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Friday, July 11, 2014

The Daily Drift

A repugican won't know what this says ...!
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Today in History

1302 An army of French knights, led by the Count of Artois, is routed by Flemish pikemen.
1346 Charles IV of Luxembourg is elected Holy Roman Emperor in Germany.
1533 Henry VIII is excommunicated from the catholic cult by Pope Clement VII.
1708 The French are defeated at Oudenarde, Malplaquet, in the Netherlands by the Duke of Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy.
1786 Morocco agrees to stop attacking American ships in the Mediterranean for a payment of $10,000.
1799 An Anglo-Turkish armada bombards Napoleon Bonaparte's troops in Alexandria to no avail.
1804 Alexander Hamilton is mortally wounded by Aaron Burr in a duel.
1862 President Abraham Lincoln appoints General Henry Halleck as general in chief of the Federal army.
1942 In the RAF's longest bombing raid of World War II, 44 British Lancaster bombers attack the Polish port of Danzig.
1972 American forces break the 95-day siege at An Loc in Vietnam.
1975 Archaeologists unearth an army of 8,000 life-size clay figures created more than 2,000 years ago for the Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.
1995 Full diplomatic relations are established between the United States and Vietnam.

Non Sequitur


Boehner’s Sleazy Lawsuit Is About Blaming The Black Man In White House For repugican cabal Laziness

Boehner's reason for suing the President is another example of repugicans projecting their gross malfeasance on the African American in the White House
imageWhat does a political cabal that has brought governance to a virtual standstill, hampered economic recovery, killed millions of jobs and prevented creation of millions more, and wasted untold millions of taxpayer dollars to distract the public’s attention away from its failings? If it is the repugican cabal and an African American man is President, they plan a vote to sue the President for being President. One would think that after planning a lawsuit against a sitting President for six months, the repugican House would have a litany of charges ready to go forward, but as myriad news outlets have documented, it appears that Speaker of the House John Boehner is either reticent to expose the House repugicans’ list of charges, or is just using the political stunt as a distraction from Republicans’ ineptitude and refusal to do their jobs.
Over the weekend Boehner penned an op-ed touting the House plans to vote to sue the President, but there were no concrete charges and only a statement that, according to Boehner; “Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.” It is about the only part of Boehner’s op-ed that is impossible to argue. Of course, Boehner omitted that Congress’ job, according to the constitution, is to make laws and levy taxes; a task repugicans have rejected since Obama took office in 2009. In fact. Last year Speaker Boehner asserted the repugicans’ job was not passing laws, or levying taxes for the general welfare of the people, but repealing laws and cutting taxes for the mythological job creators. So it was interesting the Boehner accused President Obama of not doing his job, or doing the job repugican legislators refuse to do, in the run-up to suing him for being President while Black, but that is another story.
It was bound to come out sooner of later, and in typical hypocritical fashion, Speaker of the House John Boehner attempted to tie the House repugican cabal’s impending vote to sue Obama for being Black while President with killing jobs and hurting the economy. In Boehner’s self-plagiarized op-ed, after claiming the President ignores laws and does what presidents have done since George Washington; issued executive orders, he actually came as close to giving a reason for suing the President as his imagination would allow.
Boehner wrote; “Even worse, the President’s habit of ignoring the law as written hurts our economy and jobs even more. Washington taxes and regulations always make it harder for private sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create jobs — but how can those employers plan, invest and grow when the laws are changing on the President’s whim at any moment?” So, Boehner’s plan to sue the President is really about his whims hurting the economy and killing jobs? Is Boehner seriously implying that the President, of his own accord, levies taxes on the private sector? Or is it the President’s recent initiative to combat climate change’s damage to the economy by exercising his constitutional authority to establish national limits on carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants? For the record, the EPA has not yet implemented any rules affecting carbon-dioxide emissions, and when it does, it is well-within the agency’s authority the President used to justify his initiative.
According to the Clean Air Act (1970) passed with bipartisan support in Congress and signed by repugican President Richard Nixon, the basis for the President’s executive action is Section 111(d). It is worth reminding Speaker Boehner that the Environmental Protection Agency was proposed by a repugican president’s executive order due to Congress’s elevated concern about environmental pollution. However, that is not the raging hypocrisy in Boehner’s claim the repugican cabal lawsuit is about the economy or jobs; particularly when repugicans spent inauguration night in 2009 plotting to subvert any attempt by the new President to drag the economy out of the economic morass shrub-repugicans created and led to worst recession since the Great Depression.
Boehner’s claim the President is hurting the economy and killing jobs is ill-timed according to recent job reports and stock market gains, but the hypocrisy in Boehner’s statement is astonishing even coming from him. Leading up to the 2010 midterm elections, and upon taking control of the House in 2011, Boehner trumpeted the repugican’s primary focus was “jobs, jobs, jobs.” The repugicans’ first action was spending cuts set to kill over a million jobs to which Boehner replied, “so be it.” Since then, repugicans have not created one job and went on a job-killing spree that hampered a robust economic recovery they continue unabated.
The repugicans have deliberately obstructed every attempt by the President to grow the economy and create jobs, and claim they, on the other hand have passed 40 jobs bills. The bills can best be summarized as more tax cuts for the rich and corporations, stripping regulations to benefit the wealthy’s bottom line, slashing domestic programs for the poor, and punishing working families by eliminating overtime pay; all job-killing actions. Included in the 40 jobs bills is the Path to Prosperity budget raising taxes on the middle class and cutting taxes for the rich, privatizing Medicare, nearly eliminating food stamps, and cutting most programs that continue the repugican cabal’s crusade to kill more jobs and hurt the economy. If anyone in Washington deserves being sued for “hurting the economy and jobs,” it is repugicans and none is more guilty than John Boehner who refuses to allow votes on job bills that would pass with Democratic support.
President Obama recently said repugicans are patriotic and love America, but that is being extremely generous, if not fallacious. The repugicans love the rich, corporations, and the dirty energy industry and although in their minds those are America, there is nothing in the Constitution Boehner referenced alluding to an oath to preserve, protect and defend the wealthy or their corporations’ obscene profits.
The repugicans can best be defined as sleazy, and their disrepute is why public confidence and approval in Congress is a pathetic 7 percent. Boehner has allowed, no, encouraged a rash of investigations into fabricated scandals that have wasted valuable taxpayer time and money instead of doing the jobs they were sent to Washington to do according to the Constitution Boehner claims the President is not following.
Unfortunately, the American people are unable to take congressional repugicans to court and sue them for abridging their constitutional duties, and it is a travesty. Because if anyone deserves to be sued for hurting the economy and jobs, it is repugicans in Congress and as usual, Boehner’s reason for suing the President is another example of repugicans projecting their gross malfeasance on the African American in the White House; the only man in Washington working to grow the economy and create jobs for the American people.

The repugican Argument for Suing Obama Goes Down In Flames As Fact Checkers Expose the Lies

pants on fire
The repugican justification for the Boehner lawsuit gets a “pants on fire” rating, as they would be suing Obama for the shrub’s actions.
First Erick Erickson went rogue on Speaker Boehner’s “lawsuit” (a suit which hasn’t happened yet, the threat of which is being used for political intimidation and get out the vote efforts) and now PolitFact is calling Pants on Fire on the repugican justification for the lawsuit. The repugican voicebox Sean Spicer told a CNN panel on the Boehner lawsuit that the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Barack Obama’s executive orders 13 times. You know, because if that happened it would mean he should be sued as the groundwork for impeachment.
But wait. Here comes reality and she isn’t pleased. PolitiFact determined that actually, repugicans are objecting to litigation that came as a response to things that happened under the repugican pretender, the shrub. Seriously. “Most of the litigation actually came in response to actions under the shrub junta. In the few cases initiated during Obama’s two terms, the court wasn’t even ruling on challenges to Obama’s executive orders.”
It got worse, because PolitiFact noted that since this repugican claim had already been debunked and Spicer repeated it anyway, he gets a Pants on Fire for repeating a known falsehood.
Watch repugican cabal spox Sean Spicer on a July 6th, 2014 appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union”:
Here’s Spicer’s claim that rated Pants-On-Fire false: “In the last three years alone, 13 times, the Supreme Court, unanimously, 9-0, including all of the president’s liberal picks, have struck down the president’s executive orders.”
The repugicans make this argument in response to the facts about the shrub’s egregious abuse of the executive order. It wasn’t that the shrub had so many orders, but rather the kinds and purpose of the executive action. PolitiFact pointed out that of the cases cited by the previous repugican whom they had already debunked on this issue, “It does not appear that any of these cases actually have to do with executive orders issued by Obama.”
The only case they cited that was even remotely related to the concept of Obama overreach was the Supreme Court knocking down Obama’s labor board appointment (National Labor Relations Board vs. Noel Canning). But Spicer referred to executive orders specifically and this was not an executive order. But more to the point, as PolitiFact pointed out, the court knocked down that appointment due to the Senate recess rules (indeed, repugicans worked the rules in hopes of blocking Obama from making recess appointments by avoiding technical recess). That isn’t even in the same ballpark as the shrub refusing to execute laws or granting himself expanded powers.
So far, we have repugicans wanting to sue Obama for things the shrub did, and one instance of them not understanding what an executive order is. “It does not appear that any of these cases actually have to do with executive orders issued by Obama. And again, most of these cases were started under the shrub, so any executive action was likely coming from the shrub junta, not Obama.”
The ruling:
Spicer said, “In the last three years alone, 13 times, the Supreme Court, unanimously, 9-0, including all of the president’s liberal picks, have struck down the president’s executive orders.”
Most of the litigation actually came in response to actions under the Bush administration. In the few cases initiated during Obama’s two terms, the court wasn’t even ruling on challenges to Obama’s executive orders.
Spicer took an already debunked argument and made another mistake in repeating it, so it was even more incorrect. We rate the statement Pants on Fire.
As we explained a few weeks ago, the executive order only seems to be a problem for repugicans when President Obama uses it.
President Obama has used the power of his office to do things that the people already want, because with Congressional repugicans on a four year strike against working, no legislation is being passed. So the President took action toward things like reasonable gun safety measures, climate change, and raising the wage for federal workers, whereas the shrub used his power to grant himself more power and to ignore laws he didn’t like.
This is why Speaker John Boehner can’t name one actual way the President violated the law. President Obama has not abused the power of his office with executive overreach in terms of signing statements or executive orders. So here we have repugican cabal leaders figuratively standing next to reviled extremists in their cabal like Sarah Palin, championing a lawsuit and even impeachment of Obama over things the shrub did.
At long last, they admit that some of the things the shrub did were wrong. They just can’t admit that it was the shrub who did them. Following repugican cabal logic, Democrats should have tried to impeached the shrub as he was clearly a dictator.
Suing the duly elected President for things your appointed president did that you justified? Check. Repeating debunked lies because you have nothing else? Check. Doing it on TV to spread the misinformation because you can’t afford to discuss the issues? Check. Getting called out and learning a lesson? Nope.

A National Disaster

The Scope of the repugican Voter’s Demonic Obsessions
The repugicans increasingly believe President Obama and our government are demonically possessed, and even that Obama is "worth of death" as a result…
Democrats know by now that cray-cray has gone mainstream in the repugican cabal. The more “out there” it is, the more “in” it is. So it is no surprise that, as Right Wing Watch put it, that Gordon Klingenschmitt, “the demon-obsessed anti-gay exorcist,” ran in the repugican cabal Primary In Colorado – This is the same Klingenschmitt who claims that the FCC is allowing demonic spirits to “molest and visually rape your children.”
Because, you know, demons do that stuff and a whole lot more. And it’s apparently important to repugican voters in Colorado that these demons be stopped, because as RWW also reported at the end of June,
Klingenschmitt won that primary race by several hundred votes, becoming the official repugican nominee for House District 15 in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Yes, a repugican candidate was nominated on a demon platform. People voted for that. Not in 1314, but in 2014. In America.
And don’t forget Sarah Palin’s personal witch hunter.
In an effort to highlight this problem, we have written here before about the religio-wingnuts' obsession with demons. First in 2012 with Demonize It! The Fundamentalist Obsession with Demons, and Satan Ate my Government! The Fundamentalist Addiction to Satan; following this up in 2013 with Fundamentalists Drool at Thought of Miley Cyrus Having Sex with Demons and Festival of Lights Invites Demons into White House Says Bryan Fischer, and, of course, our favorite, Pat Robertson Says You Have Demons in Your Underpants.
For repugicans, even something as benign as Yoga is demonic.
The titles may be a bit tongue in cheek but they are also quite serious. The religio-wingnuts actually seem to believe these things, absurd as they may seem in a 21st century milieu. The thirteenth century would clearly be more fitting, but don’t get up – the religio-wingnuts are bringing the 13th century to you!
The problem is not just repugicans who subscribe to demons as an explanation for society’s apparent ills. The problem is liberal and progressive voters who don’t take this obsession with demons seriously. Laughing at them won’t make demons go away any more than will exorcisms, and rational arguments are about as much use as holy water.
Klingenschmitt has previously “revealed” that President Obama is “ruled by gay demons” and is “worthy of death.” He even wrote a book about it, “The Demons of Barack H. Obama” in which, according to RWW, the President is ruled by,
the “demonic sprits” of “death,” “murder,” “child-murder,” “sexual abuse,” “genocide,” “paganism,” “witchcraft,” “homosexual lust” and “anti-christian oppression”… to name just a few.
And we thought Ann Coulter was being extreme when she treated liberalism like a mental disorder. This goes a bit beyond psychiatry. Even bad psychiatry.
It scarce needs be said that this is not a healthy approach to government. There is “demonizing” an opponent and then there is demonizing an opponent. It is one thing to argue that your opponent’s methods or ideology are mistaken; it is quite another to argue that his methods and ideology derive from Satan and that therefore not only must his arguments be dismissed, but he himself must be killed for having advanced them.
This goes far beyond the usual repugican approach, namely the almost benign-by-comparison “nobody has a right to disagree with us,” or, in Klingenschmitt’s case, “you don’t have a right to accurately report what I said.”
This is the stuff of the Inquisition.
And there goes the First Amendment, what is left of it after the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling.
American democracy cannot long survive the introduction of this demonic paradigm. But then, theocrats like Klingenschmitt don’t want democracy to survive. You cannot have a national dialogue if one side is being metaphorically – or worse, actually – burned at the stake or stoned to death for opening their mouths.
Democracy is about debate and compromise. Those go out the window if one side is believed to be speaking for Satan.
And it’s not just Klingenschmitt who talks this way, but numerous Religio-wingnut figures. Ted Cruz (r-TX) publicly ties the political left to Satan and his father is a dangerous lunatic religious fanatic. Televangelist Rodney Howard-Boone told his flock last weekend that America “has become demon possessed.”
Actually, it has become demon obsessed, which is not quite the same thing. Belief in demons does not equal demons.
But Howard-Boone insists that “We have allowed the Devil (you know, the guy the old testament says isn’t the ultimate agent of evil) to come in and take over every realm of society.”
He claims that our government, “like our nation has become demon possessed in every realm.”
No surprise then he thinks – in contradiction of the views of the Founding Fathers, notably Thomas Jefferson and James Madison – that cult-state separation is “a bunch of garbage.”
If you think this doesn’t concern you, you’re wrong. It may seem like small potatoes when Warren Throckmorton reveals that Mars Hill megacult equates mental illness with demonic possession and that to be “treated” cult members must undergo “demon trials” of all things. Yes, in the 21st century.
But it’s not. Here is what Throckmorton has to say:
First, Mars Hill and [Seattle megacult pastor Mark] Driscoll apparently consider depression and mental illness to be manifestations of the demonic. Consider the following aspects of the spiritual inventory a person who might go through a demon trial should consider:
  • Please consider the following list and list each thing that has been besetting and/or habitual for you: bestiality, habitual lying, physically unhealthy, masturbation, lying, pornography, ongoing depression, suicidal thoughts, alcohol abuse, drug use, anger, blasphemy, violence, self-inflicted injury, rape, incest, eating disorders, mental illness, pedophilia, and anything else that comes to mind.
  • Please consider the following list of sins that may have been committed against you or by you: rape, incest, molestation, other forms of abuse (e.g., physical, sexual, mental, emotional), as well as anything else that comes to mind.
  • Please briefly explain any involvement you may have had with the occult, witchcraft, or anything spiritual other than orthodox biblical christianity.
  • Please briefly list any of your ancestors and any activity they may have been involved in with the occult, witchcraft, other religions, drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual deviancy, rape, incest, mental illness, and anything else listed above or that comes to mind.
To the degree that Mars Hill pushes this teaching, they are part of the problem identified in 2013 via research by Lifeway. Ed Stetzer at Lifeway reported that 48% of evangelicals believe prayer and bible study alone can cure serious mental illness. In the case of Mars Hill, apparently prayer, bible study and a demon trial can work.
It doesn’t take much to imagine, should the religio-wingnuts become ascendant, that such trials will not be limited to cults in which congregations subscribe to this medieval nonsense.
What happens when the Supreme Court says you can’t get therapy for mental illness because your employer believes demons are responsible? It’s not only NOT far fetched, it’s probably just around the corner. Will Americans take the repugican cabal’s demon obsession seriously then?
It is not difficult to envision the religio-wingnuts' longed-for impeachment of President Obama devolving into a “demon trial” – since his “problem” after all, is that he is possessed by Satan, or at the very least, Klingenschmitt’s “gay demons.” Probably the Obama family’s Portuguese Water Dogs “Sunny” and “Bo” will also be tried, because “gay animal demons” are attested too.
And look, these are the people you deal with on a daily basis, from family members, immediate or extended, to co-workers to friends or friends of friends. These people, who are mental-inhabitants of the 13th century, are among us in the 21st.
Like you, perhaps more often than you, THEY VOTE. They run corporations you may work for. They ELECT lunatics like themselves, some who then, like the shrub, appoint other lunatics to important non-elective positions. Lunatics like Supreme Court justices, who then make decisions about YOUR life based on SOMEBODY ELSE’S religion.
Naturally, if that somebody else believes in demons and Satan and possession, you can see where the outcome might be problematic. You could quickly find yourself living a nightmare. It is a mistake to think this is a problem only Beyoncé has to deal with.
Not demonic possession, but demonic obsession, is a national nightmare. It is a national tragedy the scope of which has scarce been recognized.
It is time for liberals and progressives to take this problem seriously, unless they want to find themselves also living in the 13th century, which, I can guarantee you, won’t be fun for any of us.

Did The Supreme Court Rip The Corporate Veil?

Does It Even Care?
imageEver since the Hobby Lobby decision there have been two words playing in my head but it had taken a week before I heard anyone else say them aloud. The words, which have probably buzzed through Fortune 500 boardrooms and the corridors of law firms but have been absent from any of the media discussions I’ve heard, were finally spoken on MSNBC Monday night by civil liberties attorney Burt Newborne.
Corporate veil.
This is a legal concept that holds that a veil – or a wall if you will – separates the personality of a corporation from the personality of its stockholders. It gives the latter limited liability from the actions, debts, or mistakes of the former. It is the primary reason many business owners incorporate before they design a logo or sell their first tchotchke. Half of the high-priced attorneys in the world go nuts trying to preserve the corporate veil of their client corporations, and the other half spends hours dreaming up schemes to pierce the veil of others.
Even if corporate officers, directors, or major shareholders breach their fiduciary responsibility to the company by gross negligence or bad faith they are generally protected by this shield unless the party who is harmed or to whom money is owed can prove the commission of wrongful acts. According to NOLA.com, “the corporate veil can be pierced when shareholders have acted intentionally and illegally, when the corporation has neglected corporate formalities, and/or when the corporation is found to be a mere alter ego of the shareholders (a shield set up to defraud creditors).”
“A mere alter ego of the shareholders.” Isn’t that exactly what Hobby Lobby, the Conestoga cabinet company, and other such litigants are claiming? That the corporations they “closely hold” share their beliefs and faith? It is usually a third party that destroys the immunity; in this case the Greens and the Hahns appear to be doing it themselves — more than piercing they are figuratively rending the veil and passing their religion through.
Under the legal doctrine governing this issue the courts may decide not to observe the separation of the corporate entity from its stockholders, and it may deem the corporation’s acts to be those of the persons or organizations actually controlling the corporation. This is based upon a finding by the court that the corporate form is used to perpetuate a fraud, circumvent a statute, or accomplish some other wrongful or inequitable purpose.
Newborne said he had filed a brief with the court in the Hobby Lobby case in which he warned businesses to “be careful what you wish for.” He told Ari Melber, who was guest hosting The Ed Show, that the veil is key to a well-functioning corporation because it means “shareholders can invest and not have to worry that if the corporation goes bust they (the creditors) will go after the shareholders.”
Corporations can own other corporations, create pyramids of businesses, and that is where the overseas money is, Newborne said. Overseas subsidiaries hold the cash. But while Newsome didn’t get into it, it isn’t just a matter of shielding money or protecting stockholders, directors, and officers from the company’s debt. There are other kinds of liability.
When I worked for the FDIC, we found even many of the small banks we closed had subsidiaries, sometimes dozens of them. They were formed to protect the bank against civil and criminal liability from actions on the ground such as sketchy land deals or developments that skirted EPA regulations, even banking rules. FDIC went to great lengths – a whole department in my office did nothing else – to protect that corporate veil until each subsidiary could be disbanded or taken into bankruptcy without endangering FDIC as receiver of the holding company. The corporate veil protected many an executive from criminal prosecution even as banks and mortgage companies paid millions in fines in the last round of housing and financial market hanky-panky.
“If you can pierce the corporate veil,” Newborne said, “by a shareholder saying ‘Hey, just treat me the same as the corporation,’ why can’t it be pierced in the other direction. Why can’t a creditor do it? Why can’t the IRS do it and say, forget the wall, it’s a phony wall.”
Melber, an attorney himself, concluded the segment with the logical assessment. “Either that wall doesn’t mean anything or its one way only, for corporate interests. And that’s a hard place for the court to be.”
It is also a hard place for the country to be.
It is inevitable that before long someone will file a lawsuit against a legally pious corporation. What happens if the plaintiff sees more chance of recovery on the back side of the veil than on the front and the courts agree? Aren’t the Hahns, Greens, or owners and their millions vulnerable? If the veil is no longer inviolate it could change the nature of investment, even innovation. Would venture capitalists or angels go near the start-up market knowing that a Hobby Lobby stunt by the CEO could put their entire net worth at risk?
More likely the courts will hold that, despite that unsightly hole ripped by SCOTUS, the protection of shareholders is still complete. Then we will no longer need to wonder just how much further five brazen men in robes will dare to push the interests of businesses over those of individual citizens.

The Supreme Court Has Given All Corporations a Gift That They Will Live To Regret

It is beyond refute that the wingnuts on the nation’s High Court went on a rampage beginning in 2010 to serve the interests of corporations over those of the people. Whether it was giving personhood to corporations in Citizens United, disallowing class action lawsuits against corporate giant Walmart, or giving religious liberty to “closely-held” corporations in the Hobby Lobby case, the wingnuts on the court have reliably given corporations anything their hearts’ desired. However, in their religious zeal to bestow another gift on corporations in the Hobby Lobby case, the 'christian' wingnut males on the Court gave all corporations a gift they did not want and will live to regret.
The principle behind incorporating a business is to delineate the owner from the corporation so when a company makes a lot of money, the owners get rich and spirit the profits away in their personal accounts apart from the corporation. However, if the incorporated business falls into debt, declares bankruptcy, and fails, the owner(s) are not held accountable for any corporate debt or liability because they are completely separate from the “corporation.”
For businesses owners, legal separation is a safeguard according to most business scholars because it encourages entrepreneurialship with a guarantee that if a new, or old, business fails, the owner(s) will not lose their personal assets such as their home(s), savings, yachts, jets, or retirement accounts along with their business. Incorporation was devised to precisely “distinguish the corporation’s activities from those of the owners.” Until Hobby Lobby, a corporation was not its owners, and that separateness was the “foundational principle of corporate law.” The principle is known as “the corporate veil,” because regardless the personal fortune earned through the corporation, creditors have no legal recourse to recoup their losses, and federal regulators can never pursue a corporation’s owners for malfeasance; that all changed dramatically with one very ill-advised Supreme Court ruling.
When the catholic wingnuts on the High Court ruled that Hobby Lobby Incorporated and the Green family are one in the same due to “its” religion, they effectively tore away the corporate veil making owner(s), shareholders, employees and CEOs personably liable for anything the corporation does. In fact, the Hobby Lobby ruling contradicted a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that said, “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 fundamental principle of different entities, or “corporate veil,” according to legal and business scholars, and affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2001, vanished when the Supreme Court allowed Hobby Lobby’s owners to assert their religious rights over the entire corporation. The ruling said a company is not truly separate from its owners, and because the conservatives ruled that all closely-held corporations are recipients of their religious largesse, it means that over 90% of all businesses in America lost the delineation between corporation and owner(s).
According to a law professor from New York University, Burt Neuborne, “If religious shareholders can do it, why can’t creditors and government regulators pierce the corporate veil in the other direction?” The same question was 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 keep the corporate veil in place. They argued that, “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.”
It is why, despite repugicans cheering the Hobby Lobby decision as a major victory for business over the federal government, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and every Fortune 500 company stayed clear of siding with Hobby Lobby. The wingnuts exposed why the largest corporations were concerned over a favorable decision for the Green-Hobby Lobby entity when they said, “The purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.”
That means then, that Hobby Lobby and the Greens, or any corporation and its owners, shareholders, and employees are indistinguishable legal entities that decimates the concept of incorporation and opens the door for future lawsuits against a corporation’s owners specifically. Writing for the dissenters, Justice Ginsburg gave a portent of future lawsuits against a corporation’s owner or shareholders where a plaintiff can argue that “the separation should not hold only when it serves the interests of those who control the corporation.” According to the conservative Justice’s ruling, it cannot hold after they rent the corporate veil in two and opened the floodgates for legal actions against any corporation’s owner(s), shareholders, or CEO.
Religious zeal is a powerful motivator, and the wingnuts on the Court let their religious objection to contraceptives overrule their devotion to corporations. Justice Alito may have thought writing that “the decision should be narrowly applied to the peculiarities of the case” instead of the decision IS narrowly applied to the peculiarities of the case would give religious corporations free reign to discriminate legally, but he did not think about the damage to corporate owners. The five wingnuts on the Court, in their infinite wisdom, exposed wealthy corporate owners to a rash of unintended consequences, and unleashed a means to dismantled the protections inherent to corporations they are so devoted to.
As despicable, and dangerous, as the wingnut justices’ ruling is, and it is extremely dangerous, the silver lining is the very premise of incorporation has been dismantled and corporate owners can no longer claim they are separate entities apart from their corporations. They have the wingnuts on the Supreme Court to thank for the gift, and it is undeniably a gift they did not want.

Hobby Lobby Backfires on repugicans As Ruling Being Used By al-Qaida Facilitator In GITMO

Gitmo detainees are now citing the Hobby Lobby case as reason that their religious rights should be acknowledged. After all, how can they be less of a person…
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Holy Wingnut Hypocrites: Hobby Lobby Decision Now Being Used by Gitmo Detainees
We tried to warn wingnuts about the precedent the Hobby Lobby decision would set, but they were convinced that religious freedom meant freedom for lunatic fringe “christian” wingnuts and their corporations only. You know, the alleged “good guys”.
But then logic came out to play and rained on wingnut gloating. Guantánamo (“Gitmo”) detainees are now citing the Hobby Lobby case as the reason that their religious rights should be acknowledged. After all, how can they be less of a person than a corporation?
“If, under our law, Hobby Lobby is a ‘person’ with a right to religious freedom, surely Gitmo detainees are people too,” the prisoners’ lawyer wrote in a statement.
The motions, via Think Progress, ask for the right to observe communal prayer during Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims worldwide observe as a month of fasting between dawn and dusk. The filing argues that prisoners were told they were not “persons” previously and thus do not have religious freedom. Yet, the prison’s military authorities prevented them from praying communally during Ramadan because they are not “persons”.
But, they argue that Hobby Lobby made it clear that every entity is a “person”, “Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons, human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien— enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the RFRA.”
Especially because the wingnuts who championed Hobby Lobby just set the stage for an admitted al-Qaida facilitator (that’s “terrorist!” in repugicanese) to demand his religious freedom in Gitmo. The suit was filed on behalf of Ahmed Rabbani of Pakistan and Emad Hassan of Yemen. Rabbini is an admitted al-Qaida facilitator, while Hassan is thought to be an al-Qaida recruiter but has denied this allegation.
The filing pleads, “Guantanamo Bay detainees, as flesh-and-blood human beings, are surely ‘individuals,’ and thus are no less ‘person[s]‘ than are the for-profit corporations in Hobby Lobby or the resident noncitizens whom Hobby Lobby gives as an example of persons to whom the RFRA must apply.”
The prisoners’ lawyer explained in a statement that banning of communal prayers “is one of a series of recent measures against detainees on hunger strike.”
We are witnessing two bad wingnut ideas colliding. First, Gitmo as a concept violates our democratic and moral principles and should be closed. The President has ordered the ode to the shrub to be closed, but the repugicans have denied the funding to close it. The biggest champions of Gitmo are the same folks who sell fear for a living and don’t think much of “freedom” if it applies to anyone but themselves.
Second, the wingnut Hobby Lobby argument and the wingnut SCOTUS decision were bad for many reasons — not the least of which was that it violates separation of cult and state and discriminates against women as an entire class of people now not entitled to same protections under the law.
Prior to the Hobby Lobby decisions, we asked a wingnut how they were going to feel when a muslim used this decision to avoid following the law as it applies to everyone else. They scoffed, because when riding high on delusions of power, it’s easy to ignore precedent and reality. But we already went down this path and rejected it. That rejection was one of the founding principles of this nation.
For people who see danger and fear everywhere they turn, it’s bizarre that repugicans did not see where Hobby Lobby was taking them. They, who fear-mongered about Sharia law taking over the country, have actually managed to do just that — only they opened the gates with their own alleged “religious” beliefs (which they dubiously qualify as “christian”). They, who co-opt the founders at every turn, just spat in the face of the founders.
Turns out, there was a pretty good reason we fought so hard to be free of the tyranny of others’ religious beliefs being imposed upon us as law. Just wait until a muslim business, citing the Hobby Lobby decision, sues for the right to deny a wingnut something they should be entitled to under the law.

Man wearing cowboy hat, boots and a dress drove car around soybean field for 40 minutes

The Saline County Sheriff's Office was involved in a bizarre, 43-minute chase on Saturday morning. It began when a deputy clocked a passing car on Interstate 70, traveling at over 90 mph. The deputy began pursuit of the driver as he traveled towards Salina. The car was spray painted with derogatory statements about law enforcement. The suspect was able to drive around spikes that were set up. Eventually, the suspect drove into a soybean field. Sheriff Glen Kochanowski says the suspect then drove the car in circles for 40 minutes while law enforcement set up a perimeter around the field, blocking off the man's exits. at times, the suspect threw blankets, CDs and other items out of the car.
At one point, the vehicle slowed down to around 5 miles per hour and the suspect climbed out and "surfed" on the car's roof. The Sheriff says the man was yelling bible verses at officers, making faces and even flashed peace signs. Deputies pepper sprayed the driver several times while he was inside the car.
The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Aaron S. Jansen of Dover, New Hampshire, eventually surrendered to deputies. He's being held on charges of fleeing and eluding, obstruction, reckless driving and speeding. At the time of his arrest, Jansen was wearing a cowboy hat, boots and a woman's dress. He also has a warrant out of Dickinson County, where he is accused of spray painting "Help me" on the tailgate of a pickup and leaving behind his billfold, which included his identification.

Burglar easily found as he was wearing company-issued shirt including phone number

Police didn't have a hard time tracking down a man who allegedly burgled two cars at a home in Delray Beach, Florida, as he had his employer's phone number printed right on his shirt.
Delray Beach police said they got a call from a woman who said that just after 8am on Monday, she caught a man on her security camera stealing two pairs of expensive sunglasses and a $100 Louis Vuitton coin purse from her cars, the police report stated.
Police looked at the video and saw a man wearing a shirt that said "I Got Wood LLC." The shirt also listed a phone number. When officers called that number, they reached the owner of I Got Wood, a flooring company. The owner told police that the man in the video was his employee Perry Martin, 55, of Coconut Creek.
According to the report, Martin walked away from a job site shortly before the time of the burglary. When police contacted Martin they asked him whether he was the man in the security video and he said he was. Martin has been charged with burglary, grand theft and violation of probation. He was held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bail.

Intoxicated lady rode stolen horse to rob store

An Alabama woman stole items from a store after she rode there on a stolen horse, according to authorities.
According to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, 45-year-old Christine Saunders, of Fyffe, was intoxicated when deputies and officers with the Fyffe Police Department arrived at the store in Hammonds Crossroads.
According to Sheriff Jimmy Harris, Saunders had a horse tied up outside of the store that she was believed to be riding. Officers recovered three cans of Keystone Light beer in a Walmart bag that was tied to the saddle horn. The horse was returned to the owner who did not want to press charges.
The sheriff's office is working with the store owner on other charges. Saunders was arrested and charged with public intoxication and illegal possession of a prohibited beverage. She was booked into the DeKalb County Detention Center.



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Hottest May Ever!

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Ol Doinyo Lengai

Africa's Unique Volcano
For countless generations, the Maasai people of Tanzania have called the active volcano which dominates their landscape Ol Doinyo Lengai. The name translates as the Mountain of God.
Yet on the day Eng'ai, one of the gods of the Maasai, created this volcano she must have been in an unusual state of mind. Where most volcanoes spew lava which is rich in silicate materials, Ol Doinyo Lengai is different: very different.

Big Dipper Hotspot May Help Solve 100-Year-Old Cosmic Ray Mystery

Big Dipper Hotspot May Help Solve 100-Year-Old Cosmic Ray Mystery
A map of the northern sky shows the concentration of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays stemming from the constellation …
A hotspot of powerful, ultrahigh-energy particles streams toward Earth from beneath the handle of the Big Dipper constellation. This collection of cosmic rays may help scientists nail down the origin point of the powerful particles, a century-old mystery.
"This puts us closer to finding out the sources — but no cigar yet," Gordon Thomson, of the University of Utah, said in a statement. Thomson is the co-principle investigator for the Telescope Array cosmic ray observatory in southern Utah, which discovered the hotspot, and one of the 125 researchers on the project.
"All we see is a blob in the sky, and inside this blob there is all sorts of stuff — various types of objects — that could be the source," he added. "Now we know where to look."
A hundred-year-old mystery
Gordon worked with an international team of scientists to capture 72 ultarhigh-energy cosmic rays with the Telescope Array over a period of five years. If powerful cosmic ray sources spread evenly across the sky, the resulting waves should also be evenly distributed. Instead, 19 of the detected signals came from a 40-degree circle that makes up only six percent of the sky. The hot spot lies in the constellation Ursa Major, home of the Big Dipper.
"We have a quarter of our events in that circle instead of 6 percent," collaborator Charlie Jui, also from the University of Utah, said in the same statement.
Jui describes the hotspot's location as "a couple of hand widths below the Big Dipper's handle." The region would appear like any other region of the sky to regular optical telescopes.
According to the researchers, the odds that the hotspot is a statistical fluke rather than real are only 1.4 in 10,000.
The hotspot region of the sky lies near the supergalactic plane, which contains local galaxy clusters such as the Ursa Major cluster, the Coma cluster and the Virgo cluster.
The research, which is an international collaboration of over 100 scientists, was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Discovered in 1912, cosmic rays are thought to consist of the bare protons of hydrogen nuclei, or the centers of heavier elements. The powerful particles stream in from various regions of the sky, with energies reaching as high as 300 billion billion electron volts. Cosmic rays are classified as "ultrahigh-energy" if they carry the energy of 1 billion billion electron volts, comparable to a fast-pitch baseball.
While low-energy cosmic rays come from stars like the sun over the course of their life or explosive deaths, the origins of more energetic rays remain a mystery.
Suggested progenitors for the more powerful cosmic rays include Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), where material is sucked into supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies, or gamma-ray bursts from the explosive supernova death of massive stars. Other potential causes include shockwaves from noisy radio galaxies and colliding galaxies. More exotic possibilities include the decay of "cosmic strings," hypothetical one-dimensional defects proposed by string theory.
Ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays stem from outside the Milky Way, but are weakened by interactions with the cosmic microwave background radiation — the leftover fingerprint from the Big Bang that kicked off the universe. As a result, 90 percent of the detected ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays originate within 300 million light-years of Earth.
According to Jui, a separate study currently in progress suggests that the distribution of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays in the northern sky is related to concentrations of large-scale structures like clusters and superclusters of galaxies.
"It tells us there is at least a good chance these are coming from matter we can see, as opposed to a different class of mechanisms where you are producing these particles with exotic processes," Jui said.
The Telescope Array houses 523 detectors spread over 300 square miles of desert. Physicists hope to make the observatory more sensitive by doubling the number of detectors and quadrupling the area they cover, which should capture more cosmic rays.
"With more events, we are more likely to see structure in that hotspot blob, and that may point us toward the real sources," Jui said.

Voyager 1 in Interstellar Space

Confirmed: Voyager 1 in Interstellar Space NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft have helped scientists confirm that the far-flung probe is indeed cruising through interstellar space, the researchers say.
Voyager 1 made headlines around the world last year when mission scientists announced that the probe had apparently left the heliosphere — the huge bubble of charged particles and magnetic fields surrounding the sun — in August 2012.
They came to this conclusion after analyzing measurements Voyager 1 made in the wake of a powerful solar eruption known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME. The shock wave from this CME caused the particles around Voyager 1 to vibrate substantially, allowing mission scientists to calculate the density of the probe's surroundings (because denser plasma oscillates faster.)
This density was much higher than that observed in the outer layers of the heliosphere, allowing team members to conclude that Voyager 1 had entered a new cosmic realm. (Instellar space is emptier than areas near Earth, but the solar system thins out dramatically near the heliosphere's edge.)
The CME in question erupted in March 2012, and its shock wave reached Voyager 1 in April 2013. After these data came in, the team dug up another, much smaller CME-shock event from late 2012 that had initially gone unnoticed. By combining these separate measurements with knowledge of Voyager 1's cruising speed, the researchers were able to trace the probe's entry into interstellar space to August 2012.
And now mission scientists have confirmation, in the form of data from a third CME shock, which Voyager 1 observed in March of this year, NASA officials announced Monday (July 7).
"We're excited to analyze these new data," Don Gurnett of the University of Iowa, the principal investigator of Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument, said in a statement. "So far, we can say that it confirms we are in interstellar space."
Interstellar space begins where the heliosphere ends. But by some measures, Voyager 1 remains inside the solar system, which is surrounded by a shell of comets known as the Oort Cloud.
While it's unclear exactly how far away from Earth the Oort Cloud lies, Voyager 1 won't get there for quite a while. NASA scientists have estimated that Voyager 1 will emerge from the Oort Cloud in 14,000 to 28,000 years.
The craft launched in September 1977, about two weeks after its twin, Voyager 2. The probes embarked upon a "grand tour" of the outer solar system, giving the world some its first good looks at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the moons of these planets.
Like Voyager 1, Voyager 2 is still active and operational. It took a different route through the solar system and is expected to follow its twin into interstellar space a few years from now.

Daily Comic Relief


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Giant Ancient Sea Scorpions Had Bad Eyesight

Gigantic sea scorpions that lurked in the ocean more than 400 million years ago weren't as scary as they sound, a new study suggests.
The massive creatures, known as pterygotids, were the largest arthropods that ever lived, growing to be up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) long, with claws measuring up to about 2 feet (0.6 m). But contrary to what scientists thought, these animals may not have been true top predators.
"These things were almost certainly still predators of some kind, but the imagined notion that they were swimming around terrorizing anything that looked edible is probably an exaggeration," said Derek Briggs, a paleontologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and co-author of the new study, published in the journal Biology Letters.
Pterygotids were a type of eurypterid, an extinct type of sea scorpion related to arachnids. These ocean-dwelling creatures lived between about 436 million to 402 million years ago, in the Silurian and Devonian periods, Briggs said. Their closest living relatives are horseshoe crabs or modern sea scorpions, he said.
Previously, these spooky sea monsters were thought to be fearsome predators, devouring armored fishes and giant cephalopods (related to modern squids and nautiluses). Their compound eyes and large claws seemed to suggest as much.
But more recently, a study revealed that pterygotid claws wouldn't have been strong enough to break into armored fish or cephalopod shells.
Giant Ancient Sea Scorpions Had Bad EyesightIn the recent study, Briggs and his team set out to examine the eyes of these ancient sea scorpions, to determine whether they had good enough vision to be great hunters.
Some of the lenses in the creatures' eyes were big enough for researchers to see them without any help from technology, but others had to be viewed under an electron microscope. The team estimated the angle between the lenses and the size of the lenses, comparing them with the eyes of a smaller eurypterid relative and of modern arthropods.
Briggs and his team concluded that the giant arthropods actually had poor eyesight. They probably lived near the bottom of the sea and likely hunted soft-bodied animals in dark waters or at night, Briggs said. But the fossil evidence limits these interpretations, so it's hard to know for sure how the animals behaved, he added.
After about 35 million years, pterygotids died out, and "it's a good thing they did," Brigg said. "They wouldn't be good company."

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