According To Michigan Law, Deeply Held Religious Beliefs are a Get Out of Jail Free Card for Hate Crimes Such as Bullying and Assault

What could possibly go wrong with this law as written?

Suppose my deeply held religious beliefs are that Christians are scum and fit only for sacrifice on the altar of the the Sun God.   Who are these Christian scum to challenge my deeply held religious convictions?

What makes their religion with its false doctrine and imaginary god on a stick superior to the worship of the one true god whose presence we see daily and whose being our entire solar system revolves around?

There are no laws that would prevent me from worshiping the sun god.  There aren’t even laws to prevent me from thinking Christians and all the worshipers of all the other religions are inferior and fit only for sacrifice.  There are laws that prevent me from not only putting my beliefs in to practice but there are laws that make it a hate crime for me to abuse, bully or harass members of other religions, in spite of my deeply held beliefs.

If I have a business I am not legally allowed to discriminate in hiring or employment based on religion nor in serving the public.  If I am a landlord I am not legally permitted to discriminate on the basis of religion.  No matter how much I want to due to my own deeply held religious convictions.

I sometimes think the exemption for religion is the shakiest of all the protected classes.  But I am a non-believer and wonder how anyone can possibly believe so fervently in such silly superstition.

That is the way things should be in America.  The Founding Fathers recognized the horrors brought across Europe by religious based conflicts and acted to prevent that from occurring in the US.

Oddly enough though the neo-Christians claiming this right to assault, abuse and discriminate against LGBT/T people are not really Christians, they are Dominionists, a strange cult of Nazi like beliefs based on chosen people and master races that will rule (stop me if this sounds vaguely familiar) for a thousand years in a wonderful kingdom of peace once the majority of people including LGBT/T people, atheists, Jews and Muslims etc. are slaughtered during an apocalyptic blood bath.

I can’t make up what the Republi-Nazis managed to pass in Michigan.

They passed a hate crimes bill that exempts these neo-Christians from all laws protecting LGBT/T kids from bullying and assault.

From Time:

By Amy Sullivan 
November 4, 2011

To understand what happened in Michigan, it’s important to know that social conservatives consider themselves the real victims. At the federal level, they unsuccessfully fought for the inclusion of a provision protecting religious freedom when Congress expanded the definition of a hate crime to include crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation. They also strongly oppose legislation that would prevent discrimination against gay individuals in the workplace, charging that such a law would endanger religious freedom. A report on the Christian Broadcasting Network outlined one such concern: “The special protections for gay and transgendered teachers will make it extremely difficult for [public school] districts that might want to remove them from the classroom.”

In other words, social conservatives believe that efforts to protect gays from assault, discrimination or bullying impinge on their religious freedom to express and act on their belief that homosexuality is an abomination. That’s stating it harshly, but it is the underlying belief.

This belief, however, relies on a warped understanding of religious liberty. Freedom of religious expression doesn’t give someone the right to kick the crap out of a gay kid or to verbally torment her. It doesn’t give someone the right to fire a gay employee instead of dealing with the potential discomfort of working with him.

It’s also a highly selective conception of religious liberty. The same religious conservatives who applaud the religious exemption in Michigan’s anti-bullying bill would be appalled if it protected a Muslim student in Dearborn who defended bullying a Christian classmate by saying he considered her an infidel.

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Videos and News from Occupy Oakland

Second Veteran Injured in ‘Occupy Oakland’ Violence

From Reader Supported News:

By Tihanna McCleese, KGO/ABC-7
05 November 11

There are fresh charges of police brutality against a war veteran arrested near an Occupy Oakland demonstration.

The veteran, 32-year-old Kayvan Sabeghi, underwent surgery on Friday for a ruptured spleen. Before he went into surgery, Sabeghi told his sister that he was walking to his home near Frank Ogawa Plaza when he was stopped by police, hit in the abdomen four times and then arrested and taken to jail where he could not receive medical treatment.

“I am absolutely furious,” Sabeghi said. “I’m absolutely furious at the way they treated my little brother. I’m so mad. They hurt him and then they refused to help him.”

Sabeghi underwent surgery at Highland for about two hours. Doctors tried to repair his spleen, which was apparently ruptured after Sabeghi was beaten and arrested.

“Just because you have the power to do so does’t mean you have the right to do so,” Sabeghi said. “You can’t treat people that way. If someone is injured … you have to take care of them.”

His sister said Sabeghi spent the night in a jail cell and was refused medical treatment for nearly 24 hours.

“At one point he asked for assistance and they told him to stop taking heroin,” Sabeghi said. “Another time they told him he was an alcholic and a diabetic, neither of which are true.”

It’s the second time in two weeks that an Iraq war veteran has been injured in violence between protesters and police.

Complete article at:

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OccupyDC Pedestrians Struck by Silver Lexus Car, Outside of Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Dinner

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Most of the unemployed no longer receive benefits

From SF Gate:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America’s unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent — a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America’s 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

Congress is expected to decide by year’s end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.

The ranks of the poor would also rise. The Census Bureau says unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people from slipping into poverty last year. It defines poverty as annual income below $22,314 for a family of four.

Yet for a growing share of the unemployed, a vote in Congress to extend the benefits to 99 weeks is irrelevant. They’ve had no job for more than 99 weeks. They’re no longer eligible for benefits.

Their options include food stamps or other social programs. Nearly 46 million people received food stamps in August, a record total. That figure could grow as more people lose unemployment benefits.

So could the government’s disability rolls. Applications for the disability insurance program have jumped about 50 percent since 2007.

“There’s going to be increased hardship,” said Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute.

The number of unemployed has been roughly stable this year. Yet the number receiving benefits has plunged 30 percent.

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American Decline Is Crushing the Middle Class

From Truth Dig:

By Richard Reeves
Posted on Nov 2, 2011

LOS ANGELES—By chance, the three things that landed in my inbox—that’s a polite euphemism for “pile”—on Tuesday were these:

The Hill, one of Washington’s all-politics-all-the-time journals, with a headline that read: “Most Voters Say the U.S. Is in Decline.”

Under that was Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum’s new book, “That Used to Be Us—How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented.”

And there was a tear sheet from the Los Angeles Times that hit me especially hard. The headline: “Access to Community Colleges May Be Rationed: After years of cuts, the state’s open-door system must change, a task force suggests.”

The smaller headline on the Hill piece was: “The Hill Poll shows that the American spirit has been sapped. An overwhelming number of voters believe the current troubles presage a longer, deeper fall.” The “overwhelming number” was 69 percent, including an astounding number of Republicans, 90 percent, thinking we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. Only 21 percent of all respondents think the lives of their children will be better than their own.

Friedman and Mandelbaum, two of the smarter guys around Washington, have a landslide of data and insight about decline in their book, but I was drawn to a short section on the California university system, once the crown jewel of American public education—and, as the authors say, the driving force behind the state’s prosperity. Think research universities like Berkeley and UCLA, where I taught in the 1990s, when some of the best professors on campus were being offered buyouts and moved on to other universities.

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Hartmann: Corporate personhood…Next up Missoula, MT

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Koch Group Gathering Disrupted by Occupy DC Protesters; Things Get Tense as Activists Surround Building

From Alternet:;_things_get_tense_as_activists_surround_building/

By Adele M. Stan | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at November 4, 2011

Time was when David Koch could bring his Americans for Prosperity Foundation convention to our nation’s capital, and conventioneers could feel pretty secure in the notion that Washington, D.C., was theirs for the taking. No longer.

The triumphant glow of hagiography that usually marks the convention’s annual Ronald Reagan tribute dinner tonight gave way to the heat of confrontation with the Occupy D.C. movement. Apparently, the AFP Foundation was prepared for shenanigans, as there seemed to be a readily available cadre of Metropolitan Police throughout the Walter E. Washington Convention Center where the event took place, a sprawling complex of glass and stone that takes up a full city block.

As the dinner began, one group of demonstrators convened outdoors for a peaceful film festival featuring a series of short documentaries about the Koch brothers, the billionaire executives of Koch Industries, the conglomerate founded by their father, Fred, who was also a founding member of the John Birch Society. (AlterNet’s Rania Khalek has a report on that event here.)

But others, from the Occupy D.C. and Occupy K Street movements, were more aggressive, shutting down streets around the convention center, and holding their ground at intersections with the forbearance of the police.

But not all the Occupiers were out in the cold. Hijinks began as the Tea Partiers picked at their salads during a speech by Andrew Napolitano, the retired federal judge who is now a talker on Fox News Channel. A young white man began shouting — I couldn’t quite hear what he said — and was poised to unfurl a banner when he was grabbed by police, escorted from the hall.

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