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8 Other Laws That Could Be Ignored Now That Christians Get To Pick And Choose


8 Other Laws That Could Be Ignored Now That Christians Get To Pick And Choose
The Huffington Post | By Ryan Grim

Posted: 06/30/2014 3:42 pm EDT Updated: 06/30/2014 5:59 pm EDT

The owners of a chain of stores called Hobby Lobby don't like Obamacare. In particular, they really don't like the part that requires insurance companies to cover contraceptives. Normally, people who don't like a law petition the government to change that law. That's how a nation of laws works.

But these men are Christians. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Christian business owners are special. Their deeply held religious belief that some particular form of contraception is immoral carries more weight than the force of law, five conservative Christian justices ruled. The court -- in a fairly bald admission that its ruling is incoherent -- added that no general amnesty from other laws should be assumed to be the result of its ruling and that its reasoning was strictly limited to women's contraception. Such a limitation raises legitimate questions about the rather perverted and obsessive minds of the five men who made the ruling, but it also carries little legal weight. Precedent is precedent, whether the precedent-setters say so or not.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wondered aloud in her dissent, "Would the exemption ... extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus)?"

- snip -


Entire colonies of people are dedicated to the belief that being compelled to wear clothes is wrong. Others don't believe they should be compelled to make love only indoors. Don't wanna see this on your Saturday stroll? Hey, freedom isn't free.


Most religions profess a deep affinity for peace (while drenching history in blood in the name of religion, but whatever). Why should religious pacifists be compelled to pay taxes that subsidize war? Why should Randians, believers in Atlas Shrugged, the bible for dorm-room free-market evangelists, be forced to support the evil that is government?


There isn't much more religious of an experience than talking directly with God. Hell, Huston Smith included a section on acid in his definitive book The World's Religions. While we're at it, all drug laws rub up against religious practice. Sorry officer, this is our church.


BREAKING: Supreme Court: Can't Make Employers Cover Contraception (Hobby Lobby Case 5-4)

Source: Associated Press

@SCOTUSblog: Breaking: SCOTUS holds govt can't require closely held corps w/ religious owners to provide contraception coverage

@AP: BREAKING: Supreme Court says employers with religious objections can refuse to pay for contraception.

@BloombergNews: BREAKING: Supreme Court overturns contraceptive mandate in Affordable Care Act


— Jun. 30, 2014 10:23 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices' 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies' health insurance plans.

Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later.

Two years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama's campaign for re-election.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/justices-cant-make-employers-cover-contraception

@SCOTUSblog: Under the Hobby Lobby decision, the government can pay for the coverage itself so that women receive it.


DKOS: Blackwater Story Is Exactly Why NYT's James Risen Must Be Shielded from DOJ Prosecution


MON JUN 30, 2014 AT 05:20 AM PDT

Blackwater Story Is Exactly Why NYT's James Risen Must Be Shielded from DOJ Prosecution

by David Harris Gershon

Originally published in Tikkun Daily

James Risen of The New York Times, using recently disclosed State Department documents, has written a bombshell-of-a-story chronicling how Blackwater's top manager threatened to kill the U.S. government's chief investigator in 2007, thus thwarting an investigation into Blackwater's operations just weeks before the company's guards massacred 17 Iraqi civilians.

The story is characteristic Risen: unflinchingly and thoroughly reported. However, Risen may not be able to write such stories in a matter of months. Instead, he may be sitting in a jail cell as a result of a case being prosecuted against him by the Obama administration.

The case against Risen began in 2008. This is when his book, State of War, was published, which contained information on a secret, botched CIA operation in Iran. The Bush administration, furious at the revelations, subpoenaed Risen and demanded that he reveal his confidential source. Risen has steadfastly refused, and if the Obama administration proceeds this summer to prosecute Risen, the NYT journalist may soon be behind bars.

Here's Jonathan Mahler of the Times on the Risen case:

After more than six years of legal wrangling, the case — the most serious confrontation between the government and the press in recent history — will reach a head in the coming weeks. Mr. Risen has steadfastly refused to testify. But he is now out of challenges. Early this month, the Supreme Court declined to review his case, a decision that allows prosecutors to compel his testimony. If Mr. Risen resists, he could go to prison.

Though the court’s decision looked like a major victory for the government, it has forced the Obama administration to confront a hard choice. Should it demand Mr. Risen’s testimony and be responsible for a reporter’s being sent to jail? Or reverse course and stand down, losing credibility with an intelligence community that has pushed for the aggressive prosecution of leaks?


TOM TOMORROW: The Droney Memo

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/30/1310372/-Cartoon-The-Droney-memo

HOLY SHIT: Blackwater Head in Iraq Threatened to Kill State Dept. Investigator


Before Shooting in Iraq, Warning on Blackwater

JUNE 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”

- snip -

The shooting was a watershed moment in the American occupation of Iraq, and was a factor in Iraq’s refusal the next year to agree to a treaty allowing United States troops to stay in the country beyond 2011. Despite a series of investigations in the wake of Nisour Square, the back story of what happened with Blackwater and the embassy in Baghdad before the fateful shooting has never been fully told.


Taliban Mount Major Assault in Afghanistan

Source: New York Times

Taliban Mount Major Assault in Afghanistan


KABUL, Afghanistan — In one of the most significant coordinated assaults on the government in years, the Taliban have attacked police outposts and government facilities across several districts in northern Helmand Province, sending police and military officials scrambling to shore up defenses and heralding a troubling new chapter as coalition forces prepare to depart.

The attacks have focused on the district of Sangin, historically an insurgent stronghold and one of the deadliest districts in the country for the American and British forces who fought for years to secure it. The Taliban have mounted simultaneous attempts to conquer territory in the neighboring districts of Now Zad, Musa Qala and Kajaki. In the past week, more than 100 members of the Afghan forces and 50 civilians have been killed or wounded in fierce fighting, according to early estimates from local officials.

With a deepening political crisis in Kabul already casting the presidential election and long-term political stability into doubt, the Taliban offensive presents a new worst-case situation for Western officials: an aggressive insurgent push that is seizing territory even before American troops have completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

- snip -

Already, areas once heavily patrolled by American forces have grown more violent as the Afghan military and the police struggle to feed, fuel and equip themselves. The lackluster performance of the Afghan Army so far in Helmand has also evoked comparisons with Iraq, raising questions about whether the American-trained force can stand in the way of a Taliban resurgence.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/world/asia/taliban-mount-major-assault-in-afghanistan.html?emc=edit_th_20140628&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68388605&_r=0

How the Iraq War Launched the Modern Era of Political BS


How the Iraq War Launched the Modern Era of Political BS

Factual divides over whether Iraq had WMD, and whether Saddam was working with Osama, set the stage for today's battles over reality.

—By Chris Mooney | Wed Jun. 25, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

That queasy sensation of déjà vu you're experiencing is understandable. With Iraq back in the news, and Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol on TV sounding off about the situation, there's every reason to worry that a new wave of misinformation is on the way.

- snip -

The role of Fox News. In a pioneering study that laid the groundwork for much future work, the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland used a series of post-Iraq War polls (conducted from June through September in 2003) to analyze the the preponderance of false beliefs about the war. The study first defined three clear falsehoods: (1) real evidence linking Iraq and Al Qaeda had been uncovered; (2) WMD had been discovered in Iraq following the US invasion; and (3) global public opinion was in favor of the US invasion. Then, it examined the likelihood of holding such incorrect beliefs based upon a person's political party affiliation and habits of news consumption.

Sure enough, Fox viewers led the way in embracing these false assertions, with 80 percent of them believing at least one of the three. Seventy-one percent of CBS viewers also held one of these three false beliefs. For consumers of NPR and PBS, only 23 percent believed one or more of these pro-war myths. Notably, Republicans and supporters of George W. Bush had a much higher level of belief in these falsehoods. So what caused these misperceptions to exist? Republican ideological allegiance likely led to an initial belief in these misrepresentations, but then Fox watching bolstered these views. For Democrats, too, watching Fox worsened their misperceptions.

Authoritarianism and Iraq War myths. In 2006, two political scientists, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, conducted a survey to examine the political beliefs of a subset of the US population that they termed "authoritarians." Part a political identity and part a psychological profile, an authoritarian, as they put it, is a right-wing person whose style of thinking is characterized by black-and-white reasoning. He or she supports tough responses to crime and backs aggressive and muscular national security stances. These are precisely the people who would have been pro-war because they accepted the Bush administration's claims that invading Iraq would make the United States safer.

Hetherington and Weiler identified authoritarians using a questionnaire about child-rearing styles: authoritarians tend to prefer obedient, well-mannered children over independent, curious children. Then they asked authoritarians and nonauthoritarians two questions, both of which had a clear, factually correct answer: Had WMD been found in Iraq, and did Saddam Hussein have a role in the 9/11 attacks? The results were stark: For nonauthoritarians, only 15 percent of respondents erred on the WMD question, and only 19 percent got the 9/11 question wrong. For authoritarians, though, those numbers rose to 37 percent and 55 percent. On Iraq, authoritarians and nonauthoritarians perceived very different realities.



Dick Cheney...

[font size=9]is one evil, lying, hypocritical, sociopathic fucking piece of war criminal human shit.[/font]

Just when you thought you'd seen him get to the nastiest, most rotten dregs of the cesspool, he digs even deeper.

Unbelievable even after all these years the new depths to which he crawls.

Ref: Charlie Rose interview on now.

@GregMitch: Cheney on Iraq : "it was not a flawless war but I don't know of one that is."

@GregMitch: Cheney: if Bush didn't invade Iraq it would have been "dereliction of duty." We "did what we had to do."

Yeah. He actually said those things.

Judge: No-Fly List Violated Constitutional Rights

Source: Associated Press

— Jun. 24, 2014 3:38 PM EDT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government violated the rights of 13 people on its no-fly list by depriving them of their constitutional right to travel, and gave them no adequate way to challenge their placement on the list.

It's the nation's first ruling to label the no-fly list redress procedures unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown's decision handed down Tuesday says the procedure offered to people to remove themselves from the list fails to give travelers a meaningful mechanism to challenge their placement.

Thirteen people challenged their placement on the list in 2010, including four military veterans.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/judge-no-fly-list-violated-constitutional-rights

Boko Haram ‘Kidnaps Another 60 Girls and Women’ from Nigerian Villages

Source: Associated Press

Witnesses say extremists have abducted 60 more girls and women, 31 boys in northeast Nigeria

June 24, 2014 | Updated: June 24, 2014 1:47am

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Witnesses say extremists have abducted 60 more girls and women, 31 boys in northeast Nigeria.

Read more: http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/world/article/Witnesses-say-extremists-have-abducted-60-more-5574332.php


Boko Haram ‘Kidnaps Another 60 Girls’ from Nigerian Villages

AS the world focuses on the conflict in Iraq, the crisis in Nigeria continues with reports that another 60 girls have been abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

The latest kidnapping is said to have taken place in Kummabza village, according to Nigerian media reports.

Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper reports that more than 60 married women and young girls were kidnapped by insurgents between Thursday and Sunday from villages in the Damboa local government area.
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