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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Daily Drift

So, true ...!
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Today in History

1236 Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon take Cordoba in Spain.
1652 Massachusetts declares itself an independent commonwealth.
1767 The British parliament passes the Townshend Revenue Act, levying taxes on America.
1862 Union forces, falling back from Richmond, fight at the Battle of Savage's Station.
1880 France annexes Tahiti.
1888 Professor Frederick Treves performs the first appendectomy in England.
1903 The British government officially protests Belgian atrocities in the Congo.
1905 Russian troops intervene as riots erupt in ports all over the country, leaving many ships looted.
1917 The Ukraine proclaims independence from Russia.
1925 An earthquake ravages Santa Barbara, California.
1926 Fascists in Rome add an hour to the work day in an economic efficiency measure.
1932 Siam's army seizes Bangkok and announces an end to the absolute monarchy.
1938 Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, and Olympic National Park, Washington, are founded.
1950 President Harry S. Truman authorizes a sea blockade of Korea.
1951 The United States invites the Soviet Union to the Korean peace talks on a ship in Wonson Harbor.
1955 The Soviet Union sends tanks to Pozan, Poland, to put down anti-Communist demonstrations.
1966 The U.S. Air Force bombs fuel storage facilities near Hanoi, North Vietnam.
1967 Israel removes barricades, re-unifying Jerusalem.
1970 U.S. troops pull out of Cambodia.
1982 Israel invades Lebanon.

Non Sequitur


Boehner’s Obama Lawsuit Backfires As Democrats Have Their Biggest Fundraising Day of 2014

boehner-faceJohn Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama is already showing signs of becoming a repugican disaster, as thanks to Boehner, House Democrats had their biggest fundraising day of 2014.
According to Politico, “Speaker John Boehner’s announcement that House repugicans would sue President Barack Obama for misusing executive authority turned into a big payday for congressional Democrats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee posted its best fundraising day of the year on Wednesday, bringing in $584,000, according to figures shared with POLITICO.”
It is obvious that part of the motivation for bringing up this lawsuit now was to fire up the repugican base ahead of the 2014 election. Since repugicans can’t run against Obamacare, and their latest Benghazi revival has flopped miserably, congressional repugicans needed something to run on. Boehner and his allies assumed that nothing would get the repugican base riled up more than dangling a whiff of Obama impeachment in front of them.
What Speaker Boehner didn’t count on was that his antics would also fire up Democratic voters. The day’s record DCCC fundraising was $100,000 more than the previous record that was set in February after Paul Ryan revealed his budget. The majority of the 27,000 online donations came from people who donated less than $200. A sign of just how badly repugicans misjudged the lawsuit’s impact of Democrats was that 7,885 of the DCCC’s received donations came from first time donors.
The lawsuit was already looking like it would politically backfire on repugicans, and now it is financially backfiring on them too. Democrats who may have been planning on sitting 2014 out are getting engaged. Potential Democratic voters need to understand that 2014 isn’t going to be a typical midterm election. repugicans are eying up the Senate, and potentially removing President Obama from office.
If Speaker Boehner thought that he was going to be able to threaten President Obama with legal action with no consequences from Democrats, he was mistaken. Democrats aren’t about to sit back and let repugicans steal the presidency again. Instead of motivating Republican voters, John Boehner may have awoken the same Democratic sleeping giant that crushed the repugican cabal in 2006, 2008, and 2012.

The Reality Is That There Is No Difference Between repugican and tea party Candidates

One would be hard-pressed to find any difference whatsoever between repugicans and their teabagger cohort except their willingness to openly state their goals.…
In order to understand their surroundings, human beings depend on their brain’s ability to organize, identify, and interpret a barrage of sensory information that allows them to perceive, among other things, a potential threat. There has been a gross misperception among a large number of people who observe American politics that the greatest threat to this country, and more specifically its democracy, is the rise of extremists in the conservative movement. As a rule, the first extremist group that comes to most people’s mind is the Koch brothers’ tea party movement that they errantly bifurcate from establishment repugicans and it is curious how in dog’s name they make any distinction between the two. Apparently, it is fashionable to delineate two identical threats to America and its people and it is an error that establishment repugicans use to their advantage.

The recent defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a libertarian college professor due to wild support from teabaggers was supposedly a “sign” that the tea party was still relevant in American politics. Then on Tuesday, when an establishment repugican Senator defeated a teabagger challenger in Mississippi and another handily won in an Oklahoma congressional race over a Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz-endorsed teabagger, there was celebration that the lunatic fringe candidates lost. The insinuation is that there was a difference between the establishment candidates and teabagger challengers when the stark reality is that they are one-in-the-same in their vision for America and devotion to a brand of libertarianism with no use for the federal government; except possibly as a vehicle to issue biblical edicts as the law of the land.

One would be hard-pressed to find any difference whatsoever between repugicans and their teabagger cohort except their willingness to openly state their goals. It is true that establishment repugicans tend to keep their anti-government sentiments concealed, and temper their hatred for the poor, women, and gays with carefully censored remarks. But make no mistake, they hate those groups as much as they hate taxes, regulations, and President Obama that both groups openly express as racists and libertarians. About the only difference between lunatic fringe and establishment repugicans is the establishment fully understands it still needs the federal government machine to give taxpayer dollars to the rich, corporations, and Wall Street; otherwise, neither group has any use for the federal government.

Last October when House repugicans shutdown the government and refused to raise the debt limit, the majority of the blame was leveled at teabaggers even though so-called establishment repukicans gladly joined their lunatic fringe brethren and voted in concert (all but 9 repugicans voted for the shutdown) to shutdown the government. Further, when it came time to end the shutdown and raise the debt limit, 144 “repugicans” voted to keep the government closed and default on the nation’s debt. In both cases, there was no difference between lunatic fringe and establishment repugicans because their agenda was identical; neutering the federal government. The repugicans, especially establishment types, knew that the Senate would not acquiesce and defund the Affordable Care Act, and it was left for Speaker John Boehner to plead for assistance from Democrats to do the right thing by the American people; something neither establishment nor lunatic fringe repugicans have any interest in doing.

What both lunatic fringe and establishment repugicans have an inordinate interest in is cutting all funding for social programs, ending regulations, and eliminating taxation. A couple of weeks ago a teabagger was giddy at the prospect of repugicans gaining a majority in the Senate because then “food stamps, minimum wage, Planned Parenthood, taxes, Medicare, women’s and gay rights, and education funding are going to be abolished.” The idea of eliminating those programs are not exclusive to the lunatic fringe in the wingnut movement and it is a mistake to think otherwise. In fact, any program administered by the federal government has been targeted by mainstream repugicans for ultimate elimination and if anyone thinks otherwise they only have to peruse the budget proposals from the repugican wingnut coven and to a lesser extent Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget.

The truth is the repugican cabal has always been as much of the lunatic fringe as the tea party when it comes to taxation, federal regulations of any kind, as well as funding social programs; particularly since Americans elected an African American as President. One often reads that repugicans likely rued the day they embraced the Koch brothers’ teabagger movement, but that is clearly not the case.

There is no doubt whatsoever that in the leadup to the 2010 midterms, repugicans knew exactly what teabaggers intended to accomplish when they swept into control of the House. In fact, during the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, establishment repugicans were in league with teabaggers who opposed the so-called “grand bargain” John Boehner and President Obama reached to raise the debt limit and boasted they only achieved a minor victory in Draconian social program cuts they lusted after by threatening an American credit default that they would use again to finish the job they started.

It is high time for political pundits, and indeed all Americans, to stop segregating repugicans and teabaggers and call them what they really are; lunatic fringers intent on eliminating the federal government. It doesn’t matter if it is federal social programs, federal taxes, federal regulations, or the Constitution; repugicans of all stripes will go to any lengths to abolish the federal government’s authority to provide for the general welfare of the American people. In fact, in that sense, repugicans and their teabagger cohort are libertarians; except where civil rights and religion are involved. Both groups advocate for government interference in Americans’ lives according to the demands of the religi-wingnuts, and each lunatic fringe wing hates civil rights protections for any American that is not a white male or evangelical christian.

The danger in segregating establishment and lunatic fringe repugicans is that it gives so-called 'mainstream' repugicans cover for policies and agendas that are contrary to the will of the people and result in negative polling. It is important to remember that everything teabaggers support has been deeply imbedded in the repugican cabal and the racial opposition to President Obama enabled them to openly advocate for policies they have supported since FDR’s New Deal. 'Mainstream' repugicans did not suddenly have the idea to abolish worker rights, minimum wage, Social Security, banking and Wall Street regulations, or child labor laws; they just found willing partners in the tea party to openly oppose those federal protections and would eliminate them tomorrow if they were able.

There may be “moderate” repugicans in Congress and state legislatures, but they are few and far between and for the most part are not what reasonable Americans would consider “moderate” at all. The repugicans may appear moderate to garner electoral support during election years, but when it comes time to cast their votes, they are as lunatic fringe as the teabaggers and it is time to call the entire repugican cabal what it really is; an anti-American and anti-government lunatic fringe sect.

Mississippi tea party leader dead

And this is a bad thing, how?
 Mark Mayfield, a member of the board of the Central Mississippi Tea Party, right, listens as his attorney Merrida Coxwell, center, responds to questions from city judge Dale Danks in Madison, Miss., city court, Thursday, May 22, 2014, during an initial court appearance on a charge of conspiracy in relation to the alleged illegal photographing of the ailing wife of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., without her permission at the nursing home where she's lived for 13 years. Assisting with Mayfield's defense is attorney John Reeves, left. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A prominent lawyer and leader of the Mississippi tea party, who was arrested in connection with photos posted online of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's bedridden wife, died on Friday of an apparent suicide, the man’s attorney said.
Mark Mayfield, 58, was a founding member of the state's tea party and had served as its vice chairman, the organization said.
"This is a terrible tragedy that shouldn’t have happened," Mayfield's lawyer and brother-in-law, John Reeves, told Reuters.
Mayfield was one of three men accused in May of conspiring with a blogger to illicitly take photos of Cochran's wife, who has dementia, in her nursing home for use in a political video against the six-term incumbent.
Mayfield was charged with conspiracy to photograph someone without permission, an allegation met with shock and some skepticism in the legal community where he was highly regarded.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was among those who expressed sadness on Friday, calling Mayfield a long-time friend.
“A good number of us just simply refused to believe that he had anything to do, at least on any criminal level, with what happened with the nursing home scandal,” said attorney Matt Eichelberger, who blogs about progressive politics in the state.
Mayfield's death comes after state Senator Chris McDaniel, who had the backing of conservative tea party groups, lost a bitterly contested primary runoff against Cochran on Tuesday for the repugican Senate nomination.
McDaniel, who has denied any connection to the photo conspiracy, has accused Cochran's camp of slandering him by insinuating his involvement.
Mayfield, a lifelong resident of Mississippi who practiced real estate law, bowed out of politics after his arrest, said Merrida Coxwell, another attorney who represented him.
Coxwell said he last spoke with Mayfield on Wednesday, when they discussed the criminal case but not the results of Tuesday's election. He said he had urged Mayfield to be patient.
“I don’t know what was on his mind,” Coxwell said. “I guess just being charged, for a man of Mark’s kind sensibilities, was too much.”
The scum are killing themselves off now ... this can only be a good thing for America.

The tea party is Throwing a Racist Hissy Fit in Mississippi

The tea party in Mississippi is really angry.  After all, how dare African Americans vote, right?  Because that’s pretty much the message I’m getting after Chris McDaniel lost his repugican primary battle against incumbent Thad Cochran.
Especially after a few Democrats, who happen to be African American, admitted to voting for Cochran.
In Mississippi, you don’t have to register as a repugican or a Democrat to vote in primary elections.  Though Mississippi law does state that you can’t vote for a party’s primary candidate if you don’t plan to vote for that nominee in the general election.
And because some African American Democrats have admitted to voting for Cochran, McDaniel seems to think that somehow qualifies as something that should be investigated, because as he put it, “There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual, about a repugican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.”
I guess he forgot about the tens of thousands of repugican voters who also voted for Thad Cochran.
There’s just one problem – McDaniel doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Let’s say some Democrats did go vote for Cochran – so what?  According to Mississippi law that simply means they are required to vote for him in the general election, if they vote.   There’s nothing illegal about what they did, unless they vote for a Democrat in November.
And good luck tracking all of that.
But what seems to have really angered the tea party is that they’re assuming, because Cochran sought out the African American vote in Mississippi, that they’re the ones who tipped the scale in Cochran’s favor.
Now McDaniel is questioning the “sanctity” of the vote.  Essentially throwing a hissy fit (he’s still yet to officially concede) because how dare African Americans exercise their legal voting rights in Mississippi, right?
Some tea party officials are even encouraging McDaniel to run as a write-in candidate in November.
I just find it absolutely ironic.  Tea party wingnuts like to go on and on about our Constitution and our rights as Americans, yet here they are whining and complaining because some Americans (specifically African Americans) exercised their right to vote.
Though a real irony if all of this is that McDaniel voted in the Democratic primary in 2003.  Of course he initially denied this, though he later admitted he did vote in a Democratic primary.  Which, now that he’s complaining some Democrats did the same thing during his repugican primary, would make him a hypocrite.
But what’s really at the heart of this tea party hissy fit in Mississippi is the assumption that African Americans made the difference.  It isn’t just that McDaniel lost, it’s that they’re assuming that African Americans are the ones who gave Cochran the victory.  And as we’ve all seen since the election of President Obama, tea party wingnuts aren’t big fans of African Americans having the power to decide – well, anything.
Even if it’s true that African American Democrats gave Cochran the victory, it isn’t illegal by Mississippi voting laws.  Though I’m sure many of the racist tea party conservatives in Mississippi wished it was.
This is just another example of the tea party throwing a fit because reality, and our Constitution, didn’t coincide with what they wanted to happen.

Beck Compares Revelation of Chris McDaniel’s Racism to Bogus Protocols of Elders of Zion

There can be no possible comparison between what was said about McDaniel and the Protocols, because what was said about McDaniel is true: he is a racist…
Glenn Beck crying
Glenn Beck, by comparing charges that a repugican candidate who associates with white supremacists and retweets anti-Semitic stuff like “Pro-Kremlin Lawmaker Says jews Destroyed Russia in 1917 and 1991,” is a racist, to the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion, owes the world’s jews an apology, for he has put a Sarah Palin in his mouth, one that ranks right up there with the Wasilla grifter’s “blood libel” remarks.
Here is how Beck came to go full-tilt Sarah Palin: We have seen how Sarah Palin’s candidate for US Senate, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel, was defeated in the primary runoff election by incumbent Thad Cochran. We have seen how Palin and others are insisting that only leftist shenanigans made Cochran’s defeat possible. Palin even took to Facebook to put her ignorance of the political system to work for her and her intellectually bankrupt followers, claiming that,
As we pointed out last week (see: http://t.co/y8T64iZQyR), there were several potentially illegal political games afoot in Mississippi to motivate Democrat voters to “switch” over to the repugican cabal for a day to help save a 42 year repugican member of Congress.
Crying foul play, saying he will challenge the results, McDaniel was still refusing to concede. Glenn Beck took the hysteria a step farther, crying Tuesday that ” I got news for you gang: we’ve been played! We’re pawns. Period. Period.” then whining that McDaniel was smeared with “bogus race charges” which he compared to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
It’s the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. That’s really what we’re turning into. What a surprise, ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ oh, that’s right, that was a Marxist-Communist thing. I forgot all about that. How interesting it is that history always repeats itself.
And not only did he get his facts wrong, both about McDaniel’s very genuine racism but the origins of the Protocols, but Beck did it by going all-out racist himself, ranting about black folks wanting “free stuff”:
Here’s the full quote:
Everybody wants their free stuff and when they’re not just talking about getting their free stuff, here’s what they are talking about: Race. Bogus race charges. If you can’t get people to buy in on free stuff, well, then you have to make somebody out to be the bogey man. You have to say, “Well, at least Thad Cochran isn’t trying to drink the blood of African Americans and is quite honestly making matzah balls out of the little christian children over here too.” [Here Beck is quite pointedly playing off the ancient christian claim that jews drank the blood of christian children, and applying it to his hero, Chris McDaniel, who just happens to be a christian anti-Semite.]
It’s the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. That’s really what we’re turning into. What a surprise, ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ oh, that’s right, that was a Marxist-Communist thing. I forgot all about that. How interesting it is that history always repeats itself.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a piece of christian anti-Semitic propaganda dating from 1903, in the very christian, very anti-Semitic and wingnut Russia of the Czars. The Holocaust Encyclopedia explains its purpose:
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the most notorious and widely distributed antisemitic publication of modern times. Its lies about jews, which have been repeatedly discredited, continue to circulate today, especially on the Internet. The individuals and groups who have used the Protocols are all linked by a common purpose: to spread hatred of jews.
Although the exact origin of the Protocols is unknown, its intent was to portray jews as conspirators against the state. In 24 chapters, or protocols, allegedly minutes from meetings of Jewish leaders, the Protocols “describes” the “secret plans” of jews to rule the world by manipulating the economy, controlling the media, and fostering religious conflict.
Nor is the Protocols a “Marxist-Communist” thing as Beck claims. Not only did the Protocols come out of wingnut Czarist Russia, but according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, was spread to the West by anti-communist Russian émigrés. The fables were embraced by Henry Ford and was even published in Arabic in the 1920s, even though in 1921 the London Times labeled it “clumsy plagiarism” and revealed its origins to be a French political satire, Maurice Joly’s Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu (1864), which had nothing to do with jews at all.
In fact, the most famous fan of the Protocols was not a Marxist-Communist but a wingnut ethnic nationalist named Adolf Hitler. He was introduced to them by Alfred Rosenberg, also in the 1920s. As the Holocaust Encyclopedia explains,
Hitler referred to the Protocols in some of his early political speeches, and, throughout his career, he exploited the myth that “jewish-Bolshevists” were conspiring to control the world.
During the 1920s and 1930s, The Protocols of the Elders of Zionplayed an important part in the Nazis’ propaganda arsenal. The Nazi party published at least 23 editions of the Protocols between 1919 and 1939. Following the Nazis’ seizure of power in 1933, some schools used the Protocols to indoctrinate students.
There can be no possible comparison between what was said about Chris McDaniel and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, because what was said about McDaniel is true: he is a racist. And the real problem here for wingnuts, as Brian Beutler writes at New Republic, is that Thad Cochran highlighted Chris McDaniel’s racism.
Millions have died because of the bogus Protocols. Nobody died in Mississippi because Thad Cochran told the truth about Chris McDaniel’s racism. Glenn Beck owes jews an apology for even suggesting that the two have anything in common. As Elie Wiesel said, “If ever a piece of writing could produce mass hatred, it is this one. . . . This book is about lies and slander.”
Lies and slander fully embraced by Glenn Beck.
Chris McDaniel’s defeat at the hands of Thad Cochran had nothing to do with lies and slander about him, as Glenn Beck insists, and everything to do with racist and anti-Semitic lies and slander he himself spread.

Wingnuts Frequently Contradict Themselves When It Comes To Regulations

Photo courtesy of Independent Journal Review
I love how wingnuts scream about the free market and how government intervention only stifles growth, making this nation into a world of zombies and yes men and women. The free market allows competition so people can choose to do as they please, well, within reason, but when the free market/unregulated affects them or at least our vets, they go haywire. Yet, from their wingnut belief system, they always seem to fall short of wanting regulation…for Veteran Larry Murphee.
Murphee, a veteran, lives in Florida and resides in an HOA where prior to moving into a home, homeowners are required to abide by the rules set forth by fellow homeowners to maintain a feel of their complex. For example, if you want to paint your house or do landscape on your property, you need to seek approval from the HOA, as they are a self-imposing law within the complex
Murphee put a small flag in a pot and was fined $8,000 according to the CBS affiliate in Florida. State and federal law allows for the display of the flag. However, due to the lack of regulation to go after the HOA , the HOA has the legal recourse to kick Murphee out of his home.
Currently, the wingnuts are mad at the HOA and are blaming the Obama Administration…I don’t know why. Also anger is brewing on Facebook
Wingnut Facebook Member He has the law on his side folks. The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, signed by the shrub, usurps overzealous home owner association boards and apartment managers. Fly your flag sir, and thank you for your service to this country.
Tim Fromla Did you read the law? Allow me to share it with you
Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 – States that a condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.
You are correct when you said that the HOA cannot ban the flag from being displayed. Yet did you read the second part of the law?
States that nothing in this Act shall be considered to permit any display or use that is inconsistent with: (1) federal law or any rule or custom pertaining to the proper display or use of the flag; or (2) any reasonable restriction pertaining to the time, place, or manner of displaying the flag necessary to protect a substantial interest of the condominium, cooperative, or residential real estate management association.
Since the flag was in a planter, it’s not displayed properly and yes, he can be fined. The law the shrub signed just reinforced the right to display Old Glory, but there are restrictions and the restrictions is in the second paragraph. Having the flag in the planter is NOT properly displaying the flag, therefore Murphree was fined. You have a problem with that? Bush signed this bill to law.
Yet the folks who promote free market and less government regulation are in conflict. These folks want little or no regulation upon the private sector, yet when the private sector “violates” their “freedom” they are up-in-arms. Bring up that fact and they remain silent. They support Murphee, but then do not want the government to step in and support Murphee.
Currently, the neighbors are supporting Murphee and are going to pay for his legal fees. Murphee will use the defense Pub.L. 109-243, which reads:
7/24/2006–Public Law.
Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 – States that a condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.
Yet what the wingnuts are forgetting, much like the Second Amendment part of the “…well regulated militia” is what is protecting the HOA…as per shrub’s approval:
States that nothing in this Act shall be considered to permit any display or use that is inconsistent with: (1) federal law or any rule or custom pertaining to the proper display or use of the flag; or (2) any reasonable restriction pertaining to the time, place, or manner of displaying the flag necessary to protect a substantial interest of the condominium, cooperative, or residential real estate management association.
Putting the flag in the planter is NOT protected. You see, the flag can be displayed if it’s displayed properly. If not, then the $8,000 fine is justifiable. Yet speak about regulating the fines by the HOA and the people go crazy. They don’t want regulation, even though they consider what the HOA is doing fascism.
The law is a no-brainer. People should have the right to display the flag and there are laws when it comes to displaying the flag. You can even have the flag displayed at night and while it’s raining too.
As loyal and patriotic as the wingnuts think they are when it comes to Old Glory, they lack the basic knowledge needed to make a defense for their idealism. Their loyalty for the symbol outweighs the freedom of expression or even a bill that their leader signed into law making it legal for corporations like the HOA to fine people like Murphee. Many don’t even know that flag burning at a protest is free speech and, by attacking those who do express their First Amendment rights, they are violating their Constitutional rights.
So now, as I post my comments on the page, people don’t comment back to me. Their skills to defend against the free market are contradictory to how they were brought up and hmmm, maybe that’s why they are gun nuts? If they can’t win the fight, they’ll just shoot us?

SCOTUS Ruling On NLRB Appointments Gives You Another Reason to Vote in November

corporations stomping on NLRB
The SCOTUS’ decision to strike down President Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB in NLRB v. Noel Canning  gave us another reason to vote in November.
In a unanimous ruling, written by Justice Breyer, the Court said
For purposes of the Recess Appointments Clause, the Senate is in session when it says that it is, provided that, under its own rules, it retains the capacity to transact Senate business.
In other words, obstructionists can manipulate the Senate rules to prevent a President from making appointments during session by obstructing the confirmation process.  With this ruling, they can also prevent the President from making recess appointments. In other words, the congressional romper room who have a well established record of abusing the rules to get what they want can now hold nominations to boards, agencies and even the courts for ransom.
The immediate consequences of this ruling are twofold.  First, it means the NLRB will revert to its pre Recess appointment status of lacking a quorum to function.  It also means that its ruling in the case brought before the Supreme Court is void.  It remains to be seen how this ruling by the Supreme Court will affect other decisions the NLRB made since regaining its quorum.
Either the House or the Senate can force the Senate to hold “pro forma” or sham sessions – solely to prevent the President from making recess appointments, just as repugicans did in 2011.
Prior to Obama’s decision to make these recess appointments, repugicans frustrated his nominations to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because they were ideologically opposed to the CPFB’s existence.
The repugicans blocked Elizabeth Warren and Richard Corday’s nominations solely because repugicans were ideologically opposed to the Consumer Protection Agency’s existence.  Forty-four Senate repugicans admitted it in a letter they sent to President Obama.
“We write to express our concerns about the lack of accountability in the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). As presently organized, far too much power will be vested in the CFPB director without any effective checks and balances. Accordingly, we will not support the consideration of any nominee, regardless of party affiliation, to be the CFPB director until the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reformed.”
The repugicans frustrated efforts to nominate members to the NLRB.  Therefore, it lacked a quorum to function at the most basic level since 2007.
In other words, because the congressional romper room doesn’t like the CFPB and the NLRB, they were going to stop at nothing to prevent them from functioning at all.  The reason repugicans don’t like CFPB and the NLRB is because they are mechanisms to prevent corporate interests from stomping all of over people’s rights.
From a legal standpoint, the ruling makes sense.  It even makes sense when Congress is comprised of reasonable adults who have philosophical differences but are willing to compromise in the country’s best interest.
However, our congress has some members who are anything but reasonable adults.  They resent Barack Obama for having the audacity to win two presidential elections and they resent the people who elected him.  They don’t believe in government of the people, by the people and especially for the people. The reality is the tea party controlled repugicans will obstruct everything the President does simply because he is black.
We can change this by voting the obstructionists out in November.

It’s Time to Give Anti-Choice Zealots A Taste of Their Own Medicine

Freedom of speech goes both ways and it is high time to give back to religio-wingnuts what they dole out against women with impunity …
The concept of being allowed to say anything, anytime, and anywhere is a fundamental right in America and, indeed, most of the civilized world. Although the concept of vocal harassment is commonly understood as offensive behavior intended to disturb or upset another person repetitively, it is a fundamental right protected under the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that there are no bounds on the freedom of speech regardless the speech’s offensive nature or the damage inflicted on the recipient of harassing speech. One often wonders why the Constitution’s framers did not include a guarantee of freedom from harassing speech in the Bill of Rights to protect innocent Americans from those abusing the freedom of speech, but they likely never imagined good 'christian' people harassing other Americans seeking medical services like help getting pregnant, cancer screenings, abortions, contraceptives, or family planning assistance.
On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled, unanimously, to uphold the right of anti-abortion advocates, prospective murderers, abortion clinic bombers (domestic terrorists), opponents of Planned Parenthood, and anti-women’s rights groups to get up close and personal with women seeking medical services to harass, disturb, and upset them. It is not that the women haters were muzzled before the High Court’s ruling, they just had to stay 35′ away from the women entering Planned Parenthood where they could hardly block the entrance, spit in the women’s faces, and wave “fetus signs” in their faces while screaming all manner of harassing insults; what the anti-women’s rights groups consider both freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
There was a good reason for the 35′ buffer zone around family planning buildings, but according to the Supreme Court protecting women’s entry to clinics from violent anti-choice advocates that resulted in the deaths of two people in Massachusetts is not a good enough reason for a “safety zone.” Interestingly, the Supreme Court has never found the buffer zone around the High Court building unconstitutional, but that is likely because the justices are predominately male. The Court said that law enforcement could politely ask the screamers to kindly move aside and let the women pass unmolested to seek medical attention, but that is as unlikely as anti-women’s choice advocates not screaming and spitting at the women. In fact, law enforcement typically takes the side of anti-choice protestors because they are “exercising their free speech and religious freedom” according to an incident in California about five years ago.
A California opinion columnist for a local newspaper was driving to get a routine blood test at a local laboratory and inadvertently drove into the wrong medical complex. However, because there was a one-way entrance, the journalist had to exit through another driveway that anti-choice protestors were blocking. The small group approached the vehicle, screaming “baby murderer” and struck the vehicle with a “fetus sign” and a scuffle ensued. After confiscating and destroying the fetus sign, law enforcement rolled up and despite witnesses verifying the journalist’s story that his exit was blocked and his vehicle assaulted with a fetus sign, they warned him that he violated the protestors Constitutional rights, took down his driver’s license number, and told him to stay away and “stop harassing christians.” Fortunately they did not force the man to pay for the fetus sign.
Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that is not reserved for religio-wingnuts protesting dead soldiers’ funerals, or anti-choice protesters harassing and berating women seeking medical care; or atheists protesting, screaming, and waving signs at anti-choice protestors entering their place of worship. Remember, a buffer zone is only Constitutional around the Supreme Court and that leaves every cult in America open for people to exercise their constitutionally-protected freedom of speech and express their opposition to a world of bible-based affronts to gays, women, non-believers, and advocates for democracy. In fact, there is no reason why any American who supports separation of cult and state, public school without religion, women’s right to choose, same-sex marriage, science, and freedom from religious tyranny should not be protesting fundamentalist christians entering cults mercilessly.
Freedom of speech goes both ways and it is high time to give back to religio-wingnuts what they dole out against women with impunity; and Supreme Court approval. One understands the Court’s adhering to the First Amendment’s free speech clause, but it is beyond the pale they ignored the reason why screaming, spitting, fetus sign-waving women haters were restricted from getting right in the faces of women seeking medical care. So it is reasonable they will ignore the anti-choice protestors’ cries that their religious freedom is being abridged by Americans getting up-close-and-personal and berating them incessantly every Sunday morning as they attempt to maneuver through anti-theocracy protestors exercising their freedom of speech.

Hypocrisy Alert: SCOTUS Keeps Its Own Buffer Zone While Telling Women They Don’t Need One

abortion clinic buffer zone
It is impossible to overlook the fact that women’s reproductive rights have been systematically eroded with personhood amendments, TRAP laws and rape insurance mandates. It’s just as impossible to overlook the misogynistic tone of panels on reproductive rights comprised exclusively of old white men who claim that keeping government out of your business means increasing government control over a woman’s reproductive business.
Striking down a Massachusetts law that established buffer zones around Abortion clinics, on first amendment grounds, the SCOTUS has dealt another blow to women’s reproductive rights.
The SCOTUS took issue with Massachusetts’ buffer zone law because it”restricts access to ‘public way[s]‘ and ‘sidewalks,’ places that have traditionally been open for speech activities and the Court has accordingly labels “traditional public fora.”

The Scotusblog summarized the impact of the ruling:
 “The upshot of today’s ruling is that an abortion clinic buffer zone is presumptively unconstitutional. Instead, a state has to more narrowly target clinic obstructions. For example, the police can tell protesters to move aside to let a woman through to the clinic. But it cannot prohibit protesters from being on the sidewalks in the first instance.”
In summarizing the background of buffer zones at reproductive health clinics, the SCOTUS pointed to the fact that this law was preceded by legislation that was modeled on Colorado’s floating buffer zone law. However, that law proved insufficient because anti-choice activists threw literature into cars, filmed and touched patients and blocked cars from accessing parking garages. That was when, Massachusetts passed the current law.
The Court also pointed to the fact that the plaintiffs in this case are “sidewalk counselors” who merely offer literature and only persist in their counseling if the woman “looks receptive.”
That may very well be true, but it doesn’t remove the fact that previous legislative solutions proved ineffective in protecting people who have business with abortion clinics from the physical obstacles and intimidation by more zealous anti-choice activists.
It does not remove the fact that reproductive care clinics endured bombings, workers were shot, and women have been intimidated and threatened before buffer zones were established.
It is particularly interesting when you consider that this Court has its own buffer zone, but doesn’t believe women seeking reproductive care need one.
The silver lining is a majority of the court rejected the plaintiff’s claim that the law was not a “content based.” or “viewpoint based” because
it establishes buffer zones only at abortion clinics, as opposed to other kinds of facilities. First, the Act does not draw content-based distinctions on its face. Whether petitioners violate the Act “depends” not “on what they say,” Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U. S. 1, 27, but on where they say it. Second, even if a facially neutral law disproportionately affects speech on certain topics, it remains content neutral so long as it is ” ‘justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech.’
This matters because had the majority shared Justices Scalia, Alito and Thomas’ acceptance of this argument, anti-abortion zealots would be free to harass, intimidate and physically threaten women and reproductive care workers as they did not so long ago.
In the final analysis, this ruling still amounts to another attack on women’s reproductive rights. It is also this ruling is yet another incentive to vote in November.  If repugicans take control of the Senate, the next Supreme Court Justice is all but certain to be someone who will share Scalia, Alito and Thomas’s views on women’s reproductive rights and all other matters before the Court.

Random Photos

SWAT teams claim they’re private companies and don’t have to tell you anything

The ACLU reports [PDF] that when it made Freedom of Information requests for Massachusetts SWAT team records, the SWATs claimed that because they were organized as "law enforcement councils" (jointly owned by many police departments, with additional federal funding) that they were not government agencies at all, but rather private corporations, and not subject to open records laws.
swat team on shutterstock
After the ACLU sent open records requests as part of its investigative report on police militarization, SWAT teams in Massachusetts claimed they were exempt because they were private corporations.
Some SWAT teams in the state operate as law enforcement councils, or LECs, which are funded by several police departments and overseen by an executive board largely made up of local police chiefs.
Member police departments pay annual membership dues to the LECs, which share technology and oversee crime scene investigators or other specialists.
Some of these LECs have also incorporated 501(c)(3) organizations, which they say exempts them from open records requests.
“Let’s be clear,” wrote Radley Balko for The Washington Post. “These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure, and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws. The state’s residents aren’t permitted to know how often the SWAT teams are used, what they’re used for, what sort of training they get or who they’re primarily used against.”
The ACLU reported earlier this week that about 240 of the 351 police departments in Massachusetts belong to an LEC, which are set up as corporations but are funded by local and federal taxpayer funds.
“Police departments and regional SWAT teams are public institutions, working with public money, meant to protect and serve the public’s interest,” the ACLU said in its report. “If these institutions do not maintain and make public comprehensive and comprehensible documents pertaining to their operations and tactics, the people cannot judge whether officials are acting appropriately or make needed policy changes when problems arise.”
The ACLU sued the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, which has about 50 member agencies, saying the LEC used government grants and taxpayer funds to purchase its equipment.
“NEMLEC can’t have it both ways,” said ACLU attorney Jessie Rossman. “Either it is a public entity subject to public records laws, or what it is doing is illegal.”
The ACLU survey found that only 7 percent of SWAT missions involved incidents they were originally designed to handle – such as hostage situations or shootings – while 62 percent of their mission involved drug searches.

Man charged with child endangerment after son skips cult to play

After an 8-year-old boy skipped the weekly cult bus to play in the streets near his home, police took his father into custody and charged the man with child endangerment.
Jeffrey Williamson, of Blanchester, Ohio, says that the charge--which cost him his job and could see him jailed for six months--was ridiculous.
"My kids run in the house in the living room here and tell me, 'Hey, Dad, the cult van's here. We're leaving. We're going on to cult,'" Williamson told WCPO. "I said, 'OK.'"
But his son, Justin Williamson, decided not to follow his siblings into the vehicle, sent by Woodville baptist cult to pick up cultgoers each week. It left the child behind, who played in the streets near his home until entering a dollar store just blocks from his home. Someone called police, who took the child home and placed his father under arrest.
The officers claimed, according to reports, that the boy didn't know where he lived and was lost. Justin's father says that's nonsense: "I told the cop he goes out in the neighborhood and plays every day with all the other kids. There's a million kids around here that play. I know the parents. The parents know me."
Williamson plans to fight the charge, reports ABC WXYZ, and will appear in court July 15.

Accordion filled with meth

Police in Nogales found 4.5 pounds of meth in an accordion Monday and took an 18 year old man into custody. The drugs, said to be worth $13,000, were seized and the teenager, a Mexican citizen, was turned over the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the Phoenix New Times. meth-accordion-2

Visitor from Planet Zoltron crushes police car

Calquan Burr, 20, of Planet Zoltron, was arrested late last Sunday after charging a police cruiser, leaping onto the hood and cracking the windshield.
Alarmed locals in Dalton Township, Michigan, had summoned law enforcement after seeing a man armed with a four-foot metal pole "casing" the neighborhood.
When officers rounded the corner of Blue Lake and Duff roads, however, Burr sprung from the shadows toward their vehicle—a manoever caught on dash-cam.
"There was no time to avoid him," Lt. Shane Brown of the Muskegon County Sheriff's Department told ABC News.
Once arrested, Burr, reportedly uninjured, told deputies that he was from Planet Zoltron and intended to crush their car. He was later charged with aggravated assault against a police officer.
Police say they suspect Burr was "under the influence of mind-altering drugs."

Berlin Airport's fire safety system designed by fake engineer

The man responsible for designing the fire safety system at Berlin’s new airport - the main reason for the continuing delays to the calamitous €5 billion project - has admitted he is not a qualified engineer. The failure of the smoke extraction system at Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) led to the cancellation of its opening in 2012 and it still has not been fixed, meaning no opening date can be set on the desperately needed terminal.

Now it has emerged that one of the designers of the system, Alfredo di Mauro, who was fired in May this year, is not an engineer, despite claiming this on his business cards. He is only qualified as an engineering draftsman. Di Mauro admitted on Tuesday that he had not told anyone at the airport about his lack of engineering qualifications. “No one asked about my university qualifications; that wasn’t necessary for the work we carried out,” he said.
The ex-employee said his business cards had accidentally stated he was a qualified engineer. He worked for an engineering firm which meant the initials “Dipl.-Ing” appeared on his cards. “An error has occurred,” he said. Complaints were made against di Mauro in 2002 while building an underground garage for a medical center. Di Mauro allegedly presented himself as an architect at the time, an accusation he has denied.



America's Marijuana Revolution: Ganjapreneurs Hit the Jackpot

by Anne Seith
America's Marijuana Revolution: Ganjapreneurs Hit the Jackpot 
Since the legalization of marijuana in two US states in January, entrepreneurs and investors have been seeing green. Observers believe the industry will grow rapidly and may even rival the Dot.Com boom of the 1990s.   More.

5 Crazy Subcultures Not From Japan

Ever since photos started circulating through the internet revealing the crazy street subcultures of Japan’s youth people have assumed they’ve cornered the market on strange fashion, but Japan is no longer the king of kooky clothes.
Fashion subcultures are springing up all over the world that make most Japanese street fashions look tame in comparison, and the underlying theme seems to be that members of these subcultures stick out like sore thumbs in their chosen "territories".
For instance, the rockabilly Raggare of Sweden, who fly confederate flags, sport greaser hairstyles and love hot rods, now that's not something you'd expect to see in Stockholm! The cowboy metalheads of Botswana look equally out-of-place in their native country, but that doesn't stop them from banging their heads to a beat all their own...

People Have Suffered From Gluten Intolerance For At Least 2,000 Years​

People Have Suffered From Gluten Intolerance For At Least 2,000 Years​
Analysis of the skeletal remains of an affluent young woman who lived in Tuscany some 2,000 years ago shows that celiac disease has existed since ancient times — as has the practice of avoiding certain foods.
The woman's remains were found in an ancient tomb at the Cosa archaeological site on the Tuscan coast in Italy. Based on the archaeological evidence, she was quite wealthy and would have had access to all sorts of food. She was only about 18 to 20 years old when she died.
But her bones showed the tell-tale signs of malnutrition and osteoporosis, both indicators of untreated celiac disease, a condition characterized by a severe allergic reaction to gluten in the intestinal lining (typically ingested via wheat-based food products). Many of her bones were eroded at the tips, and she stood just 4 feet, 7 inches tall (140 cm).
What's more, DNA evidence adds credence to the theory; she carried two copies of an immune system gene variant associated with celiac disease — the exact same variant found in people living today with celiac.
And as Ewen Callaway reports in Nature News, she may have adjusted her diet accordingly:
To determine if the woman altered her diet, [the researchers] analyzed carbon and nitrogen isotopes in her bones, which tend to relate to food intake. The chemicals cannot reconstruct a person's diet perfectly but instead paint broad brushstrokes of the consumption of foods such as plants, meats, freshwater fish and seafood. They can also indicate whether an individual consumed foods that were different from others.
Scorrano and his team found that the young woman would have consumed more meat and possibly freshwater fish and fewer plants than did people living in the area in the sixth century and medieval times. Carbon and nitrogen levels in her bones were also distinct from those in most other inhabitants from the Imperial Roman period previously sampled, but similar to those in bones from an early christian burial site in Rome, where individuals may have favored freshwater fish.
In other words, she may have adopted a more paleo-like diet.
Callaway goes into more details in his article, including the notion that she may not have actually understood her condition. Read it all here.

Archaeology News

The ancient string-based devices were used to solve mathematical problems and assist in record-keeping. 
Gold artifacts and possible human sacrifices were also discovered by archaeologists in the country of Georgia.

Daily Comic Relief


Skeletal remains of a "hellhound" found

It's real - but not from hell:
Since the middle-ages, legend has spread of a fearful beast once said to stalk [Suffolk's] coastline and countryside.
Despite tales of a fiery-eyed monster showing up in graveyards, forests and roadsides - and an account of claw marks surfacing on the door to Blythburgh Church - the giant dog’s existence has been reserved to the annals of folklore.
Until now, perhaps, as archeologists have revealed evidence of huge skeletal remains unearthed by a member of the public in the trenches at Leiston Abbey last year...
The dog is huge - about the size of a Great Dane - and was found near where the abbey’s kitchen would have been.
“It was quite a surprise. We’re all dog lovers and we have a site dog with us on our digs, so it was quite poignant. “Even back then, pets were held in high regard.”
Here's more info on the legendary "Black Shuck":
Black Shuck, Old Shuck, Old Shock or Shuck is the name given to a medieval hellhound in England. This devil dog was said to have black fur, flaming eyes, sharp teeth and claws, and great strength. Locals described sightings of Black Shuck in graveyards, forests, and roadsides. Shuck’s most famous attack happened on August 4th, 1577 at two churches in Blythburgh
and Bungay in the English countryside, about seven miles from Leiston Abbey.
During a storm on August 4th 1577, Black Shuck reportedly broke through the doors of Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh and charged through a large congregation. It was during this attack that he allegedly killed a man and a boy, right before the church steeple collapsed through the roof.  It was during this attack that Black Shuck left claw marks on the north door of Holy Trinity Church that are still visible today...
Though musing about the earthly remains of a legendary creature or cryptid is always fun, this giant skeleton probably belonged to an abbot’s faithful canine companion or hunting dog. At best the sightings of this huge, domesticated dog by superstitious people may have sparked the rumors about Black Shuck.

Children shocked after witnessing crocodile swallow teddy bear

A group of children were left in shock after a teddy bear was swallowed up by a crocodile in Adelaide River in Australia, Northern Territory on Tuesday.
They were on the Jumping Crocodile Cruise when a group of charity workers wanted a photo of their beloved teddy bear with a crocodile jumping out of the water to send back to the palliative-care children they look after in the United Kingdom.
Adelaide River crocodile feeder and skipper Susan Tribelhorn obliged, attaching the teddy bear to a pole that she uses to feed the crocs with a piece of meat on the end. In a cruel twist of fate, the teddy bear slipped off the pole and fell to its misery inside the jaws of Sarge, the croc.
A shape on the end of teddy’s foot was the last image children saw of the bear. Another tour group went out a few hours later, only to find Teddy had been regurgitated and was now in the jaws of Rusty. “It was funny,” Ms Tribelhorn said. “Everyone was in shock – especially the kids.”

Yogi the bear caught on camera raiding fridge

Baffled by a series of late-night raids on their outdoor fridge, caretakers at West Kelowna's Powers Creek Retreat in British Columbia, Canada, decided to set up a camera to catch the culprit.
Raw video.

A it turns out, a crafty bear is to blame. "We know him quite well," Sandy Lewis says of Yogi, a young black bear who frequents the retreat. "We can't be 100 percent sure if it's the same one, but odds are it's him."
Yogi slowly opened the freezer door on top of the fridge before scanning its contents inside. Casting bags of frozen vegetables aside, he finally settled for what looks like a pie. "You could tell he had been in there before and the first time he opened the lid probably whacked him on the head," Mr Lewis said.
News video.

"This time, he pushes it open and looks to make sure it doesn't hit him." Yogi has been around for a few years and is a part of the resort's family, although he mostly keeps to himself, according to Mr Lewis. He has never caused any damage to property and is often seen rolling in the grass with the horses.

Bear crashed through skylight into boy's birthday party before licking the cupcakes

A black bear crashed a boy's birthday party in Alaska after it fell through the roof of a family home just prior to the celebrations on Saturday. The bear had shimmied onto the roof of Alicia Bishop and Glenn Merrill's home in the state capital Juneau and was walking across a skylight when the bottom fell out. "I heard this cracking," said Mr Merrill, who was preparing for his son's first birthday party. "And the next thing you know, there's this bear that, I mean, literally, fell right from (the skylight)."

He said he and the bear were about 3ft apart and just stared at each other in disbelief. Mr Merrill had his parents take his son, Jackson, upstairs, and he went into another room and shut the door. The dazed bear quickly recovered from its fall. It then calmly wandered over to the living room table, replete with a spread of birthday treats, and helped itself to some lemon blueberry and peanut butter cupcakes. “The bear walks over and puts its paws up on the table and starts licking his birthday cupcakes, and I’m just like, you’ve got to be kidding me,” said Ms Bishop, who was watching the spectacle from the kitchen behind closed glass doors.
The bear enjoyed the red and green cupcake frosting while Ms Bishop opened a door on the other side of the room that led to the backyard. The couple then yelled and “shooed” at the bear until it casually ambled out the door. “I think he was used to humans,” Merrill said, adding the bear did not act aggressively. “He was awfully calm,” Ms Bishop added. The bear was only inside the house for about three to four minutes, but the incident didn’t end there, the couple says. It came around the back of the house and peered inside from the wooden porch in the backyard.

“It was up by the window like, ‘I want more cupcakes,’” Ms Bishop said. “He wanted back in, that’s for sure,” Merrill said. With guests expected to arrive any minute, Ms Bishop called 911 at that point. Merrill, meanwhile, ran next door to borrow bear spray from the neighbours. It was only after Merrill sprayed the mace in its vicinity that the bear meandered into the woods. About 30 minutes later, Juneau police responded to a report of a bear inside a nearby home. Officers arrived and shot it when it appeared in the doorway. The bear ran behind the house, where it was later found dead. Wildlife officials suspect it is the same bear, described in both incidents as a young male, weighing about 13 stone.

Animal News

The coral-like creatures may have built the superstructures to protect themselves from predators or to soak up the nutrients from ocean currents. 
Chimps have come up with eight different ways to open the same fruit and, in doing so, strengthen the theory that non-human primates practice culture.
Butterflies come in an almost unimaginable number of colors -- whether taking flight or resting on a leaf, the showy insects deserve a showcase. 
Vampire bats would fail miserably at a food and wine tasting event since they seem to only enjoy the flavor of one thing: blood.
Mirrored glass lips that furl and unfurl are the secret to the disco clam's impressive underwater light show.