Six years of gay marriage and Canada hasn’t crumbled

From Canada.com:  http://www.canada.com/life/years+marriage+Canada+hasn+crumbled/5091972/story.html

By Naomi Lakritz, Postmedia News
July 13, 2011

Next week marks the sixth anniversary of same-sex marriage becoming legal in Canada.

Six years isn’t typically a milestone anniversary; those things tend to be divisible by five. But I started thinking about it after spending last weekend reading A Radiant Life, a collection of columns by Nuala O’Faolain, the late Irish journalist.

O’Faolain can be heavy slogging. Not for her writing, which is piercing and luminous, but because she paints a moving, if relentless portrait of a grim, grey Ireland, the Irish green all washed out of it, an alcohol-sodden place of domestic violence, abused children and oppressed, under-valued women. Indeed, one review of her book online was headlined “Emerald Bile.”

But it was her column on the progress, or lack thereof, of acceptance of same-sex relationships in Ireland that made me think of Canada’s upcoming anniversary.

In the run-up to Bill C-38 being passed, the naysayers darkly predicted the seismic crumbling of Canadian society as we know it; they said the “gay agenda” would undermine heterosexual marriage and families.

Continue reading at:  http://www.canada.com/life/years+marriage+Canada+hasn+crumbled/5091972/story.html

Phony victimization ruining American Christianity

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2011/07/phony-victimization-ruining-american.html

By  Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reposted with permission

According to Religious Right Watch, the Family Research Council is asking for folks to pray for Marcus Bachmann’s clinic because supposedly it’s “under siege” by the gay community because of its use of the faulty practice of reparative (“ex-gay”) therapy”

Christian Counseling under Assault – This week a homosexual activist group reported findings from their undercover “sting” operation at Minnesota Christian counseling clinic owned by Republican Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann and her husband, Marcus. Sympathetic national media seemed shocked that the Christian counseling center offered help for homosexuals to break free from addiction to homosexuality through faith in Jesus Christ. Where will the homosexual assault on religious liberty stop?

Meanwhile, the right-wing website Lifesite News is sounding the alarm simply because NY Gov Andrew Cuomo has told the state’s marriage clerks that they must comply with the law and sign their names on same-sex marriage licenses.

In these two stories is a theme which is recurrent throughout many religious right Christian and evangelical circles – the idea that someone’s religious beliefs trumps the fact that they are not honest or that they have a job to do.

Both stories are really simple.

Bachmann lied and was caught in his deception. He initially said that his clinic does not engage in ex-gay therapy. And he was proven to be a liar by the undercover video.

But some folks who call themselves Christians aren’t questioning the fact that Bachmann lied because they are too busy spinning conspiracy theories as to how the entire controversy is a “plot against Marcus and Michele Bachmann and evangelicals.”

What’s more, these folks actually embrace the fraudulent therapy done by Bachmann’s clinic while conveniently omitting the fact that he lied about it.

And to top it all off, they do all of this while talking about “morals” and “values” and “upholding God’s truth.”

It’s a bizarre gymnastic conundrum which should alarm anyone who really do care about morals and values.

The case in NY is even easier to figure out.

As shown by Lifesite News, some folks actually believe that someone working for state government should be absolved from following the rules of their job simply because they are Christian.

The question of where the line should be drawn is a serious one. It should not be taken lightly.

If state workers can use the Biblical verses as an excuse to not sign same-sex marriage licenses, then what’s the justification of them not using Biblical verses to deny interracial couples their licenses  (i.e. the Tower of Babel story) or refusing to sign licenses because the woman in the potential marriage may have signed it before the man (in defiance to what some say about the supposed subservient position of a woman in a relationship in accordance to Scripture).

Just when was the Biblical verse “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”  replaced by “I’m a Christian so I deserve more rights than you?”

It’s ironic that the same evangelicals and Christians who support all of this mess are constantly complaining about how Christianity has a bad name in this country.

Maybe these “Christians” should stop acting like a bunch of self-righteous, spoiled brats who want their way all of the time.

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Bachmann Tried To Pass State Law Protecting Ex-Gay Therapists

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/07/12/266506/bachmann-law-ex-gay-therapy/

By Zack Ford
Jul 12, 2011

The media attention on the harmful ex-gay therapy performed in Dr. Marcus Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinic shines new light on a law his wife tried to pass when she was in the Minnesota state Senate in 2006. The “Minnesota Expanded Health Care Practices Act for Licensed Health Care Professionals” (SF 2984) sought to create a legal right to “expanded health care,” defined as any treatment or approach “not generally considered to be within the prevailing minimum standards of care of a profession or that are not standard practices of a profession in a particular community.” It also would have established legal protections for any practitioners who offered such expanded health care:

Subd. 7. Complaints; investigations. A practitioner’s license or registration shall not be revoked, suspended, or conditioned, or have any other form of reprimand imposed or be denied a license or registration if the practitioner is practicing in compliance with this chapter and the practitioner has: (1) recommended or utilized expanded health care practices; (2) referred a patient to, or comanaged a patient or client with, a practitioner of expanded health care practices or a practitioner who is practicing in compliance with chapter 146A.

Complete Article at:   http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/07/12/266506/bachmann-law-ex-gay-therapy/

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Corporate Tax Escapees and You

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/11-14

by Ralph Nader
Published on Monday, July 11, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

The all-consuming Washington, D.C. wrangling over debts and deficits, spending and taxing is excluding a large reality of how these financial problems can sensibly and fairly be addressed. These blinders in Congress and the White House come from fact-starved ideologies–mostly from the Republicans–and fear-fed meekness–mostly from the Democrats. Both are furiously dialing for commercial campaign cash.

Take the gigantic world of corporate tax avoidance. Ronald Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act of 1986 that was designed to increase corporate tax revenues by over 30 percent. Today, President Obama wants to diminish or delete some tax loopholes (technically called tax expenditures) for large corporations, but let most of the revenues be cancelled out by lowering the corporate tax rates. How the world changes.
Obama’s mild approach is unacceptable to the big business lobbies and their Republican mascots in Congress.

They want more tax breaks so they can keep trillions of more dollars over the next decade.

Lost in this whirl of vast greed and political calculation are options, which if pursued with a sense of fairness for the people of the country, would go a long way in providing revenues for public works jobs–repairing America–which in turn would generate more consumer demand by these workers.

The ultra-accurate Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) publishes precise reports on the effective taxes paid by corporations that make an utter mockery of the 35 percent statutory tax rate for corporations (see CTJ.org).

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/11-14

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What were you thinking?

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Enough Free Trade Nonsense

From Other Words:  http://www.otherwords.org/articles/enough_free_trade_nonsense

A limitless world of sweatshops isn’t good for anyone.

  By William A. Collins
July 11, 2011

Trade sets Wall Street’s
Heart athrob;
While it robs me
Of my job.

Does it matter that no cell phones are made in America? Or scarcely any solar panels? Or that 91 percent of Walmart’s goods come from China? Should we care that our sundry free trade agreements have caused so many of those spiffy products on our shelves to be produced in the world’s grimmest sweatshops?

Maybe not. As the world’s capitalist bulwark we benefit more than most from the resultant cheap prices.

But it turns out that free trade causes a couple problems for us too. One is jobs. They’re gone. This isn’t surprising since we don’t make stuff here anymore. With 9 percent unemployed and another 9 percent underemployed or dropped out, who’s left with money to buy things? Even Walmart is now shifting its focus to overseas markets since our middle class is shrinking so. Median family income is plummeting.

Then there’s the debt. Every month we buy shiploads more stuff from others than they buy from us. Thus our foreign debt piles up faster than nuclear waste.

The only way we can avoid disaster is to stop buying, but that annoys the mostly American corporations who profit from it. They manufacture or subcontract those goods abroad but wield great influence over the government and politicians at home. Thus we watch in awe as President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner propose still more free trade agreements that will make it even more profitable to produce abroad and export back to the U.S. market, tariff-free.

America’s subservient flat-earth economists don’t mind that at all. They visualize all those abused sweatshop workers growing up into consumers one day and buying foreign-made (but U.S.-owned) products wherever they happen to be. Other economists understand the horror of those workplaces and fail to envision those workers ever becoming real consumers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.otherwords.org/articles/enough_free_trade_nonsense

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Greenpeace report links western firms to Chinese river polluters

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/13/greenpeace-links-western-firms-to-chinese-polluters

Supplier to Nike, Adidas, Puma, H&M and Lacoste accused of discharging dangerous chemicals into Chinese water systems

in Beijing
The Guardian, Wednesday 13 July 2011

A Chinese conglomerate supplying Nike, Adidas, Puma and other leading brands has discharged hormone-disrupting chemicals and other toxins into the country’s major water systems, according to a new Greenpeace investigation that raises questions about corporate responsibility for the firms they do business with.

The environmental pressure group has also linked hazardous textile plants in the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas to Lacoste, H&M and half a dozen other international fashion brands despite many of those companies’ claims to set high environmental standards in their supply chains.

The allegations follow a series of high-profile pollution scandals at Chinese firms that provide materials for multinational corporations. Chinese environmental activists say these cases highlight the hypocrisy of western outsourcers who promise high safety standards for rich consumers at home even as they trade with firms that benefit from lax environmental regulations overseas.

In their one-year investigation into China‘s textile industry – the world’s largest, with 50,000 mills – Greenpeace campaigners collected samples from factory discharge pipes and sent them for analysis at laboratories at Exeter University and in the Netherlands. They discovered a range of persistent pollutants in the wastewater from two major plants.

The Youngor facility in Ningbo, near Shanghai, was found to have discharged nonylphenol, an endocrine disruptor that builds up in the food chain, perfluorinated chemicals, which can have an adverse effect on the liver and sperm counts, as well as a cocktail of other toxins.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/13/greenpeace-links-western-firms-to-chinese-polluters

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