Archive for Constitution

Freedom Of Speech vs. Freedom of Religion

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Religious

Oh, boy. It seems when you use the US Bill of Rights to defend one extremist position, you might discover yourself trampling on another. And so we find the case in the Michigan City of  Warren, with their Mayor, Jim Fouts.

From THE RAW STORY:

A Michigan mayor who says that he believes in freedom of religion has refused to allow atheists to set up a so-called “Reason Station” inside City Hall, saying it could upset Christians visiting the nearby “Prayer Station.”

Yes, you read that correctly. 'A Prayer Station'' for Christians, good. A 'Reason Station' for Atheists, bad.

As an individual or an organization, you can preach and promote a belief, but you cannot preach or promote logic and reason. That, it seems, is unconstitutional and violates the Bill of Rights.

“I emphasize one thing,” he (Mayor Fouts) added. “The government cannot restrict an individual’s freedom of speech, but an individual cannot restrict the government’s freedom of speech.”

Yet that's exactly what the Mayor did. He restricted freedom of speech. What Fouts seems to have overlooked is what happens when the government restricts an individual's rights to the same freedoms it grants.

Religious Freedom may mean freedom from religion. At least expounding that belief does. But evidently that's not so in the City of Warren, Michigan.

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Report: Darrell Issa Using Tactic In IRS Probe Last Used In McCarthyism

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Please note: This is a repost from our friend Anomaly at FreakOutNation. If you have any trouble viewing all of this post - including the embed code at the bottom - please let me know - Lucian Dixon - webmaster for The Political Carnival at lwdgrfx@gmail.com.

Report: Darrell Issa Using Tactic In IRS Probe Last Used In McCarthyism (via FreakOutNation)

According to a new report by the Congressional Research Service , the tactics used by Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) while probing the Internal Revenue Service is venturing into McCarthy-era territory. Former IRS official, Lois Lerner, has invoked…


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God Of Republicans - Ghost of Reagan - Returns To Warn GOP

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ReaganGhostw367h244Ah, yes, Ronnie's no longer with us. And if you're a Democrat you're probably not shedding too many tears considering the damage he caused this country. But if you're a Republican, we're talking here about their deity. The GOP hasn't had a convention since his first nomination that his name hasn't been invoked in the most pious of verse.

Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan. Say it three times fast, click your heels together and Conservative wishes will come true -- or at least the conservatives think so.

I just discovered a video done by Drew Christie just over half a year ago, that captures the truth about gun control and the history of limitations, going all the way back to the framers of the Constitution. There's a short visit by Ronnie -- definitely worth watching.

But I warn you, this video features ghosts -- and what they have to say might be very scary. Watch this with someone you love -- or hate. The point is there. And as the Ghostbusters theme song goes: I ain't afraid o' no ghost:

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GOP Outreach Program Targets -- Wait For It -- The Country Club Crowd

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Country Club

After the devastating election losses in late 2012, the GOP spent millions to find out how and where they missed the boat. They analyzed what they were doing wrong and publicly took to the airwaves to announce during 2013 that they were going to start reaching out to those who voted against their party and their platform. In essence, it was a plan to open the tent flaps and invite more people into their circus.

The RNC report from early last year called the Growth and Opportunity Project, urged the party to be more inclusive after the dismal electoral results among women, minorities, immigrants, college educated and the poor during the 2012 presidential election. This study, at a cost of millions of dollars was immediately hailed as a panacea and would be implemented immediately.

Let's see how that went.

The plan, despite being publicly lauded by the mouthpieces for the GOP was, in reality, scoffed at behind closed doors. There was really no intention of welcoming new members into their private club without a privileged pedigree.

During the nearly one year since the "autopsy" of the Republican loss led by party chairman Reince Priebus, there's been some moment. It wasn't forward nor necessarily backward. It could at best be called, treading water. Or maybe hoping for a miracle.

The "autopsy" called for the the Republicans to increase it's outreach to women. Instead, they pushed for restrictions on women's reproductive rights already adjudicated in Roe V. Wade by the US Supreme Court.

The plan called for outreach to immigrants. The GOP killed, by refusing to vote, the Senate immigration plan because it had a path to citizenship and the Republicans feared the new voters would not vote for the Red party because they had been systematically persecuted by the GOP for so many years.

The plan called for a jobs bill to improve the economy. The current 113th Congress voted that down numerous times during the last session. They even forced a government shutdown that cost the tax payers $26 Billion and netted us nothing for the effort.

The Growth and Opportunity Project called for outreach to the LGBT community. Build up the Log Cabin Republicans. Instead the party fought that minority with law suits even after the SCOTUS struck down DOMA, opening the door for same sex marriage.

The proposed road map was to reach out to racial minority voters in rural areas. Instead they GOP-led state legislatures enacted stricter voter registration laws making it harder for minorities to have an equal opportunity to cast a vote. This fear that Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Indians and others might actually get a chance to speak up was muffled in legislative tricks and gerrymandering to making it difficult to qualify to have your voice heard or counted. Ask former Speaker of the House, republican Jim Wright or current state senator Wendy Davis in Texas how those new, restrictive laws are doing.

So it seems they're acting in denial of their own multi-million dollar plan to improve their standing and increase their chances to win the 2014 and 2016 elections. If so, who are they really going after?

The country club crowd. The Republicans have pushed through continued tax loopholes strictly for the rich. They've targeted but one group -- the one they already had -- the top 2%. By fighting health care, by denying minorities their constitutional rights, by tamping down immigration reform, by killing jobs bills and by regulating women's health care issues What's left is not a big target, but the GOP's focusing on it, anyway. It's the old, white guy.

Here's what the GOP Chairman said, according to THE HILL:

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus vowed in 2014 that his group would spend time in communities it has overlooked in the past.

“As a party, Republicans resolve to make 2014 about engaging with more people in communities all across America,” Priebus said in a statement ringing in the New Year. “We’ll spend our time welcoming new people to our party and listening to people in places where we haven’t spent enough time in years past. I look forward to all this year has to offer.”

It's hard but lets take the chairman at his word, because he said the very same thing nearly a year ago when the results of the study were first made public. Everything he and his party did last year was contrary to that.

Some things never change, the leopard and its spots, the zebra and its stripes and the GOP and it's arrogance. So next time you're at your private country club, playing a round of golf with Skip, Chip and Thurston Buffington Conroy III, don't be surprised if they don't hit you up for a contribution to GOP American Vision PAC.

Go tee it up and have a great round. Remember, par for the GOP championship course is 72, the same age (and in some cases, IQ) as the average GOP member.

Follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

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When's A Co*ksucker Not A Co*ksucker? When Geraldo Says So

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hate speak

First we have the recent past firing for homophobic remarks by Alec Baldwin. Then we get the Martin Bashir grotesque Sarah Palin comment. Now we have the ensuing kerfuffle going on with the racist and homophobic Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) in a GQ interview. Seems like outrage and a bit  more as opponent and proponents are bashing each other, each side staking out the first amendment claim.

Fox News put their "A" team on the issue of limits and virtues of freedom of speech. Who better, right? These are the folks that discovered WMD in Iraq, the conspiracies behind Benghazi, the IRS, even the secret war on Christmas. They definitively proclaimed Santa AND Jesus are white. Face it, when there's a controversy, there's no source better suited for getting to the bottom of an issue than Fox News. God bless Rupert Murdoch's merry band of men and women.

According to crack reporter and commentator Geraldo Rivera, he's determined that there are times when offensive speak isn't really offensive. It all has to do with your background. If you grew up in a neighborhood where racial or homophobic slurs were part of everyday vernacular, he's discovered a new defense. The Peter Pan doctrine. You never have to grow up. You can use all the hate speech you want because you're inbred with it and don't have to change or learn with the times. It's okay with Geraldo if you go out there and call him a spic-kike cocksucker because that's what he heard growing up.

HUFFPO:

In a bizarre pronouncement by ever-colorful Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera, the veteran commentator has defended Alec Baldwin's recent homophobic outburst toward a paparazzo, claiming "cocksucking faggot" isn't necessarily a gay slur.

"I don't think all insults are equal," Rivera said during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show December 19. Rivera was chiming in to a heated discussion between Hannity and panelists Rachel Sklar and about whether or not A&E made a mistake by suspending “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson for recent anti-LGBT and racist statements.

See for yourself how Sean Hannity, Geraldo Rivera and Rachel Sklar feel about this controversy. It just makes you hear that old bromide defending children for doing horrific bad things and not wanting to make them take responsibility--

"You know, it's just boys being boys. Cut 'em some slack. You were a kid once."

And just to clear it up for Hannity, both Baldwin and Bashir were fired. For professional courtesy, they were technically invited to resign which they did. Nobody fired Phil Robertson. He's only been suspended. So there's a bit of a double standard, perhaps, but the Duck Dynasty guy will still has a show -- Baldwin and Bashir don't.

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Epidemic of Voter Fraud Rampant In Iowa - Republican Investigation Proves It

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black voters

It's never to early to stage a fight for people's rights. And in this case, it's the voter rights act, or what's left of it. As you'll see below, Chris Hayes does a great job summing up the issues that are happening thanks to the scurrilous political right. If they don't succeed in stopping selected groups of voters, these wingnuts will lose their grip on power. And make no mistake, they do have the upper hand in power in most of the country, and not just the south. Take the case of Republican  Iowa Secretary of State, Matt Schultz:

This movement of tamping down minority vote has been with us since reconstruction. Before that, Blacks and other minorities were just plain denied the right to vote, even if born here. Color was the obstacle. Jim Crow laws replaced just straight refusal which was followed by gangs literally beating minority voters, sometimes to death for even showing up at a poll. And then again there were the poll taxes.

But these measures were about hate, not fraud... or so they appeared. Then next step up the illusion trail to keep minorities away is the current voter fraud issue. It's so rampant that candidates have based their entire statewide campaign on stamping out voter fraud -- and won. That tired scare tactic has worked. Yet when you run on a platform, you are usually called into service upon taking office to move on the issue.

That brings us to Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R). He did as promised and pulled back the curtain on rampant voter fraud in his state. Huffpo revealed this:

Since taking office in 2011, Schultz has made safeguarding the ballot box from fraud a top state priority, striking a two-year deal with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in 2012 that directed $280,000 of federal funds toward voter fraud inquiries. Additionally, a full-time agent was hired and assigned to pursue voter fraud cases.

The results were as reported by Chris Hayes in the video above. There is really no true voter fraud. There's bigotry fraud. And that's what this is all about, summed up perfectly by a well-respected Republican

In August, former U.S. Secretary of StateColin Powell criticized the argument of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) that his approval of a more restrictive voting bill would combat voter fraud.

“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said at the CEO Forum in Raleigh, N.C. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”

Voter ID laws are not going away anytime soon. So maybe it's time to take the campaign to get picture approved ID's to those without. A door to door program of volunteers to help people accumulate the necessary papers and documents, and then give them a ride to their DMV to get free photo ID's might be what it takes. But when those eligible voters get their identification, they can go from being denied, to doing the denying -- denying the racist incumbents who earlier denied them the right to vote from returning to office. Give them a dose of their own medicine.

You can follow me on twitter: @Linzack

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If Corporations Are People, Too, So Are Chimpanzees. New Scopes Monkey Trial

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Scopes Money Trial plaque

A lot lately has been made over the slippery slope quickly approaching the Supreme Court. In the first quarter of next year, they will hear arguments over religious freedoms guaranteed "we the people" and now seemingly "we the corporations" of America as it relates to healthcare. That is surely to be a wonderful case to watch and their June decision will be landmark level.

But before SCOTUS takes up that battle which will help define corporations status as "people", there's some other monkey business to be heading to the courts. Did I say monkey? I meant to say, "chimp." And now that I think about it, what follows might give the true meaning of a monkey court.

In a string of landmark cases to be filed this week, four chimpanzees will fight for the right to retire to humane sanctuaries. Stop snickering. This is real.

It seems chimps are people too, my friend. And if that's the case, it must mean that evolution is real as well. Think about it. Is this the next Scopes Monkey Trial?

Chimpanzee client

Here's the story of the law suits that are being waged.

A man named Pat Lavery and his wife had first came across Tommy the chimpanzee ten years ago. At the time he was believed to be around 16 years old and was a long time veteran of the entertainment business. Who doesn't like a show biz vet? So the Laverys took Tommy in along with other members of the Chimpanzee family. They sheltered them, fed them, and took care of them.

That was going smoothly until last Monday when Lavery discovered that Tommy, the chimpanzee to whom he has extended his hospitality and an endless supply of bananas for the last decade, had sued him in New York’s Supreme Court.

The Daily Beast picks up here:

The first-of-its-kind lawsuit seeks a writ of habeas corpus, a legal tool used to challenge a person’s imprisonment or detention. It demands Tommy’s immediate release from “illegal detention” and transfer to any of the seven refuges that form the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance—making the 26-year-old chimp the first non-human animal to demand legal rights under common law.

Look, as I prefaced, if a corporation that can't breath, eat, give birth, swing on a vine or peel a banana can be considered a person, why not a chimp?

Acting on Tommy’s behalf is The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), an organization on a mission to have animals recognized in law not just as “things,” but as “persons” with the right—among others—to “bodily liberty.”

Lest you think Tommy's alone in feeling his rights have been infringed upon,

Tommy’s lawsuit, in which the animal is named as a petitioner represented by the NhRP, is the first of three such cases being filed in New York county courts on behalf of four chimps.

The lawsuit claims:

“Chimps are autonomous, they self-determine their own lives, they are extraordinarily social, self-aware beings—behaviors and characteristics that qualify them as persons with a fundamental right to freedom.”

This really boils down to what does a chimp know, feel, smell, sense and experience. If you subscribe to Darwin's theory, they are endowed with all those abilities. We know that Corporations don't contain any of those. Their inanimate. But with a chimp, there seems to be some recognized qualities to their existence which makes you want to give out a Tarzan yell.

Chimpanzees possess a sense of self that developmentally emerges in a manner similar to humans and is highly stable over time. They recognize themselves in mirrors and on television and can use a flashlight to examine the interiors of their own throats in a mirror. Adult chimpanzees recognize photos of themselves as youngsters,” the papers state, citing affidavits from multiple scientists.

Like humans, chimpanzees have a concept of their personal past and future and suffer the pain of not being able to fulfill their needs or move around as they wish,” the court papers state, adding: “Like humans, they experience the pain of anticipating never-ending confinement.

Show me one corporation that experiences those feelings.

I'm not going so far as the suggest chimps qualify for Obamacare, but they do qualify to be treated humanely. And that's what this is all about.

So Mitt Romney and SCOTUS with your Citizen's United finding, you might want to pay special attention to these upcoming chimp cases. As you approach hearing the corporations arguments for religious freedoms, consider Tommy's case could ultimately be kicked up to your court on appeal, or a banana peel. If you give corporations religious rights, what's next? Will you determine whether Tommy's eligible to demand Kosher only foods. Oh, and let's not forget these show biz chimps were paid when employed. Maybe they qualify for social security and unemployment benefits.

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