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Sam Johnson Defends Religious Freedom for America’s Troops - Allegedly

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) introduced the Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act (H.R. 1425). This bill is in response to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s 2013 decision to make the final clause of the Cadet Honor Oath, which states “so help me God,” optional.
It is a phrase, not a clause. Oops!
Before introducing his legislation, Johnson made the following statement on the House Floor:

“Our Constitution’s very First Amendment protects every individual’s freedom of religion. But our servicemen and women who protect our county with their lives are seeing that freedom under fire.

That is a highly debatable claim.
“In 2013, the U.S. Air Force Academy made the phrase “so help me God” optional in the oath each cadet takes. And why did they do this? Because of one radical atheist group’s demands!
Radical? Probably not, but I'm sure he thinks so. Let's see what the Constitution has to say on the subject:
Article VI, clause 3
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Constitution clearly forbids a religious qualification, including in an oath of service. This "one radical atheist group" was defending the Constitution, something that Congressman Sam Johnson swore an oath to do. So why is this guy writing a law with the intention of violating the Constitution?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
And why does he think that defending the Constitution is such a "radical" idea?
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It's not about the Logan Act (the letter was signed on official Senate stationary), it's about the Constitution!

Last month, Chuck Todd was interviewing Paul Ryan on Meet the Press and he asked Ryan if Congress has the right to invite a foreign head of state to speak to Congress without consulting the president first. Ryan said the legislative and executive branches were separate but equal. He completely ignored the significance of separation of powers and focused on "equal" as if the two branches held the same authorities. This is obviously not true. The three branches of Government are separated for the purpose of separating their authorities with the intent of preventing tyranny. Paul Ryan did not give Chuck Todd "a lesson in the Constitution", only a lesson in Ryan's willingness to misrepresent it to support his own agenda. Conservatives, however, took a victory lap and an opportunity to denigrate liberals:

He could have stopped with “look at the Constitution.” Libs stop listening after that anyway.
This is, of course, completely wrong. Article 2 section 3 of the Constitution assigns responsibility for receiving ambassadors and other foreign dignitaries to the President.
he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;
There is no such authority for the legislative branch. The Senate has "advise and consent" (Article 2 section 2) authority, but that refers to interacting with the President. It does NOT include initiating contact with foreign governments and interfering with Executive Branch negotiations. It was done this way so that the United States would speak with one voice, with the idea that a monolithic nation would command more respect than a divided one.

Because this failure to respect the Constitution's separation of powers has been bounced around the conservative echo chamber as a good thing, this raises the question of whether the conservatives in general, and Republicans in particular, have read and understood the constitution.

The Framers were quite concerned about foreign influence infecting our government and they put several conditions in the Constitution to thwart the possibility. The invitation of the Republicans to bring a foreign leader into Congress to lecture Congress about foreign policy is an arrogant and unforgivable violation of the Constitution. It is throwing the Constitution out the window and openly inviting the very foreign influence that the Framers wanted to prohibit. There is no question that they operated in collusion with Netanyahu to manipulate domestic politics.

Their disregard for the sovereignty of other nations has spilled over into disregard for our own sovereignty.

This comes on top of four years of trying to micromanage the separate and equal executive branch through the purse strings, putting ideology ahead of the country and their oaths of office by using manufactured crises to leverage more political power than allotted them by the voters.

And they didn't stop there...

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This is an opinion of an opinion posted by W. James Antle III (using a name like that? How elitist can you get?) So let's look at what this "managing editor of The Daily Caller and author of" a book said, and could have said:

Can we be honest for a minute about the latest liberal crusade controversy gripping the country like a deflated football?
"We"? I can. W? Probably not. Especially if he doesn't know the difference between honesty and defamation.
If you are sincerely concerned about fair play in sports and waiting patiently for the NFL to conclude its investigation of “Deflategate,” this column is not directed at you. Maybe you’re a New England Patriots fan or just a neutral observer. Maybe you don’t care about football at all.
I'm interested in fair play in all things. I'm also interested in facts, honesty, honor, integrity, and truthfulness. Boy, wasn't he quick to  draw partisan lines. His patience almost gave me whiplash.
But for the rest of you, the mob salivating over the prospect of finding something to diminish the Patriots’ 2014 achievements, let’s face it.

You hated Tom Brady before the national media lost its collective mind over the air pressure in footballs.

He got this from somewhere up his butt, The Hater's Guide to Divisiveness, The GOP Big Lie Playbook, who knows where. He's certainly not waiting patiently for his liberal boogiemen to say something to justify his salivating.
You hated Tom Brady before Spygate.
Did I? What was "Spygate? When did I start to know the difference between Tom Brady and a hole in the wall?
Your hatred of Brady goes back much further than that. You despised him in high school, when you wanted to sit with the jocks in the cafeteria. You detested him when he was dating the cheerleaders.
Why would I have wanted to sit with the jocks? I didn't know any of them personally, nor had any idea or interest in who they were dating. Perhaps he is projecting his own petty jealousies and desires onto those he despises.
You loathed Brady when he upset your team in the Super Bowl. You screamed with rage when he dissected your team’s secondary like a surgeon and exposed the Swiss cheese-like holes in your coverages. You were outraged when he didn’t come out of the game after throwing at least four touchdown passes.
Definition of DEMAGOGUE
: a person who stirs up public feelings especially of discontent {that politician is just a demagogue who preys upon people's fears and prejudices}
Then when he married a supermodel? Game over.
He quit playing to marry a supermodel? I don't think so.
(Yes, I did deliberately misinterpret what he said in order to make it sound like he meant something else. I included this as an example of a device commonly used by propagandists, so learn to watch for it.)
You don’t hate become disappointed in him because when he cheats. You hate respect him because he wins. If he’s exposed in the current NFL probe, that’s something you’ll love be sad to see.

I get it now, but for a long time I didn’t. I could understand why people disliked Bill Belichick, even if I didn’t agree. But Brady wasn’t much of a trash-talker, at least off the field. He was no Richard Sherman. He usually says the right thing in public. His teammates seem to enjoy playing with him and for him, even if he occasionally yells at receivers who run the wrong routes or referees who make unfavorable calls.

Thank you God for giving us the opportunity…. That's all you can ask for….Thank you everyone for the support all year

    — Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 2, 2015

Few professional athletes have the character of Mother Teresa. If they’re even as decent proselytizing as Tim Tebow, they’ll soon be out of a job. But if I had to compile a list of the biggest jerks in the NFL, Brady would not rank very high.

Tom Brady is a winner. He has won 76.5 percent of the games he has started. He has been to the AFC Championship the majority of seasons he has played. He has three Super Bowl rings. He is about to make his sixth appearance in the big game.

I hate to interrupt his bromance with union labor, but W's op-ed was supposed to be "about fair play in sports". The Tom Brady/Straw Man fixation argument is irrelevant and getting a little old.
A certain amount of jealousy is human nature. But the contempt for Brady’s sustained success fair play goes beyond that. It’s a larger liberal conservative war against success, based on the sentiments expressed by the senior senator in the Pats’ home state, Elizabeth Warren, and then later repeated more pithily by Barack Obama supporters of unregulated free markets.

All those records? Tom Brady free markets didn’t build that.

Success cannot be earned individually, or through a loose confederation of teams, the game must be rigged regulated.

The industry is self-regulating because it could not survive exclusively under the rules of free market capitalism, and they know it.
  • A losing team would lead its franchise to bankruptcy.
  • A history of failing franchises would discourage investment in new franchises and devalue surviving ones.
  • A failing franchise also kills jobs while reducing the ability of athletes to negotiate decent wages.
  • Fewer franchises means fewer local markets, fewer local fans, and less revenue. Variety in competition within the sport would have to be replaced with repetition in order to maintain the length of a season. Even the uberfans would lose enthusiasm over time. There are too many other sports eager to soak up fan loyalty and fan dollars. There's your free market at work, as it should be.

And when was the last time you heard of a stadium being built without massive taxpayer subsidies and tax incentives? Yep, W is loving him some "socialism".

You don’t care that he has three rings, because Spygate. You don’t care that when throwing fully inflated footballs he completed 82 percent of his passes against the Indianapolis Colts just this year, because cheating.

I can already hear you saying, “Wait a minute, Antle. I’m no liberal. I’m a true-blue red-state American and I just don’t like the cut of Brady’s cheating-assed jib what you're saying .”

The liberals conservatives have gotten to you anyway. They know you don’t like Boston, the city closest to the union shops where Brady plays, or California, where the quarterback is from shared revenues, where the profits grow. You might not even like The University of Michigan, where Brady went to college.

H/T to Eclectablog for the heads-up.
The same politics of envy that liberals exploit to make some people crave tax increases on the wealthy has turned you against the winningest (sic) quarterback of our time, a hero to the blue-collar and culturally conservative parts of the Bay State, a true Patriot. propaganda machine that conservatives use to play on fear, prejudice, and false pride to make some people work against government for the people, is being invoked to promote the idea that a patriotic sounding name automatically means that the group using it are automatically patriotic. There is more to patriotism than rhetoric or trademarks. Just as the Detroit Lions are not literally lions and the Seattle Seahawks are not literally birds, being a member of the New England Patriots does not make one either patriotic or unpatriotic.

If the rules were broken, they were broken and someone needs to be held accountable. Personal responsibility is a conservative value talking point. As Belichick is fond of saying, “It is what it is.”

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.
- Yogi Berra
What I’m talking about is the pure joy some people feel at the possibility a new anti-Brady wedge-issue talking point exists, the unadulterated glee that accompanies each Patriots loss exploitable moment.

Drew Bledsoe, the man who lost his job to Tom Brady, doesn’t feel this way. Neither apparently does Rich Gannon, who lost the “tuck rule” game to him.

I have no idea if this is true or false.
Brady has been battered by some elite tough NFL pass rushes. Does he have the "pocket agility" to evade the rush to judgement exploit him?

If Brady loses the upcoming Super Bowl, there will be only one consolation. All the people who hate winners will transfer their bile to the Seattle Seahawks instead.
If the Seattle Seahawks win the upcoming Super Bowl, their win will not be tainted and those who condemn dishonesty will be free to turn their attention to the propagandists.

There, I fixed it for him.

Clean and corrected version of what a decent person might have said lurks below the fold...

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Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:22 PM PST

Happy Religious Freedom Day

by Zera Lee

January 16, the anniversary of the adoption of a law, written by Thomas Jefferson and guided to adoption by James Madison, separating Church and State in Virginia. The template for the First Amendment protection of religion:

An Act for establishing religious Freedom

Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry, that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right, that it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them: Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.

Free will. A fundamental aspect of liberty. Religion is a belief system, and you cannot force someone to believe, with the possible exception of brainwashing, which would be a denial of free will and liberty.

I find it interesting that the Act immediately preceding this one in the PDF concerns a matter of Church under control of the State:

An Act to authorize the Election of certain Vestries

Whereas the members of the Protestant Episcopal Church residing in many parishes [word erased] within this Commonwealth have been prevented from carrying into Execution an act for incorporating the Protestant Episcopal Church within the period therein limited for the election of vestries, occasioned by the said law not having been sufficiently promulgated so as to enable the Members of the said church to proceed in the execution thereof. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly that Elections for vestrymen in manner prescribed by the said recited act shall be held in all such parishes on Monday in next Easter week if fair, if not, on the next fair day. And the said vestries when elected and qualified, shall have the same powers and authority, and be subject to the like rules and regulations as other vestries within this Commonwealth are by the said act entitled to, governed by, and vested with.

As an Episcopalian, I shudder at the thought of the government having such control over my church. I also shudder at the thought of some other religion having control over my government, for religion is not a democracy. If not voluntarily embraced, it is authoritarian and therefore a tyranny. How ironic that those who are most vocal in opposition to Sharia law have the same plank in their eye over Biblical law. There is no religious liberty when the government favors one belief system over another. It is said that good fences make good neighbors, and the proper role of government in a society of religious freedom is to be that fence, to mediate the frictions between conflicting religions so as to promote domestic tranquility and the greatest extent of liberty for all.

No single liberty can be absolute. There is always a point where it begins to infringe on another's liberty. If supremacy were given to religious ‘conscienc­e’, then adhering to law would become optional and the rule of law, the foundation on which even the Constitution is built, would be irreparably undermined. In Federalist #2, John Jay said that:

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.”
This states the reasoning behind the basic social contract we have as a nation: the Constitution.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The Preamble to the Constitution states it more clearly: We the ordain and establish... Not by the "grace of God", but by the consent of the governed.

From Article VI:

"no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
That includes the entire public sector.

Sadly, faith in religion can sometimes be misplaced.

Today of all days, St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese files for bankruptcy in wake of sex abuse lawsuits

And: Boy who claimed he had been to heaven retracts story, best-selling book is pulled

And possibly the worst of the week: Conceived as symbol of pluralism, Muslim call to prayer at Duke canceled after backlash

The original plan drew the ire of evangelist Franklin Graham, who urged Duke alumni to withhold support because of violence against Christians he attributed to Muslims. Schoenfeld said emails and calls came from alumni and others in the community.
Blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few - and make no mistake: given the number of Muslims in the world, the number of Islamic terrorists is a very small percentage (not to mention that they are killing more Muslims than Christians) - is nothing less than religious persecution of innocent Muslims by caustic Christians who only pretend to defend religious liberty.

To all those who are trying to persuade Senator Warren to run for President: Let's not get ahead of ourselves...

  1. I am delighted that Elizabeth Warren was elected to the Senate, and that she was given a position of leadership within the Democratic Party. It seems to me that the Democratic Party has lost its way. Obama has been unreliable as a Democrat. He has failed to explain his controversial decisions, or promote his policies to any meaningful (read effective) degree. He has worked against his base far too often, confusing public perceptions of what the Democrats stand for - even as conservatives worked hard to demonize them. His trade agreements under negotiation seem to be worse than simply bad for the country, but an assault on the very concept of Sovereign Nations. It will be difficult for the Democrats to repair their reputation after Obama, and I think that Warren is their best hope to do that.
  2. Obama made a habit of using office-holding Democrats for political appointments. I think it was a mistake that opened doors for Republicans and ultimately weakened the Democratic Party. I would prefer to see Warren remain in the Senate; gaining experience, building working relationships and coalitions, guiding progressive populist policies, and fighting corporatocracy.
  3. Obama was a short-term senator who was eloquent and inspiring, and not Republican, but naive and surrounded by mediocre advisers. In short, he wasn't really ready to be President. That is how a lot of people see him, and that would easily transfer to Senator Warren - ideological and inexperienced. The “once burned” effect may be harder to overcome than Hillary's ties to Wall Street.
  4. Senator Warren is currently focused on specific issues critical to our future, and we need her driving those issues from the “trenches” more than we need her speaking from the fading voice of the “bully pulpit”.

Rather than run for president herself, I would call on her to evaluate each candidate from both parties. She is in a unique position to expose anti-consumer Republicans, and identify Democrats who are not beholden to Wall Street.

At this point in time I think the Elizabeth Warren most visibly represents the interests of the vast majority of Americans, and her opinions and endorsements could carry considerable weight in the next election.


Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 06:30 AM PDT

Particles, Waves, and Mandates

by Zera Lee

When I was in high school, our science class presented the debate on whether light was made up of particles or waves. It has characteristics of both. There were two teachers, and they presented themselves as Particle Man and Wave Man. They made the subject interesting and somewhat unforgettable.

I see similarities in the debate whether the mandate is a penalty or a tax. It has characteristics of both. There are two political parties trying to make a case for their perception: the Democrats (the penalty party) and the Republicans (the tax party).

Is the mandate a penalty imposed in the form of a tax, or a tax imposed only as a penalty? In the grand scheme of things, it should be an academic debate on the order of chickens and eggs. But in the current political climate, it is more like Hatfields and McCoys.

The Republicans want it to be perceived as a tax so they can accuse the Democrats of making a huge tax hike.

The Libertarians want it to be perceived as a tax on economic inactivity, and therefor unconstitutional.

The Democrats want it to be perceived as a penalty to avoid the other two viewpoints.

The individual mandate has exceptions for religious, conscience, and economic hardship reasons. The government is not going to buy insurance for someone and make them pay for it, and it is not going to prosecute someone who does not buy health insurance.

So is it really a "mandate", or is it an "inducement"? Forceful as it may be.

The Supreme Court found the individual mandate to be constitutional under the taxing authority of Congress, not under the Commerce Clause.

The Republicans want to make hay out of this by waving the "tax hike" banner. But this is not really that kind of tax. It is a new tax, not an old tax, so it cannot be a tax "hike". Also, the vast majority of people are not likely to be affected by the mandate, which is why the Republican assertion is vastly misleading.

Are the Libertarians right? Is it a tax on a nonexistent product or service? This is another particle/wave debate.

Not buying insurance is certainly, in itself, a non-action. The problem with this argument lies in the unfunded Reagan-era mandate for hospital emergency rooms to treat everyone, regardless of ability to pay - even if it means at the hospital's expense. For a while, the added costs could be transferred to the paying (insured) patients. Hospitals are closing needed emergency rooms because they can no longer absorb the cost of treating the uninsured, which increases the financial strain on the emergency rooms that remain open. The cost of insurance is now too high to cover those costs. The insurance mandate closes the hole created by the emergency room mandate.

Some Liberals use auto insurance as an example of the government being able to require people to buy insurance. I've never really liked this comparison, and Conservatives reject it on the valid grounds that not everyone drives and therefore not everyone is required to buy auto insurance.

Let me see if I can fix that analogy:

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Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:30 AM PDT

Things You May Not Know About SB1070

by Zera Lee

When the law first hit the news, I took a look at it to see just what was going on in it. What I found were a few things that never made it into the news.

No commercial value, I suppose.

There are what I consider to be serious flaws in the law that go beyond the partisan problems, though they are certainly partisan in origin. Flaws that are just plain bad law.

A person who is a legal resident of this state may bring an action in superior court to challenge any official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state that adopts or implements a policy or practice that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law. If there is a judicial finding that an entity has violated this section, the court shall order that the entity pay a civil penalty of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars for each day that the policy has remained in effect after the filing of an action pursuant to this subsection.
Public employees and officials are given a degree of immunity ("Governmental Tort Immunity") from prosecution so they can do their jobs in good faith without constantly worrying about lawsuits and liabilities. It protects the ability of government to function, and taxpayers from potentially large legal and penalty costs.

I see three problems with this section:

  1. This gives standing for unaffected third parties to sue "any official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state". It gives any angry vigilante the right to sue any political subdivision, whether he/she lives in the jurisdiction of that subdivision or not. Whether or not he/she is personally harmed or merely irritated.
  2. At a minimum, every lawsuit would cost the taxpayers in legal expenses. If convicted, the taxpayers would be on the hook for the civil penalties. Further, the penalties begin at the time of accusation, not conviction. This complicates things because there is no clear understanding of what might be penalized until and unless there is a conviction. By the nature of the law, this is more likely to be an error of omission rather than commission - which means that inaction, or insufficient action, is what would be penalized. How do you quantify an non-event?
    A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a judicial trial.
    Not quite, but not far off.
  3. Revoking governmental tort immunity cannot help but distort how governmental units function. The threat of potential lawsuits would require new and costly insurance. A case under this law could take months to litigate, even without appeals. It could financially ruin a small unit of government like a small town police department that can't keep police on the streets in the first place, even if the lawsuit failed.

The costs may be recovered if the lawsuit fails:

The court may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to any person or any official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state that prevails by an adjudication on the merits in a proceeding brought pursuant to this section.
This has problems of its own:
a) The costs are up-front. A small unit of government could go bankrupt defending itself before it could recover the costs of a bad lawsuit.

b) Recovery depends on the ability of the accuser to pay. It could take months, years, or forever.

c) Recovery depends on "an adjudication on the merits". That sounds to me like the taxpayer would eat the legal costs of cases resolved by negotiation or on technical grounds.

This also overrides:

There's more below the fold...

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Wed May 02, 2012 at 05:39 AM PDT

Too Big To Fail, MN GOP Edition

by Zera Lee

Monday, the state House debated HF 2795, a bill to allow greater reach for the local horse track racing industry. The most dedicated of the House republicans are arguing in favor of the bill using arguments claiming impact on agriculture and job loss. They're playing the doomsday card. In short, they're "too big to fail".

These are the same people who are disrupting the efforts to build a new Vikings stadium. Loss of the Vikings would pose a far greater negative impact on Minnesota's economy and state budget (and carries a bigger price tag to resolve).

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$46B added to the deficit in order to create 100K jobs. That’s $460,000/job. That’s likely 10 to 15 times the salary of the jobs theoretically created. There is no possibility that this would generate enough new revenues to pay for the cuts, even if the new jobs were taxed at 100%.

Cutting taxes for 22M “small” businesses to create 100K jobs means only 1 job would be created for every 220 businesses getting a tax cut – and that’s if the republican best-case scenario proved true.

I think that Eric Cantor and I have radically different definitions of “potent economic stimulus”. This is designed to be incredibly inefficient, ineffective, and wasteful as a “jobs” program.

Could the lies be any more blatant? Promoting this as a “jobs” bill is an insult to the intelligence of every American, and a clear demonstration that republicans are fiscally irresponsible in ideology and in practice.

They can blame President Obama for opposing jobs by not signing it, or the Senate Democrats for not passing it, and never face responsibility for the consequences if it had been implemented. I expect them to accuse the Democrats of playing politics in stopping this moment of insanity.

As long as conservatives continue to pretend that tax cuts create jobs, demand is irrelevant, and low-paying jobs can fuel economic expansion, they will continue to be a knife in the American economy.

It's a bit of a rant, but I'm in a bit of a mood.


What do you think?

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Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM PDT


by Zera Lee

While doing a little research, I followed a lead into the conservatives4palin website. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find an article under their "Headlines" category: Reuters | Dozens of Rioting OWS Parasites Arrested in New York.

Now let me take a moment to inform you of their site slogan:

Just the facts
Reuters, of course, has no article with the indicated title. "Dozens of Rioting OWS Parasites Arrested in New York" maps into the real world as Dozens arrested at Occupy's 6-month anniversary rally. I am sure that the original author, Chris Francescani, would take exception to Doug Brady's complete "Just the facts" rewrite of his title.

There was no riot, and labeling them as parasites is defamation.

"I resent that. Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel."
- J. Jonah Jameson, "Spider-man"
Note: libel also applies to recorded recorded defamation, both spoken and text. In this age of recording everything, "slander" is possibly becoming obsolete. I wonder if it matters who does the recording?

The text of the Brady posting contains an accurate excerpt from the Reuters article, but I am not sure that it qualifies as "fair use".

Fair use allows for partial quotes when used as part of a commentary, but the Brady post contains nothing but the excerpt. Other than the falsified title, there is no original thought to his post. Brady does this post after post, adding nothing but a biased title to articles written by others. And he calls other people "parasites". I bet he also calls other people "lazy", or "liar". Check your mirror, Dougie.

subverting: to pervert or corrupt by an undermining of morals, allegiance, or faith
Joe Friday, they ain't.
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Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:55 AM PST

John Carter of Mars

by Zera Lee

You never know when a moment of inspiration will come along and distract you right when you were minding your own business. I had such a moment in the past week.

It has been a long time since I read Edgar Rice Burroughs, and with the pending release of the "John Carter" movie I thought I would go back and re-read the books the movie was based on.

No, this isn't going to be a book report. I went through my ERB phase many years ago. This reading was just to refresh my memory, but it got me thinking...

One of the fundamental themes of the story is the unimpeachable honor of the protagonists. It is, perhaps, a caricature or an idealistic representation of an age when a man's word was his bond, when a handshake was as good as a signed contract.

When I read the John Carter and Tarzan books back in the 80's, the willingness of the characters to accept calamity and even death rather than betray their honor seemed, at times, frustrating in its absoluteness. Yet its idealistic view of humanity had its appeal.

Adherence to a code of honor is what made the heroes, heroes; and the failure to live up to such a code made the villains, villains. Redemption was often achieved through a return to a code of honor. A century ago, the stories were popular and the ideals respected.
John Carter of Mars Pictures, Images and Photos

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This proposed amendment authorizes Congress to regulate contributions and independent expenditures spent for/against campaigns for office. It includes a 'freedom the of press' exemption.

112th Senate Joint Resolution 35:

Section 1

Congress shall have the power to regulate the contribution of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations to a candidate for election to, or for nomination for election to, a Federal office, and the power to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations made in support of, or opposition to, such candidates.

Section 2

A State shall have the power to regulate the contribution of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations to a candidate for election to, or for nomination for election to, public office in the State, and the power to regulate the expenditure of funds by corporations, entities organized and operated for profit, and labor organizations made in support of, or opposition to, such candidates.

Section 3

Nothing contained in this Amendment shall be construed to allow Congress or a State to make any law abridging the freedom of the press.

Sponsor: Sen. Max Baucus
Sen. Jon Tester

This amendment provides for the regulation of money from corporations, for-profit entities, and unions, that is contributed to a political campaign for office - including primary campaigns, and independent money spent for/against the same.

Section 1 authorizes Congress to regulate with respect to elections to federal offices.

Section 2 authorizes the States to regulate with respect to elections to state offices.

Section 3 reiterates the freedom of the press from the above regulations.

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