Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, June 30, 2013

TransCanada Expands Definition of “Terrorist”

TransCanada — the corporation that wants to build the Keystone XL Pipeline through the United States — is warning local American police departments to be on the lookout for terrorists.  These terrorists include, but are not limited to:

1. Protesters who stage peaceful non-violent demonstrations against the proposed pipeline.

2. Property owners in Texas and Nebraska who are concerned about the potential damages from a tar sands oil spill (like the one that happened in Arkansas recently).

With their fake warnings about “terrorism,” TransCanada’s main goal is to create distrust and hostility between police departments and local property owners who are opposed to the Keystone Pipeline.  The executive director of Bold Nebraska said:

“It's outrageous that a foreign corporation would come into our state to sow fear of landowners and citizens.  Every meeting, rally, and action that we have done in Nebraska has been peaceful, non-violent and lawful.”

A rancher in the Sandhills region of Nebraska said:

“We have a right to organize and make our voices heard. No foreign corporation should be coming into our state to try and hire and turn our police against us.”

In Texas, TransCanada used eminent domain to seize part of a 600-acre ranch.  And on top of that, TransCanada has been filming the rancher on her own property (what’s left of it).  She said:

“Why are they filming me? Am I doing something illegal? I have specifically asked TransCanada why they are filming me while I am on my own land, they've not given me an answer.”

What about that sacred “free market” that corporations are always talking about?  Does TransCanada want to “sell” their product to a willing buyer, or are they trying to force it down everybody’s throats?

It sounds like TransCanada has something to hide.  What don’t they want us to know?

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Phyllis Schlafly: Hispanics’ High Illegitimacy Rate “just about the same as the blacks”

And the GOP continues to refine its “Outreach to Swarthy Minorities” program.  Realizing that she’d forgotten a few ethnic slurs in her previous speech, Phyllis Schlafly has made up for lost ground.  In the latest excerpt from her “Brown People will never vote Republican, so quit worrying about them” series, she said Latinos can never be Proper Republicans because they have too many children out of wedlock.  Even worse, these people “don’t understand” the concepts of limited government and the Bill of Rights.

She said Republicans are committing political suicide by embracing immigration reform because immigrants are only interested in getting a handout from the government.  On the Clay and Marty Show — a conservative radio program — Phyllis Schlafly told the audience:

“The people that Republicans ought to reach out to are the white voters.”  She said Latino voters will never vote Republican because “they don’t have Republican inclinations at all. They’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are.  The plain fact is they come from a country where they have no experience of limited government and the types of rights we have in the Bill of Rights. They don’t understand that at all. You can’t even talk to them about what the Republican principle is.”

Way to go Redneck.  Over the next few years, the Democrats’ most effective weapon will be the GOP’s own words.

And the Republican rift continues to widen.  Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte — two of the Tea Party’s biggest up-and-comers — have alienated the Republican Base by supporting the immigration bill.  Sarah Palin wants these two squishy moderate RINOs to be “primaried” and replaced by somebody even more conservative.

Good.  Keep “primarying” every Republican who isn’t far enough to the Right.  If the Sarah Palins and Phyllis Schlaflys have their way, every GOP candidate will have to pander to the inbreds in order to get the nomination.  Then in the general election, most of these Talibangelical Republicans will get trounced by their Democratic opponents.

Sounds like a plan.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thirteen Years in Prison for Writing Anti-Bank Slogans on the Sidewalk

OK, let’s see if we’ve got this straight now.  If you’re a banking executive who cheated millions of people out of their homes and life savings, you’ll be punished with a larger bonus and a corner office.

If you write a few snarky slogans against banks on a public sidewalk in front of Bank of America — nothing profane or threatening, and using washable chalk — you’re facing up to thirteen years in prison on multiple counts of vandalism.

What was that quaint old phrase again, something about “Equal Protection Under the Law?”  Nice theory anyway.

The infamous chalk vandal is Jeff Olson, and San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is determined to prosecute this vicious criminal on thirteen counts of vandalism.  Jeff Olson could get a thirteen-year sentence AND be forced to pay restitution to Bank of America for “damages.”  WTF???

Also — and this is shear coincidence, nothing to see here — City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has received large campaign contributions from Bank of America and Merrill Lynch.  He’s running for mayor in 2016.  And the chalk vandal, Jeff Olson, worked on the election campaign of San Diego’s present mayor, Bob Fillner, who was elected just last November.  Again, these little coincidences have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that bank prostitute Jan Goldsmith is prosecuting Jeff Olson for writing anti-bank slogans on the sidewalk in front of Bank of America.

I can’t think of any profane comments at the moment.  But if you’d like to contact San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and tell him what you think of his vindictive crusade — or make some lewd comments about his mother, or whatever — his e-mail address is cityattorney@sandiego.gov and his phone number is 619-236-6220.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Supreme Court Overturns Voting Rights Act

I guess we all saw this coming.  In their usual 5 to 4 split, the Corporate Arm of the Republican Party — formerly known as the Supreme Court — has overturned part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

President Obama said he was “deeply disappointed” in today’s Supreme Court ruling:

“While today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination.  I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls.”

Congress???  Fat chance of that.  They’re too busy voting to repeal Obamacare for the 537th time.  For rightwing state legislatures who want to turn the clock back to 1950, it’s full speed ahead.  They’re free to crack down on voter registration drives, ban early voting, and whatever else it takes to keep the riffraff out of the voting booth.

Chief Justice John Roberts’ “reasoning” — using the term loosely — was that the racial situation has improved so much, we no longer need the Voting Rights Act.  Or something.

Traffic deaths have been decreasing every year because of stricter traffic laws and better enforcement.  These laws have served their purpose but now we don’t need them any more.

Three days ago I started a 2-week course of antibiotics.  But hey, the symptoms have disappeared, so I’ll just go ahead and throw away all the rest of these pills.

Or as dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it:

“Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Rep. John Lewis (D—Georgia) said:

“These men that voted to strip the Voting Rights Act of its power, they never stood in unmovable lines, they never had to pass a so-called literacy test.  It took us almost a hundred years to get where we are today. So, will it take another hundred years to fix it, to change it?”


Monday, June 24, 2013

The Best Way to Deal with Climate Change Deniers: RIDICULE!

Ridicule — it worked against the GOP’s War on Women.  There’s a reason that there’s no such person as “Senator Todd Aiken” or “Senator Richard Mourdock.”  Clueless mean-spirited comments about rape victims derailed the Senate campaigns of both of those morons.  And they were both way ahead in the polls before they uttered their bone-stupid comments.

According to this column by Joel Connelly, ridicule would be equally effective against the Koch Brothers’ useful idiots.  Turn them into national and global laughingstocks.

You’re familiar with the fossil fuel industry’s talking points.  “It snowed last night.  What’s this ‘global warming’ you’re talking about?”  “Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by scientists so they can keep getting funding from [the Trilateral Commission, the Illuminati, whoever].”  “The science is unclear; the results aren’t conclusive.”  Etc.  Shine the spotlight on these dickwads.  Make ‘em squirm.

Senator Brian Schatz (D—Hawaii) said:

“The power of ridicule should be deployed here.  You have to get to the point where a major candidate for public office is disqualified when he or she denies climate science.”

Jon Carson, head of Organizing for Action, said:

“When a Republican or a Democrat says something crazy on climate, we should be ready to hold them accountable as progressives did on human biology.”

As the linked article says:

“By contrast, Republican presidential candidates in 2012 made all manner of unsubstantiated, often off-the-wall statements about climate.  The national media greeted such hot talk with glacial indifference, and has treated alarming climate news in the same fashion.”

This needs to change.  Some high-profile teabaggers have made statements denying climate change that are every bit as absurd as Todd Aiken’s and Richard Mourdock’s rape comments.  While the state of Texas burns and evaporates, Rick Perry describes climate change as “a contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight,” and says scientists have “manipulated data so that they will have money rolling into their projects.”

Want Michele Bachmann’s take on climate change?  Come on, you know you do:

“Nancy Pelosi is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said she’s just trying to save the planet.  We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago.  The Lord saved the planet — We didn’t need Nancy Pelosi to do that.”

Alaska’s permafrost is melting and the Arctic icepack has receded to a record low.  In response, Alaska Rep. Don Young says: “I think this is the biggest scam since Teapot Dome.”

The political climate needs to shift to where anyone who makes a statement similar to the above three examples will not have a prayer of getting elected to ANY public office.

Joel Connelly concludes with:

“Progressives have seen several of their movements ‘go viral’ in the past year, same-sex marriage and the need for immigration reform as prime examples.  It hasn’t happened — yet — with climate . . . despite global heat waves, ‘superstorms,’ melting glaciers and shrinking snow packs, the shrinking Arctic ice pack, dying forests, and ‘drunken trees.’”

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The World According to Mona Charen

Rightwing columnist Mona Charen can name everything that’s wrong with America and the world.  Needless to say, each and every one of these problems was single-handedly created by President Barack Obama.

“An estimated 93,000 people have died in Syria's metastasizing civil war. Hundreds of thousands of that conflict's refugees strain resources and stability in neighboring countries. Iran continues its steady march toward nuclear weapons development. North Korea menaces its neighbors and episodically threatens to launch nuclear missiles at Los Angeles. Turkey, long lauded by Obama as a model for the region, is violently cracking down on peaceful demonstrators. Slow growth and high unemployment hobble the world's most advanced economies as growing bureaucracy and crippling debt take their toll. Islamist movements are making gains in Mali, Indonesia, Pakistan and Iraq after gaining power in Egypt and Tunisia…”

It’s all pretty grim, isn’t it.

Damn You Barack Obama!

If I remember right, after the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, Mona Charen was one of the loudest screamers of the “Let’s round up all them swarthy Ay-rabs ‘cause we know it was THEM!” chorus.  Then, not a peep out of her when the perp turned out to be a white American citizen with a decidedly non-Arabic name.

Mona Charen finishes her column with:

“World leadership is not for beginners. It requires something beyond tabloid celebrity and dorm room musings.”

She has a point.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ding Dong, the Farm Bill is DEAD!!!

Too many Teabirther amendments have sunk the federal once-every-five-years Farm BillGood.  It had turned into a Christmas tree for every tea-drooling inbred puke to tack on every imaginable amendment.

Most importantly, the Steve King Amendment is dead.  Unfortunately the author of this amendment is still alive, but the Steve King Karma Watch continues.

As you may know — not that the mainstream “media” has ever bothered to mention it — the Steve King Amendment would have overturned dozens of state laws mandating humane treatment for farm animals, and hundreds of local ordinances prohibiting dog fighting and cockfighting.

The linked article doesn’t mention the Steve King Amendment; neither does any other article that I found.  Most of the media coverage was devoted to the teatard amendment to take away food stamps from those lowly riffraff who only work two jobs instead of three or four.

A lot of Democrats voted against the Farm Bill, and so did a lot of rightwing Republicans.  The Club for Growth and Heritage Action campaigned against it because of the overall expense of the bill.  Works for me.  A broken clock is still right twice a day.

Steve King was unavailable for comment, probably because he had just finished sucking off a room full of factory farm lobbyists, and talking would have been a little, uhh, awkward.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini: 1961 — 2013

Jesus Fuckin’ Christ!  James Gandolfini died today in Italy of a massive heart attack.  He was 51.

I never watched The Sopranos, but he did some incredible movie performances.  Who could ever forget his knockdown drag-out fight to the death with Patricia Arquette in True Romance.  He was also great in Get Shorty, The Juror, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Not Fade Away, among others.

His most powerful performance — IMHO — was in one of those short PBS movies.  I don’t remember the name of it.  He was in a raging drunken stupor and wandered into an empty apartment.  I think it was the wrong apartment, but I’m not sure.  He was standing in front of a mirror, shouting at himself.  At one point he head-butted the mirror, and with blood pouring down his face, continued screaming at the mirror.  Anyway, you had to be there.  One of the most intense performances I've ever seen.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

President Barack Obama: “I Have a Drone”

I haven’t been too alarmed by the recent spying scandals.  By now I just assume that every conversation and every keystroke is being monitored by somebody somewhere.  But this poster really cracked me up:

Martin Luther King:  “I have a Dream.”  Barack Obama:  “I have a Drone.”

I found the poster at this article about Germans’ disappointment with Obama.  Like American voters, Germans were ecstatic when Barack Obama got elected in 2008.  Now, not so much.  Like us, they’re disillusioned over his failed campaign promises to tackle climate change and close the Gulag at Guantanamo Bay.

Ironically, they’re really pissed off about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs — not that they have room to talk.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Saxby Chambliss Having Orgasms over Images of America Invading Syria

Saxby Chambliss (R—Chicken Hawk) wants to penetrate deep deep deep into Syrian territory.  And he feels so strongly about this, he’s willing to fight to the last drop of somebody else’s blood.

He told NBC’s David Gregory:

“I don’t think you can place any limits on it right now.  I do think it’s imperative that President Bashar Assad be removed. It’s pretty obvious that he’s pretty well entrenched now. He’s gone to the extreme of letting Hezbollah have the run of Syria. That is simply not good.  And while I know there are bad guys involved with the opposition rebels, we’ve done a pretty good job of ferreting out who are the good guys or who are the more moderate guys in that opposition, and I’m certain that’s who the president is talking about providing arms to.”

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

I haven’t seen any national polls on whether the U.S. should get involved in Syrias civil war, but our local newspaper’s online poll question today is:  “Do you agree or disagree with President Barack Obama's authorization of military arms to the Syrian rebels?”

67.7% of poll respondents disagree.  18.8% agree; 13.5% are undecided.  (This online survey doesn’t claim to be scientific.)

I live in a red county in a blue state.  If two thirds of the people in this area don’t want us quagmired in yet another war, the message is loud and clear (whatever that’s worth).

Labels: ,

Friday, June 14, 2013

Jeb Bush: “Swarthy Immigrants are Fertile and They’ve Got Good Rhythm”

Sometime during the ‘80s or early ‘90s, George H.W. Bush tried to suck up to a Hispanic audience by saying “We need our gardeners, busboys, nannies…”  (Not an exact quote.)

Fast forward a few decades, and now we have Jeb Bush arguing in favor of immigration reform because “immigrants are more fertile.”  He told an audience at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference:

“Demography is destiny.  We’re going to have fewer workers taking care of a larger number of people that the country has a social contract with to be able to allow them to retire with dignity and purpose. We cannot do that with the fertility rates that we have in our country. We’re below break-even today.  The one way that we can rebuild the demographic pyramid is to fix a broken immigration system to allow for people to come, to learn English, to play by our rules, to embrace our values and to pursue their dreams in our country with a vengeance, to create more opportunities for all of us…Immigrants are more fertile. And they love families and they have more intact families and they bring a younger population.”

On the downside, most of them are gang members and they listen to that Godawful Mariachi music.  But their tacos and enchiladas are to die for.

After his speech, Jeb Bush bought a jumbo bag of pork rinds and then went to a truck stop and asked the waitress for “another splash o’ coffee.”

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The War on Drugs: “The worst case of scientific censorship since the Church banned Copernicus and Galileo”

According to this article, laws against marijuana and other psychedelic substances have completely derailed scientific research into such fields as the study of consciousness.  This opinion was published in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

David Nutt, a professor of neuro-psychopharmacology at Imperial College London, said:

“The decision to outlaw these drugs was based on their perceived dangers, but in many cases the harms have been overstated.”  He described current drug laws as “the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo.”

He also said:

“The laws have never been updated despite scientific advances and growing evidence that many of these drugs are relatively safe. And there appears to be no way for the international community to make such changes.  This hindering of research and therapy is motivated by politics, not science.”

David Nutt and two of his fellow researchers — Leslie King and David Nichols — said:

“If we adopted a more rational approach to drug regulation, it would empower researchers to make advances in the study of consciousness and brain mechanisms of psychosis, and could lead to major treatment innovations in areas such as depression and PTSD.”

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nostalgia for George W. Bush

Americans are warming up to George W. Bush.  And this is because?

For one thing, everything is relative.  George W. Bush — whose every string was pulled by his corporate puppet masters — was by far the most rightwing president we’d ever had.  He was so far to the right, everyone was longing for the comparatively “moderate” policies of Ronald Reagan.  And Dwight Eisenhower looked like a flaming Communist.

And now that the Talibangelical wing of the GOP has an iron grip on the House of Representatives, George W. Bush looks like a moderate.  And Ronald Reagan was a bleeding heart socialist who wanted to wage Class Warfare by taxing the Job Creators.

The linked article suggests that Bush is gaining popularity partly because he’s been keeping a low profile and staying out of the headlines.  For the opposite reason, Dick Cheney’s poll ratings have probably gone down since 2009, since he’s spent the last four and a half years hogging the headlines and shooting his mouth off.  That is, if it’s even possible to go down from the 9% approval ratings Cheney had when he was Vice President.

This probably isn’t nostalgia, but I can think of at least one striking difference — in terms of the political atmosphere — between the GW Bush and Obama administrations.  During Bush’s presidency, if you uttered the tiniest criticism of the president, you hated America and you wanted the terrorists to win.  You belonged in Gitmo.

Things are a bit different now.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

“Is Your Food Being Poisoned?”

That’s the question being asked by Chuck Norris.  Yes, THAT Chuck Norris — birther, rightwing conspiracy theorist, columnist for WorldNetDaily and Townhall.com.  I’ve always admired his fitness and martial arts expertise (no, I never watched Walker:  Texas Ranger), but his political views are so far to the Right they’re off the charts.

But like they say, a clock that doesn’t work is right twice a day.  I’m glad more Americans are becoming concerned about the GMO/Frankenfood menace.  We need all the allies we can get, regardless of their views on other issues.

Chuck Norris writes:

“Can food become poisonous? Of course it can if it is infected, tampered with or altered in any way that causes it to become detrimental to its consumer. In fact, that's what we call ‘food poisoning.’  But what about the genetic engineering, tampering or alteration of our food supply? If it causes bodily harm, even over the long haul, could that be considered poisoning?”

He then quotes Dr. George Wald, one of the first scientists to point out the dangers of genetically engineered foods:

“Recombinant DNA technology (genetic engineering) faces our society with problems unprecedented, not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. ... Now whole new proteins will be transposed overnight into wholly new associations, with consequences no one can foretell, either for the host organism or their neighbors. ... For going ahead in this direction may not only be unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics.”

Chuck Norris continues with:

“Ask your federal representatives to support the new federal labeling bill, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would require the food industry to label all genetically engineered foods and ingredients. In addition, tell your representatives that corn and cotton must not be deregulated, because without strict controls, genetically engineered crops will encroach on non-genetically engineered crops, contaminating them and rendering the organic crops as non-organic.”

He also advises everyone to educate themselves on the dangers of GMO products and learn how to avoid purchasing these products unwittingly.

It’s all excellent advice.  Concern over food safety is certainly creating some strange bedfellows.

I hope Chuck Norris hasn’t alienated his Townhall.com readers.  Check out the comments at the end of the article.  (Be prepared to laugh, scream or kick your computer.)  Most of these commenters are either Monsanto employees regurgitating their corporate soundbites, or they flunked Kindergarten because finger-painting was too complicated.


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Gray Wolf about to Lose Endangered Species Act Protection

A few weeks ago the Obama Administration announced they were putting a hold on their plans to de-list the Gray Wolf from its Endangered Species Act protection.  Things seemed hopeful at the time, but now apparently the de-listing is a done deal.

In some ways I’m relieved Obama got elected instead of Romney.  In other ways, all I can think is “WTF is the difference?”  Obama is all but certain to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, and who knows whether the EPA will prevent the Pebble Mine from destroying one of the world’s largest salmon habitats in Bristol Bay, Alaska?  Obama can prevent this disaster with the stroke of a pen, but will he?

Concerning the Gray Wolf, this New York Times guest editorial says it all.  It was written by the three founding members of Living With Wolves.

As the editorial states, the Gray Wolf “has long been in the cross hairs of powerful hunting and livestock interests.”

There are about 1,700 Gray Wolves left in the western states, mostly in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.  As the editorial says:

“Wolf management in those states is often driven by politics, and wolves are being killed at alarming rates in the name of sport in all but Michigan.”

This is a sport?!?  What kind of gun does the wolf have?

In Idaho and Wyoming, hunters and trappers have gone into an orgasmic wolf-killing frenzy.

Michigan may not be hunting and trapping wolves yet, but they’re about to get in on the fun.  A Michigan state legislator, Tom Casperson (R—Douchebag) introduced a bill — SB 288 — that would deny Michigan voters the right to allow or disallow the “sport” hunting of any species.  All of those decisions would be made by an unelected unaccountable 7-member board.  This bill would automatically invalidate any future referendums regarding hunting.  And the bill itself can never be overturned by a referendum because it has an appropriation attached to it.

Every Republican in the Michigan legislature voted in favor of  SB 288, and the bill has been signed into law by Rick Snyder, Michigan’s teatard excuse for a “governor.”

This seems a little inconsistent with the Tea Party’s previous rhetoric — you know, people wearing tri-corner hats and shouting “We The People!”

The New York Times editorial concludes with:

“Where management has been transferred to the states, America’s wolves have fallen under an assault of legislation, bullets and traps. A conservation victory is quickly turning into a conservation tragedy. Now the Obama administration is proposing to remove virtually all remaining protections. Have we brought wolves back for the sole purpose of hunting them down?”

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Teabaggers Tortured by the IRS

Yes, Tortured!  It’s been a waking nightmare for patriotic Americans who simply wanted to take their country back to the 1800s.

Because they asked the IRS to give their organizations tax-exempt status — i.e. having their political activism subsidized by taxpayers — these patriots were subjected to the most unspeakable atrocities.  No, not beatings, cigarette burnings or electric shocks.  It was much much worse than that:  The IRS made them do paperwork!  These victims had to fill out forms and answer numerous questions about why their organizations were charitable instead of political, and why they should be subsidized by the American taxpayer.

The Agony!!!

One of these tortured IRS victims tearfully described her ordeal to a House of Representatives panel investigating the IRS.  Becky Gerritson sobbed::

“This was not an accident. This is a willful act of intimidation intended to discourage a point of view.  I'm not interested in scoring political points. I want to protect and preserve the America I grew up in.”

That last sentence again was “I want to protect and preserve the America I grew up in.”

Hello!?!?!?!  That’s not “charity” or “social welfare.”  That’s fuckin’ Politics, You Stupid Shit!!!

Even worse was the medieval torture inflicted upon Sue Martinek, president of the Coalition for Life of Iowa.  (Women and children, Read NO Further!)

In return for getting tax-exempt status from the IRS, Sue Martinek had to agree not to picket Planned Parenthood at taxpayers’ expense.  As she tearfully explained to House Republicans:

“We had done nothing wrong. We had not indicated that we would do anything but peaceably assemble and hold up signs like, 'Stop abortion' and 'Pray to end abortion.’”

At taxpayer expense.  Pay for it yourself, Asshole.

And in the most stomach-churning atrocity of all, Wealthy Americans who donated money to promote the war in Iraq were audited by the IRS.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D—Washington) tried to inject a shot of sanity and logic into the proceedings (not easy when you’re surrounded by Republicans):

“None of your organizations were kept from organizing or silenced. We're talking about whether or not the American taxpayers will subsidize your work. We're talking about a tax break.”

Well said.  Unfortunately, anyone who needed that simple fact spelled out for them probably didn’t understand all those big words.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 03, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling on DNA Samples

The Supreme Court ruled today that anyone who’s under arrest — regardless of the reason — can be required to provide a DNA sample.

I personally don’t see a problem with this ruling.  As Anthony Kennedy said — writing for the five-justice majority — they already take your photo and your fingerprints when you’re under arrest:

“Taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

What I found most ironic was that Antonin Scalia dissented from the majority.  WTF?  Yes, the same Antonin Scalia who never met a corporation he didn’t love to coddle, and never met an individual personal freedom he didn’t sneer at.  He said:

“Make no mistake about it: because of today's decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.  This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA when you fly on an airplane — surely the TSA must know the 'identity' of the flying public. For that matter, so would taking your children's DNA when they start public school.”

Glad to see he’s so concerned about our civil liberties.

The one time I was arrested — I was innocent, mind you! — the fact that my fingerprints were taken was the least of my worries.  A friend and I were busted after buying LSD from a street dealer in front of the International Marketplace in Waikiki.  They told us we were facing six months to two years for possession.  To make matters worse, I was in the Navy at the time.  You know the drill:  jail, then time in the brig for being AWOL (i.e. in jail), then reduction in rank and/or a less-than-honorable discharge.

It turned out the dealer had burned us.  Whatever was in those capsules was perfectly legal, so they had to let us go.  But not until after I’d spent a brick-shitting night in a jail cell, wondering how I was going to explain my criminal record and less-than-honorable discharge to everyone I knew.  Right then, if I’d had to write down the 500 things I was most worried about, the fact that my fingerprints had been taken would have been at the bottom of the list.  Same with a DNA sample, if such a thing had existed back then.

The ACLU is against today’s Supreme Court ruling.  But the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is in favor of it:

“DNA has already aided nearly 200,000 investigations, and thanks to today's decision it will continue to be a detective's most valuable tool in solving rape cases.  We're very pleased that the court recognized the importance of DNA and decided that, like fingerprints, it can be collected from arrestees without violating any privacy rights. Out of every 100 rapes in this country, only three rapists will spend a day behind bars. To make matters worse, rapists tend to be serial criminals, so every one left on the streets is likely to commit still more attacks. DNA is a tool we could not afford to lose.”

Anyway, what’s YOUR take on the Supreme Court’s DNA ruling?


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Your Guide to Abortion Laws Around the World

This article has several maps showing abortion and contraception laws in every country.

For abortion laws, there are three categories:  “Abortion is legal regardless of reason,” “All abortion prohibited without exception,” and “Abortion is permitted under one or more exceptions.”

In the U.S. (even though some states are still living in the 1800s), Canada, South Africa and most of Europe:  abortion is legal regardless of reason.  (If you scroll further down, there’s a guide to American abortion laws in each state.)

In Europe, the exceptions are Spain, Portugal, Poland, Finland, the U.K., Iceland, Serbia, Switzerland and Moldova.  In these countries, abortion is permitted only under certain exceptions.

What I found surprising:  in most of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia — whose populations are almost entirely Muslim — abortion is legal regardless of reason.

In most of Asia, Africa and Latin America:  Abortion is permitted only under certain exceptions.

And the following countries prohibit any and all abortion, period, no exceptions:  Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mauritania, Senegal, Gabon, Central African Republic, Congo, Angola, Somalia and Madagascar.

If I’m counting correctly, that makes thirteen countries where America’s snake-handling fetus-worshipers can emigrate to if they think the United States is too secular.

Further down the page, the linked article also shows the contraception laws in every country.

Labels: ,