Oklahoma already prevents women from using their insurance plans to help cover abortion services, but Republicans aren’t stopping there. One state lawmaker wants to continue stripping insurance coverage for reproductive health services, advancing a measure that would allow employers to refuse to cover birth control for any reason — based solely on the fact that one of his constituents believes it “poisons women’s bodies.”

Under State Sen. Clark Jolley (R)'s measure [now there's an unfortunate name], “no employer shall be required to provide or pay for any benefit or service related to abortion or contraception through the provision of health insurance to his or her employees.” According to the Tulsa World, Jolley’s inspiration for his bill came from one of his male constituents who is morally opposed to birth control, and wanted to find a small group insurance plan for himself and his family that didn’t include coverage for those services:

Jolley said the measure is the result of a request from a constituent, Dr. Dominic Pedulla, an Oklahoma City cardiologist who describes himself as a natural family planning medical consultant and women’s health researcher. [...]

Women are worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are, Pedulla said.

“Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother,” Pedulla said. “They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies.”
[emphases Culp-Ressler]

The bill has already cleared a Senate Health committee and now makes it way to Oklahoma’s full Senate. It is unlikely that either Jolley and Pedulla themselves rely on insurance coverage for hormonal contraceptive services — but if the measure becomes law, the two men could limit the health insurance options for the nearly two million women who live in Oklahoma.

Of course, contraception does not actually poison women. The FDA approved the first oral birth control pill in 1960, and that type of contraception is so safe that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends making it available without a prescription, as it is inmost other countries around the world. Furthermore, considering that over 99 percent of women of reproductive age have used some form of birth control, the Oklahoma women who rely on insurance coverage for their contraception would likely disagree with Pedulla’s assertion that it “suppresses and radically contradicts part of their own identity.”    [block emphasis mine]
In reality, access to affordable birth control is a critical economic issue for women. When women have control over their reproductive choices, it allows them to achieve economic goals like completing their education, becoming financially independent, or keeping a job. But birth control can carry high out-of-pocket costs, and over half of young women say they haven’t used their contraceptive method as directed because of cost prohibitions. Nonetheless, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly pushed measures to allow employers to drop coverage for birth control.

For more about this Oklahoma M.D., who has nine kids of his own—a fact that would seem to disqualify him as a birth control expert—look below the golden IUD.  You will also find the trail of a licensed M.D., once trained in the scientific method, who turned away from The Enlightenment and cast his talents amid the dark forces of superstition, gender, anecdote, myth, pseudoscience, and religious dogma.  

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Courtesy of CREDO.  Thanks, guys!

The Supreme Court votes Friday on the fate of the Voting Rights Act, one of the most important and successful civil rights laws in our nation's history. In oral arguments this week, Justice Scalia spoke contemptuously about this legislation calling it the "perpetuation of racial entitlement" to audible gasps in the usually staid chamber. He went on to argue that Congress would essentially be incapable of rolling back the law, intimating that it was then up to the Supreme Court to throw it out and essentially usurp the legislative role.
Justice Scalia has a long history of acting as a self-appointed legislator from the bench, promoting his political agenda rather than focusing on interpreting the Constitution. But Chief Justice Roberts on the other hand, while he also expressed skepticism about the Voting Rights Act, has always been clear on his court's role to defer to Congress when it comes to the democratic process and the making of laws.

In an editorial titled "Justice Scalia's Contempt of Congress" the Washington Post editorial board, which is known for its conservative bent, outlined what it called Justice Scalia's "stunning line of argumentation":

Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that the continuation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act represented the "perpetuation of racial entitlement," saying that lawmakers had only voted to renew the act in 2006 because there wasn't anything to be gained politically from voting against it.

"Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes," Scalia said during oral argument in Shelby County v. Holder.

"Even the name of it is wonderful, the Voting Rights Act. Who's going to vote against that?" Scalia wondered. He said that the Voting Rights Act had effectively created "black districts by law."

The Washington Post editorial concluded, "Congress is empowered to write legislation enforcing the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. But if Justice Scalia doubts the purity of lawmakers' motives, then apparently this power is limited."

Following the oral arguments, Pete Williams of NBC News concluded, "I think it's safe to say there are five votes to strike down either one or both parts of the Voting Rights Act." Chief Justice Roberts showed by his vote against overturning President Obama's Affordable Care Act in an election year that he is sensitive to public perception of overreach by the Supreme Court.

If you agree Scalia has gone too far, please sign petition at

{My reaction below the golden veto.}

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:02 PM PST

Open Letter to The Huffington Post

by river0

The Huffington Post: We want to know what you think. Do you feel safer knowing that the U.S. is willing to target citizens it believes mean to do harm to the country?
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Wayne LaPierre explained the purpose of the 2nd Amendment to the Senate yesterday:

I think without any doubt, if you look at why our Founding Fathers put it [the Second Amendment] there, they had lived under the tyranny of King George and they wanted to make sure that these free people in this new country would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny.  I also think, though, that what people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government. If a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they're gonna be out there alone. And the only way they're going to protect themselves in the cold and the dark, when they're vulnerable, is with a firearm.  And I think that indicates how relevant and essential the Second Amendment is in today's society to fundamental human survival.
To which Lindsey Graham responded:
As for the 2nd Amendment, I don't want a gun to attack my government. That's not what a legitimate purpose is.
And Baltimore Maryland Police Chief James Johnson said in disbelief:
I find it to be creepy, scary, and simply just not based on logic. Certainly law enforcement across this nation is well prepared to deal with any natural or man made disaster that'll occur. And frankly, I can't relate to that kind of thinking.

Nullification is an attack on the very foundation of the Constitution, and as James Madison says a "fatal inlet to anarchy":

But it follows, from no view of the subject, that a nullification of a law of the U. S. can as is now contended, belong rightfully to a single State, as one of the parties to the Constitution; the State not ceasing to avow its adherence to the Constitution. A plainer contradiction in terms, or a more fatal inlet to anarchy, cannot be imagined.  —James Madison in response to the South Carolina nullification crisis of the early 1830s
Nevertheless, states keep being tempted by Article 2 of the Articles of Confederation, a thoroughly failed experiment in governing, defunct now for over two centuries: "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled." Among states considering giving in to temptation are Wyoming, South Carolina, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi, states which have recently introduced bills to “nullify” the Affordable Care Act and federal gun laws based on the 2nd Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS).  Most of these bills nullify future federal gun laws and threaten federal officials tasked with enforcing them with arrest and indictment on state felony charges.  It’s a bit hard imagining how all that would work out. One can only imagine Wyoming officials—armed or otherwise—trying to arrest members of the 101st Airborne, much less charging them. The potential for violence is not negligible in this scenario, and an armed campaign between Wyoming and the Armed Forces of the United States would be brief, brutal, and decisive.

The historical pattern of nullification is a recurring nightmare: states unhappy with federal law and/or the Constitution of the United States have again and again invoked nullification, the specter of a states’ rights theory that died with the Articles of Confederation.  So far no president, including Washington, has failed to honor his oath of office.  Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Kennedy—none of them blinked when the time came to defend the Constitution.  Neither will the current president.  Our presidents have honored their oath, and millions of Americans have sacrificed their time, treasure, blood, and lives for this nation.  And like those Americans before us, we too see one nation, not 50, whenever the Stars and Stripes is raised.

In an earlier diary, I examine the history of nullification in the 18th and 19th centuries:  

In this diary I examine the history of nullification in the 20th century.

More below the golden contrail.

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Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:38 PM PST

CNN & South Carolina Sheriff Al Cannon

by river0

Letter from Brady Quirk-Garvan from

Thank you again for signing the petition calling on Sheriff Al Cannon to resign. In a few short days we've already had over 350 people sign the petition and the number keeps growing. We wanted to share some exciting news.....

TODAY, MONDAY, at 10:05 a.m. CNN will be doing a segment on the petition!

I hope you'll be able to tune in and watch. We'd really like to get some more signatures before the segment so please be sure to share this with friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, and even good old fashioned word of mouth!

We've bought the domain name to make it easier to share.  [Also that link takes you to the "Sheriff Al Cannon Should Resign" petition. —river0]

Thanks again


PS - CNN had Sheriff Al Cannon on Thursday. You can watch his interview here and be sure to check the 6:05 mark where Carol Costello mentions the petition.


Today, in response to my signing the "Sheriff Al Cannon should resign" petition at, I received an e-mail from Mr. Cannon.  Very polite but asking me to watch the video about his plans to personally nullify any federal gun laws he doesn't consider constitutional.  So I did and yep, he said what I though he said, no more pleasant on second viewing.  Many of us Kossacks have written at length about the unconstitutionality of state nullification of federal law. Now here's a guy, a county sheriff for god's sake, who has appointed himself a state of one person and nullified federal law in advance.  What is it about South Carolina?  Sherman should have cleared the state for newly freed slaves and set up camp for the next twenty-five years. Ignorance must be a birthright for many South Carolinians, though I do have some wonderful, smart, highly educated friends there.

So I wrote back to Al and told him I wished South Carolina native son Andrew Jackson were still President.  After the state "nullified" the 1828 federal tariffs legislation, a visitor from South Carolina asked if Jackson had any message he wanted conveyed to his friends back in the state. Jackson replied:

Yes I have; please give my compliments to my friends in your State and say to them, that if a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach.
For the willing, ESPECIALLY in South Carolina, please sign's "Sheriff Al Cannon should resign" petition.  It needs about 500 more signatures.  Thanks!

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Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 08:14 PM PST

Tom Selleck Alert

by river0

I was just scanning Google to see if Tom Selleck had yet responded to Lawrence O'Donnell piece about Selleck's humanity in light of Selleck's NRA status and his on-going silence about the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre and other events like it in the past.  To my surprise (which shows how naive I am) I discovered the following:

Fan Mail Address:

Tom Selleck
National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

If you want a photo or an autograph or an explanation for his silence, drop him a line at the address above.

UPDATE 1.  The "fan" contact info for Selleck is SOLELY linked to the NRA.  That means he's more than a spokesman, though he is that too.  Still, isn't it odd that an adoring kid can ONLY contact Selleck via the NRA?

Selleck has long been a member of the NRA, but that's not the issue.  He CURRENTLY serves on the NRA's board of directors.  It's time for Selleck and all other NRA Board directors to take a public stand on high-capacity magazines and assault-like semi-automatics.  For a complete list of board members and the demographics of same, see

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