Thom Hartmann: Is Bachmann’s Christianity Radical Even for Evangelicals?

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The shifting boundaries of prejudice

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‘Pro-life’ terrorists name themselves ‘most peaceful social movement of all time’

From Daily Kos:

By Kaili Joy Gray for Daily Kos
Fri Jul 08, 2011

File this under “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me”:

Human Life International has revamped its website, According to the group, the site “provides extensive research on the surprising amount of violence perpetrated by abortionists and the proponents of ‘choice,’ compared to the relatively few violent crimes committed by ‘pro-life’ advocates.”The site includes a 35-page introduction that explains things such as “the difference between ‘pro-life’ violence and ‘pro-choice’ violence” and how “the pro-life movement [is] the most peaceful social movement of all time.” The site says that “homosexual activists… environmental and animal rights activists… anti-apartheid activists… communists… and unions” are far more violent than “pro-lifers” have been.

See? The “pro-life” movement is way less violent than all those commies, tree huggers, union thugs, and of course the homosexual activists, who are always blowing up health clinics and threatening doctors—when they’re not busy trying to indoctrinate your children, that is. It says so right on their website!

And that’s why they’ve launched this counter-campaign to prove that “pro-life” terrorists are really the victims here, unfairly blamed for the violence they encourage and carry out in the name of “life.” Just ask Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, who says he’s “tired of abortion rights groups blaming Operation Rescue for violence against abortion providers.”

Gosh. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that Operation Rescue’s senior policy advisor, Cheryl Sullenger, also happens to be a convicted felon. Guess what her crime was? Conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic.

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White House admits marijuana has ‘some’ medical value

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, July 11th, 2011

Just days after the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) insisted that there is no medical value to marijuana, the White House appeared to contradict the position, saying in a report that there may actually be “some” medical value to “individual components of the cannabis plant” after all.

The statement was just a small part of the Office on National Drug Control Policy’s yearly update on the progress of the drug war and its goals moving forward. Overall, the document only serves to affirm the federal prohibition of marijuana and what it calls “‘medical’ marijuana,” which it still views as illegitimate.

But a single passage, under their “facts about marijuana,” seems to loosen a bit from the generation-old line that there is no value to cannabis whatsoever.

“While there may be medical value for some of the individual components of the cannabis plant, the fact remains that smoking marijuana is an inefficient and harmful method for delivering the constituent elements that have or may have medicinal value,” the report says.

Still, today’s medical marijuana patients and proprietors don’t have much to cheer in the report, as it goes on to insist that smoking the marijuana plant itself is harmful and dangerous, especially for teens, and perpetuates the largely discredited “gateway drug” theory.

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The Manosphere

Effete Right Wing Republican Elitist Paul Ryan’s $350 Bottle of Wine

From Think Progress:

By Matthew Yglesias
Jul 9, 2011

At first glance, I was skeptical that there was any meaningful policy point to be made about Rep Paul Ryan’s taste for expensive wine but I’ve actually reconsidered that view. Consider.

The essence of Paul Ryan’s political agenda is to reduce spending on domestic social programs in order to create budget headroom for reduced taxation of high-income individuals. One obvious critique one could make of this agenda is that it will seriously imperil the welfare of the least fortunate. But it’s also worth noting that Ryan’s agenda is likely to accomplish much less to improve the welfare of the most fortunate than you might think at first glance. After all, why would a bottle of wine cost $350 to buy? In part, that’s because fine wines are costly to produce. But that doesn’t explain the really really expensive wines of the world. It’s not like the grapes are fertilized with diamond dust or something. Very expensive wines are very expensive for the same reason that beachfront land and original copies of the Magna Carta are expensive. They’re rare. This has important implications. If you move to Hollywood and become a rich movie star, you’ll suddenly be able to buy beachfront property in Malibu. But if movie stars as a whole get richer, this doesn’t change the fact that there’s only so much beach in Malibu. All that happens is it gets more expensive.

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Will America Kill the Equal Rights Amendment?

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 7/9/11

I wrote an article last week — “From Hope to History: It’s Time to Pass the Equal Rights Amendment” — that generated hundreds of comments and thousands of shares. Why? Many readers were dismayed and confused to learn that this simply worded sentence is still not in the U.S. Constitution, even after 88 years:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Readers who believed the Equal Rights Amendment had already passed through Congress to become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution years ago were shocked. The amendment, first written in 1923 by Alice Paul, was, in fact, approved by Congress and sent to the states in 1972 with a ten-year deadline for ratification, but by 1982, supporters had managed to sign on only 35 of the 38 states needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.

Some who are not in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment claim it is redundant and unnecessary, often citing the 14th Amendment, which they say already protects the rights of women. It does not. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly stated that the 14th Amendment was never intended to protect women. It was only intended to protect race. Federal and state law cannot protect citizens who are not protected under the Constitution. He made this remark in January 2011:

Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.

Sensing that people are as confused about the issue as I am, but just as eager to turn the promise of the Equal Rights Amendment into a reality, I interviewed key thought leaders who are directly involved in efforts to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed.

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How the Right-Wing Group Behind Michele Bachmann’s Creepy Porn Pledge Pushes Female Submission

From Alternet:

There’s a detail in The Marriage Vow that critics have overlooked — an alarming point which warrants the careful attention of everyone concerned with human rights.

By Vyckie Garrison
July 10, 2011

THE FAMiLY LEADER, a federally-funded public advocacy organization associated with Focus On The Family has garnered plenty of media attention recently.

Republican presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have signed on to the para-church group’s “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of  Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMiLY” – a right-wing political policy document which calls on candidates to support a federal “Marriage Amendment,” oppose same-sex marriages, pornography, abortion, no-fault divorce and adultery and to encourage “robust childbearing and reproduction” in order to ensure U.S. global economic and political domination.

The public outrage is justified.  The Marriage Vow pledge, which ironically makes a show of rejecting “Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control” is one of the most misogynistic and totalitarian political policy proposals in recent history.

There’s one “little” detail in The Marriage Vow that critics have overlooked – small, subtle, and yet glaringly obvious once you see it – an alarming point which warrants the careful attention of freedom-loving women and everyone concerned with human rights.

A quick visit to THE FAMiLY LEADER’s website  reveals the self-abnegation ideal which is expected of American women according to THE FAMiLY LEADER’s extremist paradigm.   Notice that in their logo, in The Marriage Vow document, and throughout their website, the “I” in FAMiLY is never capitalized?

The first footnote to The Marriage Vow  explains this consistent use of the little “i”:

“Sociological data squares with tradition to argue that self-centered adult egos and agendas in American families must be subordinated to the long-term interests of America’s children.”

Simply stated, women who are unwilling to subordinate and sacrifice themselves to populate America’s economic and political war machine are selfish with a capital “I” – s.e.l.f.I.s.h.

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Chief Rabbi: Equality laws leading to new Mayflower exodus

From The Telegraph UK:

New equality laws are forcing religious people to flee the country because they are being denied the freedom to live in accordance with their beliefs, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has warned.

By Tim Ross, Religious Affairs Editor
7:31PM BST 30 Jun 2011

The Orthodox Jewish leader claimed that anti-discrimination policies had fuelled an “erosion of religious liberty” in Britain that was leading to a new “Mayflower”, a reference to the flight of the persecuted Pilgrim Fathers to America in the 17th century.

His comments follow growing alarm from leading religious figures over the increasing influence of equality laws. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has called on the Prime Minister to review equality legislation amid concerns that religious freedoms and Britain’s Christian heritage are under threat.

Speaking to the House of Commons public administration select committee, Lord Sacks said there was “no doubt” numbers of religious believers in Britain were “extraordinarily” low.

He continued: “I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organisations is an erosion of religious liberty.

Complete article at:

How is Jewish or Christian Sharia any different from Islamic Sharia?

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International Day against Stoning

From Richard Dawkins Net:

Added: Monday, 04 July 2011 at 9:16 AM

July 11th is the International Day against Stoning. It is organised by, among others, Maryam Namazie, that admirably courageous fighter on behalf of threatened women in Iran and wherever Islam oppresses them. Please support her on July 11th, wherever you are.

1 July, the International Day against Stoning, will soon be here.

As you know Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is still languishing in prison. The authorities recently mentioned her case saying that no final decision had yet been reached on her stoning sentence and that Sakineh must remain in prison. Falsely accused of murdering her husband, her only crime is that she is a woman in Iran. Her lawyer, Sajjad Houtan Kian, also remains in prison for having had the courage to defend her and other women with stoning sentences in Tabriz prison; he has been sentenced to four years imprisonment, been put under a lot of pressure and lost 20 kilos (44 pounds) as a result.

The campaign to Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been an important one. It has spoken out in defence of humanity, and against the barbaric punishment of stoning everywhere. It has mobilised immense pressure against and condemnation of the Islamic regime of Iran from millions across the globe. These are accomplishments we must all be proud of.

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Gillard puts future on the line with radical plan for Australian carbon tax

From The Guardian UK:

Emission-cutting scheme to target country’s 500 worst polluting companies

in Sydney, Sunday 10 July 2011

The Australian government has unveiled one of the world’s most ambitious schemes to tackle climate change, a plan to tax carbon emissions from the country’s worst polluters.

After a bruising political battle to win support for the measure, the prime minister, Julia Gillard, said on Sunday that from July next year, 500 companies would pay $23 (£15) a tonne for their carbon emissions in the largest emissions trading scheme outside Europe.

The government predicts that by 2029 the plan will lead to a reduction in emissions equivalent to taking 45m cars off the road. The government will fix the tax for three years, before moving to a market-set price in 2015.

“It’s time to get on with this; we are going to get this done,” said Gillard.

Australia generates more carbon pollution per head than any other developed country, thanks to its heavy reliance on coal-fired power stations. With a population of 22 million, Australia is responsible for 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By comparison, Britain, with nearly three times the population, produces just 1.7%.

The package is expected to pass votes in both houses of parliament before the end of the year, but Gillard faces a furious backlash over the scheme, which 60% of the population opposes. Her government is the most unpopular in 40 years, and analysts say her political future depends on her ability to sell the tax to voters.

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Reagan Mythology is Leading US Off a Cliff

From Common Dreams:

During Reagan’s presidency, the US went from a creditor to debtor nation and marked a take-off for financial inequality.

by Paul Rosenberg
Published on Sunday, July 10, 2011 by Al Jazeera

As things stand today, the US is hurtling toward a budget showdown in less than a month. Either President Obama will once again capitulate to extreme Republican budget-slashing demands, making Democrats seem as much of a threat to Medicare as Republicans, and virtually ensuring a GOP electoral sweep in 2012, or the US will default on its debt for the first time in its history, most likely plunging the world economy back into another five-continent recession, also costing Democrats the 2012 elections. These are the options left for a president and a political class completely divorced both from reality, and its own history of how one of the three greatest US presidents of all time steered the country from the brink of collapse eight decades ago

Entirely forgetting the real history of how Franklin D Roosevelt used activist government to save American capitalism from itself, the entire US political establishment is instead hypnotized by the false history woven around its most over-hyped president of all time: Ronald Reagan. Idolatry of Reagan’s supposed tax-cutting wonders propels the now widespread economic belief that up is down, that cutting government spending is the way out of – rather than into – a severe recession. At the same time, idolatry of Reagan’s supposed political wonders propels GOP extremists to ignore all other considerations.

Because of this hypnotism, America’s political establishment has barely even begun to notice two unconventional possible ways out that remain, neither of which require anything from Congress, but both of which need bold presidential leadership ala FDR.

The first is to ignore the debt ceiling, relying directly on the 14th Amendment’s statement that: “the validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned”. The second is a proposal from maverick Republican Ron Paul to have the Federal Reserve Board destroy the $1.6 trillion in government bonds that it currently holds, which progressive economist Dean Baker recently wrote, “actually makes a great deal of sense”. It might take some arm-twisting on Obama’s part, but Congress has no say over the Fed, and central bankers have no great love of spreading financial panic.

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Robert Reich – Invest in America

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At What Point Do the GOP’s Shenanigans Become Treason?

From Progresszine:

by Edward Lynn
June 11, 2011

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines treason as, “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance”.  The Random House dictionary ( defines treason as, “any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one’s government.”  And the clearest definition of all can be found in the Cambridge dictionary, which defines treason as, “(the crime of) showing no loyalty to your country, especially by helping its enemies or attempting to defeat its government.”

So here’s the question…  At what point do the Republican Party’s attempts to undermine the United States of America, in every way become treasonous?  I contend they crossed that line long ago.

Just look at what they’re doing, and try to tell me with a straight face that their actions aren’t going to “impair the well-being” of the state itself, not to mention it’s people.  Just try to tell me that their actions, like pushing our country to default on it’s debt for the first time in history, undermining the rights of our workforce, assaulting the health of our people, and the ability of our elders to live out their final years with dignity, like taking dictatorial levels of power for Governors and even eliminating democracy itself at the local level wherever they please, like ignoring our crumbling infrastructure knowing full well that doing so leaves us vulnerable to attack and disaster, like dragging our fighting men and women into wars in the wrong theaters against the wrong enemies, as they did in Iraq, while letting our real enemies get away, as they did with Bin Laden, like revolting against fair taxes on the rich who can afford them painlessly anyhow, forcing our nation to slash it’s spending on it’s own people to the bone, like ignoring the consensus of 97% of scientists warning us of the consequences of climate change, even though that endangers our people and presents a national security threat, because that’s not in the interest of their true loyalties – to industry – just try to tell me that all of that, and all the other shameless things they’re doing don’t add up to treason.  Clearly, it does!

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Somehow, the Unemployed Became Invisible

From The New York Times:

Published: July 9, 2011

GRIM number of the week: 14,087,000.

Fourteen million, in round numbers — that is how many Americans are now officially out of work.

Word came Friday from the Labor Department that, despite all the optimistic talk of an economic recovery, unemployment is going up, not down. The jobless rate rose to 9.2 percent in June.

What gives? And where, if anywhere, is the outrage?

The United States is in the grips of its gravest jobs crisis since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House. Lose your job, and it will take roughly nine months to find a new one. That is off the charts. Many Americans have simply given up.

But unless you’re one of those unhappy 14 million, you might not even notice the problem. The budget deficit, not jobs, has been dominating the conversation in Washington. Unlike the hard-pressed in, say, Greece or Spain, the jobless in America seem, well, subdued. The old fire has gone out.

In some ways, this boils down to math, both economic and political. Yes, 9.2 percent of the American work force is unemployed — but 90.8 percent of it is working. To elected officials, the unemployed are a relatively small constituency. And with apologies to Karl Marx, the workers of the world, particularly the unemployed, are also no longer uniting.

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