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Rifle used by Ky. boy in sister's death

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F6   Tuesday, 05/07/13 10:25:53 AM
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Rifle used by Ky. boy in sister's death made for kids

A 5-year-old boy who shot and killed his 2-year-old sister at this home near Burkesville, Ky., used a special, child-sized rifle he got in November for his birthday.
Photo: Dylan Lovan, AP)

Coroner calls shooting "just one of those crazy accidents," says parents are devastated.

Andrew Wolfson, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal
9:42 a.m. EDT May 2, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A 5-year-old boy who shot and killed his 2-year-old sister Tuesday near Burkesville, Ky., used a special, child-sized rifle he got in November for his birthday.

The fatal shell was fired from a Crickett — "a rifle for a little kid," said Cumberland County Coroner Gary White.

Caroline Sparks, 2, was shot in the chest Tuesday afternoon and pronounced dead at Cumberland County Hospital, White said. He said her brother was used to shooting the rifle and was playing with it when it went off.

The .22-caliber weapon is marketed as "My First Rifle" by Milton, Pa.-based Keystone Sporting Arms LLC, and comes in colors including blue and pink.

On its website, the company offers a "Kids Corner" with pictures of young boys and girls, and testimonials from parents, including one who says the rifles are "just the right size for my 5- and 7-year-olds. They are awesome and we couldn't be happier."

The company, which was founded in 1996, says on its website that it sold 60,000 rifles — including the Crickett and the "Chipmunk" — in 2008, the last year for which it lists figures.

Owner and President Bill McNeal did not respond to requests for comment but he has said that the company believes in firearms safety "and getting youth started with the right equipment to ensure the best experience."

White described the Cumberland shooting as "just one of those crazy accidents" and said the parents had left the rifle in a corner next to the boy's BB gun and didn't realize that it still had a shell in it.

He said the rifle had a lock designed to keep a child from loading additional shells but not from being fired.

White said the children's parents — Chris Sparks and Stephanie Robinson — were devastated. Asked about the 5-year-old, White said he didn't believe he fully understood yet what had happened.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Billy Gregory, a spokesman for Post 15 at Columbia, said police were investigating and would present their findings to Commonwealth's Attorney Jesse Stockton Jr.

Stockton, who then would decide whether to present the case to a grand jury, said in an interview Wednesday that he hadn't been briefed yet on the case and wouldn't comment on it out of respect for the parents.

"They have gone through the worst thing a parent could go through," he said.

Gregory said Robinson was home, cleaning, at the time of the shooting, and said she had stepped out to empty a mop bucket when she heard a pop.

Gregory said he had received "angry calls" from around the state suggesting that the parents should be prosecuted.

In an interview, Dr. Denise Dowd, an emergency room pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals in Kansas City who co-wrote the American Academy of Pediatricians policy on children and guns, said she was "blown away" that anyone would give a rifle to a 5-year-old.

"We don't give our kids the keys to our car, and there is a good reason for it," she said.

The pediatricians' group says on its website that the safest home for a child is one without guns, and that if a family keeps guns, they should be stored locked and unloaded.

The National Rifle Association didn't respond to a request for comment.

But community and business leaders in Burkesville said they strongly support the couple and saw nothing unusual about giving a rifle to such a young child.

"Learning how to use a gun at a young age has been common for generations in rural Kentucky," said County Judge-Executive John A. Phelps Jr.

He said it was a "mistake" to let the boy have access to the rifle, "but it was an accident."

"These are good people, a normal, average Kentucky family who loved their children very much," Phelps said.

Kathy Mosby, who runs Shapes Fitness Center in Burkesville, said the "whole community is behind the family," while Terry Riley, general manager of Don Franklin Auto, a car dealer, said, what happened "can happen to any of us."

Stephanie Robinson is a homemaker, and Sparks shoes horses and worked with the American Farriers Association disaster relief effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.



5-year-old kills his sister, 2, with 'My First Rifle'


Copyright 2013 The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal



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Cumberland County, Kentucky, Shooting May Show Gun Culture 'Natural Consequence'

A home in Cumberland County, Kentucky, where a 2-year-old girl was shot by her 5-year-old brother with a gun designed for children. Investigators saids the Tuesday shooting was accidental.

By Jason Linkins
Posted: 05/02/2013 6:15 pm EDT

This past Tuesday, in Cumberland County, Ky., a 2-year-old girl was killed when her 5-year-old brother accidentally shot her with a .22-caliber rifle in their home. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader [ http://www.kentucky.com/2013/04/30/2621458/5-year-old-boy-accidentally-shoots.html ], the gun "was a gift the boy received last year." As Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told reporters:

"It's a Crickett," he said. "It's a little rifle for a kid. ...The little boy's used to shooting the little gun."

White said the gun was kept in a corner, and the family did not realize a bullet had been left in it. The shooting will be ruled accidental, he said.

"Just one of those crazy accidents," White said.

Yes, just one of those crazy accidents that involve what child development experts call "natural consequences," specifically the "natural consequences" of leaving an unattended, loaded weapon in the corner of the room near two very young children. The news today is that this shooting death "might lead to criminal charges." Per NPR [ http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/02/180557577/charges-possible-in-death-of-ky-2-year-old-shot-by-brother ]:

The Lexington Herald-Leader writes that "Kentucky State Police said Wednesday it is too early to say whether charges will be filed in the case of a 5-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister."

That was a shift from earlier in the day, when a spokesman for the state police had said it was unlikely any charges would be filed.

"There is still some information that we don't fully understand," Trooper Billy Gregory later said, according to the newspaper. "As the investigation continues and when we finish, I'm sure we'll present the totality of the circumstances to the commonwealth's attorney and then he'll make a decision whether or not to present to the grand jury."

Just what type of charges might be filed is not known at this time.

If you are curious as to how a gun marketed to small children came to exist, Mark Follman at Mother Jones has the details [ http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/crickett-rifle-marketing-kids ]:

The Pennsylvania-based maker of Crickett rifles, Keystone Sporting Arms, markets its guns with the slogan "My First Rifle." They are available with different barrel and stock designs, including some made in hot pink to appeal to young girls.

Business has boomed since the company's inception in 1996, according to its website. In its first year, it had four employees and produced 4,000 rifles for kids; by 2008 it had greatly expanded its operations, with 70 employees and an output of 60,000 rifles a year. KSA's site states that its goal is "to instill gun safety in the minds of youth shooters and encourage them to gain the knowledge and respect that hunting and shooting activities require and deserve."

"Clearly the issue of parental responsibility is at the center of this tragedy," writes Follman, "But ... it also points back to the big business of guns -- including how the industry profits from products aimed at children."

Obviously, this tragedy comes amid the ongoing debate over whether some sort of gun safety legislation should, or can, be passed into law. Arguably, the much-talked about Manchin-Toomey background check measure would not be the sort of regulation that could have prevented this tragedy. (Maybe something in a "do not market or sell deadly weapons to small children" is what we're looking for?)

If you're interested in a further discussion of this tragedy, and whether child deaths like this are the consequence of a prevailing "gun culture" will be a highlight of tonight's "All In With Chris Hayes [ http://tv.msnbc.com/shows/all-in/ (the segment, definitely worth the watch, at http://video.msnbc.msn.com/all-in-/51756102#51756102 )]," at 8 p.m. on MSNBC.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/cumberland-county-kentucky-shooting_n_3204058.html [with comments]


Rewriting marketing and selling guns for kids

The Last Word
May 2, 2013

In the Rewrite segment, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell explains how America takes more care to protect little children from baseballs than from bullets.

© 2013 NBCNews.com

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-last-word/51755494 ; embedded/related blog entry at http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/05/02/rifles-for-kids-a-5-year-old-boy-accidentally-shot-his-2-year-old-sister/


Girl’s Death by Gunshot Is Rejected as Symbol

The Sparks family home in Burkesville, Ky. Kristian Sparks, 5, shot and killed his sister, Caroline, 2, last Tuesday, using a rifle that is marketed to children.
Dylan Lovan/Associated Press

Curtis Spears, left, said that his children learned about guns early but that he locked up the arms.
Trip Gabriel/The New York Times

A screen capture from Keystone Sporting Arms, which makes "quality firearms for America's youth."

Published: May 5, 2013

BURKESVILLE, Ky. — Last Monday, Kristian Sparks and his sister, Caroline, visited a Fred’s Super Dollar store here. A store manager recalled that it was an ordinary shopping trip, saying that the boy was outgoing and energetic, his little sister was cute and their grandmother was “like any grandmother — she bought them anything they wanted.”

The next day Kristian, 5, shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a gun marketed for children as “My First Rifle” in what the authorities said was an accident.

The death has convulsed this rural community of 1,800 in south-central Kentucky, where everyone seems to know the extended Sparks family, which is now riven by grief. But as mourners gathered for Caroline’s funeral on Saturday, there were equally strong emotions directed at the outside world, which has been quick to pass judgment on the parents and a way of life in which many see nothing unusual about introducing children to firearms while they are still in kindergarten.

“This town, there’s nothing like it. They pull together,” Anne Beall, a family friend, said as she left the Norris-New Funeral Home. Its online obituary showed Caroline as a smiling cherub in a flower-petal collar.

Ms. Beall, a 64-year-old retiree, said she had not heard anyone in town call the parents irresponsible for giving a gun to a 5-year-old or for leaving it unlocked. “Pointing fingers doesn’t really accomplish anything,” she said. “Terrible mistakes happen, and I think that’s what happened here.”

The authorities said the children’s mother, Stephanie Sparks, briefly stepped outside the family’s trailer home when Kristian shot his sister in the chest. Their father, Chris Sparks, shoes horses and works in a lumber mill.

The parents “are taking this really hard,” said a woman leaving the funeral who declined to give her name. A teenage girl said strangers from around the country had written scathing comments online blaming the parents, deepening the town’s pain and anger.

The shooting came after the recent failure in Washington of gun control legislation inspired by the shootings in Newtown, Conn., which exposed a bitter divide on guns. But Burkesville seemed to want no part of being a symbol in a national debate.

“I think it’s nobody else’s business but our town’s,” said a woman leaving a store, who like many people here declined to be interviewed. A woman who answered the phone at the office of John A. Phelps Jr., the chief executive of Cumberland County, whose seat is Burkesville, said, “No, I’m sorry — no more statements,” and hung up.

After the funeral service, two men advanced across North Main Street toward a single television crew present, from the German network RTL, and punched the cameraman, bloodying his face and knocking him down.

Two other men told a newspaper reporter, “If you had any sense, you’d get out of here. You’re next, buddy.”

The county coroner, Gary White, said Kristian’s gun, a .22-caliber single-shot Crickett rifle designed for children and sold in pink and blue, had been stored in a corner, and his parents did not realize it was loaded.

“Down in Kentucky where we’re from, you know, guns are passed down from generation to generation,” Mr. White told The Associated Press. “You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything.”

After the shooting, the Crickett’s maker, Keystone Sporting Arms in Milton, Pa., deleted a Web page promoting it, but archived images [ http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/crickett-rifle-marketing-kids ] show the company featured a “kids corner” with dozens of pictures of young children and their Cricketts at shooting ranges and out hunting.

The company, which specializes in children’s firearms [ http://www.chipmunkrifles.com/chipmunk_aboutus.php ], said that in 2008 it made 60,000 Cricketts and another model, the Chipmunk, and that it ranks as the country’s 10th largest manufacturer of long guns.

The shooting here, in a region of farms and timber mills, followed a spate of other gun accidents around the country involving young children.

They included a 4-year-old boy who accidentally killed the wife of a sheriff’s deputy at a cookout near Nashville, and a 6-year-old boy [ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/nyregion/boy-6-dies-after-being-shot-by-boy-4-in-toms-river-nj.html ] who was fatally shot with a .22-caliber rifle by a 4-year-old playmate in Toms River, N.J.

A spokesman for the Kentucky State Police said last week that it was too soon to determine if charges would be filed in the death of Caroline Sparks. Although some states have strict laws aimed at negligent gun storage, including criminal liability for adults, Kentucky’s laws are looser, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence [ http://smartgunlaws.org/category/state-child-access-prevention-to-guns/page/2/ ]. The state does not hold adults liable when a child gets hold of a firearm and causes an injury or death.

A few Burkesville residents expressed skepticism of the parents for having a loaded, unlocked gun in the house.

Curtis Spears, 59, a retired mechanic, said he introduced his three sons to hunting and shooting when they were about 8. “But they never touched a gun unless I was with them,” he said. He kept the firearms locked up. His grandson Ryan, who is 5, owns the same Crickett model that Kristian used. But it is equipped with a safety that can be unlocked only with a key kept by his father, Mr. Spears said.

April Anderson, a cashier, said that she, too, owned a gun at age 5. “We went deer hunting,” she said. “I had a .22. You have to teach them at an early age,” she noted, adding that she and her husband own more than 20 guns, but that they keep them secure. “Our guns are put up,” she said.

Her 11-year-old daughter, Taylor, said, “Since that little girl died, Dad got rid of all the guns in the house.”

Not quite, her mother corrected her. They removed at least one shotgun from their home, but not all. “You can’t put your children in a bubble,” Ms. Anderson said.

© 2013 The New York Times Company



UPDATE: 5-year-old Bronx boy shot himself with dad’s gun: father charged
http://pix11.com/2013/02/22/bronx-boy-11-shoots-brother-5-with-dads-gun-cops/ [with embedded video report; no comments yet]


Boy, 4, shoots self with father's gun
Feb. 25, 2013
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/02/25/Boy-4-shoots-self-with-fathers-gun/UPI-11141361828607/ [with comments]


Philly boy, 4, shoots self in chest
April 7, 2012
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/04/07/Philly-boy-4-shoots-self-in-chest/UPI-19241333856348/ [with comment]


Boy, 3, critical after shooting self
Sept. 10, 2012
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/09/10/Boy-3-critical-after-shooting-self/UPI-36341347302158/ [with comment]


http://www.fireengineering.com/news/2013/04/23/across-the-region-nl-boy-2-shoots-self-with-father-s-gun.html [no comments yet]


NRA Convention Speaker Rob Pincus Advises Keeping Gun Safes In Kids' Bedrooms For Home Defense

By Meredith Bennett-Smith
Posted: 05/04/2013 6:54 pm EDT | Updated: 05/04/2013 8:45 pm EDT

The question of child access to guns made national headlines this week after a five-year-old boy shot and killed his two-year-old sister in Kentucky [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/kentucky-shooting_n_3189828.html ]. Just days later, a home defense seminar at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) Annual Meeting is raising eyebrows because of its suggestion that guns be stored in kids' bedrooms [ http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/04/1964091/nra-guns-kids-room/ ].

Home defense was a focus of this year's NRA members meeting [ http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Home-defense-a-focus-for-gun-owners-at-NRA-4488629.php ], according to the Houston Chronicle. One of the offerings was a well-attended seminar on "Home Defense Concepts" taught by gun safety advocate and firearms instructor Rob Pincus [ https://www.facebook.com/RobPincusPro ].

In a video clip of the seminar obtained by ThinkProgress [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4UWcX-vrC4 (above, as embedded)], Pincus asks the members assembled where they thought gun safes should be located, in the interest of home defense.

"How about putting a quick-access safe in your kids’ room?" Pincus asks. "We have an emotional push back to that. Here’s my position on this. If you’re worried that your kid is going to try to break into the safe that is in their bedroom, with a gun in it, you have bigger problems than home defense."

As the group laughs, Pincus explains that in a home invasion situation, it makes sense to have a gun stored in a bedroom you're instinctively moving to defend.

"If that alarm goes off and the glass breaks and the dog starts barking, what’s the instinct that most people are going to have, in regards to, 'Am I going to run across the house to get the gun, or am I going to run over here to help the screaming kid?'" Pincus said. "And if I’m going to go to the kid anyway, and I have an extra gun and an extra safe, why not put it in their closet?"

In the past, Pincus has mixed gun safety training with the attitude that when provoked, gun owners must be prepared to use lethal force. Speaking with NPR's "Talk of the Nation" program in February, Pincus told the hosts that his classes focus on scenarios when the homeowner is surprised and required to make split-second decisions [ http://www.npr.org/2013/02/05/171173027/drawing-your-gun-the-moment-and-the-aftermath ].

"If someone presents that firearm, but they're not really willing to use it, they don't need to use it, it can actually cause more of a problem," Pincus said, noting that home defense scenarios rarely play out like they do in the movies.

The Chronicle noted that the audience seemed "divided" on the question of where to hide gun safes. What is more clear-cut is the dangers guns pose to children.

The Asbury Park Press reports that "guns still kill twice as many children [ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/11/guns-child-deaths-more-than-cancer/2073259/ ] and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease and 15 times more than infection, according to the New England Journal of Medicine."

Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, close to 70 children have been killed by gun violence [ http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html ], according to Slate.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/04/nra-speaker-gun-safes-kids-bedrooms-home-defense_n_3216157.html [with comments]


Many Suicidal Kids Have Access to Guns at Home: Study

Screening found this situation among 1 in 5 young ER patients

Robert Preidt
Monday, May 6, 2013

(HealthDay News) -- Nearly one-fifth of children and teens at risk for suicide say there are guns in their homes, and many know how to get their hands on both the guns and the bullets, a new study of U.S. emergency room patients found.

It included 524 patients, aged 10 to 21, who were seen for physical or mental health issues at three pediatric emergency departments. They were asked to complete a questionnaire designed to screen for suicide risk.

About 29 percent (151) of the patients were found to be at risk for suicide, and 17 percent of them said there were guns in or around their home. Of those who were at risk for suicide and reported guns in the home, 31 percent knew how to get the guns, 31 percent knew how to get bullets and 15 percent knew how to get both the guns and the bullets.

The findings are scheduled for Monday presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"This study highlights the importance of parents understanding the risks of having guns in their homes," study co-author and youth suicide expert Jeffrey Bridge said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.

"Being at risk for suicide and having access to firearms is a volatile mix. These conversations need to take place in the ED with families of children at risk for suicide," said Bridge, principal investigator at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guns are used by nearly half of young people who commit suicide.

"While many youths who kill themselves have mental health disorders, up to 40 percent of youths who kill themselves have no known mental illness," Bridge said. "Therefore, it is important to screen all children and adolescents for suicide, regardless of the reason they are visiting the ED."

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about teen suicide [ http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/suicide.html ].

American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, May 6, 2013
Last Updated: May 06, 2013

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay



Seligman boy accidentally shoots, kills father
http://www.dcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=117670 [with comments]


3-Year-Old Shoots and Kills Father


13-Year-Old Florida Boy Shoots 6-Year-Old Sister In Chest
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/06/13-year-old-shoots-6-year-old_n_3220852.html [with embedded video report, and comments]


Father cleaning shotgun shoots 10-year-old son in the head in N.C.
26 Mar 2013
A father who was cleaning his shotgun accidentally shot his 10-year-old son to death at their home in North Carolina.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/26/17470862-father-cleaning-shotgun-shoots-10-year-old-son-in-the-head-in-nc [with comments]


Michele Wanko Accidentally Kills Husband During Drunk Gun Lesson In Pennsylvania

Posted: 04/30/2013 12:58 pm EDT | Updated: 04/30/2013 11:30 pm EDT

A Pennsylvania man was killed Saturday when -- after a night of drinking -- he demonstrated for his wife how to operate a semiautomatic pistol.

“I shot him,” Michele Wanko [ http://delcotimes.com/articles/2013/04/29/news/doc517decbfc24a5752410814.txt ], 42, told a Parkside Police officer when authorities arrived at the house around 4:00 a.m., the Delco Times reports. Authorities found Wanko's husband, 43-year-old Michael, lying near the entrance with a gunshot wound to the upper chest.

The couple had spent the night sipping vodka and lemonade [ http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57581926-504083/michelle-wanko-pa-woman-accidentally-kills-husband-during-gun-lesson-police-say/ ] when Michele asked for a gun lesson so she could protect herself, according to CBS. They went down to the basement where Michael stored his guns in a safe as their sons, 2 and 5, slept upstairs.

“He took several of the weapons out [ http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Wife-Accidentally-Kills-Husband-During-Gun-Lesson-Police-205149081.html ], handguns and was demonstrating to her how the weapon worked as far as taking the magazine out, making sure it was safe, and how to pull the slide back,” said Parkside Police Chief John Egan, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Michele picked up a gun but when she pulled the slide back, as she was taught, the weapon went off, striking her husband. Michael was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

"Why, after six-and-a-half hours of drinking, would you go down and handle a gun, especially with someone who never shot a weapon before?" Egan said [ http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/delco/Cops-Woman-kills-husband-during-drunken-gun-lesson.html ], according to Philly.com. "The real big common denominator is the alcohol and it ended up costing him his life."

Michele was charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and possessing an instrument of crime. The children are staying with relatives.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/michele-wanko-gun-lesson-husband-dead_n_3185790.html [with comments]


Suicide Rate Rises Among Middle-Aged In The U.S., CDC Reports

05/02/13 05:08 PM ET EDT

NEW YORK -- The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28 percent in a decade, a period that included the recession and the mortgage crisis, the government reported Thursday.

The trend was most pronounced among white men and women in that age group. Their suicide rate jumped 40 percent between 1999 and 2010.

But the rates in younger and older people held steady. And there was little change among middle-aged blacks, Hispanics and most other racial and ethnic groups, the report [ http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6217a1.htm ] from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [ http://www.cdc.gov/ ; http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/ ] found.

Why did so many middle-aged whites – that is, those who are 35 to 64 years old – take their own lives?

One theory suggests the recession caused more emotional trauma in whites, who tend not to have the same kind of church support and extended families that blacks and Hispanics do.

The economy was in recession from the end of 2007 until mid-2009. Even well afterward, polls showed most Americans remained worried about weak hiring, a depressed housing market and other problems.

Pat Smith, violence-prevention program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said the recession – which hit manufacturing-heavy states particularly hard – may have pushed already-troubled people over the brink. Being unable to find a job or settling for one with lower pay or prestige could add "that final weight to a whole chain of events," she said.

Another theory notes that white baby boomers have always had higher rates of depression and suicide, and that has held true as they've hit middle age. During the 11-year period studied, suicide went from the eighth leading cause of death among middle-aged Americans to the fourth, behind cancer, heart disease and accidents.

"Some of us think we're facing an upsurge as this generation moves into later life," said Dr. Eric Caine, a suicide researcher at the University of Rochester.

One more possible contributor is the growing sale and abuse of prescription painkillers over the past decade. Some people commit suicide by overdose. In other cases, abuse of the drugs helps put people in a frame of mind to attempt suicide by other means, said Thomas Simon, one of the authors of the CDC report, which was based on death certificates.

People ages 35 to 64 account for about 57 percent of suicides in the U.S.

The report contained surprising information about how middle-aged people kill themselves: During the period studied, hangings overtook drug overdoses in that age group, becoming the No. 2 manner of suicide. But guns remained far in the lead and were the instrument of death in nearly half of all suicides among the middle-aged in 2010.

The CDC does not collect gun ownership statistics and did not look at the relationship between suicide rates and the prevalence of firearms.

For the entire U.S. population, there were 38,350 suicides in 2010, making it the nation's 10th leading cause of death, the CDC said. The overall national suicide rate climbed from 12 suicides per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2010. That was a 15 percent increase.

For the middle-aged, the rate jumped from about 14 per 100,000 to nearly 18 – a 28 percent increase. Among whites in that age group, it spiked from about 16 to 22.

Suicide prevention efforts have tended to concentrate on teenagers and the elderly, but research over the past several years has begun to focus on the middle-aged. The new CDC report is being called the first to show how the trend is playing out nationally and to look in depth at the racial and geographic breakdown.

Thirty-nine out of 50 states registered a statistically significant increase in suicide rates among the middle-aged. The West and the South had the highest rates. It's not clear why, but one factor may be cultural differences in willingness to seek help during tough times, Simon said.

Also, it may be more difficult to find counseling and mental health services in certain places, he added.

Suicides among middle-aged Native Americans and Alaska Natives climbed 65 percent, to 18.5 per 100,000. However, the overall numbers remain very small – 171 such deaths in 2010. And changes in small numbers can look unusually dramatic.

The CDC did not break out suicides of current and former military service members, a tragedy that has been getting increased attention. But a recent Department of Veterans Affairs report concluded that suicides among veterans have been relatively stable in the past decade and that veterans have been a shrinking percentage of suicides nationally.

Associated Press writer Jeff Karoub in Detroit contributed to this report.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline [ http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ ].

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/suicide-rate-rises-middle-aged_n_3203936.html [with comments]


Who Knew Guns Had Their Own Pro-life Movement?

[ http://billmoyers.com/2013/04/30/arizona-protects-its-endangered-guns/ ]

By Joel Schwartzberg
Posted: 05/02/2013 10:01 am

On Monday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation reinforcing [ http://news.yahoo.com/arizona-law-forces-cities-resell-guns-buy-back-041122251.html ] existing laws prohibiting local governments from destroying weapons they collect from the community. This is the third law protecting the life of guns Brewer has signed since becoming governor.

Previous laws required municipalities to sell guns found or seized, but the new law makes it clear this prohibition also applies to guns which are voluntarily surrendered -- often through police buyback programs.

Instead of being melted down, these guns must be used or sold to the general public -- in other words, put back into the very circulation from which violence easily erupts. To be even clearer, guns that leave the hands of people who would just as well do without them, will now be placed into the hands of many who relish the thought of pulling the trigger.

Writing in The Arizona Sun, Howard Fischer reports [ http://azdailysun.com/news/local/state-and-regional/brewer-signs-gun-buyback-bill/article_805ba434-9c1c-5604-b1d1-9db142af7aa6.html ] that many of the 1,900 emails, letters and calls urging Brewer to sign the bill were encouraged by a single group, the Arizona Citizens Defense League [ http://www.azcdl.org/ ], which, according to Fischer, "sent out notices to those on its mailing list urging them to click on a link to send a letter to Brewer."

The Associated Press reports [ http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ariz-bill-requiring-resale-buyback-guns-signed ] that one of those letters came from the NRA, "which argued that selling seized or forfeited guns 'would maintain their value, and their sale to the public would help recover public funds.' The NRA letter said the bill doesn't prevent a private group from holding an event and destroying the weapons."

So, basically, the pro-gun-life argument is that since everyone else is making money off guns, why shouldn't local governments get a piece of that action? (consequences notwithstanding), and that the destruction of a firearm is a private matter between a gun owner and his firearm. So if you really want to destroy a gun, says the new law, no problem -- do it yourself. After all, can destroying a weapon of destruction be that much harder or more dangerous than setting your DVR?

Fisher writes that the law will have a chilling effect on programs audaciously designed to get guns off the street... by getting guns off the street. "Any chance of cities or counties conducting future gun-buyback programs is about to evaporate," he writes.

Not since the Supreme Court gave corporations First Amendment privileges has so much life been bestowed on non-living objects -- especially ironic, given the purpose of these particular objects is to end life in its tracks. Who knew that guns had their own pro-life movement?

Originally posted at BillMoyers.com [ http://billmoyers.com/2013/04/30/arizona-protects-its-endangered-guns/ (with comments)]

© 2013 Public Affairs Television, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-schwartzberg/jan-brewer-gun-rights_b_3194083.html [with comments]


Phoenix, Arizona Gun Buyback Held Before Sales Law Goes Into Effect
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/05/phoenix-arizona-gun-buyback_n_3219056.html [with comments]


Alabama Senate Passes Bill To Nullify Gun Laws

Alabama state Sen. Paul Sanford, who recently introduced a bill to nullify all federal gun law in the state.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/alabama-gun-bill_n_3194777.html [also covers status of/developments re of such laws in other states; with comments]


California Gun Control Bill, SB 140, Signed Into Law By Jerry Brown

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Wednesday a measure that increases funding to confiscate the tens of thousands of weapons owned illegally throughout the state.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/california-gun-control-bill_n_3197224.html [with comments]


Missouri Advances More Pro-Gun Bills, Makes Push For Industry

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/missouri-gun-bills_n_3201923.html [with embedded video report, and comments]


Texas House passes 12 firearms bills on 'gun day'
May 4, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House approved a batch of bills Saturday to further soften gun laws that were already among the country's most firearms-friendly, allowing college students to carry handguns in class, putting potentially armed marshals in public schools and exempting the state from any future federal bans on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines or universal background checks.
Dubbed "gun day" by supporters and opponents alike, the parade of votes came as tens of thousands of members of the National Rifle Association attended the group's annual convention in Houston. Gov. Rick Perry welcomed convention attendees Friday with a video [below] of him taking target practice using a semi-automatic rifle.
The House also overwhelmingly approved a bill that attracted national attention when it was introduced by first-term, tea party Republican Rep. Steve Toth of The Woodlands. It would nullify within state borders any federal laws banning assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, or expansion of background checks for firearms owners, even though doing so would almost certainly violate the U.S. Constitution.
"There are 27 amendments in the Constitution but only one says 'shall not be infringed,'" Toth said. "The Second Amendment is the amendment that keeps the people free."

http://www.sfgate.com/news/texas/article/Texas-House-passes-12-firearms-bills-on-gun-day-4488090.php [no comments yet]


Attorney General Holder tells Brownback new gun law is unconstitutional

By Scott Rothschild
May 2, 2013

Topeka — A new Kansas law that criminalizes federal enforcement of gun laws is unconstitutional, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said.

In a letter to Gov. Sam Brownback, Holder also warned that the federal government "will take all appropriate actions, including litigation if necessary, to prevent the State of Kansas from interfering with the activities of federal officials enforcing federal law."

The dispute is over Senate Bill 102, which Brownback signed into law last month. The Second Amendment Protection Act excludes from federal regulation any gun made or owned in Kansas. It will allow law enforcement in Kansas to charge federal authorities with crimes if they tried to enforce action against a Kansas-protected gun.

Holder said, "In purporting to override federal law and to criminalize the official acts of federal officers S.B. 102 directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional." Holder said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas, will continue to enforce federal firearms laws and regulations.

Brownback signed the bill on April 16. The law became effective April 25, and Holder sent the letter one day later.

Supporters of the bill said it was necessary in light of attempts by the federal government to adopt new gun control legislation.

But U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom issued a statement calling the law, "illegal, unenforceable, and also bad policy.”

Grissom said the statute threatens federal officers who are trying to keep the keep the United States safe. "These hard-working federal employees cannot be forced to choose between the risk of a criminal prosecution and the continued performance of their federal duties," he said.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked the Legislature for $625,000 to defend legal challenges against the law.

The measure was approved by wide margins in the Legislature; 35-4 in the Senate, and 96-24 in the House. Among Douglas County legislators, only state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and state Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence, voted against the final bill.

© Copyright 2013 The BaldwinCity.com

http://signal.baldwincity.com/news/2013/may/02/attorney-general-holder-tells-brownback-new-gun-la/ [no comments yet]


Kansas governor, US AG spar over new state gun law

By JOHN HANNA, AP Political Writer
Updated 5:24 pm, Thursday, May 2, 2013

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has told Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback that a new state law attempting to block federal regulation of some guns is unconstitutional and that the federal government is willing to go to court over the issue.

But Brownback replied in a letter Thursday that Kansans hold dear their right to bear arms and are protecting the state's sovereignty. Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a former law professor who helped draft the law, accused the nation's top law enforcement official of "blustering" over the issue.

"The people of Kansas have clearly expressed their sovereign will," Brownback said at the conclusion of his letter. "It is my hope that upon further review, you will see their right to do so."

Kansas' law declares that the federal government has no authority to regulate guns, ammunition and accessories manufactured, sold and kept only in Kansas. The law also makes it a felony for a federal agent to enforce any law, regulation, order or treaty covering those items.

The new statute says that Kansas-only guns, ammunition and accessories aren't a part of interstate commerce, which the federal government regulates under the U.S. Constitution. But in a letter to Brownback, Holder said the Constitution prohibits states from pre-empting federal laws.

Holder sent his letter April 26, the day after the Kansas law took effect, and the U.S. attorney's office for Kansas released it Thursday.

"Kansas may not prevent federal employees and officials from carrying out their official responsibilities," Holder wrote in his letter. "And a state certainly may not criminalize the exercise of federal responsibilities."

Patricia Stoneking, president of the Kansas State Rifle Association, said gun rights supporters were prepared for such a response from President Barack Obama's administration. The president has sought new gun control measures since December's deadly mass elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The Republican governor is a gun rights supporter, and the measure passed the GOP-dominated Legislature by wide margins. Kobach also is a Republican.

"I think the people of Kansas are going to back this up," Stoneking said. "Probably thousands of grass-roots citizens are all in."

Brownback said in his letter to Holder: "The right to keep and bear arms is a right that Kansans hold dear."

The governor added, "The people of Kansas have repeatedly and overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment to protecting this fundamental right."

The Kansas law is modeled on a 2009 Montana law that is being reviewed by a federal appeals court, and Alaska lawmakers approved a similar measure last month. Alabama, Missouri and Oklahoma lawmakers are considering similar legislation.

Supporters of the Kansas law softened it — to say that federal agents wouldn't be arrested or detained while trials were pending — and insist that it will withstand court scrutiny. A federal agent convicted for the first time under the Kansas law could face six months in prison, though probation would be the presumed sentence.

"These hard-working federal employees cannot be forced to choose between the risk of a criminal prosecution and the continued performance of their federal duties," Barry Grissom, the U.S. attorney for Kansas, said in a statement Thursday.

But Kobach called Holder's analysis "simplistic and incorrect" and said the Kansas law is valid to protect the state's residents against unconstitutional measures enacted by Congress.

"We are very, very confident of our position," Kobach said in an interview. "The state of Kansas is not in any way afraid of a legal challenge."

The office of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has already anticipated a potential legal challenge from the federal government, and has asked legislators to increase its budget by $225,000 over the next two years to cover litigation costs.

Stoneking said a dispute could arise after a local gunsmith sells a firearm manufactured in Kansas to a state resident without complying with federal requirements for a background check on the buyer or registering the gun. Kobach agreed.

"Until that actually happens, there won't be any litigation," Stoneking said. "The federal government will have to have some way of finding out."

Supporters of the Kansas law have said they worry about attempts by the federal government to restrict or ban the sale of some weapons — or even confiscate them.

Holder said in his letter that federal law enforcement agencies will "continue to execute their duties to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations.

"Moreover, the United States will take all appropriate action, including litigation if necessary, to prevent the State of Kansas from interfering with the activities of federal officials enforcing federal law," Holder wrote.


Text of the new Kansas law: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/documents/sb102_enrolled.pdf ( http://bit.ly/132107z )

Kansas governor: https://governor.ks.gov/

U.S. attorney general's office: http://www.justice.gov/ag/

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Holder-to-gov-New-Kan-law-is-unconstitutional-4482714.php [with comment]


Louie Gohmert: Eric Holder Spent 'Legal Career Helping Terrorists'

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said that Attorney General Eric Holder "spent more of his legal career helping terrorists than defending the country" on Glenn Beck's radio show Tuesday.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By Will Wrigley
Posted: 04/30/2013 4:46 pm EDT

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) described on Tuesday the career of Attorney General Eric Holder as one that has abetted "terrorists," according to ThinkProgress [ http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/04/30/1942011/tea-party-congressman-attorney-general-holder-sympathized-with-boston-bombers/ ].

Speaking on Glenn Beck's radio show about the Boston bombing suspects [audio of the full interview at http://soundcloud.com/thinkpro/gohmert-on-holder ], Gohmert took a shot at Holder, insinuating that he is on the side of the suspects. "When your attorney general spent more of his legal career helping terrorists than defending the country, then you know we all have certain biases and lean certain ways," Gohmert said.

The Tea Party favorite was chastising the Obama administration's role in allowing a federal judge to read Miranda rights to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. Gohmert said that the judge erred in Mirandizing Tsarnaev and should have waited 48 hours after he began talking to investigators, as reports indicate that Tsarnaev became silent [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-confession-miranda_n_3142731.html ] after he was read his rights.

Under what the administration described as a "public safety exception [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-miranda_n_3134745.html ]," Tsarnaev, an American citizen, was actually interrogated for 16 hours before he was read his Miranda rights.

The delayed reading provoked controversy in its own right [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-miranda_n_3159287.html ]. The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the delay, but a number of Republicans as well as some Democrats said the delay should have been longer.

"I would have thought the public safety exception would have allowed more time for the questioning of the suspect prior to the arraignment and/or advising of rights," Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), told the Associated Press [id.].

Gohmert has criticized the Obama administration [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/louie-gohmert-muslim-brotherhood_n_3162677.html ] over the past week about what he says is a "resistance" to declare war on "radical Islam" in the wake of the Boston bombings. He recently claimed that the administration's actions were indicative of "Muslim brotherhood members" influencing the administration, something he reiterated to Beck.

Citing an "Egyptian magazine," Gohmert said that "there are six members of the Muslim brotherhood who are active and are playing a vital role in their administration."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/louie-gohmert-eric-holder_n_3187409.html [with comments]


Greeting card turns children’s “Muslim” doll into “Terrorist” doll

May 3, 2013
http://chicagomonitor.com/2013/05/antimuslimgreetingcard/ [no comments yet] [via http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/06/muslim-terrorist-doll-car_n_3222996.html (with embedded slideshow "10 Myths About Muslims in the West", and comments)]


Barry West, Tennessee County Commissioner, Draws Backlash For 'How To Wink At A Muslim' Post

Barry West
[ http://www.tullahomanews.com/?p=14827 ]

By Nick Wing
Posted: 05/01/2013 12:28 pm EDT | Updated: 05/01/2013 5:48 pm EDT

Barry West, commissioner for Coffee County in Middle Tennessee, is under fire this week after posting a picture to Facebook over the weekend that claimed to offer advice on "how to wink at a Muslim."

(Photo via WSMV [ http://www.wsmv.com/story/22124861/commissioner-posts-controversial-gun-image-referencing-muslims ])

The Tullahoma News first questioned [ http://www.tullahomanews.com/?p=14827 ] West about the image on Tuesday, after a screenshot of the image was passed around on social media. He denied having anything against Muslims in particular, but claimed to be "making a point" with what he called a "humorous" image. He has since taken it down.

"I’m prejudiced against anyone who’s trying to tear down this country, Muslims, Mexicans, anybody," he said. "If you come into this country illegally or harm us or take away benefits, I’m against it."

Tennessee Muslims aren't laughing at West's display, and have called it offensive, threatening and worthy of his dismissal from office.

As the Tennessean reports [ http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130501/NEWS02/305010108/Middle-TN-commissioner-s-Facebook-post-frightens-Muslims ], West's Islamophobic display came at a time when some Muslims in the state are likely on edge:

Commissioner Barry West’s post follows a string of anti-Muslim acts throughout Middle Tennessee in recent years, including at least four incidents of mosque vandalism. Opposition to a new mosque in Rutherford County was so strong it took federal Justice Department intervention to open it last year.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro addressed their concerns in a statement.

"This does not only incite hatred but also violence against law-abiding citizens of our great country," they said. "Mr. West obviously lacks in wisdom and judgment and, therefore, cannot be trusted as commissioner. I wonder what would Mr. West's response would be if the same photo was posted by someone with a caption that says: 'How to Wink at Mr. West, a Coffee County Commissioner?'"

Tennessee's WSMV caught up [ http://www.wsmv.com/story/22124861/commissioner-posts-controversial-gun-image-referencing-muslims ] with Coffee County Mayor David Pennington, who appeared to dismiss the idea of firing West.

"I seen the post," Pennington told the station. "My answer to that is, you know, what a commissioner does on his off time -- as long as he's not in a full commission meeting -- you know, I have no control over what a commissioner does."

(Watch WSMV's segment on the issue above [embedded].)

West has meanwhile shifted his argument, telling the Tennessean [ http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130430/NEWS01/304300090/Muslim-groups-outraged-by-Tennessee-official-s-post ] that he believes he is being "singled out" for sharing the image.

"No I did not Twitter this," he said. "[N]o I did not create this picture ... yes I shared it ... so why am I being singled out?"

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/barry-west-tennessee-muslims_n_3193600.html [with WSMV's video report embedded, and comments]


NRA Money, Power Responsible For Swayed Gun Control Vote

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/nra-gun-control_n_3192671.html [with embedded video "Obama: NRA 'Willfully Lied'", and comments; original at http://www.publicintegrity.org/2013/05/01/12591/gun-lobbys-money-and-power-still-holds-sway-over-congress (with comments)]


Paul Ryan Opposes Background Check Legislation Despite Support For Gun Show, Internet Restrictions
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/paul-ryan-background-checks_n_3192136.html [with embedded video report, and comments]


Paul Ryan Uses 'Anchor Baby' Slur In Town Hall Meeting
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/paul-ryan-uses-anchor-bab_n_3195472.html [the YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIhzZzqCTGk , from/embedded at http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2013/05/01/1945601/paul-ryan-anchor-babies/ (with comments); with comments]


RNC Ad Touts Failure Of Popular Background Checks Measure

By Luke Johnson
Posted: 05/02/2013 10:33 am EDT

The Republican National Committee touted the failure of a bipartisan background check amendment in a web ad released Wednesday, despite the fact that the measure is broadly supported by the public and senators who voted against it have seen their popularity drop.

The one-minute video [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU12wu-bZOU (above, as embedded)] uses a compilation of news footage, with one reporter saying that President Barack Obama has faced a "string of defeats in Congress," and another pointing out that "the gun bill failed."

Nine out of 10 Americans support background checks, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/13/background-checks-poll_n_3070954.html ], and several senators who voted against the amendment have seen dramatic declines in their poll numbers [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/gun-background-checks-poll_n_3177865.html ]. One of them, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), acknowledged that his poll numbers were [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/jeff-flake-background-checks_n_3186764.html ] "somewhere just below pond scum."

Sen. Kelly Ayotte's (R-N.H.) approval ratings have also plummeted [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/kelly-ayottes-approval_n_3147834.html ], and she took heat this week over her vote [ http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/30/17988465-gun-vote-stirs-passion-at-ayotte-town-hall-meetings ] at town halls.

At the 19-second mark in the ad, Obama can be seen consoling Nicole Hockley after the Senate defeated the background check bill. Hockley lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The spot has drawn criticism for being insensitive. The liberal group Americans United For Change, which first highlighted the inclusion of the Hockley footage, emailed out the ad with the subject line, "Are You Serious, RNC?" Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse called it [ https://twitter.com/woodhouseb/status/329692088742576128 ] "disgusting."

RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer defended the ad, noting on Twitter that the footage was taken from a news package ABC put together. "I dont think we control ABC," he said [ https://twitter.com/seanspicer/status/329691836186783745 ].

The ad comes after Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who sponsored the background checks measure along with Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), said that some Republicans voted against it [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/pat-toomey-background-checks_n_3192690.html ] because they didn't want to "be seen helping the president."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/rnc-background-checks_n_3200067.html [the YouTube of the ad, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU12wu-bZOU , as embedded; with comments]


Republicans embrace conspiracy theory that DHS is buying up ammo

James Inhofe and Jim Jordan believe the Obama Administration is trying to curb access to bullets
Apr 30, 2013
http://www.salon.com/2013/04/30/republicans_embrace_conspiracy_theory_that_dhs_is_buying_up_ammo/ [with comments]


NRCC Website Hacked To Show Links To Viagra
On Sunday the site looked like this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/06/nrcc-hacked_n_3222623.html [with comments]


Jim Porter, Incoming NRA President, Talked 'Fake' President Obama, 'War Of Northern Aggression'

By Nick Wing
Posted: 05/03/2013 6:31 pm EDT

The National Rifle Association chose its new president [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/jim-porter-nra-president_n_3200744.html ] earlier this week, selecting Jim Porter, a 64-year-old Alabama attorney and the organization's current first vice president, to take the reins from outgoing president David Keene.

Porter will assume his new role on Monday, bringing with him a colorful past that includes matter-of-fact references to "the war of northern aggression" and the "fake" President Barack Obama. And all of that was from a single 2012 speech [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opjdxnag3TE (above, as embedded)] that was recently uncovered by the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence [ http://www.meetthenra.org/nra-member/Jim%20Porter ] and reported on by Media Matters [ http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/05/02/five-things-to-know-about-the-nras-new-presiden/193875 ]. (Watch the entire video above.)

Addressing a crowd at the New York Rifle & Pistol Association's Annual Meeting, Porter used a history lesson to encourage the organization to return to its founding purpose: to train citizens to use "standard military firearms" so they'd be prepared to "fight tyranny."

“NRA was started 1871 right here in New York state," he said. "It was started by some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the 'War of Northern Aggression.' Now y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it the 'War of Northern Aggression' down south."

Porter continued: "That was the very reason that they started the National Rifle Association, was to teach and train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm and I am one who still feels very strongly that that is one of our greatest charges that we can have today, is to train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm so when they have to fight for their country, they’re ready to do it. Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they’re ready to do it. Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and the weapons to do it."

As Think Progress notes [ http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/03/1958961/incoming-nra-president-calls-civil-war-the-war-of-northern-aggression/ ], the use of the term "standard military firearm" is significant. It channels the argument made in some pro-gun circles that the types of automatic weapons issued to service members should be made available to civilians, effectively to even the playing field if the government turns on its citizens.

Porter also launched an aggressive attack on Obama and his administration.

“I get so sick and tired of all these people with this fake president that we got who wants to say, ‘Well, you know he hadn’t done anything bad for gun owners,'" he said. "I say, let me tell you something bad that he’s done. His entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-Second Amendment."

He went on to call Attorney General Eric Holder "rabidly un-American" and accused then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of "trying to kill the Second Amendment at the United Nations," in an apparent attempt to implicate her in a conspiracy theory [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/23/arms-trade-treaty-nra_n_2935593.html ] circulated by some gun rights activists.

Porter made his first public appearance since the announcement on Friday at the NRA's annual convention [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/nra-meeting_n_3207358.html ], delivering a speech that suggested this rhetoric was likely to be par for the course.

“This is not a battle about gun rights,” Porter said. He claimed that he was engaged in a "culture war," according to the Associated Press [ http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20130503-nra-official-culture-war-more-than-gun-rights.ece ]. "(You) here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/jim-porter-nra_n_3211287.html [the YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opjdxnag3TE , as embedded; with comments]


2013 NRA Members' Meeting: Jim Porter

Published on May 5, 2013 by NRAVideos

NRA First Vice President Jim Porter addresses the crowd at the NRA Members' Meeting in Houston, Texas. Porter celebrates the legacy of outgoing NRA President David Keene. He also talks about the ongoing threat of attacks on the Second Amendment.



2013 NRA Members' Meeting: David Keene

Published on May 5, 2013 by NRAVideos

NRA President David Keene addresses the crowd at the NRA Members' Meeting in Houston, Texas. Keene notes that despite attempts by the liberal media and political elites, the NRA is stronger than ever. He also praises NRA CEO and EVP Wayne LaPierre for his tireless work to ensure Second Amendment freedoms for all Americans.



Beck: Houston airport shooting a ‘set up’ of NRA like ‘burning of the Reichstag’

By David Edwards
Friday, May 3, 2013 9:26 EDT

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck responded to a shooting at Houston’s largest airport on Thursday by suggesting that it had been a plot to “set up” gun owners like the the burning of German’s parliament — or Reichstag — in 1933, which Nazis exploited as a pretext to suspend constitutional rights.

According to CBS News [ http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57582624/1-killed-in-houston-airport-shooting/ ], a man named Carnell Moore fired a pistol into the ceiling of Terminal B at Bush International Airport and was shot by a federal agent. At the same time, Carnell also shot himself. A fully-loaded, black Smith & Wesson AR-15 was found in a suitcase next to where he was sitting.

Messages on social media indicated that Carnell had planned a mass shooting, but a suicide note found on the body suggested that he changed his mind.

But because the shooting happened as members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) were arriving in Houston for its annual convention, Beck saw a conspiracy behind Carnell’s actions.

“The idea that this is happening at the airport with the NRA is too much to believe,” Beck told a studio audience in Houston. “If I were a journalist — let me correct that — if I were an honest journalist, I would be looking for these connections. Look for the connections of who this man is and any connection he might have to the uber-Left.”

“I believe this man could fall into the category of somebody who has lost his job, is depressed, etc., etc. Somebody comes in off to the side, winds him up, says, ‘Oh, you should make a statement, you should make a statement.’ I believe that’s probably — I shouldn’t say that — I believe it is a very good chance that is what happened.”

But Beck speculated that the man realized that “that’s not who I am” and decided not to go through with the mass killing.

“If I were an honest journalist, I’d find out where these guns came from — were they purchased or were they illegal?” he continued. “If there were illegal, oh, I can guarantee you, this is a set up. Someone knows history. I do.”

“At least I know enough history to know about the burning of the Reichstag…. These are the conditions that we, as Americans, now face.”

Although exact details are not clear, the Reichstag burned because of arson on February 27, 1933, allowing the Nazis and the German Nationalist People’s Party to issue emergency degrees suspending the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and other constitutional rights.

“Justified on the false premise that the Communists were planning an uprising to overthrow the state, the Reichstag Fire Decree permitted the regime to arrest and incarcerate political opponents without specific charge, dissolve political organizations, and to suppress publications,” the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum website states [ http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007657 ]. “Although the Communists had not, in fact, developed any plans for an uprising, the impact of propaganda and terror on existing fears of a Communist takeover convinced many Germans that Hitler’s decisive action had saved the nation from ‘Bolshevism.’”

Beck is scheduled to be the featured speaker [ http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/news-from-nra-ila/2013/3/nras-annual-meetings-exhibits-2013.aspx ] at the NRA’s Stand and Fight Rally on Saturday in Houston.

Watch this video from The Blaze, uploaded May 2, 2013 [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIzahRiKiBw (next below, as embedded)].

(h/t: Right Wing Watch [ http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/beck-houston-airport-shooting-i-could-guarantee-you-set ])

Copyright © 2013 Raw Story Media, Inc.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/03/beck-houston-airport-shooting-a-set-up-of-nra-like-burning-of-the-reichstag/ [with comments]


Ari Fleischer Claims Nazis Were Law-Abiding In Justification Of Guantanamo Bay
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/ari-fleischer-nazi_n_3209738.html [with embedded video, and comments]


Ace Of Base's Nazi Past Revealed In Disturbing Lyrics Of Ulf Ekberg's Former Band (UPDATED)

Ace of Base fans will be disappointed to learn that one of the band's founding members has a disturbing secret: He was in a Nazi band and has ties to a political party that also leans uncomfortably toward the hate-group side of the spectrum.
The revelations, which are admittedly not so much new as little-known, surfaced in a Noisey article about Ulf Ekberg [ http://noisey.vice.com/blog/ace-of-bases-secret-nazi-past ] -- one of the "All That She Wants" band's founding members. It turns out that Ekberg was in a band called Commit Suicide, and unfortunately that's the least troubling part of the story.
Among the lyrics Commit Suicide sang (originally in Swedish, this is Noisey's translation): "Men in white hoods march down the road, we enjoy ourselves when we're sawing off n-----s’ heads/ Immigrant, we hate you! Out, out, out, out! Nordic people, wake up now! Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot!"
Here's a photo of Ekberg in his Nazi days:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/ace-of-base-nazi-past-lyrics_n_3148797.html [with comments]


Greeley billboards compare modern gun advocates to historical Native Americans

Two of the billboards can be found in Greeley.
(Credit: Tumblr)

Posted on: 12:55 pm, April 29, 2013, by Web Staff, updated on: 01:04 pm, April 29, 2013

DENVER – A pair of billboards that seem to compare the concerns of the modern gun rights movement to the plight of Native Americans more than a century ago are, perhaps unsurprisingly, sparking discussion in Greeley.

The ads show an old (or at least old-looking) photograph of three men in traditional Native American garb along with the legend “Turn in your arms. The government will take care of you.”

The message would seem to recall incidents such as the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, in which U.S. Cavalry troops disarmed a large group of Lakota before slaughtering them.

The billboards belong to Lamar Advertising of Denver. The ads’ buyers have asked to remain anonymous, account executive Matt Wells told the Greeley Tribune [ http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/crime/6259970-113/native-american-billboard-rights ]. He would only identify them as “a group of local residents.”

“I think it’s a little bit extreme, of course, but I think people are really worried about their gun rights and what liberties are going to be taken away,” he said.

Irene Vernon, a Colorado State University professor and chairwoman of the ethnic studies department, told the newspaper the billboards’ message takes a narrow view of a much more complicated history. It’s not as if Native Americans just gave up their guns and immediately found themselves on reservations, she said.

“It wasn’t just about our guns,” said Vernon, a Native American.

Greeley resident Maureen Brucker, who has worked with Native American organizations and is considered an honorary family member at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, didn’t mince words.

“I thought it was pretty cowardly that someone would put something like that up and spend the money for a billboard but didn’t have the courage to put their name on it,” she told the paper.

Copyright © 2013, KDVR

http://kdvr.com/2013/04/29/greeley-billboards-compare-modern-gun-advocates-to-historical-native-americans/ [with comments]


Alex Jones: Conspiracy Inc.

Conspiracy theories can be big business. Here's how the multi-platform entrepreneur makes his millions
May 2, 2013
http://www.salon.com/2013/05/02/alex_jones_conspiracy_inc/ [with comments]


Three New Facts about the Tea Party

The first large-scale political-science survey of Tea Party activists shows the movement isn't going anywhere—and the GOP had better brace itself.

Abby Rapoport
April 29, 2013

For a movement that’s helped to reshape the Republican Party—and by extension, reshape American politics—we know shockingly little about the people who make up the Tea Party. While some in the GOP once hoped to co-opt the movement, it’s increasingly unclear which group—the Tea Party or establishment Republicans—is running the show. Politicians have largely relied on conjecture and assumption to determine the positions and priorities of Tea Party activists.

Until now. The results of the first political science survey [ http://wmpeople.wm.edu/asset/index/rbrapo/republicanfactionalismandteapartyactivists ] of Tea Party activists show that the constituency isn’t going away any time soon—and Republicans hoping the activists will begin to moderate their stances should prepare for disappointment. Based out of the College of William and Mary, the report surveyed more than 11,000 members of FreedomWorks, one of the largest and most influential Tea Party groups. The political scientists also relied on a separate survey of registered voters through the YouGov firm to compare those who identified with the Tea Party movement to those Republicans who did not. (Disclosure: The political scientist leading the survey was my father, Ronald Rapoport [ http://wmpeople.wm.edu/site/page/rbrapo/ronaldbrapoport ], with whom I worked in writing this piece.)

For the first time, we can now look at what a huge sample of Tea Party activists believe, as well as examine how those who identify with the Tea Party differ from their establishment GOP counterparts. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the study:

1. Tea Party activists are not Republicans.

Republicans are now reliant on the Tea Party. While the number of Tea Party supporters has declined since 2010, they still make up around half of Republicans, according to NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys. More important, they are the most active supporters when it comes to voting in primaries, volunteering on campaigns, and participating in various other activities political parties are reliant upon. Seventy-three percent of Republicans who attended a political rally or meeting identified with the Tea Party. The activists are vehemently anti-Democratic. Among the FreedomWorks sample, only 3 percent of people voted for Obama or a Democratic House candidate in 2008, and less than 6 percent identify as either independents or Democrats.

Yet the Tea Party activists doing work for the Republicans are surprisingly negative about the party they’re helping. While 70 percent of FreedomWorks activists identify as Republican, another 23 percent reject the Republican label entirely and instead, when asked which political party they identify with, choose “other.” Asked if they considered themselves more Republican or more a Tea Party member, more than three-quarters chose Tea Party.

Given that so many don’t identify with the GOP, it’s perhaps not surprising that the activists also rate the party they vote for so poorly. Given a spectrum of seven choices from “outstanding” to “poor,” only 9 percent of activists rated the Republican Party in the top two categories. Meanwhile, 17 percent put the party in the bottom two. In total, 32 percent rated the party in one of the three positive categories while a whopping 40 percent rated the party in one of the negative ones.

In other words, the activists providing a huge amount of the labor and enthusiasm for Republican candidates are, at best, lukewarm on the party they’re voting for. Few are concerned about what their impact on the future of the GOP will be. Which brings us to:

2. Tea Party activists aren’t nearly as concerned about winning.

Or at least they’re significantly more concerned with ideological purity than with political pragmatism. The survey asked FreedomWorks activists if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “When we feel strongly about political issues, we should not be willing to compromise with our political opponents.” Altogether, more than 80 percent agreed to some extent. Thirty-two percent of respondents “agree strongly” with the statement. Meanwhile, less than 10 percent disagreed even “slightly.” In another series of questions sent out to FreedomWorks activists, the survey asked whether they would prefer a candidate with whom they agree on most important issues but who polls far behind the probable Democratic nominee or a candidate with whom they agree “on some of the most important issues” but who’s likely to win. More than three-fourths of respondents preferred the candidate who was more likely to lose but shared their positions.

In other words, the Tea Party cares more about what nominees believe than whether they can win—and compromising on politics means compromising on principle.

The findings help explain what’s happened in so many GOP primary races. Both nationally and at the state level, moderate GOP officeholders found themselves with primary challengers. The Tea Party has helped propel several upstart candidacies, like Christine O’Donnell’s infamous effort to win Delaware’s Senate seat or more recently, Richard Mourdock’s successful challenge to sitting Senator Dick Lugar. In both of those cases, and several others, the Tea Party candidate has proved too extreme for the general election and lost. But despite the losses, the push toward conservative purity continues. A recent New York Times story showed [ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/us/politics/majority-leaders-quest-to-soften-gops-image-hits-wall.html?pagewanted=all ] that even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, seen as the leader with the most clout in the Tea Party movement, has been unable to move the faction's members in his party into more moderate terrain. In light of these survey results, that makes sense—Tea Party elected officials are simply reflecting their supporters. Meanwhile, those left in the establishment fear the party’s new direction.

3. Attempts to bridge the gap between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party are doomed to fail.

There’s no shortage of moves from Republicans to keep the Tea Party in the fold while shifting things more to the center. After the dismal GOP performance in the 2012 elections, establishment figures began pushing back against the Tea Party. Famous consultant Karl Rove announced a new political action committee designed to challenge extreme GOP candidates with more marketable ones. The national party even put out a report after the 2012 losses that pushed for more pragmatic candidates that could have a broader appeal. As noted, even Eric Cantor is trying.

But the gap between the two groups is huge. In the YouGov survey the study uses, more than two-thirds of Tea Partiers put themselves in the two most conservative categories on economic policy, social policy, and overall policy. Only 23 percent of non-Tea Partiers place themselves in the most conservative categories on all three issues; nearly 40 percent don’t locate themselves in the most conservative categories for any of the three policy areas.

Most jarring: On some issues, like abolishing the Department of Education and environmental regulation, the establishment Republicans are actually closer to Democrats than they are to the Tea Party respondents. That’s a gap too large to be overcome by a few political action committees and gestures of goodwill.

Tea Party activists dominate the Republican Party, and they’re no more willing to compromise with the GOP than they are with Democrats. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe summed it up nicely in his book title: Hostile Takeover [ http://www.amazon.com/Hostile-Takeover-Centralized-Governments-Stranglehold/dp/0062196014 ].

Simply put, the GOP is too reliant on the Tea Party—and based on these survey results, the Tea Party doesn’t care about the GOP’s fate. It cares about moving the political conversation increasingly rightward.

© 2013 by The American Prospect

http://prospect.org/article/three-new-facts-about-tea-party [with comments]


Bill Keating: John Boehner 'Is The Captain Of A Mutinous Ship'

Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) told constituents on Thursday that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is "the captain of a mutinous ship."

By Preston Maddock
Posted: 05/02/2013 6:53 pm EDT | Updated: 05/03/2013 12:25 pm EDT

Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) channeled the maritime spirit of Martha's Vineyard on Thursday to take a swipe at House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), The Martha Vineyard's Times reported [ http://www.mvtimes.com/2013/05/02/island-visit-congressman-keating-visits-room-full-views-15415/ ].

While speaking with a constituent about congressional intransigence, Keating pointed the finger at tea party members of the Republican conference. "The speaker is the captain of a mutinous ship," he said.

Later in the day, during a coffee roundtable, Keating continued to bemoan the performance of America's elected officials in Washington. "This Congress, the last one and this one, clearly has been one of the worst Congresses we've had," he said.

Keating's sentiment is shared with a vast majority of Americans, who have never had a lower opinion of Congress [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/congress-poll-approval-rating_n_2458914.html ].

Still, without the tea party influence, Keating told constituents he thought progress could be made in Congress, citing the Violence Against Women Act, where a minority of House Republicans joined Democrats to pass the legislation.

"So what's frustrating is, the tea party influence is very real, and it's more of an issue than people think," Keating said.

He went on to tell constituents that these members are holding "the Republican caucus hostage."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/bill-keating-john-boehner_n_3204414.html [with comments]


A House in chaos

John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy are plagued by a divided conference.
Less than two weeks ago, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy walked upstairs to Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Capitol office to discuss a sensitive issue: Why did Cantor schedule a vote before McCarthy had the chance to survey Republican support?
The meeting — described as “tense” by several people familiar with it — ended with McCarthy abruptly standing up and storming out of the room. Aides downplayed the exchange. But a week later, it turned out that McCarthy’s pique was merited: The health care-related bill was suddenly pulled from the floor in what was the most recent stumble for House Republicans.
The GOP leadership is dealing with an unprecedented level of frustration in running the House, according to conversations with more than a dozen aides and lawmakers in and around leadership. Leadership is talking past each other. The conference is split by warring factions. And influential outside groups are fighting them.
The chaos has led to a sense of stalemate for House Republicans, who have been in the majority since 2011.
“There’s so much stuff happening up here that sometimes, you don’t pay attention to some of the more intricate details of something until it comes right to you,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a GOP whip from Georgia.
Speaker John Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy are plagued by a conference split into two groups. In one camp are stiff ideologues who didn’t extract any lesson from Mitt Romney’s loss and are only looking to slash spending and defund President Barack Obama’s health care law at every turn. In the other are lawmakers who are aligned with Cantor, who is almost singularly driving an agenda which is zeroed in on family issues.
Boehner seems more focused on passing big pieces of legislation like hiking the debt ceiling and extending government funding, sometimes drawing flak for having to rely on Democrats to move these bills over the finish line.

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/house-in-chaos-republican-leadership-eric-cantor-90803.html [with comments]


House Obamacare Repeal Vote Planned For 'The Near Future'

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday the House would hold yet another Obamacare repeal vote in the "near future".
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

By Luke Johnson
Posted: 05/03/2013 4:11 pm EDT | Updated: 05/03/2013 5:49 pm EDT

House Republicans are planning what is likely to be the 37th symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, according to a memo sent out to House Republicans Friday by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

"While we have not locked in the timing, I expect that the House will vote on full repeal of ObamaCare in the near future," Cantor said in the memo.

The House voted 36 times [ http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/04/house-gop-conservatives-obamacare-repeal-vote.php ] to repeal Obamacare in 2011 and 2012, according to TPM. None of the measures passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, let alone reached the president for his signature.

In April at the Heritage Foundation, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) explained the rationale for holding a repeal vote again. "If you're a freshman, the guys who've been up here the last year -- we can go home and say, 'Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare.' -- tell me what the new guys are supposed to say," he said [id.]. "We haven't had a repeal or replace vote this year."

The vote to repeal would come after more conservative House members defeated Cantor's effort in late April to tweak [ http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/gop-may-pull-contentious-obamacare-bill-90561.html ] part of the health care law. The Helping Sick Americans Now Act aimed to transfer money [ http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/04/house-gop-bill-preexisting-conditions.php ] from a public health awareness account, which has been characterized by Republicans as a "slush fund," to an underfunded high-risk pool program. Other House Republicans did not want to be seen as helping fund Obamacare [ http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/gop-may-pull-contentious-obamacare-bill-90561.html ] amid their quest for full repeal.

"House Republicans look forward to offering Democratic freshman the opportunity to put their full support behind ObamaCare as its implementation causes rates to increase, coverage to be dropped and the quality of care to suffer," said Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper in an email. "We intend to bring a full repeal vote to the floor soon, and will continue to advocate for patient-centered health care reform that lowers costs and improves care."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/house-obamacare-repeal_n_3210603.html [with embedded video "Bachmann: Repeal Obamacare Before It 'Literally' Kills People", and comments]


“This could be a career ender for Michele Bachmann”

The ethics questions swirling around the Tea Party lawmaker are a "big problem," experts say
May 2, 2013
http://www.salon.com/2013/05/02/this_could_be_a_career_ender_for_michele_bachmann/ [with comments]


Former Nevada Senate Candidate Angle Pays $25,000 Civil Penalty
May 1, 2013
The campaign committee of Sharron Angle, the 2010 Republican candidate against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has paid a $25,725 penalty in a settlement negotiated with the Federal Election Commission.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/moneyline/former-nevada-senate-candidate-angle-pays-25000-civil-penalty/ [with comments]


Rick Santorum Praises NRA As Constitution 'Warriors'


05/03/13 04:17 PM ET EDT

HOUSTON -- Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum praised the National Rifle Association as "warriors" defending the U.S. Constitution.

Santorum spoke Friday in the political rally at the NRA's national convention in Houston. The convention is being held amid the backdrop of the fierce gun control debate raging across the country and the recent defeat of a major gun control bill in the U.S. Senate.

Santorum, a former senator from Pennyslvania, told NRA members that the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment "come from God."

Santorum said by helping to defeat the Senate bill, the NRA "stood up when freedom was under assault. You stood in the gap. You made a difference."

He also said the debate over gun control is one over the country's core traditional values.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/rick-santorum-nra_n_3211076.html [the NRA's YouTube of Santorum's speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bQQEIgmFgg ; with comments]


Rick Perry's NRA Intro Video Needs To Be Seen To Be Believed
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/rick-perry-nra-intro-video_n_3211010.html [Perry's YouTube of his intro at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvDUJSMAm1c ; the NRA's YouTube of Perry's speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltzBF3um0I8 ; with the Perry intro video embedded, and comments]


Sarah Palin At NRA Meeting: We Must 'Stand Up And Fight For Our Freedoms'

Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) told an audience at an NRA meeting that "freedom is destroying itself."
(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

By Will Wrigley
Posted: 05/03/2013 6:17 pm EDT

Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor, said Friday that Americans should "stand up and fight for our freedoms."

Speaking at the first National Rifle Association annual meeting since the Manchin-Toomey background checks bill failed [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/background-checks-bill_n_3103341.html ] in the Senate last month, Palin -- wearing a shirt that read "Women Hunt" -- told the audience [ https://twitter.com/igorbobic/status/330432266062950400 ] that "freedom is destroying itself."

Palin, who spoke out against gun control during her speech, also made references to the late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died in April [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/margaret-thatcher-dead_n_3036208.html ], and described [ https://twitter.com/jameshohmann/status/330432280898191361 ] Thatcher as her "hero." Thatcher, however, was a firm supporter of gun control. Thatcher oversaw [ http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/04/14/like-her-friend-ronald-reagan-margaret-thatcher-just-wouldnt-cut-it-in-todays-gop/ ] parliament's passing of the Firearms Act of 1988, which outlawed semi-automatic guns, among other gun control measures the NRA firmly opposes.

The AP reported [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130503/us-nra-convention-palin/ ] on Palin's speech:

HOUSTON — Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says recent mass shootings have prompted leaders in Washington, D.C., to exploit tragedy in order to limit the freedoms of law-abiding people.

Palin spoke at the National Rifle Association's convention Friday afternoon in Houston.

She said while she and others were saddened and angered by December's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, the emotions that have resulted from it won't make anybody safer and won't "protect the good guys' rights."

The former governor of Alaska asked those at the convention to "keep the faith" and "stand up and fight for our freedoms."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/sarah-palin-freedom_n_3211425.html [the NRA's YouTube of Palin's speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CcL4S1hLkQ ; with embedded slideshow "Top Palinisms", and comments]


Great Gun Gobbledygook: The Paradox of Second Amendment Hardliners

Matt Sullivan/Reuters

Conservatives say armed citizens are an essential guard against government tyranny. They also support massive military spending. How is that supposed to work?

Dominic Tierney
Apr 1 2013, 2:57 PM ET

In the current debate over gun control, the pro-gun lobby has an ace card up its sleeve: We need weapons to prevent government tyranny, they say. These self-styled champions of liberty see guns as the ultimate insurance policy to protect the Constitution. The problem is that most of those making this argument also strongly support a massive U.S. military -- exactly the behemoth we must be armed against. It's the great gun gobbledygook.

Consider Marco Rubio. The senator just threatened [ http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/290831-rubio-joins-gop-senators-threatening-to-filibuster-gun-control-legislation ] to filibuster any gun-control legislation because the Second Amendment "speaks to history's lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history's warning about the oppression of a government that tries."

The specter of government despotism looms so large our only salvation lies with a nation of armed watchmen.

But curiously, Rubio also strongly supports beefing up government power by creating a vast military establishment. In 2012, he described [ https://cnsnews.com/video/national/sen-marco-rubio-defense-spending ] defense cuts as "catastrophic" because "history has proven that the stronger the U.S. military is, the more peaceful the world becomes." According to Politico, in a recent speech [ http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/marco-rubio-rand-paul-foreign-policy-89303.html ] at the University of Louisville, "Rubio made the case for American military might around the world."

Wait a sec, won't American military might mean a government that's in more places at more times? Isn't this precisely the terrifying prospect we must arm ourselves against?

Or take Sarah Palin. As governor of Alaska, she signed [ http://2012.republican-candidates.org/Palin/Issues.php ] an amicus brief that claimed: "The Framers were understandably wary of standing armies and the powers of a potentially oppressive government." The Second Amendment provides for "a citizenry capable of defending its rights by force, when all other means have failed, against any future oppression." Last February, Palin even suggested [ http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/sarah-palin-were-finished-88166.html ] that the federal government is "stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest."

But where did these bullets come from? They came from champions of a strong military -- like Sarah Palin. She believes in fiscal conservatism, but with a clear exception [ http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/07/01/the_tea_party_s_hawk ] for defense. "We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military." To diminish the government's standing army is to "risk losing all that makes America great!"

It's almost like George Washington grasping his musket as a defense of liberty -- while also seeking extra funding for the British redcoats.

When conservatives take up armed resistance against D.C. despotism, they'll really regret some of the toys they gave the government. Rubio and Palin want the populace to be able to arm itself with assault rifles. But they want the government armed with F-35s -- a $100 million-plus stealth plane with a top speed of Mach 1.6. When President Obama discovers his inner tyrant, it won't be a fair fight.

Of course, the American people can always play the Red Dawn card [ http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/the-ridiculous-red-dawn-remake-is-even-more-absurd-than-you-think/261009/ ] and launch an insurgency. But guerrillas usually need external support to win. Britain could be an option as an ally, except that, last summer, Mitt Romney insulted London's preparations for the Olympics.

Why the contradiction? Conservatives don't think of the military as part of the government. On the one hand, you have the shadowy Obama state, the inefficient Leviathan, the Feds, the black helicopters, or just "them." And on the other hand, you have the military, the righteous guardians of the nation.

But of course, the military is the government, subject to the same waste and inefficiency as any other part of Washington, D.C.

Conservatives say that a weaponized citizenry is a necessary shield against dictatorship. I'll take the argument more seriously if conservatives stop arming this tyrant to the teeth.

Copyright © 2013 by The Atlantic Monthly Group

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/great-gun-gobbledygook-the-paradox-of-second-amendment-hardliners/274523/ [with comments]


Sarah Palin For Senate? Tea Party Group Hopes To Draft Former Governor To Run In Alaska

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/sarah-palin-senate_n_3192393.html [with embedded video "Sarah Palin's Turkey Pardoning Fiasco", and comments]


[in the slideshow at] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/funny-breakup_n_3209894.html#slide=2346361


A 17th-Century Russian Community Living in 21st-Century Alaska

Father Nikolai says that candles represent a little sacrifice. They cost the members of the congregation a dollar, which goes to the upkeep of the church.
This clan has traveled from Russia through China, Brazil, and Oregon to make a home in the remote north, struggling to avoid modernization.
May 1 2013
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/a-17th-century-russian-community-living-in-21st-century-alaska/275440/ [with comments]


Bobby Jindal: Obama 'Will Not Be Able To Touch Our Freedom To Keep And Bear Arms'

By Gabrielle Dunkley
Posted: 05/03/2013 6:23 pm EDT

Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) attacked President Barack Obama while speaking in Houston at an annual NRA retreat [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/nra-meeting_n_3207358.html ] on Friday.

Jindal assured the audience that Obama "will not be able to touch our freedom to keep and bear arms in Louisiana."

"In Louisiana, we are serious about the right to keep and bear arms," Jindal said.

The retreat marks the first high-profile NRA event since the defeat of the gun background checks bill [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/background-checks-bill_n_3103341.html ] in the Senate last month.

Jindal congratulated the audience for the defeat of the gun bill, claiming the members of the NRA "won that fight for freedom."

Jindal wasn't the only speaker to congratulate the NRA for the gun bill's defeat. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) referred to NRA members in the audience at the retreat as an "army [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/ted-cruz-nra-speech_n_3210722.html (below)]."

"I am looking at an army," Cruz said. "And the voice of each of you is how we win. And because each of you spoke out and because millions of Americans spoke out ... every vote that would have undermined the right to keep and bear arms was voted down."

Jindal also condemned Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for Operation Fast and Furious [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/08/eric-holder-on-fast-and-f_n_1081597.html ], claiming that he was among the first to call for Holder's resignation.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/bobby-jindal-obama_n_3211146.html [the NRA's YouTube of Jindal's speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPW8R9XKVfc ; with comments]


Louisiana Science Education Act Repeal Fails, Keeping Door Open For Teaching Of Creationism

By Nick Wing
Posted: 05/02/2013 11:50 am EDT | Updated: 05/02/2013 3:38 pm EDT

The Louisiana state Senate Education Committee rejected a move to repeal the state's Science Education Act [ http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=631000 ] on Wednesday, handing a defeat to opponents who have criticized the law for essentially allowing the teaching of creationism in science class.

Under the law, public school teachers are permitted to introduce "supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner." While the Science Education Act says teachers may not "promote any religious doctrine," it contains no specific ban on the teaching of creationism. Teachers and local school boards also aren't required to obtain prior approval from the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education before introducing supplemental material, the Associated Press reports [ http://www.thetowntalk.com/viewart/20130502/NEWS01/305020026/Louisiana-senators-reject-repeal-Science-Education-Act ].

Opponents -- who have tried and failed to repeal the law in years past -- argue that it intentionally provides a loophole for teaching creationism and encouraging skepticism about scientific subjects such as cloning and global warming. Supporters counter that there haven't been any specific complaints of questionable materials being introduced into Louisiana classrooms.

The repeal effort was led by Zack Kopplin, a Rice University student from Baton Rouge, La., who, with the support of more than 70 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, argued that the law constitutes a risk for Louisiana and its schoolchildren. In a recent column in the UK's Guardian [ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/01/louisiana-cost-teaching-creationism ], Kopplin cited discussions with Louisianans from a range of fields who said the Science Education Act was stunting the educational process for students and perpetuating an anti-science culture that has already made businesses and tourists more hesitant to invest in the state.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) supports the law, however, going as far as to say last month that he was fine with public schools teaching students about creationism [ http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/05/01/as-creationism-law-comes-up-for-repeal-an-appeal-to-bobby-jindal/ ] or intelligent design and letting them make up their own minds whether those theories trumped evolution.

Witnesses supporting the Science Education Act made similar arguments before the state Senate committee on Wednesday, maintaining that teaching alternatives to scientifically accepted theories didn't make the state anti-science. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports [ http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/la_creationism_science_educati.html ] that some lawmakers also offered personal experiences to contend that the classroom needed to be open to all viewpoints:

Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, said he had reservations with repealing the act after a spiritual healer correctly diagnosed a specific medical ailment he had. He said he thought repealing the act could "lock the door on being able to view ideas from many places, concepts from many cultures."

"Yet if I closed my mind when I saw this man -- in the dust, throwing some bones on the ground, semi-clothed -- if I had closed him off and just said, 'That's not science. I'm not going to see this doctor,' I would have shut off a very good experience for myself," Guillory said.

The Times-Picayune also reports that after the committee effectively killed the repeal bill by deferring it, the panel voted to advance a bill that would make it easier for teachers to introduce religiously based materials into their classrooms by scaling back governmental oversight of textbooks and other school materials.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/louisiana-science-education-act-repeal_n_3200819.html [with embedded video report, and comments]


Belief in biblical end-times stifling climate change action in U.S.: study

[End of the world via Shutterstock]

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 16:49 EDT

The United States has failed to take action to mitigate climate change thanks in part to the large number of religious Americans who believe the world has a set expiration date.

Research by David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado uncovered that belief in the biblical end-times was a motivating factor behind resistance to curbing climate change.

“[T]he fact that such an overwhelming percentage of Republican citizens profess a belief in the Second Coming (76 percent in 2006, according to our sample) suggests that governmental attempts to curb greenhouse emissions would encounter stiff resistance even if every Democrat in the country wanted to curb them,” Barker and Bearce wrote in their study, which will be published in the June issue of Political Science Quarterly [ http://prq.sagepub.com/content/66/2/267.abstract ].

The study, based on data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, uncovered that belief in the “Second Coming” of Jesus reduced the probability of strongly supporting government action on climate change by 12 percent when controlling for a number of demographic and cultural factors. When the effects of party affiliation, political ideology, and media distrust were removed from the analysis, the belief in the “Second Coming” increased this effect by almost 20 percent.

“[I]t stands to reason that most nonbelievers would support preserving the Earth for future generations, but that end-times believers would rationally perceive such efforts to be ultimately futile, and hence ill-advised,” Barker and Bearce explained.

That very sentiment has been expressed by federal legislators. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) said in 2010 [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7h08RDYA5E (next below)]
that he opposed action on climate change because “the Earth will end only when God declares it to be over.” He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

Though the two researchers cautioned their study was not intended to predict future policy outcomes, they said their study suggested it was unlikely the United States would take action on climate change while so many Americans, particularly Republicans, believed in the coming end-times.

“That is, because of institutions such as the Electoral College, the winner-take-all representation mechanism, and the Senate filibuster, as well as the geographic distribution of partisanship to modern partisan polarization, minority interests often successfully block majority preferences,” Barker and Bearce wrote. “Thus, even if the median voter supports policies designed to slow global warming, legislation to effect such change could find itself dead on arrival if the median Republican voter strongly resists public policy environmentalism at least in part because of end-times beliefs.”

Copyright © 2013 Raw Story Media, Inc.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/01/belief-in-end-times-stifling-climate-change-action-in-u-s-study/ [with comments]


Sen Al Franken: Cheetos Are Delicious

Published on May 3, 2013 by UpTakeVideo

Senator Al Franken says you wouldn't trust a doctor that's being paid by "big snack food" to give you advice if 98 out of 100 doctors were telling you something different. He says that's the same logic you should use with climate change where the vast majority of scientists say climate change is real and we need to do something.

This is what Senator Franken said on the floor of the US Senate on Monday April 23, 2013 while debating an environmental bill.

Which don't get me wrong, Cheetos are a delicious snack that can, can and should, should be eaten in moderation.

If 98 out of a 100 doctors tell me I've got a problem, I should take their advice.

And if those two other doctors get paid by Big Snack Food, like certain climate deniers get paid by big coal, I shouldn't take their advice.



Ted Cruz Calls Audience At NRA Meeting An 'Army'

By Will Wrigley
Posted: 05/03/2013 5:19 pm EDT | Updated: 05/03/2013 5:38 pm

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) described the audience at an annual National Rifle Association retreat as an "army" Friday afternoon.

Speaking at a meeting [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/nra-meeting_n_3207358.html ] in Houston, the first major NRA event since a background checks bill failed [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/17/background-checks-bill_n_3103341.html ] in the Senate, Cruz praised the audience members for speaking out against gun control laws and credited them with the defeated legislation in the Senate.

"I am looking at an army," Cruz said. "And the voice of each of you is how we win. And because each of you spoke out and because millions of Americans spoke out ... every vote that would have undermined the right to keep and bear arms was voted down."

Cruz, along with Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), sent a letter [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/rand-paul-gun-control-filibuster_n_2954458.html ] to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in March stating that the three would filibuster "any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions."

The tea party favorites led a successful filibuster of the Manchin-Toomey bipartisan background checks bill with 43 other senators joining them, including four Democrats and Reid, who voted no for provisional reasons.

Cruz also slammed [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130503/us-nra-convention-cruz/ ] the Obama administration in his remarks, telling the audience the administration has not done enough to prosecute felons and fugitives who illegally buy guns and has cut funding for such efforts. He also challenged Vice President Joe Biden to a debate on stopping crime.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/ted-cruz-nra-speech_n_3210722.html [the NRA's YouTube of Cruz's speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBgKR7jeZ6U ; with embedded video, and comments]


Ted Cruz 2016? Freshman GOP Senator Eyeing Presidential Run: Report (UPDATE)

By Nick Wing
Posted: 05/01/2013 9:53 am EDT | Updated: 05/01/2013 2:08 pm EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has his eyes on a potential presidential run, Robert Costa of the National Review reported [ http://www.nationalreview.com/article/347052/cruz-2016 ] on Wednesday, citing discussions with the freshman Republican's inner circle.

“Ted won’t be opening an Iowa office anytime soon, but he’s listening,” a longtime Cruz associate told Costa. “This is all in the early stages; nothing is official. It’s just building on its own.”

Cruz has only been in the Senate for a few months, but he's already made his mark, both with colleagues and grassroots conservative supporters. His impact has manifested itself in two rather distinct ways, as Cruz's Senate presence has both excited his fans and upset his more seasoned colleagues. His aggressive questioning of then-Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel in February drew criticism from his GOP colleagues [ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/us/politics/16cruz.html?pagewanted=all ] and comparisons [ http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/02/ted-cruz-sees-red-not-crimson-at-harvard.html ] to notorious anti-communist crusader Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.). A month later, however, Cruz delivered the keynote address at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/16/ted-cruz-cpac-speech-2013_n_2857011.html ], an honor previously given to firebrands such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). Cruz's office did not immediately return a request for comment.

The freshman recently highlighted his willingness to embrace that divisiveness [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/ted-cruz-gop-senators_n_3178206.html ], when he boasted about his role in a failed filibuster threat against gun control legislation. He claimed that his fellow GOP senators had "yelled at him" for making them look like "squishes," and while the details of his accounting weren't entirely accurate [ http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/04/29/ted_cruz_american_hero_or_greatest_american_hero.html ], he succeeded in staking out a counter-establishment position that played well with the tea party crowd he was speaking to.

Early in April, Cruz stirred 2016 speculation when he made plans to speak in South Carolina, his first trip to a key presidential primary state [ http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/02/cruz-to-test-2016-waters-with-south-carolina-trip/ ]. He'll deliver an address at the South Carolina Republican Party's Silver Elephant Dinner on May 3 [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/ted-cruz-south-carolina_n_3212189.html ].

The National Review report comes as other possible Republican contenders begin to lay the groundwork for the lengthy process of a presidential run. The Associated Press reported [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/bob-mcdonnell-bobby-jindal_n_3191762.html ] Wednesday that two potential frontrunners already have some catching up to do:

Two governors eyeing possible White House bids –- Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana –- suddenly find themselves fending off critics and trying to shore up legacies they hope will withstand national scrutiny. Other high-profile governors run the gamut from maintaining solid popularity to being in danger of losing re-election next year.


McDonnell, who built an image as a competent problem-solver, confronted questions Tuesday about an FBI inquiry into gifts he accepted from a wealthy Virginia businessman. And Jindal, even in a Republican-dominated state, had to pull back his ambitious plan to replace Louisiana's corporate and personal income taxes with higher sales taxes. His popularity has sagged lately.

Other Republicans who have been vocal about a potential 2016 White House run include former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has recently emerged as Cruz's ally on a number of issues. Paul has received scrutiny [ http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-presidential-primary/296625-pauls-prominence-brings-added-scrutiny-ahead-of-possible-2016-bid ] over the past couple months, but has repeatedly said [ http://swampland.time.com/2013/04/22/rand-paul-says-he-is-considering-2016-presidential-bid/ ] he'd like to be included in the 2016 discussion and already appears to be making inroads in a number [ http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/03/19/rand-paul-to-headline-iowas-lincoln-day-dinner/ ] of early primary [ http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/sen-rand-paul-to-visit-south-carolina-in-june-90766.html ] states [ http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/us_politics/2013/04/republican_sen_rand_paul_to_speak_in_nh ].

Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada. His father was Cuban and his mother was a U.S. citizen, which has led him to claim [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/ted-cruz-birther_n_2909774.html ] that he's a "citizen by birth."

Under the Constitution, presidential candidates must be "natural-born" citizens. That term is not defined concretely, however, which has led birther conspiracy theorists to insist that President Barack Obama isn't eligible to be president because of their belief that he was born in Kenya, a claim they've argued would disqualify him regardless of his mother's U.S. citizenship. While Obama was in fact born in Hawaii, it appears that Cruz could be susceptible to the same kind of scrutiny that Obama has faced if he decides to run for president.

UPDATE: 2:00 p.m. -- Cruz addressed reports of his 2016 considerations in a Facebook post [ https://www.facebook.com/SenatorTedCruz/posts/365665553545751 ]:

In my short tenure, my focus has been -- and will remain -- on two things: fighting for conservative principles in the Senate, and working to help elect strong conservatives to win a majority in the Senate in 2014. The Senate is the battlefield to defend liberty.

I was elected because thousands of grassroots conservatives came together to protect the Constitution, shrink the federal government, and promote growth and opportunity. It is a continued source of amazement that the simple fact that I am working hard with like-minded Senators to keep my promise is seen as newsworthy and cause for wild speculation.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/ted-cruz-2016_n_3192192.html [with embedded video report, and (over 14,000) comments]


GOP creates Ted Cruz, now thinks he’s a jerk

Ted Cruz
(Credit: AP/David J. Phillip)

The Tea Party's favorite senator is what happens when you care more about activist love than legislating

By Alex Pareene
Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013 06:46 AM CDT

Here’s Sen. Ted Cruz, Ted Cruzing it up, taking practically sole credit for killing gun background checks and trashing all his colleagues [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geHPipl6mt8 (next below, as embedded)]:

The New York Times charitably says that “Friday’s speech was not the first time Mr. Cruz may have acted counter to some of the Senate’s norms [ http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/cruz-breaks-with-senate-tradition-while-criticizing-colleagues/ ],” before bringing up Cruz’s decidedly McCarthyite take on Chuck Hagel.

Cruz is at the FreedomWorks Texas Summit, and the news here is that he calls most of his colleagues “squishes” and gives a (quite self-aggrandizing) account of off-the-record Senate Republican caucus luncheons, which apparently involved a lot of people yelling at Cruz and Rand Paul and the other guy who also promised to filibuster the entire gun deal from start to finish. In this version of events, the three filibustering amigos were responsible for the failure of the entire proposal. As Dave Weigel points out [ http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/04/29/ted_cruz_american_hero_or_greatest_american_hero.html ], that’s not really how it happened. The bill failed — and was probably doomed to begin with — because a lot more than three senators opposed it, and the Cruz/Paul filibuster threat was worse politics for the party than allowing debate to proceed and then watching red-state Democrats cave. Which is what actually happened.

This unbecoming display of narcissism and lack of team spirit led Washington Post blogger and former uncompensated Mitt Romney flack Jennifer Rubin to call Cruz a jerk [ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/04/29/dont-be-a-jerk-sen-cruz/ ]. Which he undoubtedly is [ http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/jennifer-rubin-jerk-ted-cruz-should-apologize-to ]!

For starters, it’s just not smart to annoy colleagues whose cooperation and support you’ll need in the future. Second, as a conservative he should understand humility and grace are not incompatible with “standing on principle”; the absence of these qualities doesn’t make him more principled or more effective. Third, for a guy who lacks manners (see his condescending questioning of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) he comes across as whiny. They yelled at me! Boo hoo, senator.

Basically all of this analysis is dead wrong. At least it’s wrong in the specific case of Ted Cruz, who will not need anyone’s “support in the future” because he doesn’t care about legislating.

Look at the video: He’s in a room of adoring — swooning — admirers and he is basking in their adoration. This is why he got into politics. And everyone who gets confused about why this whip-smart attorney is acting like the dumbest Tea Party wingnut imaginable should probably watch this video. He’s acting like this because he’s smart. It’s great politics to be a Republican in Texas who purposefully pisses off his fellow Republican senators with his intransigence and extreme rhetoric. It’s sort of like how Susan Collins has to act the sensible moderate (while voting basically as a party-line conservative Republican) because she represents Maine, but in Cruz’s case there is no end goal beyond advancing his own career. And legislative victories aren’t an important part of becoming a beloved Tea Party favorite. In this case Cruz may be taking credit for a legislative victory he really had little to do with, but it also doesn’t matter at all to this crowd that, for example, Cruz failed to stop Chuck Hagel from becoming defense secretary. What matters is that he was a huge dick about it, not whether he won or lost.

There is no way to way to stop or shame or embarrass or cajole a politician like this into following the established “norms” of political behavior. The bigger a controversial firebrand he is, the more he riles up both liberals and Republican Senate leadership, the better he’ll look in the eyes of the people who write him checks and made him the nominee for U.S. Senate to begin with. What Rubin (who is not remotely in touch with the actual activist conservative movement base) sees as whiny these people see as, you know, heroic martyrdom. Conservatives love it when their heroes whine about being persecuted!

A healthy disrespect for norms isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a legislator. Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about tradition and norms either, but he does actually care about winning political (and policy) fights for the Republican Party. But Cruz is explicitly and purely self-serving. Cruz wants to be the guy who never compromises because compromises are incredibly unpopular and exploiting activist conservative disdain for the party and for Washington is a can’t-fail maneuver. Jennifer Rubin’s opprobrium is going to be even less of an issue for him than John McCain’s was.

Just look at this political science survey of FreedomWorks Tea Party activists [ http://prospect.org/article/three-new-facts-about-tea-party ("Three New Facts about the Tea Party", above)]: They’re ultra-conservative Republicans who hate the Republican Party. They also value ideological purity over pragmatism, to the point where winning victories matters less to them than loudly saying the right thing. (Not great on strategy, these guys.) People like Ted Cruz are doing their best to establish their personal brands at the expense of the actual Republican Party and even the conservative movement. And there’s no mechanism the party can use to get him back in line, because he doesn’t care about results and there’s an entire media and activist infrastructure set up to reward him.

Copyright © 2013 Salon Media Group, Inc. (emphasis in original)

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/30/gop_creates_ted_cruz_now_thinks_hes_a_jerk/ [with comments]


Peter King Attacks Ted Cruz For Coming To New York To Headline GOP Dinner

By Luke Johnson
Posted: 05/03/2013 11:19 am EDT | Updated: 05/03/2013 12:41 pm EDT

After laying into Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/peter-king-marco-rubio_n_3020047.html ] for coming to New York to raise funds after voting against aid for Hurricane Sandy, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) criticized Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) plans to headline a New York GOP dinner on May 29.

"He went out of his way to attack New York on the bill,” King told the New York Daily News Wednesday [ http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dc/2013/05/ny-gop-welcomes-ted-cruz-pete-king-does-not ]. "It's a little early to forgive and forget."

“It’s life and death,” he said of the Sandy aid [ http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sen-ted-cruz-worthy-new-york-fundraiser-sandy-aid-vote-rep-king-article-1.1332897 ] Thursday. “There were really false and phony charges made against the Sandy aid, and if Ted Cruz had prevailed, my constituents would be homeless.” King represents Long Island, where coastal areas in particular were devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

Cruz is the "featured guest" at the Manhattan dinner at the end of May, though the invitation interestingly notes [ http://www.nygop.org/page/2013-annual-state-dinner-feat-sen-ted-cruz ] that he will not be "asking for funds or donations."

The Texas senator voted against Sandy aid, claiming it was filled with [ http://www.cruz.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=339437 ] "pork."

King has said that he would criticize anyone who voted against Sandy relief but made trips to New York to raise funds. "I made it clear any of those people who voted and postured against money coming to New York and New Jersey and comes up here and wants to take money out of our pockets -- forget it, stay home," he said on MSNBC [video embedded)] in April [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/peter-king-marco-rubio_n_3020047.html ].

King slammed House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Republicans in January for blocking a vote [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/peter-king-sandy-aid_n_2396281.html ] on Hurricane Sandy aid, but walked back his criticism [ http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/day-later-peter-king-backs-off-in-criticism ] after meeting with Boehner.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/peter-king-ted-cruz_n_3208745.html [with comments]


Ted Cruz: 'Far Too Many Candidates Wear Their Faith On Their Sleeve'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Texas) spoke about his feelings on religion in politics in a recent interview with [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njkQhkMlX0M (next below)] World News Group.

"Far too many candidates wear their faith on their sleeve," Cruz said.

But Cruz hasn't shied away from faith in politics.

Watch a mashup of the many references Cruz made to God and his faith during his rise in politics above [video "Ted Cruz Brings Faith Into Politics" embedded; definitely worth the watch].

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/ted-cruz-faith_n_3211271.html [with comments]


Is That God Talking?

Published: May 1, 2013

I still remember how startled I was when a young woman I was interviewing told me God had spoken to her, audibly.

I was doing ethnographic field work in a quietly charismatic evangelical church in Chicago. This was the kind of church in which people sought an intimate, conversational relationship with God. It was not at all uncommon for people to talk about hearing God.

This woman, however, said that she had been to a job interview and that later, while tidying up at home, she had heard God say, “That’s not the one” — and that she had looked around to see where the voice had come from. She told me that she heard from God like that many times. The first time as an adult was when she was driving alone in an unfamiliar part of the city — and God spoke up audibly out of the back seat and told her that he would always be with her.

After that, I started to ask people in the church more systematically about whether they had ever heard God speak audibly. About a third said yes. They reported odd auditory events in which God said “Sit and listen” or “Read James” or “I will always love you.”

This woman’s account is a good example: “The Lord spoke to me clearly in April, like May or April. To start a school.”

You heard this audibly, I asked? “Yeah.”

Were you alone? “Yeah, I was just praying. I wasn’t praying anything, really, just thinking about God, and I heard a voice say, ‘Start a school,’ I immediately got up and it was like, ‘O.K., Lord, where?’ ”

What do we make of this? I don’t think that anthropologists can pronounce on whether God exists or not, but I am averse to the idea that God is the full explanation here. For one thing, many of these voices are mundane. A woman told me that she heard God tell her to get off the bus when she was immersed in a book and about to miss her stop. Moreover, odd auditory experiences are quite common. A questionnaire posed to 375 college students found that 71 percent reported vocal hallucinations of some kind, according to a study [ http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1984-28890-001 ] published in 1984 (a finding consistent with my own research). A 2000 study found that 38.7 percent of the population reported visual, auditory or other hallucinations, including out-of-body experiences.

Schizophrenia, or the radical break with reality we identify as serious mental illness, is also not an explanation. The people who reported these events simply weren’t ill in that way, and schizophrenia is not common (the prevalence [ http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1schiz.shtml ] among American adults is 1.1 percent in any year). Moreover, the patterns of their voice-hearing are quite unlike the patterns we associate with schizophrenia. The voices heard by people with schizophrenia are often harsh and commanding. They go on and on — sentences, paragraphs, sometimes crowds of people screaming and yelling insults at the poor voice-hearing person throughout the day.

The unusual auditory experiences reported by congregants just weren’t like that. They were rare. Most people said they’d had one or two in their lifetime. They were brief — just a few words. They were pleasant. And they did not have that sense of command. The woman who said God instructed her to start a school — well, she hasn’t done it.

I eventually discovered that these experiences were associated with intense prayer practice. They felt spontaneous, but people who liked to get absorbed in their imaginations were more likely to experience them. Those were the people who were more likely to love to pray, and the “prayer warriors” who prayed for long periods were likely to report even more of them.

The prayer warriors said that as they became immersed in prayer, their senses became more acute. Smells seemed richer, colors more vibrant. Their inner sensory worlds grew more vivid and more detailed, and their thoughts and images sometimes seemed as if they were external to the mind. Later, I was able to demonstrate experimentally that prayer practice did lead to more vivid inner images and more hallucination-like events.

There’s plenty here to alarm secular liberals. A subject in the prayer experiment recalled that she was watching TV when “God told me, ‘Vote for Bush.’ I said — I was having this argument with God. I said out loud, I said, ‘But I don’t like him.’ You know. And God said, ‘I didn’t ask you to like him.’ ” She thought she had heard this exchange with her ears. She voted, in 1988, for George Bush.

The more interesting lesson is what it tells us about the mind and prayer. If hearing a voice is associated with focused attention to the inner senses — hearing with the mind’s ear, seeing with the mind’s eye — it suggests that prayer (which today, the National Day of Prayer [ http://nationaldayofprayer.org/ ], celebrates) is a pretty powerful instrument. We often imagine prayer as a practice that affects the content of what we think about — our moral aspirations, or our contrition. It’s probably more accurate to understand prayer as a skill that changes how we use our minds.

T. M. Luhrmann [ http://www.stanford.edu/dept/anthropology/cgi-bin/web/?q=node/105 ], a professor of anthropology at Stanford and the author of “When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God [ http://www.amazon.com/When-God-Talks-Back-Understanding/dp/0307264793 ],” is a guest columnist.

© 2013 The New York Times Company



Fox News Guest Penny Nance Ties Anthony Foxx's Day Of Reason To Holocaust

Posted: 05/02/2013 1:58 pm EDT | Updated: 05/03/2013 1:33 am EDT

A Fox News guest criticized President Obama's transportation nominee on Thursday, saying that his declaration of a National Day of Reason was an example of the type of thinking that led to the Holocaust.

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/national-day-of-prayer-2013-obama_n_3193651.html ]. Anthony Foxx — the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina and Obama's pick to head the Department of Transportation [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/28/anthony-foxx-transportation-secretary_n_3174904.html ] — issued a proclamation for the National Day Of Reason [ http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2013/04/30/anthony-foxx-declares-thursday-a-day-of-reason-instead-of-prayer-in-charlotte ] in his city, as well.

Speaking on "Fox and Friends," guest Penny Nance — who is the CEO of Concerned Women for America — said she didn't understand why Foxx did that.

"You know, G. K. Chesterton said that the Doctrine of Original Sin is the only one which we have 3,000 years of empirical evidence to back up. Clearly, we need faith as a component and it’s just silly for us to say otherwise," she said.

Nance continued, "You know, the Age of Enlightenment and Reason gave way to moral relativism. And moral relativism is what led us all the way down the dark path to the Holocaust… Dark periods of history is what we arrive at when we leave God out of the equation."

It is the second year that Foxx has endorsed the National Day of Reason [ http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/05/01/4015442/foxx-proclaims-day-of-reason-day.html ], which advocates the separation of church and state, in Charlotte. "The application of reason, more than any other means, has proven to offer hope for human survival on Earth," his proclamation read.

(h/t Raw Story [ http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/02/fox-news-guest-scientific-enlightenment-and-reason-led-to-the-holocaust/ ])

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/fox-news-penny-nance-holocaust-reason_n_3202343.html [with embedded video, and comments]


An Open Letter to Barack Obama: Are You My President, Too?

By Blake Page
Posted: 05/03/2013 12:06 pm

Mr. President,

We don't have to look very far into our past to recall a time when a man of color holding the office you do now was not more than an idea relegated to the distant aspirations of young people and the musings of fiction writers. Yet here we are. It took the sacrifice of political capital and careers, endurance of public shaming, and in some instances death on the part of many once ordinary men and women who made the hard decisions necessary to bring about a society in which you could even dream to compete for such a prominent seat in government. Through those hard decisions they grew to be the giants of history on whose shoulders you now stand.

In 2006 you told me [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df6vXLytoWg (next below)]
that you believed in a secular government. On this topic you said you were "hopeful that we can bridge the gap that exists, and overcome the prejudices that all of us, to one degree or another, bring to this debate, and [that you] have faith that millions of believing Americans want that to happen." While it is true that millions of believing Americans want that to happen, it is not those millions of moderates that are attempting to enact official state religions [ http://ideas.time.com/2013/04/08/can-u-s-states-have-official-religions/ ], restrict the freedom of women to decide [ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2126108/Nebraskas-new-abortion-law-forced-mother-birth-22-weeks-watch-baby-die.html ] whether or not to give birth, ensure the scientific illiteracy [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/28/texas-public-schools-teac_n_2568828.html ] of our country's youth, allow parents guilty of the intentionally negligent death of their children [ http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Faith-Healing-Parents-Schaibles-Child-Death-203782041.html ] to walk free, or dictate that nearly 9 million Americans [ http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/study-shows-how-many-americans-are-gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender/news/2011/04/07/18551 ] do not deserve the privilege of marrying their romantic partner.

These theocratic leanings of our country are not spontaneous. Study [ http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2011-12-10/religion-atheism/51777612/1 ] after study [ http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1786422 ] has shown that non-believers in this country are the least trusted group in this country, with public opinion putting us on par with rapists. All other qualifications aside, a mere 54 percent [ http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-07-26/athiest-poll-president/56516466/1 ] of Americans would even consider voting for a non-believer for president. While these figures may be unsettling, they cannot be of great surprise considering the efforts of Christian Dominionist leaders [ http://www.publiceye.org/christian_right/dominionism.htm ] in our government today, such as my neighbor, Michele Bachmann. This same group rallies behind the 1954 and '56 additions to our American cultural heritage of the slogans "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God," actions which were an appeasement of Joe McCarthy's self-proclaimed "final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity [ http://ashleyfmiller.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/why-in-god-we-trust-is-a-problem/ ]." These words are not benign. They are an historic predecessor of modern Christian Nationalist rhetoric [ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/dominionism-a-dangerous-christian-movement-with-an-influence-on-michelle-bachmann-and-rick-perry/2011/08/15/gIQAydn5GJ_blog.html ] often echoed within the halls of government, and even through the ranks of our military [ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/03/2013313141640411792.html ]. Rhetoric that bends policy.

As the Commander in Chief of our country's armed forces, you are in the position of command authority over those many men and women in uniform fighting for... something. I say it this way, because I have a difficult time believing that our military is fighting for the American way, the ideals of true liberty and justice for all that you and I were promised as children. Over half a century ago it was determined that the leadership of public schools could not lawfully abridge the freedom of America's children by requiring them to take part in daily prayers [ http://www.infoplease.com/us/supreme-court/cases/ar10.html ], yet today that same concern for the constitutionally assured freedom of religion of children is not afforded to soldiers [ http://militaryatheists.org/about/faqs/can-i-as-a-service-member-be-ordered-to-pray/ ]. While some argue that the ceremonial deism we see in our military is encompassing of all people, I challenge that notion, along with tens of thousands of others. After all, what is the difference between compulsory prayer in a public school and compulsory prayer in public defense? While the tarnished history [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-rodda/religion-in-the-military-_b_2868007.html ] of our military in respecting the religious freedom of its members is nothing to be scoffed at, it would hardly be noteworthy if it were simply that: history. But when the Military Religious Freedom Foundation [ http://mrff.org/ ] has more than 33,000 clients from every branch of service, our military is in need of reform.

If our leaders in government believe in a representative republic, I would ask that you produce for us a representative chaplaincy. As it stands, the chaplaincy does not come close to demographic alignment [ http://militaryatheists.org/resources/MLDC-RIPSdemographics.pdf ] with the religious diversity of our armed forces. If the purpose of the chaplaincy is to provide for the spiritual needs of our service members, admit to the need of Humanist chaplains as so many of our allied nations have already with nothing but positive effect. If you believe that prejudice should be combated, instead of tolerated, I ask you to make a genuine effort to ensure that people like Major Jonathan "Christian Fighter Pilot" Dowty, are not given free reign to encourage bigotry [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/edith-a-disler/an-open-letter-to-the-com_b_2992361.html ] loudly and publicly without punishment.

I am writing to you in the hopes that you have the courage to stand by your words, your expressed ideals, and your citizens. I am challenging you to take the time and to sacrifice the political capital necessary to genuinely pursue a more perfect union. I am writing this in the hopes that you could consider the defense of those who defend this country as something worth your attention, but more importantly, something worth investigation and remediation. There are a great many men and women struggling for equality and secular government, free from the tyranny of the majority, in this country: the ACLU [ http://www.aclu.org/ ], the Military Religious Freedom Foundation [ http://mrff.org/ ], the many member organizations of the Secular Coalition for America [ http://secular.org/ ], and more. Will you rise to the challenge as well so that one day in the future my peers and those that follow will be able to stand on your shoulders, or will you leave that position to braver men?

Thank you for your consideration,

Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of West Point Affairs

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. (emphasis in original)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/blake-page/an-open-letter-to-barack-_2_b_3205379.html [with comments]


2013 NRA Annual Meetings: Wayne LaPierre

Published on May 3, 2013 by NRAVideos

NRA CEO and EVP Wayne LaPierre addresses the crowd at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, an event of the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings in Houston, Texas. He takes on the liberal media and "political elites," such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama, who have tried to demonize the NRA and gun owners.



Dinner With Wayne

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-danziger/wayne-lapierre-nra_b_3219221.html [with comment]


An Open Letter to Wayne LaPierre

By Mike Weisser
Posted: 05/05/2013 3:49 pm

Dear Wayne:

Sorry I couldn't make it to the annual meeting. I'm a Life Member and I try to get there every year. But this year is different. If I showed up you'd tried to get me to help you fight a "culture war." But if there is a war going on, you represent the wrong side.

I just watched your speech [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/04/wayne-lapierre-boston-marathon-bombings-guns-nra_n_3215449.html ]. I think it's time you dropped this nonsense about protecting our "rights." Be honest and tell it like it is. The reason you're opposed to background checks has absolutely nothing to do with the Second Amendment. It's about making it as easy as possible for everyone to own a gun. More guns means more profits for the gun companies, and that's who you really represent.

In 2011, Ruger's stock was trading at $21 a share, now it's at $51. Smith & Wesson's stock was three bucks a share, today it's almost nine. I remember after the 2010 elections when it looked like the Obama administration was going to be toast, gun dealers like myself couldn't give away the inventory. Now we can't keep anything on the shelves. You keep referring to the president as an enemy of the gun industry. The truth is that Barack Obama is the best salesman the industry ever had.

And the reason he's such a good salesman, Wayne, is because you and your allies have spent the last 20 years making every gun owner believe that the only reason we have any gun laws at all is because the Washington "elites" want to take away all our guns. So when a tragedy like Sandy Hook occurs and well-meaning people react to such senseless violence by looking for ways to make it harder for guns to get into the wrong hands, you and the other "protectors" of the Second Amendment get right to work convincing responsible gun owners that such laws are aimed at them. You are protecting illegal and "irresponsible" gun owners, and lumping them in with the majority of legal gun owners who are careful with their weapons. That's because an irresponsible gun owners' money is just as good for gun companies as a responsible gun owner, and you want to protect your market share, even at the expense of innocent lives.

It's easy to cloak yourself in a holier-than-thou mantle of God-given rights to avoid looking at the facts. And the facts are that private-citizen vigilantism doesn't protect anyone from gun violence; it actually results in more violence and deaths. It's easy to disparage the 90 percent of Americans who are in favor of expanding background checks by telling your audience that some unnamed Congressman from some unnamed state hasn't gotten any calls. But maybe the time has finally come when most Americans are more worried about ending the 100,000+ firearm deaths and injuries than whether you and your NRA cult of followers can Stand and Fight.

For all your talk about defending liberty Wayne, I'll give you something more important to defend: the young children whose lives always seem to take a back seat to how many guns you can get Americans to buy. I'm talking about children at Sandy Hook, a 4-year-old in New York, a 2-year-old in Kentucky. There's something immoral about denying any connection between the deaths of children and the explosion in gun sales that you claim show how much we love our freedom. I'd rather have those kids alive, even if it costs me more than a few bucks in gun sales. I joined Evolve [ http://evolvetogether.us/home.html ; http://evolvetogether.us/ ] so I could be part of an organization that wants gun owners and non-gun owners to lead with solutions that can talk about saving human lives and preserving our Second Amendment rights. That's patriotic and that is a future worth fighting for.

Mike Weisser
'The Gun Guy' at Evolve

Mike Weisser is a former college professor who owns a gun shop and is a Senior Firearms Instructor for the NRA. Mike joined Evolve [ http://evolvetogether.us/home.html ; http://evolvetogether.us/ ] because gun responsibility should be led by gun owners (and sellers). This self-regulation by the gun community begins with doing away with the casual approach to guns in society: Parents and educators need to take it on: guns aren’t toys and shouldn’t be used by everyone: Safe owners, Safe use, Safe storage, Safe transfer. Contact ‘Mike the Gun Guy’ at info@Evolvetogether.us. Follow Evolve on Twitter: @evolve_us

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-weisser/open-letter-to-wayne-lapi_b_3219807.html [with comments]


Owning Guns Doesn't Preserve Freedom

A police officer removes the cylinder of a revolver handed in by a resident during the "Voluntary Disarmament Programme" at the Azcapotzalco district in Mexico City on April 8, 2013.

Studies show there is very little correlation between heavily armed citizens and the presence of democracy in countries around the world.

Casey Michel
Apr 25 2013, 9:00 AM ET

After League City, Texas, became the first city in the state [ http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2013/02/league_city_federal_gun_laws.php ] to pass a resolution effectively nullifying federal gun regulations in February, Councilwoman Heidi Thiess, who speared the motion, shared a quote. "Gen. Isoroku Yamamoto, who was the commander of Japan's WWII Combined Fleet, was asked why he never bothered to invade the U.S. after Pearl Harbor," she remarked. "And you know what he said? 'You can't invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.'"

It didn't matter that the quote is almost certainly false [ http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/misquoting-yamamoto/ ]. The sentiment remains: The tether between that right to bear arms and the safety of liberal democracy is as real post-Newtown as it was following Pearl Harbor. And now that a handful of cities and counties across Texas have passed similar measures barring local officials from enforcing federal legislation, the link between your Glock and your unbridled freedoms becomes inseparable. "The Second Amendment was never meant for hunting, although that's what's been said over generations," Thiess continued. "It was a means of defense. Yes, self-defense, but also defense against our own government."

Of course, it's difficult to imagine that a government as notably militarized as our own [ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/ ] would be cowed by the rifle and .45 gathering dust in the closet. (Likewise, it's tough to posit the 110,000 Asian-Americans forced into internment camps during WWII -- "concentration camps," as President Roosevelt termed them -- felt their liberties were buttressed by their ability to own a sawed-off shotgun.) But regardless, that's where the argument stands. That's the rhetoric to which 65 percent of Americans ascribe [ http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/gun_control/65_see_gun_rights_as_protection_against_tyranny ].

"That's what separates this country," noted Brian Mobley, a concealed handgun trainer in League City, which also boasts the highest number of concealed-gun licenses in Texas [ http://www.texasobserver.org/guns-r-us/ ]. "We're the most heavily armed country in the world, but we're also the freest country in the world."

Fortunately, we can assess such an argument not through historic hagiography and patriotic revision, but through the facts at hand. If such a right correlates so directly with democratic freedoms within America, such realities should exist elsewhere, correct?

Not exactly. Compiling data from the most recent Small Arms Survey [ http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/A-Yearbook/2007/en/Small-Arms-Survey-2007-Chapter-02-annexe-4-EN.pdf ] (SAS), the most wide-ranging international survey [ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/15/what-makes-americas-gun-culture-totally-unique-in-the-world-as-demonstrated-in-four-charts/ ] of civilian gun ownership, and the Freedom House Index [ http://www.freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-world ], which tabulates both political rights and civil liberties, it's apparent that the correlation between democratic structures and a well-armed citizenry is, at best, slight. Here's the Freedom House index, in red (a higher ranking means less freedom), compared with the number of guns, in blue:

According to Dr. Justin Silver, a statistical researcher at Rice University, the Spearman correlation between the two tallies is only -0.33. (Such correlation is negative because Freedom House, via a one-through-seven scale, tacks a lower score to nations with greater freedoms.) The relationship is observable, but minor.

"I don't see any trend," said Arch Puddington, vice president of research at Freedom House. "Press freedom, the freedom of expression, is a pretty good indicator of the direction a country is going in -- if leadership is circumscribing the freedom of expression, the likelihood is that they're doing other unworthy things as well." But a link between an armed citizenry and democratic realities? "That's baloney."

Unsurprisingly, those who stake such a relationship often limit the nations they cite. The gun-toting United States (88.8 civilian guns per 100 residents, according to SAS) and Switzerland (45.7) are typically juxtaposed with the relatively gun-free China (4.9) and Cuba (4.8) as sufficient proof that a populace needs to amass arms in order to keep one's government at bay.

But regardless of how often the maxim is repeated, such cherry-picking obfuscates the reality that the U.S., Switzerland, China, and Cuba are but a handful of the 175 nations for which we have comprehensive data. Just because these four countries fit within a pro-weaponized argument does not lend it legitimacy. After all, Ghana (0.4) and Indonesia (0.5), both within the bottom 10 of the world's gun-owners, were each tabbed as "Free" by Freedom House, while the heavily-armed Yemen (54.8) and Saudi Arabia (35.0) remain among the most repressive countries in the world.

A quick scan through the list continues the point. Chile (10.7) comes in with the same arms rate as Venezuela, but the nations present starkly divergent civil freedoms. Russia (8.9) is slightly more armed than Ireland (8.6). The Netherlands (3.9) is on par, as far as weapons go, with oppressive Turkmenistan (3.8). Israel and Georgia see the same arms rate as Iran and Belarus and yet exist on opposite ends of Freedom House's rank.

Some are developed democracies. Some are theocratic or secular autocracies. The number of Bushmasters and Berettas per populace plays a negligible role.

"This relationship between gun rates and [democracy] isn't based upon social science - it's based upon philosophy," said Aaron Karp, a political science professor at Old Dominion University and one of the Small Arms Survey's senior consultants. "Part of the reason why people who are advocates of individual gun rights tend to be opposed to social science is that they're not comfortable with it."

Still, there are those such as Thiess and Mobley who cite America's revolutionary roots as reason enough to warrant our weaponry. The colonies' muskets and blunderbusses were the only things that tossed King George's yoke. If a widely armed populace isn't necessarily required to maintain democracy, then at least it's a requisite for revolution.

The data deflates that argument, too, though. As it is, ten nations among the survey's bottom 26 gun owners -- from Niger and Togo to Fiji and the Central African Republic -- have undergone anti-autocracy movements and governmental shifts within the past decade. But only seven nations within the survey's top eighty most-armed nations, including Iraq, have experienced similar movements since 2003. As for the nation with the lowest civilian arms rate in the world? That honor belongs to Tunisia, which sparked the greatest set of pro-democracy revolutions this century.

One nation which helps highlight this continued disconnect is Kyrgyzstan, which the survey pegs at 0.9 arms per 100 civilians, or 153rd on the list. The mountainous Central Asian enclave has experienced a pair of democratic revolutions over the past eight years, with 2005's Tulip Revolution overturning longtime president Askar Akayev and installing Kurmanbek Bakiyev, whose corrupt apparatus was later forced out in 2010.

A year after Bakiyev's ouster, Kyrgyzstan hosted the first Central Asian election in which the winner was not predetermined. Moreover, the nation currently maintains the best Central Asian rank within Freedom House's tabulations -- all while seeing one of the lowest rates of armed citizenry in the world.

"I never linked personal firearm ownership rates and political change in Kyrgyzstan," said Erica Marat, a Central Asian researcher at Johns Hopkins University. "I doubt personal firearm ownership plays any role in the democratization process. This is clearly a purely American line of thought."

As it is, the perceived link between the right to arms and democratic freedoms remains strong -- hence, Manchin-Toomey's recent defeat [ http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/04/nra-wins-senate-gun-bill-all-dead/64304/ ]. "The Second Amendment is liberty's teeth," Thiess says. "The First Amendment has no teeth unless we have ability to fight back against repression. And the only way to prevent repression sometimes means taking up arms."

In Texan towns and counties now forcing officials to ignore federal statutes, the reality hangs that the only thing keeping Japanese carriers and American Predators from turning their sights toward our mainland are those few clauses still contained within the Second Amendment - data and social science be damned.

Copyright © 2013 by The Atlantic Monthly Group (emphasis in original)

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/04/owning-guns-doesnt-preserve-freedom/275287/ [with comments]


2013 NRA Annual Meetings: John Bolton

Published on May 3, 2013 by NRAVideos

Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton addresses the crowd at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, an event of the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings in Houston, Texas. Bolton notes that the threat of terrorism and the Obama administration's national security failures reinforce the importance of Second Amendment freedoms.



Stella Tremblay, New Hampshire Legislator, Says Jeff Bauman 'Was Not In Pain' After Bombing

New Hampshire state Rep. Stella Tremblay now says Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman "was not in pain" after losing both legs, proving U.S. government involvement in the attack.

[ http://bilbainodepro.blogspot.com/2013/04/jeff-bauman-jr-un-heroe-norteamericano.html ]

By John Celock
Posted: 05/01/2013 7:03 pm EDT | Updated: 05/02/2013 11:56 am EDT

The New Hampshire state legislator who has said the federal government caused the Boston Marathon bombing [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/stella-tremblay-boston-bombing_n_3140461.html ] claimed proof in a victim who lost both legs and "was not in pain."

State Rep. Stella Tremblay (R-Auburn) told a conservative talk show host Tuesday [ http://petersantilli.com/2013/04/30/episode-407-legislator-exposes-fbi-boston-marathon-cover-up-nh-rep-stella-tremblay/ ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps0O_tdoIhQ (next below)]
that she knows the federal government was behind the attacks because Jeff Bauman, a bombing victim who helped identify the suspects, was not "screaming in agony" after both his legs were blown off. Tremblay made the comments on The Pete Santilli Show, first reported by miscellanyblue.com [ http://miscellanyblue.com/post/49380389726 ], a liberal-leaning website, on Wednesday.

"Then, my first gut reaction seeing the horror of that person that has their legs blown off," Tremblay said. "You know, the bone sticking out? He was not in shock. I looked and I thought, there’s something. … I don’t know what’s wrong, but it seems surreal to me. I talked to my sister, who’s not into politics at all, and she said, 'Yes, I saw the same thing.' He was not in shock. He was not in pain. If I had had those type of injuries, I’d be screaming in agony."

Tremblay, a tea party member with ties to the birther movement [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12/stella-tremblay-email-video_n_1961940.html ], made the remarks about Bauman after causing a stir with her marathon bombing government conspiracy theory. She said photos of the bombing showed intact backpacks, which she said should have been destroyed if they contained bombs. Last week, she posted a comment on Glenn Beck's [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/stella-tremblay-boston-bombing_n_3140461.html ] Facebook page saying the federal government caused the bombing. She has resisted calls [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/stella-tremblay-bombing_n_3148973.html ] to resign over the post.

During the interview with Santilli, Tremblay said she should not get all the credit for linking the government to the bombing. She said a constituent had pointed her to the information. She said she previously trusted the federal government.

Tremblay also praised a YouTube video [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWUB4MCLsHg (next below) (also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMUcOZAF1RI ), via http://www.alipac.us/f9/breaking-news-firestorm-brewing-listen-lieutenant-colonel-potter-please-276540/ ]
featuring a man who says he's retired Army Lt. Col. Roy Potter, claiming the federal government was behind the attack. Tremblay said Potter looks honest when he asserts the bombing motive was to divert attention from a pending indictment of President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush for war crimes, along with a drop in the price of gold and government dysfunction.

Potter says on the video that the federal government had planned to pin the marathon bombing on a "right wing extremist helped by al Qaeda," but dropped the plan after being discovered.

“The people who bringing this information out are endangering their lives," Potter said.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/stella-tremblay-jeff-bauman_n_3196131.html [with embedded video "GOP Lawmaker Defends Outlandish Conspiracy Theory" (excerpted from the item next below), and comments]


Conspiracy theories reach the halls of Congress

All In with Chris Hayes
April 30, 2013

Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., has introduced a bill that's rooted in the conspiracy theory that the government is "stockpiling" ammuntion to "violate our Second Amendment rights."


http://video.msnbc.msn.com/all-in-/51725186 ; http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49263362#51725186


Ron Paul casts lot with extremists, conspiracy theorists

Ron Paul
(Credit: AP/Ben Margot)

The advisory board of the outspoken libertarian's new organization is stacked with members of the far right

By Ryan Lenz
Monday, Apr 29, 2013 12:47 PM CDT

This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center [ http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2013/04/26/ron-pauls-new-organization-reportedly-stacked-with-extremists/ (with comments)].

Ron Paul, the libertarian former Texas congressman whose hard-line views are widely admired on the radical right but who claims to reject racism, has started a new organization stacked with a hodgepodge of far-right extremists.

As The Daily Beast reported yesterday [ http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/25/the-ron-paul-institute-be-afraid-very-afraid.html ], the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is ostensibly designed to promote a discourse about U.S. foreign policy. But its advisory board is stacked with what writer James Kirchik characterized as “a bevy of conspiracy theorists, cranks, and apologists for some of the worst regimes on the planet.”

And just who are the far-right luminaries helping guide Paul’s new endeavor?

One is Lew Rockwell, Paul’s former congressional chief of staff who now heads the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an Auburn, Ala., think tank with deep ties to the neo-Confederate movement [ http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/ideology/neo-confederate ]. There’s Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News and journalist Eric Margolis, both 9/11 “truthers” who suspect that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks may have been orchestrated by the government.

And alongside them sits Butler Shaffer, a Southwestern Law School professor who similarly once asked: “In light of the lies, forgeries, cover-ups, and other deceptions leading to a ‘war’ in Iraq, how can any intellectually honest person categorically deny the possibility of the involvement of American political interest in 9/11?”

But that’s not the worst of it, according to The Daily Beast.

“Also on Paul’s board are prominent former government officials who claim that American Jews constitute a ‘fifth column’ aimed at subverting American foreign policy in the interests of Israel,” Kirchick reported. One of those is Michael Scheuer, a former CIA intelligence officer who has accused a long list of individuals and organizations of “being intent on involving 300 million Americans in other people’s religious wars,” The Daily Beast said.

Still another board member is Walter Bloch, a fellow at the Mises institute who The Daily Beast said “believes the wrong side won the ‘war against Southern secession’ and blames most of America’s current problems on ‘the monster Lincoln.’”

Yesterday’s article wasn’t the first to note the affinity many extremists have for Paul. An article in The New York Times [ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/us/politics/ron-paul-disowns-extremists-views-but-doesnt-disavow-the-support.html?pagewanted=all ] in 2011, when Paul was running for president, noted that while white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists had allied behind Paul’s campaign, he had not disavowed their support. Paul told the newspaper: “If they want to endorse me, they’re endorsing what I do or say –– it has nothing to do with me endorsing what they say.”

The controversy surrounding Paul’s new organization is reminiscent of past revelations. Paul has been accused of authoring a series of newsletters, written under his name, that Kirchik says “reveal decades worth of obsession and conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews and gays.” When Kirchik first detailed those newsletters in 2008, Paul claimed that he had not written them and he had no idea who had. Kirchik says in his latest article that the newsletters, which ostensibly gave supporters “political news and investment advice,” “netted his family over $1 million per year.”

The November 1990 issue of the Paul’s “Political Report,” for example, praised neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke [ http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/david-duke ] . A month later, an issue described the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a “world-class adulterer” who “replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration.” Also that year, as the Rev. Al Sharpton led efforts to rename New York City after King, Paul’s newsletter suggested possible alternatives including “Welfaria” and “Zooville.”

The vitriol ostensibly coming from Paul also targeted the LGBT community. A 1994 issue of the “Ron Paul Survival Report” asserted that people “who don’t get a blood transfusion, and who don’t swap needles, are virtually assured of not getting AIDS unless they are deliberately infected by a malicious gay.”

The stated mission of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is to provide “the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.” But with the revelation of who its principals really are, one can only wonder what that means.

© 2013 Southern Poverty Law Center

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/29/ron_paul_casts_lot_with_extremists_conspiracy_theorists_partner/ [with comments]


Moon Landing Faked!!!—Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

Why do so many doubt the U.S. was there?
Image: NASA

New psychological research helps explain why some see intricate government conspiracies behind events like 9/11 or the Boston bombing

By Sander van der Linden
April 30, 2013

Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming [ http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=global-warming-and-climate-change ] a hoax? And what about the Boston Marathon bombing…an “inside job” perhaps?

In the book “The Empire of Conspiracy,” Timothy Melley explains that conspiracy theories have traditionally been regarded by many social scientists as “the implausible visions of a lunatic fringe,” often inspired by what the late historian Richard Hofstadter described as “the paranoid style of American politics.” Influenced by this view, many scholars have come to think of conspiracy theories as paranoid and delusional, and for a long time psychologists have had little to contribute other than to affirm the psychopathological nature of conspiracy thinking, given that conspiricist delusions are commonly associated [ http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886911001036 ] with (schizotype) paranoia.

Yet, such pathological explanations have proven to be widely insufficient because conspiracy theories are not just the implausible visions of a paranoid minority. For example, a national poll released just this month reports that 37 percent of Americans believe that global warming is a hoax, 21 percent think that the US government is covering up evidence of alien existence and 28 percent believe a secret elite power with a globalist agenda is conspiring to rule the world. Only hours after the recent Boston marathon bombing, numerous conspiracy theories were floated ranging from a possible ‘inside job’ to YouTube videos [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlxHxKiWUa4 (next below)]
claiming that the entire event was a hoax.

So why is it that so many people come to believe in conspiracy theories? They can't all be paranoid schizophrenics. New studies are providing some eye-opening insights and potential explanations.

For example, while it has been known [ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acp.1583/full ] for some time that people who believe in one conspiracy theory are also likely to believe in other conspiracy theories, we would expect contradictory conspiracy theories to be negatively correlated. Yet, this is not what psychologists Micheal Wood, Karen Douglas and Robbie Suton found in a recent study. Instead, the research team, based at the University of Kent in England, found that many participants believed in contradictory conspiracy theories. For example, the conspiracy-belief that Osama Bin Laden is still alive was positively correlated with the conspiracy-belief that he was already dead before the military raid took place. This makes little sense, logically: Bin Laden cannot be both dead and alive at the same time. An important conclusion that the authors draw from their analysis is that people don't tend to believe in a conspiracy theory because of the specifics, but rather because of higher-order beliefs that support conspiracy-like thinking more generally. A popular example of such higher-order beliefs is a severe “distrust of authority.” The authors go on to suggest that conspiracism is therefore not just about belief in an individual theory, but rather an ideological lens through which we view the world. A good case in point is Alex Jones’s recent commentary [ http://www.inquisitr.com/620716/boston-marathon-explosions-conspiracy-theory-alex-jones-calls-attack-false-flag/ ] on the Boston bombings. Jones, (one of the country’s preeminent conspiracy theorists) reminded his audience that two of the hijacked planes on 9/11 flew out of Boston (relating one conspiracy theory to another) and moreover, that the Boston Marathon bombing could be a response to the sudden drop in the price of gold or part of a secret government plot to expand the Transportation Security Administration’s reach to sporting events. Others have pointed their fingers to a ‘mystery man’ spotted on a nearby roof shortly after the explosions. While it remains unsure whether or not credence is given to only some or all of these (note: contradicting) conspiracy theories, there clearly is a larger underlying preference to support conspiracy-type explanations more generally.

Interestingly, belief in conspiracy theories has recently been linked to the rejection of science. In a paper published in Psychological Science [ http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/03/25/0956797612457686.full ], Stephen Lewandowsky and colleagues investigated the relation between acceptance of science and conspiricist thinking patterns. While the authors' survey was not representative of the general population, results suggest that (controlling for other important factors) belief in multiple conspiracy theories significantly predicted the rejection of important scientific conclusions, such as climate science or the fact that smoking [ http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=smoking ] causes lung cancer [ http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=cancer ]. Yet, rejection of scientific principles is not the only possible consequence of widespread belief in conspiracy theories. Another recent study [ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjop.12018/full ] indicates that receiving positive information about or even being merely exposed to conspiracy theories can lead people to become disengaged from important political and societal topics. For example, in their study, Daniel Jolley and Karen Douglas clearly show that participants who received information that supported the idea that global warming is a hoax were less willing to engage politically and also less willing to implement individual behavioral changes such as reducing their carbon footprint.

These findings are alarming because they show that conspiracy theories sow public mistrust and undermine democratic debate by diverting attention away from important scientific, political and societal issues. There is no question as to whether the public should actively demand truthful and transparent information from their governments and proposed explanations should be met with a healthy amount of scepticism, yet, this is not what conspiracy theories offer. A conspiracy theory is usually defined as an attempt to explain the ultimate cause of an important societal event as part of some sinister plot conjured up by a secret alliance of powerful individuals and organizations. The great philosopher Karl Popper argued that the fallacy of conspiracy theories lies in their tendency to describe every event as 'intentional' and 'planned' thereby seriously underestimating the random nature and unintended consequences of many political and social actions. In fact, Popper was describing a cognitive bias that psychologists now commonly refer to as the “fundamental attribution error”: the tendency to overestimate the actions of others as being intentional rather than the product of (random) situational circumstances.

Since a number of studies have shown that belief in conspiracy theories is associated with feelings of powerlessness [ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/0162-895X.00160/abstract ], uncertainty and a general lack of agency and control [ http://www.sciencemag.org/content/322/5898/115.short ], a likely purpose of this bias is to help people “make sense of the world” by providing simple explanations for complex societal events — restoring a sense of control and predictability. A good example is that of climate change: while the most recent international scientific assessment report [ http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml ] (receiving input from over 2500 independent scientists from more than a 100 countries) concluded with 90 percent certainty that human-induced global warming is occurring, the severe consequences and implications of climate change are often too distressing and overwhelming for people to deal with, both cognitively as well as emotionally. Resorting to easier explanations that simply discount global warming as a hoax is then of course much more comforting and convenient psychologically. Yet, as Al Gore famously pointed out, unfortunately, the truth is not always convenient.

© 2013 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=moon-landing-faked-why-people-believe-conspiracy-theories [with comments]


conspiracy theorists

Posted by John Ostrowick
Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 9:36 PM

I despise conspiracy theorists for many reasons:

1. They do not look at all the evidence, just the evidence that confirms their preconceived notions. They enter "research" with an idea up-front of whatever bigoted view it is that they want to promote, e.g. that the government is controlled by "the Jews" or "the Illuminati" or "the Masons" or "the reptilian aliens" or "the industrial-military complex" or "the pharmaceutical industry" or whatever. They only look at evidence that confirms this, and ignore the other evidence that shows government is incompetent and incapable of organising a piss-up in a brewery, never mind a huge conspiracy.

2. They diminish and belittle tragedies like HIV/AIDS, JFK, 9/11, The Holocaust, Princess Di, etc. By casting doubt on these events, they render the lives of the victims invisible on the fabric of history. It is worse than killing someone, it is utterly destroying even the memory of them. Conspiracy theorists, in my view, are worse than murderers, because they rob the victims of their only meaningful remnant: the memory of the lesson that they represent to humanity.

3. Conspiracy theorists spread views which to ignorant and stupid listeners sound plausible, and cause sociopolitical upheavals, martyrdoms, or dangerous dietary behaviours, because of lies, which the average Joe on the street is incapable of distinguishing from fact. They bluster about "them" or "they" who want to "cover up" the "truth" which the lucky conspiracy theorist just happens to "know" because some or other authority figure gave them a crackpot theory to sell. They fail to distinguish quality research from crackpottery.

4. They claim that the "official" view is "propaganda" created by "them" or "the government" or "the illuminati" or "the industrial-military complex" or "the medical fraternity" or "the reichstag arsonists" or [fill in your favourite form of big brother here]. Yet if pressed for evidence of the reasonable intent and mechanisms used by the relevant Big Brother, they are vague on details and researched evidence. Or they twist facts, or even worse, fabricate evidence. They cast doubt over things that are established facts.

5. Most importantly: They fail to ask: How is it that SO MANY people are "in" on the conspiracy and never break their oaths of silence? "Well, they're all scared that THEY will come and get them". But surely someone would be willing to be a martyr for truth and come out and tell what "really" happened? Are all those people fleeing the collapsing buildings just actors who were paid to say that passenger aeroplanes flew into them? Are ALL the scientists working on HIV/AIDS actually in the pay of a shady group of "them" whose aim is to sell ARVs to starving poor people and drug addicts? Do you really think that government is so cynical that it will kill thousands of its own people, and inflict billions of dollars of damage, just to get a pretext to go to war, when there's plenty of oil inside USA anyway? It is outrageous to suggest this. It is an affront to the memory of those who died, and the same goes for holocaust denial.

6. Conspiracy theorists take skepticism too far, to the point where they aren't even convinced when rational evidence, such as clear photos of starving people with tattoos, are presented. Rational skeptics reject theories that lack evidence: no photos, no scientific evidence. Conspiracy theorist skepticism rejects EVERYTHING as "lacking evidence" - except for their particular favourite conspiracy - and even when evidence is abundantly against them.

Explanation from Marius du Preez (paraphrase): Conspiracy theories are the same kind of thinking as religion and superstition. Because we're too ignorant to accept that there's a rational mechanistic explanation for disasters, we assume it has some "big mind" or "big force" or secret behind it, such as God or the Illuminati. Both ways of thinking are the same, and are superstitious and primitive. There is no "big plan" - either from God, or from the Illuminati, or from the Masons, or from the Jews. The "big plan" is a myth, no matter what its form. The religious and the conspiracy theorists are in effect insecure, and cannot face the fact that the world is chaotic, in the mathematical sense, and unpredictable. Such people wish to shoehorn the world into a neat mechanistic plan-based pattern, so that it all "makes sense" in the end.


--- latest debate follows ---


The neo-nazis - sorry, I mean, nazi apologisers, believe that it's a false-flag conspiracy, ie you claim that millions of your own people were killed (and provide some evidence), so you can claim a right to military action, e.g. to attack palestine and colonise it as the state of israel. Another conspiracy lunacy is the 9/11 conspiracy, also a false-flag claim: that the USA knocked over its own towers to create a justification for war against islamic states.


False flag - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
False flag has its origins in naval warfare where the use of a flag other than the belligerent's true battle flag as a ruse de guerre, before engaging an enemy, has long been acceptable. It is also acceptable in certain circumstances in land warfare, to deceive enemies in similar ways providing that...

I actually don't think there are any significant global conspiracies. It's just not possible to keep everyone quiet.

I think in some peoples' case, what has happened is they discovered skepticism, and applied it too strongly - to everything. So not just to God and homeopathy, but to the holocaust, 9/11, moon landings, etc. So you get a super-skeptic, who inevitably ends up being a conspiracy theorist, because he simply cannot see the difference between good evidence and bad evidence, so he assumes that all evidence is bad, and therefore, anything and everything is signs of a conspiracy.

Ivy Bedworth: Conspiracy theories can't survive in a world with google in it

Actually, Ivy Bedworth, the internet has given rise to conspiracy theories galore. The reason is the same as why christianity can survive on internet: people keep drinking the kool aid. Christians only go to christian websites, and keep drinking that kool aid. They never dare look elsewhere, and feel no need to. The same happens with conspiracy nuts. They keep going to conspiracy sites because they "tell the truth behind the lies of the government-illuminati-military-industrial-complex" or whoever is the favourite bogeyman of the day, so they also keep drinking the kool aid. A conspiracy theorist doubts everything - except his conspiracy theory. A religious person doubts everything - except his religion. A scientist doubts anything that doesn't have proper empirical evidence.

Copyright 2013 John Ostrowick

http://johnostrowick.blogspot.com/2012/12/conspiracy-theorists.html [no comments yet]


Clarence Thomas: Obama Only President Because He's What 'Elites' Expect 'From A Black Person'

By Nick Wing
Posted: 05/03/2013 3:19 pm EDT

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn't speak much [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/14/clarence-thomas-speaks_n_2473316.html ] on the job, but during an interview last month at Duquesne Law School [ http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/311996-3 ] in Pittsburgh, Pa., he offered some candid insight into his thoughts about politics and President Barack Obama.

Asked if Obama's election as the first black president came as a surprise, Thomas said it didn't, claiming that he'd always believed a black person would become president one day. He went on to say, however, that Obama had only been elected because the president won over the elites and media, something Thomas argued most black people must do in order to advance.

"The thing that I always knew is that it would have to be a black president who was approved by the elites and the media, because anybody they didn’t agree with, they would take apart," Thomas said in a clip that surfaced on Friday [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whgcV8DapNM (next below)].
"You pick your person. Any black person who says something that is not the prescribed things that they expect from a black person will be picked apart."

Thomas's comments have since been picked up by a number of outlets and are being considered by some as a subtle jab at Obama. Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California School of Law, told Mother Jones [ http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/05/clarence-thomas-obama-elites-black-approve ] that the remarks were out of character for a sitting Supreme Court justice.

"Thomas seems more interested in becoming a Fox commentator than preserving the integrity of the Court," he said. "Justices should not take pot shots at the president. It's beneath the dignity of the court."

At the Duquesne Law School event, Thomas went on to explain that he had met Obama before, but had never spoken with the president at length. He also said that he wasn't really interested in politics.

"I just don't like politics," he said. "I'm just done ... I like history, I like things of substance; I don't understand politics."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/clarence-thomas-obama_n_3210224.html [with embedded video, and (over 15,000) comments]


Obama's Judicial Nominees Blocked On All Sides By Senate Republicans

By Jennifer Bendery
Posted: 04/29/2013 6:37 pm EDT | Updated: 04/30/2013 2:43 pm EDT

WASHINGTON -- It's bad enough that there are 82 vacant federal judge slots around the country, a level so high that many [ http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83935.html ] observers [ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/07/AR2011020706034.html ] have deemed it a crisis situation.

But perhaps even more startling is the fact that of those 82 vacant slots, 61 of them don't even have a nominee.

On its face, the absence of nominees would appear to be a sign that President Barack Obama is slacking. After all, he is responsible for nominating judges, and he did put forward fewer nominees [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/02/judicial-vacancies-obama_n_2228978.html ] at the end of his first term than his two predecessors. But a closer look at data on judicial nominees, and conversations with people involved in the nomination process, reveals the bigger problem is Republican senators quietly refusing to recommend potential judges in the first place.

The process for moving judicial nominees is simple enough. A president takes the lead on circuit court nominees, while, per longstanding tradition, a senator kickstarts the process for district court nominees, which make up the bulk of the federal court system. Senators make recommendations from their home states, and the president works with them to get at least some of the nominees confirmed -- the idea being that senators, regardless of party, are motivated to advocate for nominees from their states. The White House may look at other nominees on its own, but typically won't move forward without input from the corresponding senators. Once a nominee is submitted to the Senate, he or she receives a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. If approved, the nomination heads to the Senate floor for a full vote.

It's hardly news that the judicial nomination process is gummed up. Democrats regularly blast Republicans for blocking Obama's nominees after they clear the Senate Judiciary Committee with broad support, making them wait an average of 116 days [ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/04/03/how-controversial-are-president-obamas-judicial-nominees/ ] for a confirmation vote. That's three times longer than the average wait for President George W. Bush's nominees. But these obstacles come at the end of the nomination process. It's now clear that there's a serious problem at the beginning, too.

It turns out that since Obama took office, senators from some states -- particularly those represented by two Republicans -- have simply refused to make recommendations, according to data recently published by the Alliance for Justice [ http://www.afj.org/judicial-selection/judicial-vacancies-without-nominees.pdf ], a left-leaning association of more than 100 organizations focused on the federal judiciary.

Take Kansas, for example. The state is represented by Republican Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, neither of whom has put forward nominees for a district court slot there that has been vacant for 1,246 days. Their inaction hasn't gone unnoticed -- both senators have taken heat [ http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/events/aba-day/judvacs_kansas.authcheckdam.pdf ] for not participating in the nomination process.

Or look at Texas, where Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have not moved to fill seven vacant judicial slots, two of which have been vacant for 1,733 and 1,034 days, respectively, without a nominee. At least one Texas paper ran a piece suggesting Cornyn and former Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison were holding off on making judicial recommendations because they were hopeful Mitt Romney would become president [ http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/14/v-print/4681532/judicial-vacancies-still-a-problem.html ] in 2012.

There are four vacant judicial slots in Arizona, one of which has been vacant for 1,132 days. Neither of the state's Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, have put forward a nominee for any those spots.

In total, 25 of the 61 vacancies without nominees are in states with two Republican senators, and another 14 are in states with one Republican senator and one Democratic senator. Seventeen are in states with two Democratic senators, and the remaining five are in other districts. That means many of the vacancies without nominees can be traced back to Senate Republicans who just aren't participating in the process -- a reality that flies in the face of Republicans' chief complaint that Obama isn't putting forward enough judicial nominees.

"It's disingenuous at best for Republicans to complain about the number of judicial vacancies without nominees when Republicans themselves are responsible for the majority of those vacancies," said Michelle Schwartz, director of Justice Programs for Alliance for Justice. "Nearly two-thirds of the vacancies without nominees are in states with at least one Republican senator, most of whom have consistently refused to work with the White House in good faith to identify qualified candidates."

To be sure, there are states with long-vacant judgeships that are represented by two Democratic senators. But according to Alliance for Justice data, those instances are less frequent, the number of days those slots have been vacant is significantly lower and, in most cases, those senators have put forward nominees. In California, for example, which is represented by Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, one judicial slot has been vacant for 575 days. But the senators have made a recommendation, and the White House is currently working with them to fill the judgeship.

Thirty-six of the current vacancies are considered "judicial emergencies." At the circuit courts, that means that because of the vacancies, the number of cases per panel of judges exceeds 700, or stays between 500 and 700 for more than 18 months. In district courts, it means the number of cases per individual judge is more than 600, or between 430 and 600 for more than 18 months. The more overloaded judges are, the more delayed the process of moving civil and criminal matters through the justice system.

HuffPost reached out to the Republican senators mentioned to ask why they haven't submitted nominees for seats that have long been vacant, and to see if they planned to do so anytime soon. Only one responded.

Cornyn spokesman Drew Brandewie said the Texas senator did send the White House recommendations for the two judicial slots that have been vacant for more than 1,000 days, both in 2010, and that Obama didn't go on to nominate them. Cornyn has made two additional recommendations for vacancies in Corpus Christi, Brandwie noted. Obama nominated one of them, Nelva Ramos, who was confirmed by the Senate in 2011.

Schwartz responded that her group had "no knowledge" of Cornyn making recommendations for the two long-vacant slots, and speculated that he may have made them to the White House privately. A White House official declined comment.

Nearly everyone was to blame for a lull in the nominations process last fall, when people in both parties turned their attention to the elections. The Senate Judiciary Committee stopped reporting out nominees between mid-August and early December. Democrats and the White House stopped pressing as hard for action, and, as one White House aide put it [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/02/judicial-vacancies-obama_n_2228978.html ] late last year, the bottleneck in the Senate didn't exactly encourage anyone to work harder to come up with more nominees. "If my coffee pot only makes one cup per hour, no matter how many coffee beans I pour into it, the number of cups coming out will still be the same," the aide said.

But in the months since Obama won reelection, there appears to have been a shift. When he met with Senate Republicans in early April, he pressed them [ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-03/obama-pushes-republicans-to-stop-blocking-judicial-picks.html ] to work with him on nominations. Senate Democrats have more visibly stepped up efforts [ http://www.pryor.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=f6e94ccd-9241-4aa8-9c66-f814ee7ef676 ] to make recommendations. White House press secretary Jay Carney, meanwhile, has been highlighting when the Senate acts on Obama's nominees during his daily briefings. The president has also been putting forward more circuit court nominees since the start of the year, a nomination process senators are less involved in.

Some Republicans may even be signaling that they're ready to play ball now. In mid-April, Cornyn and Cruz announced a bipartisan commission to recommend Texas judicial nominees. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who previously blocked one nominee [ http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/125741928.html ] from his home state, announced that he, too, would help establish a similar nominating commission [ http://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=195529ef-a867-4bce-bb4e-080a872329b1 ] there.

But politics are clearly still driving the process. Last week, when the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Jane Kelly of Iowa to be a circuit court judge, Republicans said it showed that they're not blocking the process.

"Today's confirmation is the 14th so far this year -- including five circuit judges and nine district judges," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during remarks on the Senate floor. "Let me put that in perspective for my colleagues. At this point in the second term of the Bush presidency, only one judicial nomination had been confirmed. A comparative record of 14 to 1 is nothing to cry about."

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was quick to push back. In floor remarks, he noted that the median time circuit court nominees have had to wait before a Senate vote has jumped from 18 days under Bush to 132 days under Obama. On top of that, he said, the 82 judicial vacancies around the country is nearly double the number that existed at this point in the Bush administration.

"While it is good that they have allowed this vote on Jane Kelly from Iowa, if it proves an exception rather than a change in their tactics of obstruction, we will recognize it for what it is," Leahy said, suggesting that Grassley may have had other reasons for supporting Kelly getting a vote, and that he may have skipped over other nominees that have been waiting since last year.

"It should not take being from the ranking Republican's home state to be promptly confirmed as a noncontroversial judicial nominee," Leahy said.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/obama-judicial-nominees_n_3156050.html [with comments]


SC House Approves Bill Criminalizing Enforcement Of ‘Obamacare’
May 3, 2013
http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/2013/05/03/sc-house-approves-bill-criminalizing-enforcement-of-obamacare/ [with comments]


Shelley Moore Capito Hails Medicare As 'Tremendous Program' After Voting To Dismantle It

By Jennifer Bendery
Posted: 05/03/2013 5:14 pm EDT | Updated: 05/03/2013 5:23 pm EDT

WASHINGTON -- During recent remarks to a local GOP group, Rep. Shelley Moore Capitol (R-W.Va.) hailed Medicare as "a tremendous program" and imagined she would have "many sleepless nights" without it, since her parents rely on it to keep the costs of their prescription drugs down.

What you wouldn't know by Capito's comments, though, is that she voted -- three times -- for the House Republican budget put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which would overhaul Medicare [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/paul-ryan-budget-passed_n_2924126.html ] and reopen the prescription drug "donut hole [ http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3922 ]," that would force immediate costs increases onto people like her parents.

Capito, who has been in the House since 2000 and is now running for Senate, made her remarks during a speech to the Greenbrier Republican Party on April 20.

"I've told you already Mom and Dad haven't been feeling so well," she told the group. "But if we didn't have the security as a family of Medicare, I don't know what we would -- we would have so many sleepless nights to try to figure out, 'How are we going to meet the costs of their prescription drugs? How are we gonna meet the costs?'"

The West Virginia congresswoman later defended Ryan's budget in her speech, according to a Democratic source familiar with Capito's full remarks. Video footage of the full speech wasn't readily accessible.

Capito went on to call Medicare "a tremendous program," not just because of the relief it provides to those who rely on it for health care, but also for their family members and others "who are trying to care for their elderly."

A request for comment from Capito's campaign spokesman was not returned.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/shelley-moore-capito-medicare_n_3211033.html [the YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP4mwS5A4fY , as embedded; with comments]


Democrat Official: 'He's An Arrogant N*****'

Published on Apr 26, 2013 by TheYoungTurks

"Buena Vista Township Clerk Gloria Platko is resisting demands that she step down after another local official, Interim Township Manager Dexter Mitchell (a Democrat), taped a phone conversation in which Platko referred to Township Supervisor Dwayne Parker (also a Democrat) as "an arrogant nigger."

Gloria Platko, a Michigan Democrat, was caught on tape calling another Democrat an "arrogant n*****." But don't worry- she can "prove" she's not racist. Cenk Uygur, Jimmy Dore, and John Iadarola break down this ridiculous show of racism.

Read more from Mediaite:



Michigan Clerk Gloria Platko Caught on Tape Calling Dwayne Parker Town Official 'Arrogant N-Word'

Published on Apr 25, 2013 by FemBossNews

Buena Vista Township Clerk Gloria Platko was caught on tape (audio below [second portion of this YouTube]) calling Township Supervisor Dwayne Parker "an arrogant n*gger," noted Mediaite.com [ http://www.mediaite.com/online/local-michigan-democrat-caught-on-tape-calling-town-official-an-arrogant-ngger/ ].

The racial slur was made during a conversation in January with Interim Township Manager Dexter Mitchell, who legally recorded the call without Platko's knowledge because he didn't want her twisting his words, according to MLive.com [ http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2013/04/buena_vista_township_clerk_def.html ; see also http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2013/05/michigan_democratic_party_call.html ] .

"He is just doing whatever he can. You know what I think of Mr. Parker right now, and I know you're not even going to like this," Platko said. "But he's just an arrogant n*gger. And I'm sorry to say it that way, but that's the way I feel."

The audio was played during an April 22nd meeting of the Buena Vista Township Board of Trustees in Buena Vista, Michigan. After playing the tape, Mitchell called for Platko to resign.

Platko told NBC 25 [ http://www.minbcnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=889489 ] (video below [first portion of this YouTube; also at e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11NNbeMhGEQ ]) that she was "sorry to my five other board members, and I'm entirely sorry to this entire community. I've eaten Thanksgiving dinner with black friends at their house. So I'm far from prejudiced. You need to go interview some of the black people who have supported me for the last four or five years."

"Yea, I probably should've used a word like 'ignoramus' or something like that, but I didn't, and I'm sorry for the word I used," Platko added.



George David, Pennsylvania Sheriff, Heading To Trial On Threat Charges

04/29/13 07:41 PM ET EDT

BEAVER, Pa. — A judge says a western Pennsylvania sheriff accused of threatening to cut a political campaign worker's hands off and shoot an online news reporter should go to trial.

Judge Michael L. Gerheim heard nearly five hours of testimony Monday before agreeing most of the 11 charges against Beaver County Sheriff George David should go to trial.

A grand jury report says David delivered expletive-fueled rants and uttered a racial slur to his victims. It says he threatened to cut off and eat a campaign volunteer's hands.

David denies the charges and remains in office because county officials are powerless to remove him and state legislators haven't tried to.

He was arrested last month on charges including terroristic threats, witness intimidation and obstructing an investigation. Authorities say the charges stem from encounters since November 2011.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/george-david-sheriff-threats-trial_n_3184422.html [with comments] [more at http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-west/beaver-county-sheriff-held-on-accusations-of-threats-against-blogger-campaign-volunteer-685556/ (with comments)]


What I've Discovered as the Mother of Biracial Kids

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/denise-henry/mothers-of-biracial-kids_b_3105615.html [with comments]


Integrated Prom In Wilcox County In Georgia Deemed A Success
Updated: 04/29/2013
Roughly equal numbers of black and white students signed up for the integrated prom [ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/us/in-rural-georgia-students-step-up-to-offer-integrated-prom.html ], and according to students interviewed by WMGT 41, the event went off without a hitch [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=962mqZ_Yx3g (below, as embedded)].
“This was amazing, this has been completely surreal. I am content and happy,” one student told the station.
Wilcox County is thought to be one of the last parts of the country that still holds segregated events, according to NBC affiliate WSAV. Last year the school had a segregated homecoming [ http://www.wsav.com/story/21866654/macon-students-fight-segregated-prom ], the outlet notes.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/integrated-prom-wilcox-county-georgia_n_3178005.html [with a separate embedded video report, and comments]


White Student Union Clashes With Other Groups During May Day Protests

Twenty-one-year-old student Matthew Heimbach

By Paige Lavender
Posted: 05/03/2013 11:56 am EDT

A group that calls itself a White Student Union clashed with protesters in Washington, D.C. during May Day demonstrations.

Matthew Heimbach, president of the White Student Union, told CNN [ http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/01/us/seattle-may-day-protests/index.html ] he was hit with urine during a protest on Wednesday.

"We were here to protest communism and to stand up for the blue collar working class," Heimbach said. "And then I got urine thrown on me, so it shows really how tolerant these people are."

Videos [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_anCrs65930 (next below)]
posted to YouTube show [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7vjUwOSBMI (next below)]
the clash between members of the White Student Union and other protesters demonstrating on what is known as International Workers' Day.

“What brought you fuckers out here today?” a person says [ http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/02/bags-of-urine-thrown-as-white-student-union-clashes-with-may-day-protesters/ ] in one video.

Protesters rallying against the White Student Union can be seen chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, fascist scum has got to go!" and "Bigots go home!"

CNN reports [ http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/01/us/seattle-may-day-protests/index.html ] one person was arrested in Washington during the May 1 protests, according to U.S. Park Police.

This isn't the first time the White Student Union has caused a stir. The group, formed [ http://www.mediaite.com/tv/future-of-organized-hate-white-student-union-founder-defends-controversial-campus-patrolling-effort-on-cnn/ ] by students at Towson University in Maryland, made headlines in April when it announced plans to do night patrols [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/03/towson-rally-white-student-union_n_3008322.html ] of the school's campus to to fend off "black predators."

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/white-student-union_n_3209258.html [with embedded video (excerpts from the first YouTube included above, better to view the complete YouTube as included), and comments]


White Supremacist Kills Child Molester Friend Due to Gang Requirement

[mug shots via AP]

Neetzan Zimmerman
May 6, 2013 10:36am

A member of the white supremacist prison gang the Peckerwoods [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peckerwood#Usage_and_evolution ] was convicted last Friday of murdering his house guest, a registered sex offender, because his membership in the Peckerwoods required him to attack any person of the same race who had a history of child molestation [ http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/04/5394206/life-in-prison-for-capital-area.html ].

48-year-old Charles Francis Gaskins pleaded no contest in March to the murder of 66-year-old Neil Hayes in 2009.

The two met during their shared time in prison, and Gaskins invited Hayes to live with him and his wife, Sandra Sheaves, in their home in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento.

During Hayes' stay, Sheaves learned through the Megan's Law website [ http://www.parentsformeganslaw.org/offender/offenderSearch.jsp ] that her husband's prison buddy was a registered sex offender.

She informed Gaskins, who subsequently attacked Hayes in the garage with a rock, and bludgeoned him to death [ http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/supremacist-26-life-killing-molester-19110293 ].

Gaskins and Sheaves then stuffed Hayes into the truck of their car and drove to Placerville, where they ditched the evidence.

The body was ultimately found and the two were charged — Gaskins with murder, and Sheaves with accessory.

As part of Gaskins' plea deal he received 26-to-life in prison, while the court gave Sheaves an eight-year sentence which will result in her being released in a couple of months.

© Gawker Media 2013

http://gawker.com/white-supremacist-kills-child-molester-friend-due-to-ga-493114847 [with comments]


Alex Jones takes break from Boston Marathon bombing conspiracies to go on transphobic rant

(Credit: Facebook)

Jones believes that anti-discrimination laws will allow transgender people to "vomit and crap all over the place"

By Katie Mcdonough
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 04:13 PM CDT

Alex Jones took a break on Tuesday from the exhausting work of spouting conspiracy theories [ http://www.salon.com/2013/04/19/alex_jones_is_phoning_it_in/ ] about the Boston Marathon bombing (among other favored topics [ http://www.salon.com/topic/alex_jones/ ]) to launch into a transphobic rant.

Jones blasted the “globalist mafia” behind recent LGBT anti-discrimination measures [ http://www.towleroad.com/2013/02/phoenix.html ], and called transgender rights “fake rights.” He went on to preemptively defend himself against allegations of transphobia by clarifying: “ It’s not that I’m against people that think they’re a woman or a man or whatever.”

More from Jones:

They’re saying in high schools, in junior highs now, they’re going to have – men can decide to be in the women’s bathroom if they want. You’re like ‘well big deal, that’s their gender.’ It’s all about these fake rights that don’t exist versus my basic liberty being taken. It’s not that I’m against people that think they’re a woman or a man or whatever. I don’t even care. Give me a break. It’s not even on my radar screen. I could care less. I care about people…


I dealt at Access TV with a famous Austin transvestite, who died a few years ago, who they're talking about building a statue to, going in the bathroom, men and women, and vomiting all over the walls when they would do whatever they were doing in there. I mean, I'm talking about several transvestites cramming their way into the men's bathroom, the women's bathroom. You'd go in there to comb your hair before you went on air, there they were. And they finally got thrown out of there because of it and said it was because of discrimination because they were transvestites. No. It was because whatever they were injecting in there made them throw up all over - I mean imagine every week throw up all over the walls. And then I had an office by this guy. The bad luck is I had an office where we would look down, turned out he lived around the block, and I would have to watch him every day in the cheerleader outfit, through my office window, on the air, doing deals and stuff in cars and stumbling around everywhere. And then I'm not a trendy because I don't bow down. I had to go in there store, there was a grocery store next door... you know with crap dripping down his leg, stinking. And I'm supposed to just go 'oh, you're a trendy with rotten teeth hanging out of your head, and a weird bald head, you're in a dress. Here, here, here, here, please, please more diarrhea running down your leg.


I don’t want my daughters growing up in a country where some transvestite comes walking into the thing hopped out of their brain on drugs vomiting and crapping all over the place.

You can listen to the full clip (which is rambling and awful) here:

[clip embedded]

h/t Media Matters [ http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/05/01/alex-jones-warns-against-transgender-people-vom/193856 ]

Copyright © 2013 Salon Media Group, Inc.

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/01/alex_jones_takes_break_from_boston_marathon_bombing_conspiracies_to_go_on_transphobic_rant/ [with comments]


Alex Jones Transphobic Rant

Published on May 2, 2013 by Jackie Frances

Alex Jones Transphobic Rant Claims 'globalist mafia' is pushing for 'fake rights'



RuPaul's Prom Picture Shows Drag Queen Had It Going On Even In High School

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/04/rupaul-prom-picture_n_3214351.html [with comments]; http://www.whosay.com/rupaul/photos/214405 [with comments]


What anti-LGBT activists say “off the record”

Robert Gagnon
(Credit: Zack Ford via Think Progress)

A listserv for leaders in the "ex-gay" movement provides a revealing look at how anti-LGBT activists really talk

By Katie Mcdonough
Thursday, May 2, 2013 11:12 AM CDT

Anti-gay rights organizations like the National Organization for Marriage tend to rely on prepared statements about “family values” and “traditional marriage” to justify their opposition to full LGBT equality, but a recent look at a listserv for Christian activists in the “ex-gay” movement reveals how candid they become once off the record.

Alan Chambers of Exodus International is trying to sanitize his organization’s reputation by softening its rhetoric about “curing” gay people, and wants to see others in the movement do the same. Chambers recently invited writer and gay rights activist Jeremy Hooper to join a listserv of 70 socially conservative activists in an effort to expose the violent rhetoric circulating among others in the anti-LGBT equality movement.

As reported [ http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/05/02/1953401/what-opponents-of-lgbt-equality-sound-like-off-the-record-you-are-twice-the-son-of-hell/ ] by Hooper and ThinkProgress, listserv member Doug McBurney didn’t react well to Hooper’s presence on the list:

Jeremy, Your utter rebellion against your creator, and your efforts to encourage others to join in your rebellion are sins and crimes of the highest order.

If you call yourself a Christian, you are twice the son of Hell. [...]

Repent Jeremy, you have perverted God’s straight ways! Repent or you shall receive the penalty due. Repent or face the judgment for the little ones you lead into your sin!

Neither did Robert Gagnon, anti-gay rights activist, professor and friend of NOM [ http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201206210002 ]:

Bestiality is an even more unnatural form of sexual practice since it is cross-species. Adult-consensual incest is also a particularly perverse form of sexual practice since it involves sex with someone who is too much of a familial same. But Scripture treats homosexual practice as even more severely unnatural because the male-female requirement for sexual relations is foundational for all that follows (so Genesis and Jesus) and because sex or gender is a more constituent feature of sexual behavior than kinship. [...]

So, technically, those who willfully engage in unrepentant homosexual practice could be labelled “perverts.”

I also believe (and this is just basic common sense) that having homosexual males as boy scout leaders is as stupid as having heterosexual males as girl scout leaders. It is a recipe for sexual abuse.

Copyright © 2013 Salon Media Group, Inc.

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/02/what_anti_lgbt_activists_say_off_the_record/ [with comments]


John Paulk, 'Ex-Gay' Leader, Apologizes For Involvement In Reparative Therapy Movement

By Glennisha Morgan
Posted: 04/25/2013 3:09 pm EDT | Updated: 04/25/2013 3:15 pm EDT

The former poster child of the "ex-gay movement" [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/exodus-international-ex-gay-group-hilarious-blooper-reel_n_2433728.html ] renounced his controversial past beliefs in an email interview [ http://www.pqmonthly.com/is-john-paulk-ready-to-renounce-his-ex-gay-gospel-2/13867 ] with PQ Monthly last week.

John Paulk, the former chairman of Exodus International [ http://exodusinternational.org/ ] and co-author of Love Won Out: How God's Love Helped Two People Leave Homosexuality and Find Each Other [ http://www.amazon.com/Love-Won-Out-John-Paulk/dp/1561798169 ], said he struggled with rejection all of his life and has been on a journey trying to understand God.

“Until recently, I have struggled all my life in feeling unloved and unaccepted,” Paulk said. “I have been on a journey during the last few years in trying to understand God, myself, and how I can best relate to others. During this journey I have made many mistakes and I have hurt many people including people who are close to me. I have also found a large number of people who accept me for who I am regardless of my past, any labels, or what I do.”

Paulk said he is now greatly remorseful for any harm that he's caused by his words.

“I no longer support the ex-gay movement or efforts to attempt to change individuals — especially teens who already feel insecure and alienated. I feel great sorrow over the pain that has been caused when my words were misconstrued," he said. "I have worked at giving generously to the gay community in Portland where I work and live. I am working hard to be authentic and genuine in all of my relationships.”

As The Advocate points out [ http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2013/04/24/john-paulk-formally-renounces-apologizes-harmful-ex-gay-movement ], Paulk issued a formal apology [ http://www.pqmonthly.com/update-john-paulk-apologizes-for-ex-gay-gospel-wife-ann-says-shell-pray-for-him/14177 ] for his past actions on April 24.

“For the better part of 10 years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the 'ex-gay movement,' where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination," he said. "At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not."

He added, "Today, I do not consider myself 'ex-gay,' and I no longer support or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people."

Paulk's wife and Love Won Out co-author released her own [id.] personal statement on April 22, noting that the couple was in the process of divorce.

Read Paulk's full apology here [id.].

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/john-paulk-ex-gay-therapy-apology_n_3155536.html [with comments]


Matt Moore, Christian Blogger Caught On Grindr: I Was Looking To Meet Men, But Not For Sex

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/matt-moore-christian-blogger-grindr_n_3193171.html [with audio of interview embedded, and comments]


Gays Beware with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and George Takei
A public service announcement about the dangerous individuals that oppose marriage equality.
May 6, 2013
http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/34201d7411/gay-beware-with-jesse-tyler-ferguson [with comments]


Brazil Priest Excommunicated For Defending Gay Rights

* Priest defends homosexuality, open marriages

* Excommunication follows warnings to toe Church line

By Paulo Prada
Posted: 04/30/2013 3:48 pm EDT | Updated: 05/01/2013 8:44 am EDT

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 30 (Reuters) - The Catholic Church has excommunicated a Brazilian priest after he defended homosexuality, open marriage and other practices counter to Church teaching in online videos.

In a statement released late on Monday, the priest's diocese said Father Roberto Francisco Daniel, known to local parishioners as Padre Beto, had "in the name of 'freedom of expression' betrayed the promise of fealty to the Church."

The priest "injured the Church with grave statements counter to the dogma of Catholic faith and morality." The actions amount to "heresy and schism," the statement said, the penalty for which is excommunication, or expulsion from the Church.

The rare punishment follows what Daniel's bishop and the priest himself said were repeated rebukes about the videos and other public activities, such as a radio broadcast and local newspaper column, in which he challenged Church doctrine.

The 47-year-old cleric, who studied theology in Germany, is popular in the southeastern city of Bauru, where he has been a priest since 2001. He is known for his rock T-shirts, a silver stud pierced through his right ear and his habit of posing, as on his official Facebook page, with a glass of beer.

On Facebook and Twitter, Daniel posted a brief statement about the excommunication: "I feel honored to belong to the long list of people who have been murdered and burned alive for thinking and searching for knowledge."


Daniel's excommunication, which prompted headlines across Brazil and protests in social media, illustrates the rising influence of more moderate social views in Brazil, Latin America's biggest country, and much of the rest of the region.

Progressive stances on sexuality, birth control, scientific research and other delicate topics for the Church are increasingly common in Latin America, home to 42 percent of the world's Catholics, more than any other region worldwide.

The shifting views are among the many challenges faced by Pope Francis, an Argentine who ascended in March to become the first Latin American pope in history.

The excommunication comes just two months before Francis is scheduled to attend World Youth Day, expected to attract as many as 2 million young Catholics to Rio de Janeiro.

Though Francis is known to be a traditionalist on social issues and Church doctrine, his appointment raised hopes that the first non-European pope in 13 centuries would do more than his predecessors to modernize Catholicism.

But Daniel's beliefs clearly went too far for church leaders.

In one of the recent videos he posted on YouTube.com and his own Website, the priest said a married person who chose to have an affair, heterosexual or otherwise, would not be unfaithful as long as that person's spouse allowed it. "If someone is in an extramarital relationship and that relationship is accepted by the spouse, then faithfulness still exists there," he said.


In a telephone interview, Daniel said his statements "are personal reflections that should be considered and discussed in the dialogue of the church." The excommunication, he said, is "the sad act of a lukewarm and disengaged church that is out of touch with today's society."

The diocese retained a church expert in canonical law to oversee the excommunication process. The diocese also initiated a separate process at the Vatican through which Daniel will be stripped of clerical authority.

Last Tuesday, Bishop Caetano Ferrari gave Daniel a letter asking him to take the videos offline and publicly retract his statements. In an interview posted on the diocese Web site shortly afterward, Ferrari called Daniel "brilliant," but characterized him as a "rebel son" who "crosses the line."

On Monday, Daniel said he went to the diocese headquarters planning to renounce his clerical duties rather than retract any of his comments. But before he had a chance, the bishop and canonical expert made him face a committee of Church officials.

"It was a trial," Daniel said. "I told them I was not there to be tried, that I had not been indicted."

Shortly afterward, the Church issued the statement announcing his excommunication.

(Editing by Todd Benson and Cynthia Osterman)

Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/brazil-priest-excommunicated_n_3187812.html [with comments]


Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Anti-Gay Catholic Leader, Decries Rhode Island's Marriage Equality As 'Injustice'

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, of San Francisco criticized Rhode Island's marriage equality legislation as "an injustice." Here the archibishop addresses the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Church's activities to promote the defense of marriage at the group's annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

By Meredith Bennett-Smith
Posted: 05/05/2013 5:46 pm EDT | Updated: 05/05/2013 11:23 pm EDT

An outspoken and fervently anti-gay Catholic archbishop took the occasion of Rhode Island's marriage equality bill this week to offer a scathing rebuke of same-sex marriage.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco published his critique of the legislation Friday on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) website [ http://usccb.org/news/2013/13-084.cfm ]. (Cordileone is chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.)

Rhode Island's same-sex marriage bill, passed by a 56-15 vote on Thursday [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/rhode-island-gay-marriage-approved_n_3203618.html ], was “a serious injustice," according to Cordileone, in that it attempted to redefine marriage as some thing other than a union between a man and a woman.

"The meaning of marriage cannot be redefined, because its meaning lies in our very nature," the Catholic leader wrote. "Therefore, regardless of what law is enacted, marriage remains the union of one man and one woman – by the very design of nature, it cannot be otherwise."

Cordileone, who played a prominent role in California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 legislation [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/salvatore-cordileone-archbishop ], also suggested that same-sex marriage is harmful to children.

"Every child deserves a mother and father united in marriage," Cordileone wrote in his USCCB statement. "That means supporting in our institutions and in our culture the true and unique meaning of marriage."

Ever since being appointed Archbishop of San Francisco by the Vatican in July [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/salvatore-cordileone-gay-marriage_n_1712224.html ], Cordileone has made several controversial pronouncements on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

In January, Cordileone said the term gay marriage refers to a "natural impossibility" and should be rarely used, and also made an unusual comparison between marriage equality and male breastfeeding [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/san-francisco-archbishop-salvatore-cordileone-compares-legalizing-gay-marriage-male-breastfeeding_n_2575909.html ].

In March, the religious leader claimed heterosexual sex is superior to homosexual sex [ http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/03/22/1764171/archbishop-one-flesh/ ].

"Two men and two women can certainly have a close loving committed emotional relationship, but they can never ever join as one flesh in the unique way a husband and wife do," he told USA Today.

Still, Cordileone is not the first Catholic leader to speak out against Rhode Island's same-sex marriage legalization.

Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin, the Roman Catholic leader of Rhode Island, warned Catholics not to attend same-sex weddings [ http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/02/rhode-island-bishops-warns-against-attending-same-sex-wedding-ceremonies/ ].

“At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful,” Tobin explained in an open letter [ http://www.diocesepvd.org/letter-to-catholics-on-the-approval-of-same-sex-marriage-in-ri/ ] on the day same-sex marriage became law in Rhode Island.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/05/archbishop-salvatore-cordileone-marriage-equality-injustice-rhode-island_n_3220016.html [with comments]


Rhode Island bishop: Stay away from gay weddings!

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin
(Credit: AP/Josh Reynolds)

After marriage equality's big win, Catholics are warned to boycott nuptials

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Friday, May 3, 2013 03:12 PM CDT

That was a brief honeymoon, Rhode Island. Just hours before becoming the 10th state to approve marriage equality, the slim, pocket-sized state — which also happens to be the nation’s most Catholic [ http://blogs.wpri.com/2013/03/12/study-ri-has-3rd-most-catholic-baptisms-in-the-united-states/ ] — received a stern warning from the Bishop of Providence.

In a seriously buzzkill message, Bishop Thomas Tobin issued a pastoral letter [ http://www.diocesepvd.org/letter-to-catholics-on-the-approval-of-same-sex-marriage-in-ri/ ] to his brothers and sisters in the Ocean State suggesting they might want to decline invitations once same-sex marriage becomes official in August. “It is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357),” he writes, “and always sinful. And because ‘same-sex marriages’ are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.”

Well, if anybody would be an authority on significant scandal, I’d bet it’d be a Roman Catholic priest [ http://www.salon.com/2013/01/22/another_catholic_sex_abuse_cover_up/ ].

Nobody expects a Catholic leader to issue a “Mazel tov on your big gay weddings, you guys!” Tobin is a product of a specific system and represents its ideology, to which he has to conform. It’s worth pointing out, however, that the Church can and does reverse itself, which will someday soon make Tobin’s comments look especially absurd. After all, in 1965 it stopped blaming all the Jews for killing Jesus [ http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_jesu5.htm ]. Just six years ago it decided that unbaptized babies might actually go to heaven [ http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-04-20-popelimbo_N.htm ]. And a mere 359 years after branding him a heretic, the Church decided maybe it had been a little hasty regarding Galileo [ http://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/01/world/vatican-science-panel-told-by-pope-galileo-was-right.html ].

There’s still hope for these guys to figure out civil rights!

That’s why its lackeys really could do better right now than blurting the standard line, “God cares for you but finds everything you stand for, do and desire in life despicable.” Tobin’s insistence that the Church has “respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction” doesn’t really sing with love and tolerance, does it? And his butt-hurt response to “this new challenge of the post-Christian era into which, clearly, we have now entered” is flat-out arrogant. It reeks of disgust, implying that merely coexisting with individuals of other beliefs — individuals who might, for instance, not have any religious conflict with marriage equality — are a tiresome burden to him.

Tobin is no doubt trying to adhere to the Christian message as he sees it. And he’s supportive of other rights issues, like immigration reform [ http://www.diocesepvd.org/bishop-tobin-statement-on-immigration-announcement/ ]. But like so much of the Catholic Church, he’s got a bugaboo about what he considers “serious regression in the public morality” and a total lack of comprehension that loving, committed relationships are not a threat to it — they’re a validation of it. You can’t say that you wish those “disordered” people with “same-sex attraction” “much health, happiness and peace” without grasping that a) it’s part of the human condition to find happiness with others and b) you sound like a condescending prat. But worst of all, Tobin halfheartedly preaches love of gay people while seeking to intimidate his flock out of behaving in a way that’s truly loving toward them. He asks Catholics to back off supporting their friends and family members as they enter into their lawful unions, to boycott their weddings, under penalty of harming their “relations with God.” And that is stone-cold ugly.

I don’t know for certain what Jesus — who definitely knew how to bring the party at a wedding — would do if he got a “save the date” card to a same-sex event. I do know that his support for unity must have been powerful for it to be used as the backdrop of a big story in the Bible. Jesus clearly believed in celebrating love, which is good enough for me, and which should be the standard reaction to anyone, of any orientation, who tells you, “We’re getting married.” And as for Tobin, I wouldn’t worry about the dilemma of what to do about all those new weddings that are going to be taking place in Rhode Island. I doubt he’ll be invited to too many.

Copyright © 2013 Salon Media Group, Inc.

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/03/rhode_island_bishop_stay_away_from_gay_weddings/ [with comments]


Muslims worldwide support democracy and religious freedom

Most Muslims around the world would prefer living in a democracy that upholds religioius freedom, according to surveys conducted after the Arab Spring that also found many Muslims want their religious code to be the law of the land.

By Matthew Brown, Deseret News
Published: Thursday, May 2 2013 6:34 p.m. MDT

Most Muslims around the world would prefer living in a democracy that upholds religious freedom, according to surveys conducted after the start of the Arab Spring that also found many Muslims want their religious code to be the law of the land.

The view of Sharia, or Islamic law, as part of a democracy may seem contradictory to Westerners, but it is not inconsistent in areas of the world where politics and public life are drawn along religious instead of secular lines, researchers said.

"Democracy needs to be continually questioned in terms of its definition so that it is not just seen as a secular endeavor," said Farid Senzai [ http://www.scu.edu/cas/polisci/farid.cfm ], director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding at Santa Clara University. "(Western governments) continue to support and promote democracy but insist that it be a secular project when the evidence suggests in (Muslim countries) it will never be a secular project."

Senzai was among several advisers to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life for a study [ http://www.pewforum.org/Muslim/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-exec.aspx ; http://www.pewforum.org/Muslim/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society.aspx ] that involved surveys of 39,000 Muslims in 39 countries on religion, politics and society. The report comes more than a year after the forum released a report [ http://www.pewforum.org/Muslim/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-executive-summary.aspx ; http://www.pewforum.org/the-worlds-muslims.aspx ] about Islamic practice and belief based on the same surveys.

Support among Muslims for enshrining Sharia — a set of ethical principles that offer moral and legal guidance for nearly all aspects of life — as the law of the land varied widely around the world, according to the Pew study.

In countries where Muslims make up more than 90 percent of the population, support ranged from overwhelming, such as in Afghanistan (99 percent) and Iraq (91 percent), to weak, such as in Turkey (12 percent) and Azerbaijan (8 percent). Experts say the results undermine the idea that there is a monolithic code that constitutes Islamic law.

"That's why we see such huge variations of what constitutes Islamic law in Asia and in Russia versus the Middle East and North Africa," said Amaney Jamal [ http://www.princeton.edu/~ajamal/ ], associate professor of politics at Princeton University. "Sharia has different meanings ... understandings based on the actual experience of countries with or without Islamic Sharia."

She said that because the survey took place after the beginning in late 2010 of the Arab Spring, in which uprisings in several Middle Eastern and African countries with high concentrations of Muslims overthrew existing regimes, the survey provides an honest view of opinions in some countries where Muslims feel more free to express themselves.

The idea of Sharia as a legal code strikes fear into many Westerners who hear about its severe penalties for crimes or apostasy. For example, Oklahoma lawmakers [ http://newsok.com/oklahoma-governor-urged-to-sign-revised-sharia-law-measure/article/3785689 ] passed a bill in April that would prohibit Sharia or other foreign laws from being enforced in that state's courtrooms.

Senzai believes such actions can be attributed to concerted efforts since 9/11 to demonize Islam as antithetical to democracy. But, he said, survey results showing that Muslims' support for democracy (regional medians ranging from 72 percent to 45 percent) and religious freedom (medians ranging from 97 percent to 94 percent) indicate that Islamic law and Muslims themselves are more nuanced in their views of religious law in the public sphere than Westerners realize.

The Pew study found Muslims are most comfortable using Sharia to settle family or property disputes. In most countries surveyed, there was less support for severe punishments, such as cutting off the hands of thieves. In Pakistan, where 84 percent of Muslims support codifying Sharia, those same people say it should only apply to Muslims. That exclusiveness explains why 96 percent of Pakistani Muslims support religious freedom for others, yet 76 percent support executing apostates from Islam.

Senzai explained that Muslims desiring their religious beliefs to be incorporated into public law is no different from some Christians wanting their moral standards dealing with marriage incorporated into public law.

He said the study shows Muslims see no conflict in promoting democracy and religious freedom while also supporting Sharia, and that this is because religion is and always will be entrenched in the public and political life of many countries where the study was conducted.

"Laws reflect the values of the people," said Senzai.

Pew compared the worldwide survey to one it did in 2012 among U.S. Muslims, who are more at ease with living in contemporary society than Muslims living elsewhere. About six-in-ten Muslims living in the U.S. (63 percent) say there is no tension between being religiously devout and living in a modern society, compared with a median of 54 percent of Muslims worldwide.

On the question of violence committed in the name of Islam, the surveys found about eight-in-10 Muslims (81 percent) say that suicide bombing and similar acts targeting civilians are never justified. Across the globe, a median of roughly seven-in-10 Muslims (72 percent) agrees.

In other findings of the survey:

- At least half of Muslims in most countries surveyed say they are concerned about religious extremist groups in their country.

- Muslims around the world overwhelmingly view certain behaviors — including prostitution, homosexuality, suicide, abortion, euthanasia and consumption of alcohol — as immoral. But attitudes toward polygamy, divorce and birth control are more varied.

- In most countries where a question about so-called “honor” killings was asked, majorities of Muslims say such killings are never justified. Only in two countries — Afghanistan and Iraq — do majorities condone extra-judicial executions of women who allegedly have shamed their families by engaging in premarital sex or adultery.

- Majorities of Muslim women as well as men agree that a wife is always obliged to obey her husband. At the same time, majorities in many countries surveyed say a woman should be able to decide for herself whether to wear a veil.

- In half of the countries where the question was asked, majorities of Muslims want religious leaders to have at least “some influence” in political matters, and sizable minorities in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa think religious leaders should have a lot of political influence.

EMAIL: mbrown@deseretnews.com

Copyright 2013 Deseret News Publishing Corporation and Deseret Digital Media

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865579249/Muslims-worldwide-support-democracy-and-religious-freedom.html [with comments]


Why Ireland Has Lagged Behind the Rest of Europe on Reproductive Rights

A woman holds a poster during a vigil in Dublin November 17, 2012, in memory of Savita Halappanavar and in support of changes to abortion law.
(Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)

The country's traditional mores have sparked recent ideological battles, as well as a few national embarrassments.

Dean Van Nguyen
May 3 2013, 3:05 PM ET

Irish website SpunOut.ie recently caused a political furor with an article outlining tips for teenagers on how to keep threesome sex safe and enjoyable [ http://spunout.ie/life/article/threesomes ]. The site came under fire after the Sunday Independent alleged the site was promoting the practice by writing about it.

The condemnation was swift and immediate. "The idea that people are dispensable and that you can objectify them for your own sexual gratification is incredibly regressive," the center-right Fine Gael politician Michelle Mulherin wrote in the Irish Independent. Irish Health Minister Dr. James Reilly soon joined the chorus of politicians expressing their disgruntlement. "From my personal point of view as a doctor as well as a politician I just think this is not the appropriate sort of information that the state should be putting out there," said O'Relly, referring to the fact that the news site received partial funding from the Irish Health Service. Reilly later said that the Health Service Executive would be reviewing the site.

SpunOut.ie describe themselves as a resource for 16- to 25-year-olds that provides "solutions to some of the big, or small, problems facing Irish society," as well as offering "information and skills to deal with the difficult things life throws at us and lends a megaphone for our voices to be heard to change our own lives and the world". Their articles range from helping teens support friends battling depression to advice on how to say sorry.

"I don't think we expected the reaction the article received," says SpunOut.ie spokesman Ian Power. "We had no expectation that the article would gain such notoriety."

In fact, the article (and "article" is a stretch, it's mostly a set of bullet points) was written, as Power outlined in the immediate aftermath, by a former editor who had "liberal views on sex". Every news outlet running the story highlighted that the former editor happened to be an American woman.

Ireland's staunchly Catholic history garnishes it a reputation as a religious stronghold, with a liberal American viewpoint of sex being at odds with the Irish way. It was interesting to see how the "other-ness" of American society when it comes to sex was played up by the Irish media.

This religious stereotype is not necessarily true at ground level, though. As SpunOut stated in their official statement on the back of the threesome article controversy, "Young people are having sex whether the Sunday Independent or Deputy Michelle Mulherin like it or not." They went on to say, "Education needs to begin earlier than the age of first sex and it is widely accepted that sexual education in Irish schools is both of poor quality and inconsistent."

They have a point. A global poll by condom maker Durex last year showed that 55 percent of Irish 18-year-olds said that they would graduate from school without any formal sex education [ http://www.irishtimes.com/news/sex-education-lacking-in-schools-1.742765 ], while only one in five surveyed said that their major source of sex education was from school. The plurality -- 41 percent -- claimed most of their knowledge came from friends. With such statistics, Ireland leaves itself open to being charged as an unprogressive first world country when compared to other European nations.

"The degree of difference is in some ways significant," says Patrick Molloy, president of Young Fine Gael, the political party's youth wing, about the culture gap between young Irish people and their parents compared with other developed nations. "The nature of the challenges faced by this generation are very different from those faced by previous generations. The circumstances in which this generation is growing up and starting work also is distinctly different in many ways due to the fundamental changes that have occurred throughout the period of the boom."

While a buoyant economy in the nineties and early 2000s did much to transform Ireland into a more cosmopolitan society in many ways, the SpunOut episode is just one in a long list of recent political clashes as Ireland's leaders struggle to adjust to a changing society. These days, younger generations in Ireland are attempting to rid themselves of the shackles of taboos instilled by centuries of strong-arm Catholic influence.

The incidents have veered from the ridiculous -- like Galway Senator Fidelma Healy Eames' bizarre outburst that "fraping" is "where you're raped on Facebook" [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypBGI2_YXeo (next below)]
-- to the tragic, like the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who was denied an abortion as she writhed in agony. Halappanavar died shortly after miscarrying at University Hospital Galway in October after suffering from septicaemia, having been admitted to the hospital while 17 weeks pregnant. She had been told by her midwife that a termination was not possible because "this is a Catholic country [ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/this-is-a-catholic-country-woman-dies-of-septicaemia-after-being-refused-an-abortion-in-irish-hospital-8315609.html ]".

Savita Halappanavar's death ignited mass protests across the country, made international headlines, and brought the Irish public face-to-face with an issue that the government had spent over two decades sleeping on. On February 17, 1992, a 14 year old girl, known as "X", became the subject of a High Court injunction forbidding her from leaving the country. Pregnant as a result of rape, her parents sought to take her to the U.K. to receive an abortion (many women quietly make the trip, seeking refuge across the Irish sea where abortion is legal). However, her movement was restricted when Attorney General Harry Whelehan sought an injunction preventing her from having the procedure. Two weeks later, the Supreme Court ruled that when a pregnant woman's life is in danger, including from the risk of suicide, she has the right to an abortion. Still, it's now 20 years later and Irish women are still waiting for legislation to allow them access to abortion to be approved in cases when their life is in danger.

That Ireland lags behind the rest of the Western world in reproductive rights is not surprising when you consider the recent history of religion in public policy. Divorce was only legalized in 1996. And just last February, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny issued an apology to 10,000 women and girls confined in Catholic Church-run establishments known as the Magdalene Laundries [much more at/see (linked in) http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=84628488 and preceding and following], where they were treated as slaves. More than a quarter of the Magdalene inmates - mostly made up of unmarried mothers, girls from broken homes, and others deemed to have "fallen" - were ordered there by the state, and almost 40 percent were sent by the church. The last such institute did not close until 1996. Kenny described the laundries as "the nation's shame."

Such dark days are thankfully in the past, but is Ireland moving into the 21st century as fast as might be expected? Healy-Eames is not the only elected official seemingly struggling to wrap their head around the internet. Senator Eamon Coghlan had a novel idea on how to stop fraudulent posting on socal media pages: "If somebody wants to post something on the internet, should they actually pay to post something on the internet," he said, according to a report on radio station Newstalk.

So are Ireland's politicians struggling to connect with emerging generations? "I think there is a risk that some of our legislators have left us open to this perception as a result of statements which may not necessarily have been fully thought through," says SpunOut.ie's Ian Power. "I think we would say that these views would not be fully representative of the views of Irish society."

Meanwhile, an inquest into Savita Halappanavar's death recently returned a judgement of death by medical mishap, with midwife Anna Marie Burke expressing regret at telling the patient she couldn't get a termination "because Ireland is a Catholic country".

Coroner Ciaran McLoughlin said the words "went around the world."

After the inquest, the government has proposed legislation that would allow abortions in cases where there was a threat to a woman's life, including from suicide. Though opposed by the county's influential anti-abortion movement, the bill is expected to be approved.

However, Kenny has ruled out any potential referendum that would introduce wider abortion laws, telling the Irish Sun that the legislation will "deal with the X case and will do so without bringing any new rights here."

Copyright © 2013 by The Atlantic Monthly Group

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/05/why-ireland-has-lagged-behind-the-rest-of-europe-on-reproductive-rights/275542/ [with comments]


Irish Catholic Church Condemns Abortion Legislation
May 3, 2013
DUBLIN — The Catholic Church in Ireland on Friday condemned the government’s abortion legislation, which would permit abortions in cases where a threat existed to a woman’s life, including from suicide. The church called the legislation “a dramatically and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.”
The statement [ http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/bishops-statement-on-proposed-abortion-legislation-1.1381748 ], from the Irish bishops, disputed the government’s position that the proposed legislation [ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/02/world/europe/irish-government-proposes-allowing-abortion-in-certain-cases.html ], introduced by the government this week, merely codifies existing constitutional rights flowing from a 1992 Supreme Court ruling and does not confer new ones.



Conservative MP, Nigel Evans, arrested on suspicion of raping man

Deputy speaker, 55, is also accused of sexually assaulting a second male
05 May 2013


Antoine Dodson: Homosexuality Can Be 'Lifted' From You

YouTube sensation Antoine Dodson says that he is "no longer into homosexuality" and wants a wife and kids. Here, he attends US Weekly's 25 Most Stylish New Yorkers in 2010.
YouTube sensation Antoine Dodson has publicly renounced homosexuality [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/antoine-dodson-no-longer-into-homosexuality-gay_n_3209170.html ], announcing on Facebook [ https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=514732451918060&id=102461723145137 (next below)] that he has become a "True Chosen Hebrew Israelite descendant of Judah," is "no longer into homosexuality" and now wants a wife.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/antoine-dodson-homosexual_n_3210726.html [with embedded videos, and comments]


Antoine Dodson · 357,133 like this
May 2 at 4:07pm

I have to renounce myself, I'm no longer into homosexuality I want a wife and family, I want to multiply and raise and love my family that I create. I could care less about the fame and fortune, I've giving all that up to know the true history of the bible. For I am the True Chosen Hebrew Israelite descendant of Judah. And as True Israel I know that there are certain things we just can't do. And I totally understand that now. I don't need a Mercedes Benz, I don't need a big house in Beverly Hills all I need is the Most High and my family (Israel). I have been awaken by the great and so should you. Let's be delivered from the wickedness of the world and live the way we should. The Most High bless all and have a beautiful evening. Israel wake up and take full power of who you are. I'm ready are you?

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=514732451918060&id=102461723145137 [with comments]


Harvard's Niall Ferguson Blamed Keynes' Economic Philosophy On His Being Childless And Gay

Professor Niall Ferguson.
AP Images

John Maynard Keynes.
Wikimedia Commons

Henry Blodget
May 4, 2013, 8:42 AM

Harvard professor and famous historian Niall Ferguson [ http://www.businessinsider.com/blackboard/niall-ferguson ] reportedly made some bizarre and offensive remarks about economist John Maynard Keynes [ http://www.businessinsider.com/blackboard/john-maynard-keynes ] at an investment conference yesterday.

According to financial writer Tom Kostigen, the editor at large of Private Wealth and Financial Advisor magazines, Ferguson made two startling suggestions about Keynes at the Tenth Annual Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, California [ http://www.fa-mag.com/news/harvard-professor-gay-bashes-keynes-14173.html ]:

- Keynes' economic philosophy, Ferguson reportedly suggested, was the result of Keynes not caring about future generations.

- Keynes didn't care about future generations, Ferguson reportedly suggested, because Keynes was gay and did not have children.

Dan Jamieson at Investment News, also reported the remarks [ https://twitter.com/dvjamieson ].

Specifically, Kostigen reported the following:

{I}n front of a group of more than 500 investors, Ferguson responded to a question about Keynes' famous philosophy of self-interest versus the economic philosophy of Edmund Burke, who believed there was a social contract among the living, as well as the dead. Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of "poetry" rather than procreated. The audience went quiet at the remark. Some attendees later said they found the remarks offensive. ...

Ferguson, who is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, and author of The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, says it's only logical that Keynes would take this selfish worldview because he was an "effete" member of society. Apparently, in Ferguson's world, if you are gay or childless, you cannot care about future generations nor society.

Not surprisingly, Kostigen's report has already drawn considerable attention to, and criticism of, Ferguson. We have reached out to Professor Ferguson for comment. We will update this article when we hear from him. (UPDATE: Professor Ferguson has responded with a full apology, describing his remarks as "stupid and tactless." His email is below.)

In addition to the offensive suggestion that those who don't have children don't care about the future or society, Professor Ferguson's reported remarks are bizarre and insulting to Keynes on two levels.

First, this is the first time we have heard a respectable academic tie another economist's beliefs to his or her personal situation rather than his or her research. Saying that Keynes' economic philosophy was based on him being childless would be like saying that Ferguson's own economic philosophy is based on him being rich and famous and therefore not caring about the plight of poor unemployed people.

Second, Keynes' policies did not suggest that he did not care about future generations. On the contrary. ... For the sake of both future generations and current generations, Keynes believed that governments should run deficits during recessions and then run surpluses during economic booms. Politicians have never seemed to be able to follow the second part of Keynes' proscription — they tend to run deficits at all times — but it seems unfair to blame this latter failing on Keynes.

Ferguson is not the first person to suggest that Keynes did not care about the future, and this sentiment is normally tied to one of Keynes' most famous sayings:

"... In the long run, we are all dead."

Importantly, however, in saying this, Keynes was in no way suggesting that the future doesn't matter. Rather, when this remark is read in context, it is clear that Keynes was chiding economists for ducking responsibility for their own lousy short-term predictions [ http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2008/03/quote_du_jour_i_1.html ]:

In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if, in tempestuous seasons, they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.

So if Ferguson is basing his assertion that Keynes didn't care about the future on this line, his remark is even more unfair.

For those who are new to the larger economic debate that is the backdrop to these remarks, here's a snapshot:

Professor Ferguson and other economists have been loudly and consistently warning for years that the deficit spending and debts of most developed countries will eventually end in disaster. Professor Ferguson and other "austerians" suggest that governments should immediately cut spending and balance their budgets, even if this results in a brutal short-term recession and exploding unemployment.

This "austerian" philosophy has been countered by the "Keynesian" philosophy advocated by Paul Krugman and others in which governments enact stimulus and run big deficits during weak economic periods [ http://www.businessinsider.com/paul-krugman-is-right-2013-4 (at/see {linked in} http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=87229357 and preceding and following)] to offset weak private-sector spending and help shore up employment, consumer spending, and social well-being until the private sector recovers. High debts and deficits are a long-term concern that needs to be addressed, Krugman says, but they do not constitute a near-term crisis that requires immense, self-inflicted, short-term pain to alleviate.

In the past five years, the experience of many countries suggests that Krugman's philosophy is correct [id.], and, as yet, none of the doom predicted by Ferguson and other austerians has come to pass. Meanwhile, countries like the U.K. and Greece, which have cut spending to try to balance their budgets, have been mired in multiple recessions (or, in the case of Greece, a depression). And, notably, because lower economic output leads to less tax revenue, these countries have not made much progress in balancing their budgets.

Ferguson's reported remarks would represent a new low in the war of words between these economic camps, and they could be very damaging to his reputation. As yet, the remarks have not been confirmed, and we eagerly await Professor Ferguson's response.

UPDATE: Professor Ferguson has responded to our questions with a full apology. In a tweet [ https://twitter.com/nfergus/status/330733313780224001 ] (and below), he describes his remarks about Keynes as "stupid and tactless." His email is below.

During a recent question-and-answer session at a conference in California, I made comments about John Maynard Keynes that were as stupid as they were insensitive.

I had been asked to comment on Keynes’s famous observation “In the long run we are all dead.” The point I had made in my presentation was that in the long run our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are alive, and will have to deal with the consequences of our economic actions.

But I should not have suggested – in an off-the-cuff response that was not part of my presentation – that Keynes was indifferent to the long run because he had no children, nor that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.

My disagreements with Keynes’s economic philosophy have never had anything to do with his sexual orientation. It is simply false to suggest, as I did, that his approach to economic policy was inspired by any aspect of his personal life. As those who know me and my work are well aware, I detest all prejudice, sexual or otherwise.

My colleagues, students, and friends – straight and gay – have every right to be disappointed in me, as I am in myself. To them, and to everyone who heard my remarks at the conference or has read them since, I deeply and unreservedly apologize.

Niall Ferguson

Copyright © 2013 Business Insider, Inc. (emphasis in original)

http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-niall-ferguson-remarks-about-keynes-2013-5 [with comments]


Niall Ferguson Claims Keynes Was Too Gay and "Effete" to Be Right On Economics

May 4, 2013
... Twitter, of course, is having some having some fun at Ferguson's expense:

The last word I shall leave to the writer, formerly of Gawker, who goes by the pseudonym Mobute Sese Seko:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/39715/niall-ferguson-claims-keynes-was-too-gay-and-effete-to-be-right-on-economics [with comments]


Chris Broussard, ESPN Reporter, Calls Being Gay An 'Open Rebellion To God'

Jason Collins' decision to come out [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/jason-collins-comes-out-gay_n_3178401.html ; http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20130429/jason-collins-gay-nba-player/ ], making him the first active openly gay athlete in any major U.S. team sport, sparked plenty of conversation on Monday, including a controversial exchange involving ESPN NBA reporter Chris Broussard during a one-hour episode of "Outside The Lines."
During this extended edition of "OTL," Broussard described homosexuality as an "open rebellion to God" and explained why he does not consider Collins to be a Christian.
"Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly ... like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says 'you know them by their fruits.' It says that, you know, that’s a sin," Broussard said during a segment that also included gay ESPN columnist LZ Granderson. "And if you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality -- adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals -- whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/chris-broussard-espn-nba-gay-reaction_n_3180080.html [with embedded video, and comments]


Chris Broussard, ESPN Reporter, Thinks Jason Collins, Gays, Can Be 'Saved' If They 'Ask God For Forgiveness'

By Meredith Bennett-Smith
Posted: 05/02/2013 2:54 pm EDT

You have to hand it to Chris Broussard: He's not one to back down in the face of controversy.

ESPN's embattled NBA reporter incited a firestorm of controversy earlier this week after describing groundbreaking gay NBA player Jason Collins [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/jason-collins-comes-out-gay_n_3178401.html ] as a man living in "open rebellion to God."

"Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly ... like premarital sex between heterosexuals," Broussard said during an episode of "Outside The Lines [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/chris-broussard-espn-nba-gay-reaction_n_3180080.html (excerpted just above)]." "If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says 'you know them by their fruits.' It says that, you know, that’s a sin."

As critics howled, ESPN released a statement expressing regret over the "distraction" caused by Broussard's comments [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/espn-chris-broussard-statement-jason-collins_n_3187966.html ] -- not exactly an apology. Broussard has so far refused to back down [ http://www.towleroad.com/2013/04/broussarddamage.html ].

Wednesday, Broussard called in to the New York-based Power 105.1 "Breakfast Club" radio show [ http://www.power1051fm.com/articles/the-breakfast-club-served-up-449850/espn-analyst-chris-broussard-defends-his-11246279/ ], also known as "the world's most dangerous breakfast show," hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God.

The conversation quickly turned to Broussard's comments regarding homosexuality.

"I'm fine with homosexuals," Broussard protested, insisting that he has at least one gay friend. "I disagree [with being gay], but disagree respectfully ... I don't have any problem with homosexuals."

When the hosts asked why Broussard was so convinced that Christianity banned open homosexuality, he quoted from the Bible's New Testament books First Corinthians and Romans, and from the Old Testament's Book of Leviticus.

The life of a Christian, Broussard explained, means having to constantly fight temptation. "And if you stumble and fall, then you get back up, you repent and ask God for forgiveness, and you move on," he said. “I think that applies to homosexuals as well."

Men who are attracted to other men can still be considered Christian if -- and only if -- they constantly try to counteract the same-sex attraction, Broussard said. And if they "repent, and they ask for forgiveness, and they keep trying to serve God, and they fall time and time again consistently, I believe that person is a Christian.”

The "Breakfast Club" crew remained skeptical.

With the notable exceptions of Broussard and many in the conservative evangelical community [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/pat-robertson-jason-collins-abomination_n_3187977.html ], however, Collins' announcement has been met with support from an overwhelming number of Americans, including President Barack Obama [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/obama-jason-collins_n_3181170.html ], former President Bill Clinton and sports stars like Kobe Bryant and Baron Davis.

(Hat tip, Queerty [ http://www.queerty.com/anti-gay-espn-reporter-chris-broussard-believes-gays-can-change-through-prayer-20130501/ ])

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/chris-broussard-jason-collins-ask-forgiveness-gays_n_3202418.html [the YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS-8YtijSi0 , as embedded; with comments]


SNL Spoofs Fox & Friends' Jason Collins Coverage
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/05/snl-spoofs-fox-friends-ja_n_3218688.html [with embedded video of the segment, and comments]


The Harm of Homophobic Sex Ed

By Josh A. Goodman
Posted: 05/01/2013 9:00 am

"Homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and ... homosexual conduct is a criminal offense."

As much as I wish this were a 1950s-era example of past homophobia washed away, the above text is from the current sex education requirements [ http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/16/40A/16-40A-2 ] under Alabama state law. That is, Alabama law requires public schools that teach sex education to instruct students that homosexuality is immoral, unhealthy and, despite Lawrence v. Texas, illegal. Alabama is not alone in its anti-gay sex education regulations (that list includes Texas, Mississippi and Arizona, among others), but what is noteworthy about Alabama is that there is a push to change the law. This year Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) introduced H.B. 496 [ http://legiscan.com/AL/text/HB496/id/808348 ] to eliminate the anti-gay portions of her state's sex education law; the bill was read for the first time in the Alabama House of Representatives' Education Policy Committee last month, and advocates from around the state [ http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/04/groups_to_deliver_petition_to.html ] have come to the Capitol to rally for it. I am excited to see this momentum and hope that it grows, but I would be surprised if Alabama or the other states with anti-LGB sex education policies eliminated their homophobic curricula in the immediate future. The sooner the better, though, as the anti-LGB status quo can both directly harm LGB youth and contribute to hostile school environments.

Anti-LGB sex education curricula encourage LGB youth to develop internalized heterosexism, the belief, based on messages and values from society, that it is best to be heterosexual. Sex education programs in states like Alabama tend to glorify heterosexual marriage as the only appropriate kind of sexual relationship, which isolates lesbian and gay youth who are neither interested in a heterosexual marriage nor able to get married in most states. But these programs also suggest that there is shame in being lesbian, gay or bisexual, that it, unlike heterosexuality, is unacceptable, a deviant choice and a health risk. Predictably, being taught such prejudice has consequences: Psychological research suggests that LGB people who come to believe messages that heterosexuality is better than other sexual orientations, or that it is bad to be lesbian, gay or bisexual, are at an increased risk for mental health concerns like depression, low self-esteem and suicidality [ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2072932/ ].

It is also important to place sex education instruction in a broader context. Some LGB youth who receive prejudiced sex education have a supportive family and perhaps a supportive church or temple, watch LGB-affirming TV shows like Glee and Modern Family and have affirming friends; other LGB youth have virulently homophobic parents, are subjected to regular anti-gay sermons at church and have been taught from a young age that homosexuality is wrong. It is the latter group that I am most concerned about. While a school could provide factual information about sexual orientation to a student who does not receive it elsewhere (e.g., that it is normal to be straight, bisexual or lesbian/gay), schools in Alabama, Texas and other states with anti-LGB sex education laws become yet another place that serves up homophobic messages. That is unfortunate, because for many LGB youth, school has the potential to be one of the only places that affirms that their sexual orientation is OK.

Of course, it is not just lesbian, gay and bisexual teens who are in sex ed: Heterosexual youth can also come to believe prejudiced messages in sex education, and that is also concerning. Whereas an LGB-affirming sex education program would teach students that all sexual orientations are equally valid, prejudiced sex ed programs teach straight students that bisexual, lesbian and gay people are immoral and criminal or are at an extremely high risk for AIDS. Such messages add fuel to bullies' hate speech by demonstrating that their school supports negative attitudes toward LGB sexualities and, by extension, LGB people.

Given that young people support LGB rights such as marriage equality at record levels, it can be easy to forget that over 80 percent of LGB students are verbally or physically harassed at school because of their sexual orientation (see GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey [ http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2897.html ]). That harassment, like the anti-gay sex education curricula, can contribute to depression and other mental health concerns. Notably, the same GLSEN survey found that LGBT students at schools with LGBT-inclusive curricula were less likely to be harassed than LGBT students at other schools, and were twice as likely (67 percent vs. 33 percent) to report that their peers accepted LGBT people. While it is possible that other causes explain some of this difference (e.g., LGBT-affirming parts of the country are probably more likely to adopt LGBT-inclusive curricula), it also makes sense that students come to accept the messages, positive or negative, that are conveyed to them about LGBT people.

I applaud Alabama State Rep. Todd and others who are working to end anti-LGB sex education in their states, as well as those in Congress [ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr725 ] who are working to prohibit federal sex education grants from being used for programs that aren't LGB-inclusive. While I hope that the push to end anti-LGB sex education -- and ideally adopt LGBT-inclusive curricula -- gains momentum, I have not seen any indication that states like Alabama, Mississippi and Texas will overturn their anti-gay sex education laws anytime soon. I cannot quite wrap my head around why, in 2013, lawmakers would see the need for schools to go out of their way to teach prejudiced and flat-out inaccurate information about sexual orientation. But regardless of why, I am concerned: It is difficult to ask students to accept themselves and all their fellow students for who they are when their schools can't lead by example.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-a-goodman/the-harm-of-homophobic-sex-ed_b_3175284.html [with comments]


Joe Bell, Father Of Gay Teen Jadin, Discusses Cross-Country Anti-Bullying Walk

Posted: 05/03/2013 12:00 pm EDT | Updated: 05/03/2013 12:05 pm EDT

The father of Jadin Bell spoke to HuffPost Live from the road after setting out on a cross-country journey [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/joe-bell-gay-teen-cross-country-walk-_n_3132550.html ] in honor of his son, who committed suicide earlier [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/04/jadin-bell-dead-gay-oregon-teen-hanging_n_2617909.html ] this year after allegedly being subjected to relentless anti-gay bullying.

"He didn't feel good about himself," Joe Bell told host Abby Huntsman of 15-year-old Jadin. "He didn't say a whole lot about [being bullied] until towards the end ... I wish he would've come forward sooner."

As to the message of "Joe's Walk For Change," Bell noted, "We need to stop this bullying -- it starts in our households, how we raise our children. We need to educate our school systems on how to deal with it; they don't know how to deal with the problem."

Bell is expected to speak at schools on behalf of Faces for Change [ http://www.facesforchange.com/ ], an anti-bullying foundation that was established in his son's memory, along the way. He says his stop in New York will be particularly significant, as Jadin hoped to one day live in the city.

Jadin Bell, a high school sophomore, died Feb. 3.

Watch the full "Father Embarks On 2-Year Anti-Bullying Walk" segment on HuffPost Live [ http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/father-embarks-on/51769880fe3444511b00005d (embedded)].

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/03/joe-bell-cross-country-walk-_n_3209300.html [with an excerpt of the full segment also embedded, and comments]


Washington State Staffer: Gay People Should 'Just Grow Their Own Food' To Deal With Discrimination

By Meeredith Bennett-Smith
Posted: 04/29/2013 1:08 pm EDT | Updated: 04/29/2013 2:43 pm EDT

Members of Washington state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community should be prepared to fend for themselves, according to the office of a local lawmaker who supports a bill that would allow discrimination because of sexual orientation.

Last week, Washington state Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick) introduced Senate Bill 5927 [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/washington-discrimination-gay_n_3164812.html ], which would allow businesses in the state to deny services to individuals based on religious or philosophical differences. The bill was created as a response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed against a florist in Richland, Wash. [ http://abcnews.go.com/Business/washington-florist-sued-refusing-provide-flowers-sex-wedding/story?id=18922065 ], who had refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding and cited religious objections to homosexuality [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/arlenes-flower-shop-gay-wedding-washington_n_2828195.html ].

Currently, Washington state law forbids businesses from refusing services or goods to customers because of sexual orientation [ http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/04/25/2573106/bill-seeks-exemption-to-non-discrimination.html ].

On Friday, Jay Castro, a reader of Seattle-based blog The Stranger called up one of the bill's co-sponsors, state Senator Mike Hewitt's (R-Walla Walla) [ http://www.leg.wa.gov/senate/senators/Pages/hewitt.aspx ], to ask why he was supporting the bill [ http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/04/26/office-of-anti-gay-bill-sponsor-reportedly-argues-that-gay-people-can-just-grow-their-own-food-if-stores-wont-serve-them ]. Castro asked a staffer at Hewitt's office a simple question: "What are rural gays supposed to do if the only gas station or grocery store for miles won't sell them gas and food?" The staffer, who refused to identify himself, reportedly told Castro that if such a scenario were to unfold, "gay people can just grow their own food."

When The Stranger's Anna Minard followed up with Hewitt, staff members at first refused to elaborate on the comment, and then later in the day allowed that the call had been mishandled [ http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/04/26/state-senator-mike-hewitts-office-backpedals-on-gay-farming-calls-earlier-conversation-poorly-handled ].

"It was a poor response to a question, that's really all I want to say about that," the staffer -- still unidentified -- told Minnard. "He caught me at a bad time; I'm not interested in answering hypotheticals. It was a combative call. Patience was lost, mistakes were made, and that's it."

SB 5927 is currently in committee [ http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/5927.pdf ]. Senator Brown has said that the bill is only attempting to protect the religious freedoms of Washington residents, according to the Associated Press. But LGBT advocates disagree.

Equal Rights Washington spokesman Josh Friedes told the AP that the bill "undermines our entire approach to ensuring the equality of all Washingtonians in commerce." He went on to call the proposed legislation "discrimination, pure and simple."

Hewitt did not respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment.

(Hat tip, ThinkProgress [ http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/04/29/1932971/washington-lawmakers-office-if-gay-people-face-discrimination-they-can-just-grow-their-own-food/ ])

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/washington-staffer-gay-people-grow-food-discrimination_n_3178872.html [with embedded video report (re the florist), and comments]


Obama Backs Gay Unions In Immigration Bill: 'It Is The Right Thing To Do'

05/03/13 08:03 PM ET EDT

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- President Barack Obama says he supports recognizing gay unions in a broad immigration bill pending in Congress but won't say whether he would sign legislation that fails to do so.

Obama says that recognizing same-sex relationships in the bill is "the right thing to do." But he says it would be premature to telegraph what he will or won't do before lawmakers send him a bill.

Gay rights supporters are pushing for an amendment to the bill to allow gays to sponsor their partners to come to the U.S.

But Republicans, including some who helped draft the bill, have made it clear that amending the legislation in that fashion would cost their support.

Obama commented at a news conference Friday evening in San Jose, Costa Rica, with President Laura Chinchilla.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/04/obama-gays-immigration-bill_n_3214354.html [with comments]


South African Teens Die After Alleged Abuse At Reported Gay 'Conversion' Camp

Raymond Buys, 15, reportedly died in 2011 or 2012.

Posted: 04/30/2013 2:10 pm EDT | Updated: 05/01/2013 5:20 pm EDT

International lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates are decrying the death of three teenage boys who were allegedly tortured to death at a so-called "conversion camp" in South Africa.

As The Telegraph reported [ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/10015978/Teen-dies-after-being-beaten-at-camp-that-makes-men-out-of-boys.html ], Raymond Buys died two weeks after being put on life support two months into a three-month "training course" provided by Alex de Koker's Echo Wild Game Rangers camp. The 15-year-old Buys had brain damage and a broken arm and bruises at the time, and had emerged severely malnourished, dehydrated and covered in cigarette burns, according to the report.

As South African-born human rights advocate Melanie Nathan notes in her blog [ http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2013/04/25/man-up-or-die-murders-of-effeminate-teens-at-south-african-ranger-training-camp/ ], Buys was actually one of three men who died after being subjected to alleged abuse during the course. Two others, 25-year-old Erich Calitz and Nicolas Van Der Walt, 19, reportedly died of severe brain injuries after enrolling at the camp, where they were promised to "be turned into men."

Though the three men were not confirmed to have been gay, they were perceived to have "feminine traits." As Nathan points out, "In the culture, if one is effeminate, then one is automatically perceived as gay."

One 19-year-old source claimed that Buys was chained to his bed every night [ http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/26233/20130429/gay-teens-starved-beaten-tortured-to-death-to-become-en.htm ], not allowed to use the toilet and on one occasion, was forced to eat his own feces.

“Raymond was only allowed to speak to me on speakerphone,” Raymond’s mother Wilna is quoted as saying. “When I asked him why he was hurting himself, he told me ‘Mum, I’m not doing it to myself.’”

Both Calitz and van der Walt died in 2007, the Bangalore Mirror reported [ http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/12/2013043020130430215703932c2aedcd/Teen-dies-after-being-tortured-starved-at-%E2%80%98gay-conversion-camp%E2%80%99.html ]. Conflicting media reports indicate that Buys died in April 2011 or 2012.

Echo Wild Game Rangers camp employees de Koker and Michael Erasmus are now on trial for charges of murder, child abuse and neglect in connection with Buys' death. Elie's Scott De Buitléir reports [ http://eile.ie/post/49192281390/south-african-gay-teens-tortured-and-killed ] that de Koker has plead not guilty to the charges.

Copyright © 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/gay-south-africa-conversion-deaths_n_3186820.html [with comments]


2013 NRA Annual Meetings: Glenn Beck

Published on May 5, 2013 by NRAVideos

Radio host Glenn Beck speaks at the NRA Stand and Fight Rally, an event of the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings in Houston, Texas. In his highly-anticipated keynote speech, Beck conveys his message through stories often ignored by the mainstream media of law-abiding citizens defending themselves with firearms, and the cold, hard facts about gun control that have been rejected by the political elites. "So what is this gun, good or evil? It is nothing! A gun is only a reflection of the people that use it," he declares.



Vendor Pulls ‘Obama’ Target From Booth At NRA Convention

Eric Lach - 10:29 AM EDT, Monday May 6, 2013

At its convention in Houston, over the weekend, the National Rifle Association asked a vendor to take down a mannequin target that looked like President Barack Obama, Buzzfeed reported [ http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/national-rifle-association-bans-bleeding-obama-target-others ] on Sunday.

The vendor, Zombie Industries, produces "life-sized tactical mannequin" targets that "bleed" when shot. Photographs of the company's booth at the convention taken by Buzzfeed show that the company had several sample mannequins displayed for sale, including a clown, a "terrorist," and a Nazi.

"Someone from the NRA came by and asked us to remove it" a Zombie Industries booth worker told BuzzFeed, referring to the company's "Bleeding Rocky Zombie" target. "They thought it looked too much like President Obama."

Buzzfeed asked the worker if the resemblance was intentional.

"Let's just say I gave my Republican father one for Christmas," the worker replied.

The Rocky mannequins are being sold at Zombie Industries' website for $89.95 each. The product description states that "Rocky is HIGHLY dangerous due to his quick wit and strength… he was last seen screaming something like, 'Zombie Industries believes in America!' And that we do."

"What makes our Zombie’s so special?" the product description page asks. "They’re filled with biodegradable matter, which makes clean up a wee-bit easier…(are you happy, mom?) …and oh yah, let’s not forget, they bleed and burst into little pieces of blood soaked, Zombie matter when you shoot them!"

[ http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/national-rifle-association-bans-bleeding-obama-target-others ]

(Images via zombieindustries.com)



Vendor That Pulled ‘Obama’ Target At NRA Convention Also Sells ‘The Ex’ Target



© 2013 TPM Media LLC

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/vendor-pulls-obama-target-from-booth-at-nra [with comments]


Product Review: Bleeding Zombie Target by Zombie Industries

Uploaded on Nov 2, 2011 by ikesoutdoors

In this video, we take some shots at Rocky, a Bleeding Zombie Target by Zombie Industries.



The U.S. needs a revolution--that is our only way back

By Laurie Roth
April 29, 2013

The problem

We have a problem, Houston. We have a president who long before he was elected declared his plans to transform America and change us. Over 50% of us were stuck on "hypnotized stupid" – "the first black president" – "the next Martin Luther King or Kennedy" – "sick of Bush and the Iraq war" – bored and just wanted entertainment." Over half the country entered the "Obama holodeck," and when the door slammed behind them, they found it was hell and very hot.

Before Obama was elected

Obama warned that he would attack the energy industry – oil and coal for starters. He said he dreamed of $4.00 a gallon gas. At the time, we were floating between $1 and $2 for gas. Going up to $4 or $5 seemed absurd, let alone a president wanting us to pay that! Well, he did want that and we do pay that and more now. Obama must be drooling with excitement.

Obama started bypassing Congress immediately with endless executive orders. He hired the most controversial and questionable czars he could find, running endless government departments answering only to Obama. Through his czars, he has placed endless controls, regulations, and tax tentacles everywhere.

Obama's transformation plans attacked the greatest healthcare system on earth, turning it into an imploding, taxed, and putrid nightmare for all. Lines, taxes, threats...those are just three descriptions of our healthcare meal in front of us now.

He lead in passing the NDAA bill, turning US troops on Americans, and whisking us off to an undisclosed detainment camp without being read Miranda rights. The list of violations on the people is endless. Drones flying overhead in the U.S., attacks on the 2nd Amendment, 1st Amendment, 10th Amendment...spirit and core of ALL AMENDMENTS TO OUR CONSTITUTION.

Who is Obama – what do we know?

Obama says he is a Christian, progressive Democrat who was born in Hawaii.

All three are false fronts and all three are lies. He is truthfully, a Muslim, most likely Muslim Brotherhood in orientation, posing as a Christian only to manipulate votes. He masks himself as a Democrat, but is really by his endless associations, actions and big government over-reach a bold socialist-Communist.

There is bold evidence that he is gay or bi-sexual. Endless witnesses from Chicago clubs and news sources, even some who say they had sex with Obama, verified this lifestyle when Obama was a senator. He was part of the "down low" club for gay guys in Rev. Wright's church. The gay community there called him "Bath House" Barry. He was a regular in gay clubs in Chicago, but media and politicians are supposed to pretend this ain't so.

There is zero evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii or anyplace else in this country. The birth certificate he finally showed to media was proven a forgery within 24 hours, but no one in media cared. We were "tin helmet," "racist" morons for noticing that fact...not that crime.

Who is the real Obama running our country? I and millions believe that his own behavior reveals the tale. He is Muslim, not eligible to be president, because he wasn't born in the U.S; he is gay or bi-sexual; he is a Communist and an internationalist, where the ends always justify the means.

Obama is just another boring dictator and tyrant stealing from the playbooks of all the others. I'm practically asleep I am so bored with his plagiarized and evil plans.

We must have revolution if we are to survive

Prayer Revolution

Our power of survival means first to snap out of our stereotypes, fear and doubt about prayer. We must have a bold and daily prayer revolution. I don't mean prayer to "tree bark," "the goddess," "Mohamed," or Buddha. I mean to the only real God, the God of the Holy Bible, who loves us, answers prayers, judges, leads, and forgives. He is the only one with the power to fix a nation that is so sick and threatened like America.

If you have ever read the Holy Bible, then you may have heard of one of the more famous prophets, Elijah. In 1 Kings 18: 41-45, it talks about Elijah getting on his knees, putting his head between his legs and praying for rain. You may recall earlier that Elijah had called fire down from heaven. This time he was praying to end a 3-1/2-year-long drought.

The story says that while kneeling, Elijah told his servant to go look out over the sea for any sign of rain. He came back and said there was "nothing." Elijah kept praying, and then told his servant to go look again. He came back and said "nothing." Elijah didn't move or get up but kept praying. After seven times of the servant going off and looking over the horizon, he came back and said there was a small cloud rising up from the sea. Elijah then stopped praying and got up. The Bible says they were all soon drenched with a downpour.

This is just one story in the Holy Bible showing the importance and reward of faith and persistence in prayer. If we want to see personal and national healing with real power and miracles, we have to pray to the real God, with a cleansed, believing, and humble heart. You want results and a REAL revolution? Put the bullets and bloodletting ideas away and get down to real business.

Deuteronomy 7:14 offers us just one of God's many promises for the healing and health of our nation but with a condition attached.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

We need a prayer revolution. Won't you join me?

"Dear God,

"You created and built up our country and made us the most powerful country on earth. We have experienced good times, bad times, and achieved much. However, we have taken you off the throne and put ourselves up there many times. We repent for drifting away, living in rebellion, and not honoring you and The Holy Bible. We repent for voting someone ungodly into the White House like Obama.

"Now, he is destroying our healthcare, our freedoms, our dreams, our safety, our schools, our reputation, our religious liberties, and hopes. Lord God, we need you, and we are sorry for our evil and sin. Bring back our freedom, safety, achievement, morals, and faith in you. Bring America back to health and judge those who are against you and attacking your people and ways. We cannot survive with out you and having faith in you. We will not stop praying for national and personal healing until we see your hand all over this land.

"Thank you, Lord Jesus. Bring on the rain."

When more of us pray persistently and with the right attitude, we WILL hear from God and He will raise up a remnant and leaders who will get it right. Obama will be judged. Let us pray a violent revolution does not have to occur. I believe that is what Obama is planning for. The REAL power and force, far beyond bullets, is calling on the Lord Jesus Christ and not letting go. He will direct, lead, heal, and protect us.

Join me each day from 7-10 pm PAC at http://www.therothshow.com for my national radio show.

© Laurie Roth



Poll: 29% Think Armed Rebellion Might Soon Be Necessary

Gun dealer Mel Bernstein takes down an AK-47 assault rifle from a sales rack at his own Dragonman's shooting range and gun store, east of Colorado Springs, Colo., on Feb. 5, 2013.

Sahil Kapur - May 1, 2013, 3:53 PM

Three in 10 registered American voters believe an armed rebellion might be necessary in the next few years, according to the results of a staggering poll [ http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2013/guncontrol/ ] released Wednesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind.

The survey, aimed at measuring public attitudes toward gun issues, found that 29 percent of Americans agree with the statement, “In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties.” An additional five percent were unsure.

Eighteen percent of Democrats said an armed revolt “might be necessary,” as compared to 27 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans. Support levels were similar among males and females but higher among less educated voters.

The poll also found that 25 percent of voters believe the American public is being lied to about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting by people seeking to promote a political agenda. An additional 11 percent said they weren’t sure.

The eye-opening findings serve as a reminder that Americans’ deeply held beliefs about gun rights have a tendency to cross over into outright conspiracy theories [ http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/05/inhofe-gun-conspiracy-theory.php ] about a nefarious government seeking to trample their constitutional rights — paranoia that pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association have at times helped stoke. The data help explain why even the most modest gun safety laws face tremendous, intense opposition.

The poll, conducted between April 22-28, surveyed 863 randomly selected registered voters across the country and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

© 2013 TPM Media LLC

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/05/armed-rebellion-poll.php [with comments]


One Of Us Is Crazy And I Don't Think It's Me

By Charles P. Pierce
May 1, 2013 at 4:30PM

I know it's one poll, and who knows, people lie to pollsters all the time, but the percentages in this one indicate that anyone who takes idly the effect of some of the rhetoric that's been launched against this president and his policies is sleeping on a genuine national-security problem [ http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/05/armed-rebellion-poll.php (just above)].

The survey, aimed at measuring public attitudes toward gun issues, found that 29 percent of Americans agree with the statement, "In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties." An additional five percent were unsure. Eighteen percent of Democrats said an armed revolt "might be necessary," as compared to 27 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans. Support levels were similar among males and females but higher among less educated voters.

Check that number again — 44 percent of Republicans polled, only a slightly smaller percentage than the number of people who thought Willard Romney should be president. There's a lot of loose talk about watering the tree of liberty out there. There's a lot of prevaricating about what the president is "really" planning to do. There are a lot of people making a lot of money, and accruing a lot of political influence, by engaging in, or catering to, this kind of loose talk, and this in a climate of economic uncertainty and peril, which is just the kind of context in which you want to be tossing around this kind of rhetoric, because there's never been a problem with that before. There are a lot of people lighting a lot of fuses out there, all's I'm saying.

©2013 Hearst Communications, Inc. (emphasis in original)

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/gun-control-armed-revolution-poll-050113 [with comments]


Rise of the conservative revolutionaries

Tea Party supporter William Temple of Brunswick, Ga.
(Credit: AP/David Goldman)

Almost half of Republicans think an armed revolution may be needed soon. What does it mean for guns and democracy?

By David Sirota
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 10:45 AM CDT

There’s plenty of proof of an authoritarian streak and animus toward democratic ideals in today’s conservative movement. There was the movement’s use of its judicial power to halt a vote recount and instead install [ http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/06/yes-bush-v-gore-did-steal-the-election.html ] a president who had lost the popular vote. There is the ongoing GOP effort to make it more difficult for people to cast a vote in an election [ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-gop-war-on-voting-20110830 ]. There is the GOP’s record use of the Senate filibuster [ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/post/the-history-of-the-filibuster-in-one-graph/2012/05/15/gIQAVHf0RU_blog.html ] to kill legislation that the vast majority of the country supports. There is a GOP leader’s declaration that what the American people want from their government simply “doesn’t matter [ http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2627805 ].”

Up until today, you might have been able to write all that anti-democratic pathology off as one infecting only the Republican Party’s politicians and institutional leadership, but not its rank-and-file voters. But then this morning Fairleigh Dickinson University released this gun control-related pollshowing that authoritarianism runs throughout the the entire party.

Take a look at the cross-tabs on page 3 of the national survey [ http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2013/guncontrol/ ]. That’s right, you are reading it correctly: Almost half (44 percent) of all self-described Republican voters say they believe “an armed revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties.” Just as bad, more Republicans believe an armed revolution might be necessary than believe one isn’t necessary.

This poll raises two obvious questions, each more disturbing than the next.

The first question is about gun control and gun ownership, and more specifically, what the latter is all about.

Typically, GOP leaders say that their opposition to minimal gun regulations has nothing to do with helping arm those who want to commit acts of violence, and everything to do with wanting to make sure people can defend themselves. Based on the poll, of course, it is certainly likely that many are buying such weapons in an effort to defend themselves, both for day-to-day life and in the event of a sudden armed revolution. But here’s the scary part: How many are buying weapons to arm themselves in order to foment an armed revolution? Maybe none, but maybe a lot. I don’t have an answer, but this poll suggests the question should at least be aired.

The other question is about republican democracy: Can it survive in an age when almost one-half of one of the major parties seems to support the concept of violently thwarting it?

“Politics is war by other means”: That aphorism sums up the democratic theory undergirding the American idea for two centuries. Though we haven’t always lived up to that ideal, it is a pretty simple one: A civilized society should solve disputes through a democratic process and democratic institutions, rather than through the barrel of a gun. And while our democracy has been corrupted by Big Money, it still functions better than autocracy. In that sense, Churchill had it right when he said “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Incredibly, though, almost half of Republicans don’t seem to necessarily see it that way. According to the Fairleigh Dickinson poll, 44 percent of rank-and-file Republicans seem to believe that because they aren’t getting their way through the ballot box, bloodshed may be justified to impose their will on everyone else. Think of it as sore loser-ism juiced by violence.

Of course, GOP apologists will say that the poll just asked specifically about armed revolution “to protect liberties,” the idea being that almost half of Republican voters don’t support using violence to advance their own political agenda, they only support it in the face of a future dystopian nightmare whereby the population is terrorized by police-administered drone bombings and Waco-esque invasions of private homes.

But that’s the thing: We can’t be so sure that’s really true when conservative media voices and politicians are using the broad and incendiary language they now regularly employ. Today, those voices often claim that almost everything in the Democratic/liberal agenda — from Obamacare [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/28/ron-johnson-obamacare_n_2567993.html ] to taxes [ http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/13/obamas-tax-freedom-day-was-march-5-the-average-americans-isnt-until-april-18/ ] to environmental regulations to contraception policy [ http://www.teapartyexpress.org/3421/obama-birth-control-mandate-takes-assault-on-constitution-religious-liberty-to-new-heights ] — is an assault on “liberty.”

That means the poll might indicate something much more significant than understandable opposition to Big Brother turning our country into Oceania. It might show us that all the vitriolic language employed by the right is undermining the most basic nonviolent democratic ideals that are supposed to define America.

Copyright © 2013 Salon Media Group, Inc. (emphasis in original)

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/01/rise_of_the_conservative_revolutionaries/ [with comments]


Domestic Terror Attack Thwarted in Minnesota: FBI

Buford Rogers, who was arrested May 3, 2013, during a raid on a mobile home in Montevideo, Minn., is seen in this Chippewa County police photo.
(Jeremy Jones/Montevideo American-News/AP Photo)

May 6, 2013

Authorities thwarted what could have been a deadly domestic terror attack last week when they raided the home of a militia-linked Minnesota man, law enforcement sources told ABC News today.

Buford "Bucky" Rogers, 24, was arrested Friday after an army of federal, state and local officials raided his home and discovered a cache of weapons including a Romanian AK-M assault-style rifle, several Molotov cocktails and what investigators suspect to be pipe-bombs, court documents said.

Jeanne Cooney, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis, told ABC News this morning that authorities rushed to arrest Rogers to get him off the street before he could proceed with his plans for an attack.

"We just wanted to get enough to get an arrest warrant to put him away before the weekend," Cooney said. According to a statement from the FBI, the bureau believes the arrest potentially saved the lives of "several local residents."

Cooney declined to say what the target of the attack was, but Montevideo, Minn. Police Chief Adam Christopher told ABC News Rogers had started a group called the Black Snake Militia, an organization with anti-government tendencies. Two senior law enforcement sources told ABC News Rogers appears to be a "militia"-type suspect whose targets potentially included local authorities.

Law enforcement was tipped off to Rogers thanks to "concerned residents in the area," Cooney said.

Rogers' father, Jeff, told ABC News' affiliate KSTP he denied the accusations made against his son.

"We are not out to blow up buildings... and none of this crap they are saying about us," he said. "We have never done a violent thing like that in our lives."

Jeff Rogers said he doesn't know anything about any pipe bombs, but he does have a "bunch of pipes" for plumbing.

Buford Rogers was convicted of felony burglary in 2011 and was restricted from possessing a firearm, authorities said. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless use of a weapon in 2009, court documents show. Rogers was taken into custody Friday without incident.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office said Rogers does not yet have an attorney.

Attorney Gregory Holmstrom, who represented Rogers in his 2011 burglary case, said he was "quite surprised" his former client had been arrested. Holmstrom said Rogers never displayed any anti-government or terrorist tendencies.

"I'm not aware of anything like that. There was nothing that would make him stand out as someone who was particularly belligerent or angry," Holmstrom said.

In the 2011 case, Rogers pleaded guilty to stealing two rifles and tools from a garage in an area near the South Dakota border.

© 2013 ABC News Internet Ventures. Yahoo! - ABC News Network

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/domestic-terror-attack-thwarted-minnesota-fbi/story?id=19118115 [with embedded video report, and comments]


Liberator - Dawn of the Wiki Weapons

Published on May 5, 2013 by DXLiberty [ https://www.youtube.com/user/DXLiberty ]

3D Printing's First Killer App. Download at DEFCAD.org [ http://defcad.org/ ]



Meet The 'Liberator': Test-Firing The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Gun

http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/05/05/meet-the-liberator-test-firing-the-worlds-first-fully-3d-printed-gun/ [with comments]


First 3D-printed gun fired

A gun has been produced using a 3D-printer in a world first that has prompted concerns that the regulation of firearms may soon be impossible.

By Jon Swaine, New York
12:43PM BST 06 May 2013

Instructions for making The Liberator, a plastic handgun that could escape detection by conventional airport security, were today made freely available to download from the internet by anti-government activists in the US.

It was created by a group in Texas that aims to make “WikiWeapons” that can be reproduced with a home computer and a $1,000 (£644) 3D printer that uses heated plastics instead of ink.

“It’s a demonstration that technology will allow access to things that governments would otherwise say that you shouldn’t have access to,” Cody Wilson, the leader of Defense Distributed, told The Daily Telegraph.

“Things that there are legitimate demands for will be available,” said Mr Wilson, 25, who is described as a free-market anarchist. “That’s the point we want to make.”

Video footage showed Mr Wilson successfully test firing the gun at a target.

The Liberator, which fires .380-calibre bullets, comprises 15 printable plastic components and a single metal nail as a firing pin, which appears to be too small to trigger metal detector systems.

It was produced with a 3D printer that Mr Wilson bought on eBay for $8,000 (£5,140). The printer draws on a supply of a heated common plastic where a regular printer uses an ink cartridge.

It dispenses layer upon layer of the heated plastic to gradually build a three-dimensional solid object, as dictated by the computer design software that handles blueprints such as Mr Wilson’s.

Once all 15 components of The Liberator have been printed, they fit together. Mr Wilson hopes to make the gun printable by a “RepRap” 3D printer, which consumers can buy for less than $1,000 (£644).

The “RepRap”, which was developed by Adrian Bowyer, an engineering academic at the University of Bath, is able to reprint its own components, meaning users can spread 3D printers further afield.

Steve Israel, a senior Democratic congressman for New York, said the technology of “science-fiction” now “appears to be upon us” and proposed tighter regulations on homemade weapons.

“Checkpoints, background checks and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” he said.

Mr Wilson has added a six-ounce piece of steel to his prototype of The Liberator to ensure it complies with the Undectable Firearms Act, which bans the production of guns that elude airport metal detectors.

However, pro-regulation critics stress that those who download Mr Wilson’s blueprints for The Liberator — named after a pistol air-dropped by the Allies into occupied France — may not do the same.

Charles Schumer, a US senator for New York, warned that the technology meant “a terrorist, someone who’s mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage”.

Mr Wilson accused the politicians of acting “in bad faith”, claiming: “The issue is more about free speech and access to information than the production of firearms, although that’s part of it, too.”

“Technically Defense Distributed is a public interest software company,” he said. “What we’re liberating is a piece of software that people can then execute to make something real.”

The Liberator’s production comes amid efforts by President Barack Obama to introduce tougher gun laws following the massacre at a Connecticut primary school last December.

A bill to tighten background checks on Americans trying to buy guns was blocked by Republicans in the US Senate last month. A plan to ban the sale of assault-weapons was dropped before reaching Congress.

Mr Wilson, whose group is a licenced firearms manufacturer, has already printed ammunition magazines for guns such as the AR-15 rifle, which was used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Mr Wilson criticised campaigners, such as victims’ relatives, who point to such mass shootings in order to make the case for more government intervention in the gun industry.

“I have sympathy for their loss, but I don’t find it an excuse to highjack the means of the state, to use force to divest people of their otherwise free rights,” he said. “Liberty should prevail everywhere all the time.”

Video courtesy YouTube/DXLiberty [a slightly truncated copy of the "Liberator - Dawn of the Wiki Weapons" YouTube above embedded]

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013



World's first 3D gun fired in the US

Published on May 6, 2013

The world's first gun made with 3D printer technology has been successfully fired in the US.

The controversial group who created the firearm plan to make the blueprints available online.

Anti-gun advocates have criticised the project and Europol, Europe's law enforcement agency, said it was closely monitoring the development.

Rebecca Morelle reports [ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22421185 (this YouTube a copy of the video report embedded in that article)].



Gun rights radicals embrace paranoia over American majority

The Rachel Maddow Show
May 6, 2013

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut talks with Rachel Maddow about how far away from American popular opinion the radical messaging of the NRA and its new president have become, and the ridiculous efforts by state Republicans to violate the U.S. Constitution and nullify federal law.

© 2013 NBCNews.com

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/51796470 [show links at http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/05/06/18093511-links-for-the-56-trms (no comments yet)]


Happiness is a warm writing implement

The Rachel Maddow Show
May 6, 2013

Rachel Maddow shares her favorite headline of the year so far, describing new North Carolina legislation legalizing silencers for hunters and requiring cursive writing instruction.

© 2013 NBCNews.com

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/51796583 [show links at http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/05/06/18093511-links-for-the-56-trms (no comments yet)]


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Greensburg, KS - 5/4/07

"Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty."
from John Philpot Curran, Speech
upon the Right of Election, 1790

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