Dahlia Lithwick in her recent essay for Slate, describes the new term that we should all be aware of:
The problem isn’t conscience clause legislation so much as what we might call conscience creep: a slow but systematic effort to use religious conscience claims to sidestep laws that should apply to everyone.
Recalibrating who can express a right of conscience (i.e do corporations have a conscience?) and what the limits of that conscience might be, may well be the next front in the religious liberty wars being waged in courts around the country.
So what does that really mean to all of us. We know there are always provisions written into our US laws, specifically the 1973 Church Amendment, that makes exceptions for considering one's religious beliefs in how and to what extent laws affect them.
Recently and with more frequency religious and moral convictions became a catchphrase and explanation for law violations. It can be understandable when used legitimately. But therein lies the rub. Lately right wing organizations, under the guise of religious beliefs, have called upon this clause to stop just about anything that they don't like. The justification is the gray area.
Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, have all applied the church amendment. There it's much more cut an dry as they stand and exist for religious reasons only. But what about colleges, hospitals and prisons? Do they get the same religious protections. They don't deal primarily in an orthodoxy that these laws might violate. And they receive federal funds.
Last year, for instance, a prison guard withheld an abortion pill from a prisoner who’d been raped on the grounds that it violated her personal religious beliefs. And it hasn’t stopped at abortion, birth control, or sterilization, but may include activities like counseling rape victims or teaching AIDS patients about clean needles.
What about with adoption agencies claiming for religious reasons they won't allow a same sex couple to adopt or give a black child to a white family? Here again, the doctrine of religious conscience is being used to circumvent the thrust of the law.
Now this doctrine of religious conscience is moving into corporate headquarters. For cost saving purposes, but under the "excuse" of religious beliefs, companies are determining which laws they want to observe, and which they wish to void. These are not entities that by their identity are religious, but rather their owners are.
It doesn't stop there. The military. Our military, made up of every race, creed, religion. States have passed laws that ban same sex marriage based on religious dogma. Yet same sex marriages by National Guardsmen/women are acknowledged by the federal government but not by the states. So to get ID cards, medical care, family counseling, other military benefits, the same sex couples must travel to Federal bases. They're denied their rights within the states. And the basis is religious conscience creep, not national security.
This past summer, Republicans in the House tried to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to "protect inappropriate, defamatory, and discriminatory speech and actions" in the military. The amendment broadened a "conscience clause" that protected the right of troops and chaplains to hold anti-gay views so long as they did not actively discriminate against gay service members.
Are corporations, the military, fast food chicken outlets, hospitals, colleges, liquor store chains, burger joints, qualified to get these exemptions. Are corporations people? Do they have a conscience? The Supreme Court will ultimately decide as more and more conscience creep is experienced.
But ask yourself this, where do we draw the line?
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Not sure how much of a surprise it is since they do it every year around the anniversary of his election.
With the numerous polls out there on the media today, you can get a pulse of what people are thinking on almost every subject. How accurate they are depends on so many things -- especially the honesty of the people answering the survey. I'm sure the pollsters figure in the goofy answers, a percentage for lying, something else for people giving emotional answers or wanting to seem more tolerant than they really are. There's faked indignation, righteous and moral outrage and just simply stupid people who don't even understand the question.
So what are we to make of pundits and news readers when they say someone's popularity is at it's lowest or that the public favors a certain bill or law?
A lot has to do with where it comes from. Nate Silver was very accurate in the last presidential election predictions. I think he batted a thousand -- for non-sports lovers, that means he got 'em all right. All is a lot. That's like -- everything.
How many other places, organizations or polls have that kind of clairvoyance? Well, really not many, if any. Luck has a lot to do with it. But if you take luck out of the equation, and use proven fact, what you get are graphs and charts. They're far more reliable than polls because they measure what's really happened. It's after the fact number crunching.
Cenk Uygur broadcast a report on The Young Turks showing statistically how senators voted in the recent sessions of the 107th through the 111th (we're in the 113th currently) congress voted. Then those votes are compared those with wishes of their constituents during that time. Kind of a facts meets the polls hybrid kind of research.
The results are quite interesting. For instance, how often do the senators really listen to their constituents? Always? Sometimes? Never?
Well, now there's some proof and it might come as a shocking. What if I told you senators during these five sessions voted 100%* of the time with their constituents wishes? You'd be right. See, I said you'd be shocked.
Oh, if you were wondering about that little asterisk next to the 100%. That asterisks means, if you were wealthy. The numbers vary if you weren't in the upper 2%. The rich as we like to call them. Middle class people fared less positively, and it ranges down to 0% if you were poor. No asterisk needed for that. Pure zero.
Take a look and it'll all become much clearer. But what it boils down to is this-- if you have money, you got your desired vote. If you were poor, fuggedaboudit. You got bubkis.
Maybe this behavior explains why 60% of polling respondents to NBC News want to fire the entire Congress and start anew. But, taking into considering of the facts in the video above, that would mean that nobody would lose their seat as the rich are getting exactly what they want. They'll just buy the elections is necessary -- are you listening Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson?
Next election, think about it. Maybe a clean sweep wouldn't be so bad. A "Dump the Chump" vote might just be the cure for what ails ya! All of ya!
How serious is global warming?
It depends on who you ask. To most Republicans, it's not really an issue. It's just part of the natural cycle of events. Every so many years or so, there's an anomaly. There's nothing to worry about and certainly no reason to toss money at a problem that doesn't exist but in our minds.
I'm inclined to agree with these GOP sages except...
I'm not crazy!!!
Maybe if these flat earth society members looked at this very clever and BTW,entertaining clip, they might just wake up and smell the coffee, which brewed itself today due to global warming.
With all the wackadoos that the GOP and Tea Party have put into the House and Senate, it's quite evident that intelligence is not one of the qualifying requirements. When you hear the gibberish and claptrap ideas that come out of many of them, you really have to wonder if they still ask the prices at the Dollar Store.
These idiots (my apologies for the non-PC use of the word) only need only open their mouths to prove the point. There's the not getting pregnant in a real rape situation, the fetuses masturbate story, the earth is only about 5000 years old, defaulting on the debt ceiling won't hurt anything, there's no such thing as climate change. Now we can add another totally dick-wad Cretan to the Wackadoo Hall of Shame.
His name is Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and he was one of the 144 House Republicans who voted against bipartisan legislation to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
Mick had his reasons though. And he wasn't keeping them to himself. He saw something in this bill to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling that evidently everyone else missed. It was a piece of "pork" that was added onto the bill. No, not the Kentucky Dam or the payment to the the widow of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. Those were something he could live with.
Here's the one that turned him away: "the 'Lord's Resistance Army' received special funds."
Funding the Lord's Resistance Army? Did you see that anywhere? I didn't. Do you know who the Lord's Resistance Army is? The LRA as they are known, is a Ugandan rebel group led by warlord Joseph Kony. The group's trademark is kidnapping children and turning them into fighters or sex slaves.
Congressman Mulvaney, could you possibly be so ignorant as to actually think that was among the pork issues in this U.S. Government funding bill? That's strike one.
The money you were confusing with going to the LRA actually goes TO the U. S. Defense Department for continuing to assist African forces as they pursue Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, accused of atrocities.
So that's strike two.
Finally, when you issue a retraction through a surrogate, take a close look at who's speaking for you -- The Huffington Post reports:
...that the LRA reference was the result of a "typo" she (Mulvaney communications director) had made and had nothing to do with the congressman's position (which has since been expunged from his official website).
The Mulvaney Communications Director is named, Stephanie Faile. And boy, did she ever fail(e) you!
That, Mr. congressman, is strike three.
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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