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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 50,091

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“All cats are libertarians..."

LOL, perfect:

“All cats are libertarians.
Completely dependent upon others, yet entirely convinced of their independence.”


2014 Job Creation Faster in States that Raised the Minimum Wage

Wow, I missed this:

The experience of the 13 states that already increased their minimum wage in 2014 paints a very positive picture for Washington and its low-wage workers.


Of the 13 states where the minimum wage went up on January 1, 2014 (either because of legislative action, referendum, or cost-of-living adjustments), all but one had positive employment growth, and nine of them had growth higher than the median. "The average change in employment for the 13 states that increased their minimum wage is +0.99% while the remaining states have an average employment change of +0.68%," wrote CEPR.


The Kochs’ Anti-Civil Rights Roots: New Docs Expose Charles Koch’s Ties to John Birch Society

The Kochs’ Anti-Civil Rights Roots: New Docs Expose Charles Koch’s Ties to John Birch Society


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AARON MATÉ: We turn now to "The Koch Cartel: Their Reach, Their Reactionary Agenda, and Their Record," a scathing new look at the Koch family’s role in the ultraconservative John Birch Society. The story appears in the new issue of The Progressive magazine, "Attack of the Plutocrats: The Robber Barons Issue." It zeroes in on Charles Koch’s roots with the John Birch Society and how he has since used his wealth to push a similar agenda into the mainstream.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go to Washington, D.C. We’re joined by its author, Lisa Graves, president of The Progressive Inc., which includes the Center for Media and Democracy, also the publisher of The Progressive magazine.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Lisa. Can you lay out what these new revelations are that you have found out?

LISA GRAVES: Yes, well, thank you so much for having us on. And we’ve been doing research in archives across the country, and what we’ve discovered is not just that Fred Koch, Charles and David Koch’s father, was a member of the John Birch Society and in fact helped found it, but what we discovered in archives is that Charles Koch himself followed his father’s footsteps into the John Birch Society. And that society was a very extreme organization. It was an extreme right-wing organization that spent the '60s largely opposing the civil rights movement here in the United States. And so, these documents, some of the documents we're revealing today, talk about—are, in Charles Koch’s own words, funding for the John Birch Society, trying to support its mission. And what we’ve documented is what that means in context in the civil rights movement, how that organization was trying to stop the civil rights movement, trying to discredit it, opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, opposing other progress on integration of our society.


AARON MATÉ: Lisa, your piece details this little-known political operation that the Kochs ran in 1996 called Triad. Can you talk about this?

LISA GRAVES: Sure. So, after leaving the John Birch Society and funding a number of other organizations, Charles and David Koch appear to have been involved in an operation called the Triad entity, basically, that was investigated by Congress back before smartphones and Google, and so it’s a little bit of obscure history, but in fact it’s very revealing because the Triad operation in Kansas was designed to use shell corporations, shell entities, to run ads to influence the 1996 races, federal races in this country. It was investigated by Congress. There were efforts to subpoena the people involved in Triad. One of the Republicans shut down that investigation, and later it turned out that part of that operation was largely financed by the Koch family fortune.

And if you fast-forward to just 2012, what you see is that operation on steroids, basically, through the Koch operatives who are running what’s known as Freedom Partners, which is another of these entities that basically operates a bunch of shell organizations or fuels shell groups with pop-up names, basically, to transfer cash, big cash. What we and the American people didn’t discover until almost a year after the 2012 elections was that the Koch brothers and their billionaire buddies had managed to inject nearly a quarter-billion dollars of money into the election through a group called Freedom Partners that no one outside those operatives knew even existed.


AMY GOODMAN: So can you talk about the website that you’re releasing today, Lisa?

LISA GRAVES: Yes. So, we have created a clearinghouse called KochExposed.org that includes a number of profiles about the Koch family fortune, about some of their operations, about groups like this. This is a service, in essence, that we’re offering to the public to make sure that they can learn more about the Koch brothers. They can learn more about these groups that change their names or pop up here and there. And they can help trace the dark money that is being pushed into our elections. As was reported earlier this year, there has been an effort to increase the sophistication of that operation in the 2014 Senate races and governors’ races across the country. And so, we think it’s important for people to know who these Koch brothers are—


USA used to be Tallest country in the world--but is now one of the Shortest of all developed nations

The Netherlands has the world’s tallest people, with an average male height of over 6 feet and average female of 5’7.” It’s also where incomes are highest. That’s no accident. People in wealthy countries are on-average significantly taller than people in poor ones, because they’re more likely to have better nutrition as kids. The United States used to be the tallest country in the world but is now one of the shortest of all developed nations (I assure you I’m not solely responsible for bringing down the average). Average heights have grown steadily across Europe since the 1960s, but the United States hasn't gotten significantly taller. European countries have done a good job ensuring all their citizens get adequate nutrition; we haven't. Low-income kids in America consume an inordinate amount of fast food. That’s bad for height. In a recent British study, one group of schoolchildren was given hamburgers, French fries, and other fast foods; the other got 1940’s-style wartime rations like boiled cabbage and corned beef. Within eight weeks, the children on the rations were both taller and slimmer than the ones on a regular diet.


Gorillas Fight Back Against Loathsome Poachers

Young gorillas learning to dismantle a poacher's snare in the mountains of Rwanda. Photo credit: nationalgeographic.com


Syrian conflict: Key sarin ingredients sold by UK firms (Leaked Foreign Office Docs)

Source: BBC

Syrian conflict: Key sarin ingredients sold by UK firms
By Nick Hopkins
Investigations correspondent, BBC Newsnight

Britain sold chemicals and components to Syria that ended up being used in the manufacture of the deadly nerve agent sarin, BBC Newsnight can reveal.

A leaked Foreign Office document says they were supplied in the mid-1980s.

Ministers will confirm within days that UK firms provided the materials and that Syria has admitted they played a role in its chemical weapons programme.

They will say there were no proper regulations at the time, but that tighter rules and controls exist now.

Sarin has been linked to a number of attacks in Syria's bloody three-year conflict.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28212724

Futbol...Christ the Redeemer

Stop praying to Me, Brazil. Even I can’t help you now.

FutbolBible @FutbolBible
Christ the Redeemer right now. #BRA
1:45 PM - 8 Jul 2014


"July 4th Note to Tea Partiers: Your Politics Would Baffle the Founding Fathers"

July 4th Note to Tea Partiers: Your Politics Would Baffle the Founding Fathers
July 4, 2014
by Jill Lepore


Precisely what the founders believed about God, Jesus, sin, the Bible, churches and hell is probably impossible to discover. They changed their minds and gave different accounts to different people: Franklin said one thing to his sister, Jane, and another thing to David Hume; Washington prayed with his troops, but, while he lay slowly dying, he declined to call for a preacher. This can make them look like hypocrites, but that’s unfair, as are a great many attacks on these men. They approached religion more or less the same way they approached everything else that interested them: Franklin invented his own, Washington proved diplomatic, Adams grumbled about it (he hated Christianity, he once said, but he couldn’t think of anything better, and he also regarded it as necessary), Jefferson could not stop tinkering with it, and Madison defended, as a natural right, the free exercise of it. That they wanted to preserve religious liberty by separating church and state does not mean they were irreligious. They wanted to protect religion from the state, as much as the other way around.

Set loose in the culture, and tangled together with fanaticism, originalism looks like history, but it’s not; it’s historical fundamentalism, which is to history what astrology is to astronomy, what alchemy is to chemistry, what creationism is to evolution. Nevertheless, if the founders had followed their forefathers, they would have written a Constitution establishing Christianity as the national religion. Nearly every British North American colony was settled with an established religion; Connecticut’s 1639 charter explained that the whole purpose of government was “to mayntayne and presearve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” In the century and a half between the Connecticut charter and the 1787 meeting of the Constitutional Convention lies an entire revolution, not just a political revolution but also a religious revolution. Following the faith of their fathers is exactly what the framers did not do. At a time when all but two states required religious tests for office, the Constitution prohibited them. At a time when all but three states still had an official religion, the Bill of Rights forbade the federal government from establishing one. Originalism in the courts is controversial, to say the least. Jurisprudence stands on precedent, on the stability of the laws, but originalism is hardly the only way to abide by the Constitution. Setting aside the question of whether it makes good law, it is, generally, lousy history. And it has long since reached well beyond the courts.

a few days old but worth the read:

‘Little Free Libraries’ legal --- thanks to 9-year-old Spencer Collins

Nine-year-old Spencer Collins will be able put his “Little Free Library” back in his front yard first thing in the morning.

The Leawood City Council unanimously approved a temporary moratorium Monday night that exempts the little lending libraries from a city ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards. The moratorium, effective Tuesday, will last until Oct. 20.

As soon as the moratorium passed, Mayor Peggy Dunn called Spencer to the front of the room to hand him a book for his library, an action that received applause from the audience.

Spencer Collins, 9, needed a milk crate to be seen, but his message came through loud and clear Monday night as the Leawood City Council unanimously approved a moratorium that temporarily exempts “Little Free Libraries” such as Spencer’s from an ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards.

Spencer Collins, 9, needed a milk crate to be seen, but his message came through loud and clear Monday night as the Leawood City Council unanimously approved a moratorium that temporarily exempts “Little Free Libraries” such as Spencer’s from an ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards. | Keith Myers/The Kansas City Star

Spencer made national headlines last month after Leawood officials asked his family to take their little library down, which sparked an outcry from the family and other supporters of the Little Free Library movement.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article687562.html#storylink=cpy

Obama's op-ed in Haaretz: "Israel cannot be complete and it cannot be secure without peace"

Obama's op-ed in Haaretz: "Israel cannot be complete and it cannot be secure without peace"

As Air Force One prepared to touch down in the Holy Land last year, I looked out my window and was once again struck by the fact that Israel’s security can be measured in a matter of minutes and miles. I’ve seen what security means to those who live near the Blue Line, to children in Sderot who just want to grow up without fear, to families who’ve lost their homes and everything they have to Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s rockets.

And as a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain endured by the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were tragically kidnapped and murdered in June. I am also heartbroken by the senseless abduction and murder of Mohammed Hussein Abu Khdeir, whose life was stolen from him and his family. At this dangerous moment, all parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution.

From Harry Truman through today, the United States has always been Israel’s greatest friend. As I’ve said time and again, neither I nor the United States will ever waver in our commitment to the security of Israel and the Israeli people, and our support for peace will always remain a bedrock foundation of that commitment.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-peace-conference/1.603324 ...
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