Georgia school: We were ‘terrorized’ by Fox News’ false ‘Christmas card censorship’ report
By David Edwards
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 11:39 EST
A school district in Georgia blasted Fox News on Tuesday and said that they had been “terrorized” after one of the network’s radio hosts falsely reported that Christmas cards had been “confiscated.”
In a Tuesday report, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes turned his daily outrage to allegations that students at Brooklet Elementary School had returned from the Thanksgiving holiday to find that the school’s administration had decided to “confiscate the Christmas cards” that teachers had posted outside classrooms.
Starnes branded the schools’ actions as “Christmas card censorship.”
Brooklet Principal Marlin Baker told WSAV that the “censorship” charge was just not true and that Starnes didn’t bother checking the facts before publishing his report.
“The decision to move the poster had nothing, absolutely nothing, at all to do with any type of religious conversation that is going on in the county,” Martin explained.
The principal said that the Christmas card poster had been moved to a faculty work room in order to accommodate the privacy request of one teacher.
And now the school has been flooded with angry calls and emails because of the misreporting.
“[I am] disappointed. We are trying hard in this community to have a good, healthy dialogue and it seems the intentional spreading of this misinformation I see it as destructive,” Bulloch County School District Superintendent Charles Wilson told the station.
Brooklet Elementary teacher Becky Petkewich said that she was shocked when she read the report at FoxNews.com.
“I just couldn’t believe that someone would make up some things like that,” Petkewich recalled. “The whole country now is looking at us in a negative way, that we’ve done something horrible, that we are not letting the children celebrate Christmas and that’s not what it is.”
The school received so many complaints that the district was forced to release an official statement after Starnes’ report on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, today the school was terrorized by an intentional and vicious dissemination of untrue information that disrupted the good work going on inside,” the statement pointed out. “Fox News Radio Commentary Host Todd Starnes, acting on misinformation that neither he, nor his media outlet corroborated with the school system or Baker, misreported a story about student Christmas Cards being removed from the school. Baker did not receive any questions from the local community either.”
“The cards in question were not student Christmas cards, nor were they a student project or tradition. The cards are the personal family Christmas cards that faculty members share with one another. They are the personal cards from their homes that they would send to family and friends.”
The district added: “This year, due to a legitimate, personal privacy concern raised by one of the school’s staff members, Baker moved the display to the opposite wall inside the office work room so that the staff member could still participate in the tradition. Baker wanted to respect the staff member’s privacy and that of his/her children depicted in the Christmas card.”
Starnes updated his report on Tuesday to mention that the Bulloch County School District had released a statement, but failed to note that he and Fox News had been accused of terrorizing the school.
Last month, members of school board in South Dakota said that they received death threats after Fox News falsely reported that they had voted to drop the Pledge of Allegiance at schools.
There is a two and a half minute video in the article with an interview of school officials.
This is not an isolated event at Fox 'News'. This is what they do - lie, lie and then lie again. Have to keep the base fired up. Keep them hating - keep them fearful of imagined attacks on Christmas, what those scary liberals are up to, the phony confiscation of guns, the hatred and loathing of the lower classes and minorities, and all the other hundreds of 'dangers' that they're told will threaten them if they let their guard down.
There are things to be concerned about. My posts document some of them. But Fox is not the place to learn about them. Believing what they tell you will impair your understanding of reality, and, eventually rot your brain.
Report: $1 billion in taxpayer money went to anti-science private schools last year
By Travis Gettys
Monday, March 24, 2014 10:38 EDT
Taxpayers are helping to pay for courses and textbooks that encourage students to mistrust science, mathematics, and the secular world itself – and those efforts seem likely to expand into other states.
Currently, taxpayers in 14 states funnel nearly $1 billion in private school tuition through voucher programs, paying those schools to teach children that Adam and Eve lived alongside dinosaurs less than 10,000 years ago in the Garden of Eden.
Politico reviewed hundreds of pages of course outlines, textbooks, and school website and reported Monday that many of these taxpayer-funded, faith-based schools portray science and mathematics as a web of lies.
Textbooks popular in Christian schools describe evolution as “a wicked and vain philosophy,” while students practice vocabulary lessons that claim “many scientists today are creationists.”
According to the report, schools often distort basic facts about the scientific method, set aside time during math lessons to explore numbers in the Bible, or teach that mathematics laws were ordained by God.
The schools make clear that religious instruction is a higher priority than academic learning, which students are taught to mistrust.
“Our understanding is not complete until we filter it through God’s Word,” one school assures parents.
Lawmakers in 26 states are considering new voucher programs or expanding existing ones, and eight states are looking at establishing individual bank accounts funded by taxpayers that parents could spend on tuition, tutors, and textbooks.
About 250,000 students use vouchers and tax-credit scholarships, up about 30 percent since 2010.
Voucher proponents see a tipping point approaching, when so many students receive publicly financed private education that all states will demand that option.
But critics say the growth of anti-science education, especially as scientists have made recent advances in our understanding of the universe and its origins, is preparing students “for the turn of the 19th Century.”
Not all religious schools teach creationism, but science education activists have identified 300 such schools that also receive public subsidies.
But that’s likely a significant undercount, because the database does not include Pennsylvania or Iowa, and many church-based schools don’t have websites that advertise their curriculum.
Voucher programs also undermine the bipartisan push for uniformly high academic standards through Common Core, which has been the target of Tea Party ire in states across the country, and Next Generation Science Standards, opponents say.
Voucher supporters have knocked out anti-voucher candidates from primary races and funded local advocacy groups, often with backing from the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.
The conservative advocacy group promoted private school subsidies in 10 states – including Maine, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin – in the last year alone and has spent $18 million on such campaigns since 2007.
With sympathetic lawmakers in place, school voucher funding looks to expand in states such as Arizona, Florida, and New York – and at the federal level.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) proposed the consolidation of dozens of federal education programs into one $24 billion fund that states could allocate as vouchers for low-income students, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has promoted vouchers and other so-called school choice measures.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld voucher programs, even when they subsidize religious education, as long as parents who accept vouchers can choose where to spend them.
But some state constitutions are more restrictive, and the American Civil Liberties Union is suing to block them in New Hampshire and Colorado, and litigation is also under way in Alabama.
Research has shown that charter schools and other school "choices" are no better than public schools overall. One of the most complex areas in society to understand is education and why its quality is high or low.
Public money should not be going to private schools - of any kind.
This article shows that children are being educated in these schools for the 17th century. No wonder we are losing our edge in many areas where we excelled previously.
And, many are just delighted that is the case.
Conservative Republican terror analyst Daryl Johnson's remarks are chilling and prescient in light of weekend shooting in Las Vegas...
By BRAD FRIEDMAN on 6/9/2014, 4:27pm PT
In July of 2011, just days after the massacre of 77 mostly children at a youth summer camp by a Rightwing extremist in Norway, Brian Levin, the Director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University interviewed Daryl Johnson, formerly of the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).
Johnson was the agency's senior domestic terrorism analyst from 2004 to 2010. He was also the lead author of DHS' April 2009 draft report --- which was, shortly thereafter, retracted under pressure from Republicans, rightwingers and some veterans groups --- entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" [PDF].
After the public outcry from the Rightwing victimization industry, the DHS shamefully apologized for working on the report at all, even though it was begun during the Bush Administration; was being produced in response to a mandate from Congress; followed a DHS report on Leftwing extremism [PDF] (which received no similar outraged protestations) in January of 2009; and was authored by Johnson, who describes himself in the interview below as a pro-choice, pro-gun, conservative Republican Mormon.
The draft 9-page DHS report had cautioned about the re-emergence of potentially violent extremist groups "that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely."
It warned that similar conditions to those in the 1990's (an economic recession, a Democrat in the White House) which had led to, among other domestic terrorist incidents, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, had brought about a "growth in the number of domestic rightwing terrorist and extremist groups and an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors."
The report cautioned that "lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States" and concluded that "rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength."
Following the deadly attack on two police offers and another person on Sunday in Las Vegas, allegedly carried out by two married members who self-identified as part of the so-called "Liberty Movement" and who appeared at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy during the recent armed protest against the federal government with others in the movement, it seems a good moment to revisit that 2011 interview with the lead author of that retracted DHS report.
The alleged killers in the tragedy over the weekend later killed themselves. They reportedly draped the dead bodies of the two cops they shot with the Gadsden ("Don't Tread on Me") flag, popular with those in the "Tea Party" and "Liberty" movements, and were said to have kept Swastikas and other Nazi memorabilia in their apartment.
Neighbors told reporters that the two "had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents."
In other words, the warnings of Johnson, both in the retracted 2009 DHS report and in his 2011 interview, seem extraordinarily prescient today, for some odd reason.
Here are extended excerpts, some of them chilling in retrospect, from that 2011 interview of Daryl Johnson by Brian Levin...
Did you have a political agenda when writing the DHS Rightwing Extremism report?
No. My team and I analyzed the entire spectrum of extremist movements within the United States. Our work was all about identifying extremist threats, understanding the radicalization process and informing law enforcement of emerging extremist trends in the U.S.
Do you have any political antagonism towards conservatives, military veterans or religious people?
Absolutely not. I am a conservative. I'm married, have children and am a lifetime third generation registered Republican. I have military veterans in my extended family. I'm also a Mormon. I respect people of all faiths. I feel so strongly about our religious freedoms, that I served two years as a missionary for my church.
Would you consider yourself prolife?
Yes. I believe in the sanctity of life including the preborn.
Do you support a broad right to individual gun ownership by competent non-felons?
Yes, I am a gun owner myself and enjoy target shooting and experienced game hunting in my youth.
Do you support a limited federal government and broad autonomy for states?
Yes, but I believe there is an important role for federal law enforcement.
Under which administration was this research actually started?
The research for this report began in 2008 under the Bush Administration.
What do you say to people that said your report was a political "hit job" against conservatives?
The report was not politically motivated. It was researched over a long time period, but put together in a relatively short period of time. Hence, some of the language could have been better worded. But I stand by its core analytical judgments. I regret that so many people took things out of context, mischaracterized the report and used it to orchestrate political attacks against President Obama and his administration.
Why interview now?
Obviously, I couldn't discuss this with the media while employed at DHS. It took me a year after leaving to finally decide that this was truly the right thing to do. I also wanted to give DHS adequate time to determine whether or not it wanted to reconstitute the domestic non-Islamic terrorism effort. It never did.
Since Obama took office, there have been nearly twenty extremist rightwing attacks and plots, including the killing of almost a dozen police officers in six separate attacks. There have also been militia plots in places like Alaska and Michigan that targeted government officials such as a judge and police. Package bombs were mailed in the DC area. In recent months we had three sovereign citizen related shootings in Florida, Arizona and Texas. [Ed Note: Remember, this interview took place in July 2011, there have been many more such attacks since, including the weekend shooting in Las Vegas.]
Cont'd from Above
How many people worked on your team?
Six worked directly for me with two others in support roles.
How many analysts at DHS worked Muslim extremism issues?
In 2008, there were close to 40. A year later that number had decreased to around 25. There were additional analysts working other topics such as critical infrastructure, border security and weapons of mass destruction.
How does the threat from radical Muslim extremists in the U.S. compare with that of right wing domestic extremists?
During the past 10 years there have been five successful attacks in the U.S. by Muslim extremists, but in the last three years there have been 20 attacks attributed to domestic right wing extremists and the number of fatalities is about equal between the two. There were more firearms possessed by the Hutaree [an alleged extremist] militia than by all 200 of the Muslim extremists arrested in the U.S. since 9/11.
How did your analytic team differ from other agencies covering the same topic?
Our mission was to identify potential terrorists, assess their level of threat and notify law enforcement when we noticed something of concern. We looked at extremists who embraced belief systems that were known for advocating violence and criminal activity, but may not necessarily be currently engaging in such activity. We were responsible for understanding the radicalization process - how someone evolves from a peaceful, law-abiding person to an individual who commits crime or acts of violence. We also provided an alternate voice to the FBI. It is very important to have alternate voices weighing in on issues of interest within the intelligence community. That way, the intelligence community doesn't get caught up in "group think" or inaccurate judgments. That voice is no longer there.
Who criticized the report?
The report had upset many conservatives and veterans organizations. Some believed it was a deliberate attack on their beliefs and way of life.
You received criticism about returning military veterans, was it deserved?
I honor and respect our nation's veterans. They are sacrificing their time, talents and lives each and every day to keep our country safe and secure. For that, I am extremely grateful. I have family members who served in the military. That said, unfortunately there are those who would prey upon our military veterans and attempt to recruit them into joining extremist causes such as white supremacist groups, militias and the sovereign citizen movement.
What happened at DHS as a result of the criticism?
My team was dissolved. All training courses and briefings presentations were stopped. DHS leaders made it increasingly difficult to release another report on this topic.
Why would DHS leaders dissolve your team and stop these analytic activities?
The subject had become too politically charged. As a result, DHS leaders adopted a risk adverse approach toward this issue. Perhaps they thought it was a matter of organizational preservation.
Do you think the dissolution of your unit that you discuss has negatively affected state and local law enforcement?
Certainly. There is one less agency to assist state and local law enforcement with this growing and dangerous problem at a time of heightened activity.
Why did you leave DHS?
I could no longer effectively do my job. New processes made it increasingly difficult to get any work accomplished.
Have the conditions which affected your conclusions changed since the report was issued?
No. The factors have remained the same - the economy remains sluggish and uncertain; unemployment hovers around 10 percent nationally; Obama is still President; and the 2010 Census results show a changing demographic in America shifting away from a predominantly Caucasian nation.
Has the leak had a chilling effect on the analyst community?
Within the intelligence community at-large, I don't think so. Inside the Department of Homeland Security, I believe it did. Other DHS analysts saw what happened to us - saw leadership backing away from supporting the report and those responsible for writing it. Many left the agency as a result.
Was a revised version of the report ever disseminated as promised?
There was an attempt to rewrite the report that basically removed some of the controversial language such as the definition, the terms "rightwing" and "disgruntled veteran". Nevertheless, all of the main points, primary themes and analysis remained the same. It was never disseminated.
Why was your work important? Do any other agencies replicate what you were doing?
My unit at DHS was unique in that we conducted trend analysis of domestic non-Islamic extremism in the United States. We were also congressionally mandated by statute to study the radicalization phenomena. We were the only analytical unit in the intelligence community doing this type of work from a purely domestic non-Islamic perspective.
How does the attack in Norway affect us?
It should be a "wake up call" for our nation's leaders. From a U.S. government perspective, our leaders are not really concerned about this issue. They appear to be downplaying or outright dismissing the threat from domestic non-Islamic extremists. There is an overall lack of adequate resources at the local, state and Federal level to effectively analyze and assess the vast number of domestic extremists who are likely on the verge of violence in this country. We are vulnerable to a Norway-style of attack - lone extremists using small arms and improvised explosives to carry out devastating attacks with little effort or formalized terrorist training. It should also give pause to those who are engaging in overly heated political rhetoric for personal gain.
[Hat-tip Right Wing Watch...]
Con't from Above
* * *
In August of 2012, writing at Salon, Johnson once again reminded us how he tried to warn about RW extremists, only to be undone by the politicization of his report. His article, posted just after the shooting by a Rightwing extremist at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin resulted in the deaths of six worshippers, updated the death toll at the time...
Since the DHS warning concerning the resurgence of right-wing extremism, 27 law enforcement officers have been shot (16 killed) by right-wing extremists. Over a dozen mosques have been burned with firebombs – likely attributed to individuals embracing Islamaphobic beliefs. In May 2009, an abortion doctor was murdered while attending church, two other assassination plots against abortion providers were thwarted during 2011 and a half-dozen women’s health clinics were attacked with explosive and incendiary devices over the past two years.
In January 2010, a tax resister deliberately crashed his small plane filled with a 50-gallon drum of gasoline into an IRS processing center in Austin, Texas; in January 2011, three incendiary bombs were mailed to government officials in Annapolis, Md., and Washington, D.C.; also, in January 2011, a backpack bomb was placed along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Wash.; and, during 2010-2012, there have been multiple plots to kill ethnic minorities, police and other government officials by militia extremists and white supremacists.
The Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., and the shooting of four sheriff’s deputies in St. Johns Parish, La., in August are only the latest manifestations of right-wing extremist violence in the U.S. Yet, there have been no hearings on Capitol Hill about this issue. DHS still has only one analyst monitoring domestic terrorism. The federal government’s failure to recognize the domestic terrorism threat tells me there will assuredly be more attacks to come.
"More attacks to come", indeed. Johnson has been right all along. Those who politicized his warnings in a pathetic effort to put damaging the Obama Administration ahead of keeping fellow citizens safe from a clearly growing menace, continue to disgrace and harm this nation.
Additional links in article.
Yep. More right-wing insanity. Nothing reasonable that tries to criticize their ideology gets through because of the corporate media's reluctance to appear "liberal".
There is no comparable viciousness on the left. Incidentally, there is no real organized "left". Just some reasonable voices here and there. The right needs to have something to blame. They are ALWAYS the victim regardless of the facts.
The country must recognize the danger from the right which seeks to undermine everything the country stands for because it doesn't submit to corporate and religious control.
What Does Jesus Want for Your Vagina? The Christian Right's Mission To Control Americans' Sex Lives
Hobby Lobby is about the Christian right wanting to punish and control women.
By Amanda Marcotte
July 2, 2014 |
Monday’s Supreme Court decision in Burrell v Hobby Lobby was a blow against consumer protection, worker’s rights, and the religious liberty of employees who want their medical care to be free of what their boss thinks Jesus wants for their vagina. But it should be read as something else, as well: The end of the illusion that the anti-choice movement is about “life”, when in fact they are nothing more than a 21st century anti-sex league.
While anti-choice activists have long benefitted from claiming that they are motivated more by not wanting fetuses to die than any interest in controlling sexuality, the fact that the movement was out in force to support Hobby Lobby’s war on contraception coverage---even though contraception prevents abortion---shows that they are really more about punishing sex than saving fetuses.
Oh, sure, the Green family behind Hobby Lobby tried to preserve the illusion that conservative objections to modern health care methods that allow women to safely control their fertility has something to do with “life”. Their lawyers argued that they only objected to four kinds of birth control that they believed to be “abortifacients”, such as emergency contraception and IUDs. In reality, all the drugs and devices covered by the federal standards work by preventing pregnancy. IUDs and emergency contraception both work by preventing sperm from meeting egg.
But, in the end, all the lies about how some forms of contraception constitute “abortion” didn’t matter, and the court just generally ruled that religious objections to contraception were enough. This isn’t a big surprise. Many conservatives on the court have ties to the anti-choice community--- Justice Scalia’s wife is a hardline anti-choice activist---and so they are most likely familiar with the actual reason that the Christian right is hostile to abortion and contraception. It has nothing to do with “life”. In case there was any doubt about that, the Supreme Court issued a clarification, noting that there was no obligation for employers to claim to believe birth control is abortion. Just simply opposing birth control because you oppose non-procreative sex is reason enough not to offer it in your health care plan. It is all about sex and how they think Americans, especially American women, are having too much of it.
Anyone who has been watching the anti-choice movement for awhile is not surprised to see Justice Alito, who wrote the decision, blithely assume that being anti-contraception is part and parcel of the broader Christian right agenda. While most Americans don’t think of contraception as controversial at all, within anti-choice circles it’s simply accepted that contraception is a great evil that led American women astray. One of the main speakers at this year’s Right To Life conference, a radio host named Joy Pinto, went on a tear during a panel on opening night about how contraception was the real “war on women”. She said contraception was “coming from the pit of hell” and compared contraception to when Eve “bit the apple”.
That’s why it was no surprise to see that the “pro-life” people were out in force in D.C. in response to the Hobby Lobby decision, celebrating it as a win for their side, even though fewer women on birth control means more abortions. That’s why Life News, the preeminent anti-choice website, was ecstatic about the possibility that more women will be deprived of contraception. This anti-abortion site doesn’t hide its anti-contraception views at all, with writers arguing things like, “Fertility is a natural condition of a woman” to argue that it’s wrong to stifle your ovulation with birth control. “I guess it is an admission of my age that I grew up in an era when it mattered to women that they be perceived as ‘ladies’,” Ann Scheidler of Life News writes, making it clear she believes any woman who uses contraception has debased herself.
Indeed, the argument that drives the anti-choice movement isn’t really “life”, but goes more like this: In some more “moral” past, women were so scared of pregnancy that they all waited until marriage to have sex and then only did it sparingly without enjoying too much, as befits a lady. (Never mind that women have been having sex outside of marriage and enjoying sex in an very unladylike fashion throughout all of history.) Now, thanks to legal abortion and birth control, women are having all sorts of sex without “consequences”, which is seen as a terrible thing, mostly because it’s not very ladylike. (It’s also blamed for the breakdown of “the family”, though the overwhelming evidence shows women who are able to delay marriage and childbirth through abortion and contraception have more stable marriages., making this more a fantasy than a reality.) Some anti-choicers see women who choose sex as wanton hussies who need to be brought into line. However, it’s becoming increasingly fashionable on the right to portray women as inherently asexual beings who are being tricked by all this contraception into thinking they have to have sex, which allows them to argue that depriving women of reproductive rights is doing women a favor, by giving them an excuse to get out of that icky sex.
This argument has, by and large, not had much exposure to the general public and stayed within right wing circles, though Ross Douthat occasionally flexes the evils-of-contraception muscle in the New York Times. The Hobby Lobby decision, however, has forced the issue of contraception right into the mainstream, no doubt surprising many Americans who had no idea that there was anyone who opposed contraception, much less that there’s widespread antagonism against it when it comes to the Christian right. Hopefully, people will remember the lesson that this is not about “life” or “religion”, but strictly about the Christian right wanting to control female sexuality and punish women for having premarital sex ( about 95 percent of women) or for having non-procreative sex ( about 99 percent of women).
Indeed, the latest round of abortion attacks barely bothers with the “life” argument, except as a bit of window dressing. The new argument is that legal abortion needs to be ended for women’s own good. Abortion, opponents argue, is sleazy and dangerous and women are better off having no access at all. The latest abortion case in from of the Supreme Court, which addressed the issue of “buffer zones” to keep protesters away from clinic doors, was influenced by this argument. The anti-choice lawyers portrayed protesters as gentle souls who simply want to help women, instead of the judgmental haters of old. The argument worked, and the buffer zone was struck down.
Cont'd From Above
The “we’re here to help women” line doesn’t work if you assume the debate is over “life”. If anti-choicers really believed abortion was murder, they would hardly be eager to be seen as trying to help women they believe to be would-be murderers. No, the “compassionate” anti-abortion argument, like the anti-contraception argument, only works if you assume it’s all about sex. Women going into abortion clinics are seen by the anti-choice movement as wayward souls who need to be saved from their sex-having ways and turned towards a life of chastity and pushed to give birth as repentance for the sin of lust. You don’t send a bunch of judgmental grandmothers at people you think are murderers. The church lady brigade is the one you send out when you need people to cluck their tongues at young ladies these days for their supposedly unladylike ways.
This is made even more obvious when you look at the organizing force behind clinic protesters, who call themselves “sidewalk counselors”. Most of these protesters are aligned with “crisis pregnancy centers”, and they are trying to lure women seeking abortion into them. Once there, they will be told that abortion is killing, yes, but more than that. They are also subject to a wave of anti-contraception propaganda, all the better to imply that the only real option is to have sex infrequently and only for the purpose of procreation.
It was also the anti-choice movement that was behind the push for “abstinence-only” education in schools, of course, showing that the attempts to demonize contraception aren’t even that new, but date back to the Bush administration. The Bush administration also appointed a series of “pro-life” officials to the FDA that set out not to attack abortion, but contraception. They stymied the release of emergency contraception, which works by suppressing ovulation, out of fear that it would somehow encourage more sex. One official, Janet Woodcock, wrote a memo arguing that if emergency contraception was made available without a prescription, it “would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.” Since then, Plan B has been made over-the-counter, and teen sex cults still have not erupted.
The scary thing, of course, is that the Supreme Court seems to believe that your fellow citizens have broad rights to try to impose their anti-sex views on you through harassment or, in the case of Hobby Lobby, docking your compensation package as a kind of sex fee. The good news is that the anti-sex argument is a losing argument. Perennial fussypants Ross Douthat even admitted, post-Hobby Lobby that the liberal arguments---that sex is good, theocracy is bad---are the majority opinions. He didn’t say this, but you can tell that liberals have won the larger argument because conservatives often cagily lie about their motivations, denying that they are out to attack sex or construct theocracy. But a case like Hobby Lobby flushes the true motivations out into the public, forcing conservatives to defend their position by admitting that they want sexuality to be treated like a weird, marginalized behavior to be punished instead of a normal part of everyday life.
Since the initial ruling was released the court has broadened (including more contraceptives beyond the four in their original ruling) their decision. It suggests a duplicity by the majority that is truly disgusting.
There is an additional and different result legal experts are debating.
Here is an example.
How Hobby Lobby Undermined The Very Idea of a Corporation
—By Alex Park Thu Jul. 3, 2014 2:50 PM EDT
Here's one more reason to worry about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, which allowed the arts and crafts chain to block insurance coverage of contraception for female employees because of the owners' religious objections: It could screw up corporate law.
This gets complicated, but bear with us. Basically, what you need to know is that if you and some friends start a company that makes a lot of money, you'll be rich, but if it incurs a lot of debt and fails, you won't be left to pay its bills. The Supreme Court affirmed this arrangement in a 2001 case, Cedric Kushner Promotions vs. Don King:
linguistically speaking, the employee and the corporation are different “persons,” even where the employee is the corporation’s sole owner. After all, incorporation’s basic purpose is to create a distinct legal entity, with legal rights, obligations, powers, and privileges different from those of the natural individuals who created it, who own it, or whom it employs.
That separation is what legal and business scholars call the "corporate veil," and it's fundamental to the entire operation. Now, thanks to the Hobby Lobby case, it's in question. By letting Hobby Lobby's owners assert their personal religious rights over an entire corporation, the Supreme Court has poked a major hole in the veil. In other words, if a company is not truly separate from its owners, the owners could be made responsible for its debts and other burdens.
"If religious shareholders can do it, why can’t creditors and government regulators pierce the corporate veil in the other direction?" Burt Neuborne, a law professor at New York University, asked in an email.
That's a question raised by 44 other law professors, who filed a friends-of-the-court brief that implored the Court to reject Hobby Lobby's argument and hold the veil in place. Here's what they argued:
Allowing a corporation, through either shareholder vote or board resolution, to take on and assert the religious beliefs of its shareholders in order to avoid having to comply with a generally-applicable law with a secular purpose is fundamentally at odds with the entire concept of incorporation. Creating such an unprecedented and idiosyncratic tear in the corporate veil would also carry with it unintended consequences, many of which are not easily foreseen.
In his opinion for Hobby Lobby, Justice Samuel Alito's insisted the decision should be narrowly applied to the peculiarities of the case. But as my colleague Pat Caldwell writes, the logic of the argument is likely to invite a tide of new lawsuits, all with their own unintended consequences.
Small wonder, then, that despite congressional Republicans defending the Hobby Lobby decision as a victory for American business against the nanny state, the US Chamber of Commerce—the country's main big business lobby—was quiet on the issue. Even more telling: Despite a record tide of friends-of-the-court briefs, not one Fortune 500 weighed in on the case. In fact, as David H. Gans at Slate pointed out in March, about the only sizeable business-friendly groups that did file briefs with the court were the US Women's Chamber of Commerce and the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Both sided against Hobby Lobby.
Scalia has always said he is originalist, values precedent and doesn't like courts that make law rather than interpret the law. Bush v. Gore and many other decisions, including this HL case, shows he lies.
Addendum to above post.
"Since the initial ruling was released the court has broadened (including more contraceptives beyond the four in their original ruling) their decision. It suggests a duplicity by the majority that is truly disgusting".
This is what it caused.
Tea Party Founder Told Live On Air ‘It’s Impossible For You To Have Been More Wrong’
By: DSWright Tuesday July 15, 2014 5:48 am
In 2009 when CNBC reporter Rick Santelli went on a rant about bailing out homeowners with government money and how people should protest like the American colonists with a Tea Party, a portion of the Republican Party’s base listened. What followed was a media storm where the GOP base re-branded themselves the “Tea Party” and went on to ride the public backlash against the financial crisis and bank bailouts to take over the House of Representatives.
Now the predictions Santelli made about the economy and government policy are getting called out, by one of his CNBC colleagues no less. CNBC commentator and economist Steve Liesman responded to yet another Santelli rant by saying:
It’s impossible for you to have been more wrong, Rick. Your call for inflation, the destruction of the dollar, the failure of the U.S. economy to rebound. Rick, it’s impossible for you to have been more wrong. Every single bit of advice you gave would have lost people money, Rick… There is no piece of advice that you’ve given that’s worked, Rick. Not a single one… The higher interest rates never came. The inability of the U.S. to sell bonds never happened. The dollar never crashed, Rick. There isn’t a single one that’s worked for you.
It would have lost you money if you bought the propaganda about how the economy worked, but it certainly did not lose those money who wanted government paralysis. The Tea Party’s advocacy of austerity served their 1% backers, such as the Koch Brothers, well and helped widen the already yawning wealth gap. No new taxes and no debt relief.
Instead of a populist movement to punish the banks and redistribute their ill-gotten gains there was an attack on economic stimulus and raising taxes.This despite many Tea Party members relying on public assistance and social insurance programs themselves – which they support.
Given the results of austerity economics and its failure to help the people like those in the Tea Party, one might think reconsideration was in order. But as long as people like Santelli are trying to yell over reality the show must go on.
Finally, an a-hole gets called out for his lies.
Whenever you believe anything without objective facts solely because it agrees with your opinion (confirmation bias) you're probably going to regret it. And, you should.
This thread details “puke” behavior, i.e., any action that is so stupid, vicious or dangerous that it must be ridiculed and resisted. There are many examples of this activity; certain types of people are more prone to this behavior than others.
I would not want to live in a society where everyone thought the same for many reasons. But some people's interests, and therefore their actions, can fairly be considered harmful to the rest of us.
The link that follows provides information about a recent study. It certainly does not claim to be absolute but it does confirm much research that preceded it.
I have posted the beginning but the rest is a bit too long to add here. I urge anyone that is interested in the deplorable condition of the country to read this. It will explain SOME of the reasons for it.
Secrets of the Right-Wing Brain: New Study Proves It — Conservatives See a Hostile World -
Phony WMD, Benghazi, birthers, truthers -- turns out there's a scientific explanation for deniers and Tea Partyers
Salon/ By Paul Rosenberg
July 29, 2014
“John Stuart Mill called it ‘commonplace’ for political systems to have ‘a party of order or stability and a party of progress or reform.’” So begins a recent paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences. But is this “commonplace” observation rooted in our brains? Is it even true?
The paper, “ Differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideology,” by lead author John R. Hibbing of the University of Nebraska, answers yes to both questions. It advances three successive waves of evidence, which combine to show that conservatives differ from liberals by having stronger, more intense reactions to negative aspects of the environment — such as physical threats, or potential sources of disease — which are ultimately physiological. At the same time, with multiple forms of mass hysteria going on at once, American conservatives seem dead set on proving the scientists right, and underscoring the importance of the work they’re doing.