Archive for protesters

Scalia - Listen To Me: They're Not Anti-Abortion Protesters, They're Counselors

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anti abortion signs

Okay, last week the Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments in a case based in my home state of Massachusetts. It has to do with freedom of speech, actually. It relates to the rights of women who elect to visit and/or use the legal abortion clinics in the state. Both sides participated in a heated exchanges in front of SCOTUS -- the issue is whether a 35 foot buffer zone was really necessary to keep free access to the clinics for patients -- or if protesters had the right to get right up into a woman's grill and block her free passageway.

What makes this case quite curious is the take on the protesters by Supreme Court Justice, Anton Scalia.

The DAILY BEAST reports this.

Last week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told us that these people are not anti-abortion “protesters.”  Instead, he glowingly described them as, “counselors” who wanted “to comfort these [pregnant] women” by speaking to them, “quietly and in a friendly manner.”

Quiet. Friendly manner. Counselors. That all seems to be quite benign. But is it really?

The author of the Daily Beast article, Dean Obeidallah, decided to take a look at just what kind of friendly greetings women were receiving upon their clinic arrival. Here are a few of the welcoming signs these women were met with:

“Be a man-stop your woman from killing your baby!”

“Mommy, don’t kill me!”

“You are going to be the father of a dead baby!”

“Babies are murdered here”

“Danger! Baby killing zone.”

Well, that hardly seems to me to be all friendly-like. Could Scalia have been wrong in his assessment? A SCOTUS justice not knowing a protester from a counselor? To me, this might be a simple case of Scalia coming down with "...ass from his elbow" syndrome.

Obeidallah was in his local area -- New Jersey. So this isn't some Red state battleground. He points out that the Garden State has NO buffer zone law like Massachusetts but they do have a ban on electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place. So we can see where priorities fall in Governor Christie's state. Don't mess with the pols, just with women who are pregnant.

After parking his car a block and a half from the clinic, Obeidallah got out of his vehicle. From there he could hear shouting coming from the direction of the facility, but he wasn't sure what it was until he arrived on the premises. There he saw men and women shouting, cursing, and trying to convince every woman who attempted to enter, not to have an abortion.

They handed out pamphlets explaining alternatives to abortion.  They even offered free sonograms to pregnant women in a van parked outside the clinic. As one “counselor” explained to me, “Once a women sees her baby, she will never have an abortion.”

Free sonograms? Administered in a parked van? Given by whom? Is this a case of practicing medicine without a license or in an licensed medical facility? There's a lot of questions here.

But what this all comes down to is why there's a need for a buffer free zone for women seeking a legal procedure. That's the crux of the case in front of the Supreme Court. This isn't really a matter of counselling or protesting. This is a matter of reasonable access to a legally licensed facility without zealotry prohibiting their right to public entrance.

As Obeidallah writes:

This group of men had formed an angry gauntlet in front of the clinic. They held signs bearing photos of dead babies, Biblical verses, and allegations that baby-killing was taking place at this facility.

But one thing is clear, they were not there as Justice Scalia claimed, “to comfort women.” They wanted to intimidate women to not enter the clinic.

We now have to wait until June for the court's official opinion to be revealed. But when you hear a justice like Scalia making totally outrageous remarks, tendered in a dark cloak of tunnel vision, you can only hope there are others on the bench who do know when their shoes are being pee'd on and they're being told it's just rain.

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"Well Shut My Mouth," Scott Brown Is Told In New Hampshire

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Ethan Allen

Well, well, well. Looks like former Senator Scott Brown, defeated by Senator Elizabeth Warren in the last Senate elections in Massachusetts has been stirring up quite a controversy in neighboring state, New Hampshire.

Scott Brown, a Massachusetts resident is about to go carpet bagger. He's planning on running for the US Senate but from the Granite State just north of his legal residence.

People move all the time. Some even do it for political reasons, say, Liz Cheney. There's an election for the senate in Wyoming so she decided to carpet bag herself there to run against Mike Enzi. She doesn't stand a chance, but she needed some place to run and her family does have some tangential connection to the state. Her father was a congressman there before he became Vice President and creator of an illegal war. So perhaps an argument can me made for her choice.

But then you get to Scott Brown. He was once the darling of the Senate, a GOP newbie who had star written all over him, until he opened his mouth and Elizabeth Warren slammed it shut. But you can't keep a determined ex-centerfold nude model down for too long. So he's openly stated his interest in running as the GOP candidate against first-term Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). He's going to do it, take my word for it. And if you want to know my record at predictions like this, I called both Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren's runs six months before they each announced. I'm a New England boy, I know these things in my backyard.

You may be wondering how well the Republican golden boy's future announcement is going over? Not well. Not well at all. But the outspoken opponents are not the Democrats who think he's border jumping just to upset the apple cart. Brown's opposition is coming from his own party. And they're mad.

How mad? If I were Scott Brown I'd start wearing a bullet proof, Kevlar vest.

Huffpo reports:

During an interview with conservative podcast Granite Grok's GrokTalk on Saturday, New Hampshire state Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Merrimack)suggested that it may some day be necessary to use "firearms and ammo" against the government if its policies continue to be shaped by elected officials like former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

Yikes, that's pretty scary. There's already too much gun violence, so to start putting out hints that guns and ammo might be necessary is outrageous.

Hoell was discussing plans to protest outside a state GOP fundraiser that is scheduled to feature Brown, who is rumored to be considering a run for one of New Hampshire's U.S. Senate seats. Hoell has characterized Brown as too liberal for the state, and accused him of supporting laws that encroach on the Second Amendment. Hoell then invoked the armed uprisings of the Revolutionary War.

Progressive thinking in New Hampshire does go back to the Revolutionary War and Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys. And sadly, that's the last time they had any sort of solid footing alongside contemporary thought or forward thinking. It's been a march backward in time since then.

When asked whether protesters should bring weapons to the rally, Hoell responds: I'm never going to tell a person not to carry a firearm ... I will recommend people carry firearms concealed. Tactically it's a better solution; it doesn't make you out to be a target.

The message needs to get out that Scott Brown does not represent New Hampshire. If things continue the way they are, there may be a day or a time where firearms and ammo are necessary. It happened in the Revolutionary War. I'd like to think we're not there yet, but as things continue to unravel, that may be the next step.

Protestors. Guns. Ammo. Concealed weapons. Targets. Revolutionary War. Firearms. Tactics. New Hampshire. Next step. Does this sound like peaceful discourse to you or a trip back down Memory Lane to 1776?

You can follow me on twitter: @Linzack

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Teen: "Before #Trayvon, we didn't have that kind of feeling of injustice." Plus VIDEO of Tracy Martin.

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tracy martin at rally trayvon

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Demonstrators are participating in nationwide “Justice for Trayvon” rallies, and as of this writing, despite what you may hear from the trolls among us, the gatherings have been 100% peaceful.

Responding to the trial, Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks had a great piece up last week, “Heartsick and numb over the Zimmerman verdict… George Zimmerman’s paranoia became Trayvon Martin’s crime.”

Today's column was equally insightful and covers a relevant topic that I haven't seen mentioned in depth anywhere else: Teen protesters and how they differ from their protesting predecessors. Their mindset and needs differ from those who marched before them for a number of reasons that she explains beautifully.

They feel they are not being listened to by adults. Banks points out how their civil rights battle is different from previous ones, and how they see don't see Trayvon Martin as "a product of centuries of racial injustice or a cry for policy changes," but for them, this is more of a cultural issue about how they dress and look, about guns, and about being profiled because they are young and black.

She makes it clear that "youths ache for adults to let them speak for themselves."

President Obama said this yesterday:

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain...

So -- so folks understand the challenges that exist for African- American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or -- and that context is being denied. And -- and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. ...

We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

Sandy Banks takes it from there. Quoting Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who heads the Community Coalition who has worked with hundreds of young people in that education and community program:

"This is not your grandmother's civil rights movement … walking slowly, carrying signs... They don't do things the way we do. And we don't know how to organize or control it."

Banks also quoted Timothy, 16, who has been working with the coalition:

"We see the adults talking for us, and we don't really get a chance to be at the forefront. Then when we do get a chance, it comes out kind of violent, like we saw on Monday night."

The civil rights establishment is going to have to change its tactics and its focus to get this younger generation on board.

"Everybody who was born after the riots, we've never really been through this," Timothy pointed out. "Before Trayvon Martin, we didn't have that kind of feeling of injustice."

Banks ends with this:

They're more concerned with getting guns off the streets than putting Zimmerman on trial again. And they don't need to gather in Leimert Park, when they've got hundreds of like-minded friends as near as the apps on their cellphones.

The people of this country have a lot to learn, but only if they're willing, would pay attention, and would take the time.

Please read the entire article here.

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VIDEO: Hope for an "AIDS-free generation"

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Today is World AIDS Day:

World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. It has become one of the most recognised international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

The Obama administration on Saturday marked World AIDS Day with optimism the fight against the disease can be won.

And John Boehner sees naked people… or so nude AIDS activists hoped when they, erm, exhibited their displeasure with possible Fiscal Cliff, er, Bluff budget cuts that could severely affect HIV/AIDS funding.

Despite the struggles, both past and present-- physical, financial, and emotional-- things are looking up. Think Progress lists five important advancements we’ve made over the past year. Please link over for details:

  1. Increased access to HIV testing.
  2. Improved coverage under Obamacare.
  3. Better, simpler treatments for the virus.
  4. Breakthroughs in HIV research.
  5. Raised life expectancy for HIV-positive individuals.

And those are five wonderful reasons to declare this an official...

This post is dedicated to Tom Villard, with whom I had the pleasure to work and laugh:

Thomas Louis Villard grew up in Spencerport, New York. He has two brothers and one sister. After high school, Tom attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania for two years. After college, he moved to New York City. There he attended the Lee Strasberg Acting Studio and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Tom moved to Los Angeles in 1980. During Tom's film career, he landed roles in numerous films and television shows. Tom passed away on November 14, 1994, from AIDS related pneumonia.

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VIDEO: John Boehner sees naked people... or so nude AIDS activists hoped.

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Boehner sees naked people... at least that's what protesters were hoping when they made their way into the office of the Speaker of the House. Let's dispense with all "The Boehner" jokes right from the get-go. I know it's asking a lot, but still...

Anyway, AIDS activists put on their birthday suits to make their voices heard and their bodies visible to show their displeasure with possible Fiscal Cliff, er, Bluff budget cuts that could severely affect HIV/AIDS funding.

Per Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed, three people were arrested for indecent exposure while other protesters apparently "barely" made it out of there unscathed, if you will. If there were any justice, it would have been Republicans who were arrested for being indecent, but that's another post for another time. Protester Jennifer Flynn:

"We grabbed attention by illustrating the naked truth and by showing how people with AIDS have had, literally, all of the clothes off of their backs taken away by these guys in Congress... The reality is that these draconian budget cuts will actually result in the conservative loss of 600,000 people with AIDS' lives around the world... We're talking about killing 600,000 people around the world if we let these budget cuts go into effect. And that's just one year."

The chants included, "Boehner, Boehner, don’t be a dick. Budget cuts will make us sick." As we say on Twitter when we want to show support, +1.

The activists also held a rally in front of the Democratic National Committee. 

Chris has more here.

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VIDEO- DREAM Act protesters: Mitt Romney is a "blatant liar" and "very anti-family."

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Family values, Willard? Not so much.

Reporter [sic]:

"Undocumented... is that the same as illegal?"

Seriously, Mr. Reporter? Either you actually don't know what the word means or you missed the part about "illegal alien" being a pejorative right wing term for "undocumented immigrant"? You clearly attended the Journalism School of GOP Talking Points and graduated with a B.S. degree (Brazenly Stupid, among other things).

That said, huge props to the protesters for their timing, interrupting yet another of Willard's annoying recitations of "America the Beautiful."

H/t: Think Progress

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Video- Mitt Romney to Protesters: 'Take a Hike'

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Via.

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