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Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
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BREAKING: Hawaii Senate PASSES MARRIAGE EQUALITY By Overwhelming Majority


Wednesday evening, the Hawaii Senate passed marriage equality by a remarkable 20-4 vote as part of a special session convened primarily for that purpose. The House will begin consideration of the bill in committee Thursday morning, and it is expected to pass the full chamber with at least one vote to spare. Hawaii would become the 15th state to recognize same-sex marriage.


Republicans Find Themselves Facing NEW ATTACK AD Created By TEA PARTY

The personal attacks against me during the primary finally became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It’s a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since.

The Tea Party has lost. It knows it has lost. So it has resorted to the only tactics it knows, calling anyone who disagrees with them “Traitors.” So begins the new McCarthyism, and it will sink the Republican party. The words by Ronald Reagan meant to guide his party have long been forgotten.

Any Republican who did their job is on that list, labelled as traitors. The Tea Party Leadership Fund (who notably bankrolled Louie Gohmert and Allen West according to Opensecrets.org) has now decided to finance *any* candidate who runs against any ‘traitor’ who did their jobs. So, we can see more rape is “something that God intended to happen” and legitimate rape comments next year from the Tea Party. We will get more pushes to bring back slavery alongside admission that voter suppression efforts target black people. The Tea Party has decided that they hate the United States enough that they just want to burn it down, and they intend to play fiddle while it burns.

Exterminating The GOP One Congressman At A Time.

One person specifically picked out by this new push is House Speaker John Boehner, who already is facing a primary challenge from Eric Gurr, who was quick to jump on the attack angle the Tea Party has picked, tweeting this:

gurrforcongress @gurrforcongress
GOP leadership were the behind-the-scenes architects of surrender in the shutdown-debt ceiling standoff.
http://tinyurl.com/pzj82fd via @RealJTP
10:13 AM - 27 Oct 2013

Checking his positions, we find a grocery list of Tea Party approved messages, almost cookie cutter. From the worship of the failed policies of Milton Friedman to the insistence that there was a Benghazi cover-up. And he is but one of hundreds of primary contenders the Tea Party Leadership Fund hopes to finance. There is a sign of weakness from the GOP establishment, as they had over-relied upon the Tea Party for any national presence. Having lost that support, there is now a real possibility of major damage to the GOP across the nation. The GOP is now fighting to stay alive, sinking millions into these primary fights, which will leave these candidates weak against their Democratic opponents come November.

The Tea Party has lost. It knows it has lost. So it has resorted to calling anyone who disagrees with them ‘Traitors.’
So begins the new McCarthyism. John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri



Trans Blogger CATCHES California Christian Group In SECOND HARASSMENT LIE

Conservative Californians opposed to the state’s equal access laws for transgender students have been caught fabricating a second story about restroom harassment on school grounds. Think Progress reported that blogger Cristan Williams revealed that the group Salt and Light Ministry made up from whole cloth a story about a trans girl harassing other female students in a Los Angeles public school bathroom. Salt and Light Ministry — a division of Calvary Chapel Bible Fellowship in Temecula, California — is a partner in the conservative coalition determined to invalidate California’s Assembly Bill 1266, which was signed into law in August. The law stipulates that transgender students cannot be forced by school or other officials to use sex segregated facilities — like bathrooms or locker rooms — that do not correspond to their expressed gender.

The coalition of anti-LGBT groups is pushing a referendum called “Privacy for All Students” that aims to invalidate A.B. 1266. Williams — who is transgender — pointed out in her post that the alliance is deploying false, transphobic smears in an attempt to trump the anti-discrimination law. First came the story of a transgender girl harassing students in a girls’ bathroom in Colorado. That canard was propagated by the Pacific Justice Institute, an anti-LGBT group that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists among its roster of hate groups. The Colorado story was summarily debunked by Williams, who has now moved on to fact-checking Salt and Light leader Dran Reese and the bouquet of falsehoods she presented to Michael Chen of San Diego’s Channel 10 News. “Reese pointed out a recent case in which a Los Angeles-area high school student complained to her school that a transgender boy harassed her and peeked at girls over the stalls,” wrote Chen, who declined to contact the students involved, their school or the L.A. County School District. “The girl’s family hired an attorney, but has yet to file a lawsuit,” he parroted.

Williams contacted the school district and found that no such incident had been reported. “They did get the complaint,” a spokesperson for the school district said, “and it turned out that it was fabricated by one of the parents who opposes transgender students in schools. So it was an unfortunate situation, to have to put the students through, but it was fabricated.” Listen to embedded via Soundcloud:


Election Over, the Mormon Church QUIETLY Re-enters the GAY MARRIAGE FIGHT

"..After brief hiatus last year, Mormon officials are once again pushing back against gay-marriage legislation—this time in Hawaii..."

Reports that the Mormon church had given up the fight over gay marriage were premature. Earlier this year, Mother Jones and other news outlets noted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was making a concerted effort to mend its tortured relationship with gay members and their families and to stay out of divisive political fights over gay marriage. The church sat out virtually every state ballot measure on the issue in 2012, helping assure that marriage equality bills passed in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and elsewhere. It launched a website, mormonsandgays.org, to urge better treatment of LGBT members. Mormons even marched in pride parades in Salt Lake City. Now that the 2012 election is over, and Mitt Romney, the nation's most famous Mormon, is no longer running for president, it seems the church is back in the ring. This week, the Hawaii state legislature began a special session to consider a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state. The church is actively working to kill that measure.

One Sunday in September, local Mormon bishops read a letter from top Hawaii Mormon leadership instructing churchgoers to contact public officials about the same-sex marriage bill. The letter was not the full-throated call to action the church issued during the fight over California's anti-gay marriage measure, Proposition 8, when church leaders read letters directing members to "do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time." The September Hawaii letter was far subtler, and even acknowledged that some Mormons might actually be in favor of the marriage bill. Nonetheless, it urged members to "review" the church's "proclamation to the world," a 1995 speech given by church president Gordon Hinckley that spelled out the church's belief that marriage can only be between a man and woman. This latest letter also recommended members donate time and resources to groups working on the bill, though it didn't say on which side they should be working.

The church also suggested that regardless of how members felt about the marriage bill, they should advocate for an exemption that would protect religious organizations from having to perform same-sex marriages and to allow individuals and small businesses to refuse to cater to such marriages (a nod to the famous cases of photographers and bakeries that have refused to serve customers celebrating a same-sex wedding in states where it's now legal). The language the Mormon church favors mirrors the religious freedom argument the Catholic Church has adopted in its fights over everything from contraceptive coverage to gay marriage. But Salt Lake City's focus-grouped language didn't sit well with Hawaii church leaders, who wanted a more forceful message. On October 13, Hawaii church leaders read another letter to their flocks, this time stating flatly that the church's position on same-sex marriage had not changed and that the church "is opposed to the proposed legislation in Hawaii." The state church's letter argues that traditional marriage is "fundamental to successful families and a strong society," and directs members to actively oppose the legislation.

Cynics have suggested that the Hawaii campaign is evidence that the church was only temporarily backing away from the marriage fight to help Romney. Among those cynics is Fred Karger, a former California GOP political consultant who came out publicly at age 54, and became a same-sex marriage advocate. During the Prop. 8 battle, Karger helped publicize the fact that the Mormon church was directing millions of dollars into the campaign for the measure and attempting to hide its involvement. Karger thinks what's happening in Hawaii now is standard operating procedure for the church. Hawaii has a large Mormon population, and the church operates a large campus of Brigham Young University there. After Hawaii's supreme court ruled in 1993 that a ban on same-sex marriage likely violated the state's constitution, the LDS church got to work and organized a major lobbying campaign that was instrumental in the passage of a state constitutional amendment that allowed Hawaii's legislature to ban gay marriage, which it did, in 1998.




WAR! Mitch McConnell DECLARES WAR On Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, & Tea Party Outside Groups

THE TURTLE HAS LANDED!............. ......

In an abrupt change in strategy, Sen. Mitch McConnell has decided to go after Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, the Senate Victory Fund and other conservative groups who are backing his primary challenger.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader,

Several allies of McConnell and other Senate Republicans say the senator is now planning a two-front war: one against Grimes and the other against the fundraising groups that are supporting Bevin. McConnell’s real targets are the Senate Conservatives Fund, which announced its endorsement of Bevin on Oct. 18, Heritage Action for America, Madison Project, FreedomWorks and other outside groups.

If McConnell can crush Bevin, the thinking goes, he can expose a lack of ideological consistency in the outside groups, allowing him to separate Tea Party voters from Tea Party fundraising groups.

McConnell has fumed for about four years as he watched outside groups back primary challengers who defeated Republican incumbents then lost to Democrats, making his dream of becoming Senate Majority Leader a nightmare.

The decision by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party icon, to become the face of the government shutdown gave McConnell an opening to start pushing back. In an Oct. 11 interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, the senator made his move, abruptly departing from the dominant no-compromise message and boasting of his record of making deals with Vice President Joe Biden.


Sen. Ted Cruz, Jim DeMint, Sarah Palin, and the tea party supporting groups wanted a fight with McConnell, and now they’ve got it. Sen. McConnell has seen his chances to become Majority Leader destroyed by the tea party in 2010 and 2012, and the reality is that 2014 will probably be McConnell’s last chance to become Majority Leader. McConnell is 71 years old, and in 2016 Senate Republicans will be defending 24 seats to the Democrats 10. If Democrats hold on to control of the Senate in 2014, they could be in the majority for a long time.

For McConnell, this is also about payback. The Senate Conservatives Fund ran an ad against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky over the summer. Sarah Palin stuck her nose into the situation, and has been chirping about supporting McConnell’s primary challenger Matt Bevin. The decision to fight a two front war against both his primary challenger and his fall opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes is risky. If McConnell gets damaged in the primary, it could open the door for Grimes to take his seat in the fall.



Report: Officials Say White House OK'd MONITORING Of World Leaders

Intelligence officials said Monday that the White House and State Department approved surveillance of world leaders' phone calls, the Los Angeles Times reported. The LA Times report seems to contradict a Wall Street Journal report published Monday, which also cited anonymous officials, that said for almost five years President Barack Obama was unaware the National Security Agency monitored world leaders' communications.

One anonymous official told the newspaper that although Obama may not have been briefed specifically on those NSA programs, National Security Council staff would have known about the surveillance. Some officials also told the Times that professional staff at U.S. intelligence agencies believe the White House blamed them for conducting lawful surveillance in an attempt to distance itself from the fallout caused by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosures.

Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said Monday in a statement that she is "totally opposed" to monitoring allied leaders, adding it was "a big problem" that Obama was reportedly not aware of the surveillance. Obama declined to discuss those reports Monday night in an interview with Fusion.




One of the National Security Agency's biggest defenders in Congress is suddenly at odds with the agency and calling for a top-to-bottom review of U.S. spy programs. And her long-time friends and allies are completely mystified by the switch. "We're really screwed now," one NSA official told The Cable. "You know things are bad when the few friends you've got disappear without a trace in the dead of night and leave no forwarding address." In a pointed statement issued today, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein said she was "totally opposed" to gathering intelligence on foreign leaders and said it was "a big problem" if President Obama didn't know the NSA was monitoring the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said the United States should only be spying on foreign leaders with hostile countries, or in an emergency, and even then the president should personally approve the surveillance. It was not clear what precipitated Feinstein's condemnation of the NSA. It marks a significant reversal for a lawmaker who not only defended agency surveillance programs -- but is about to introduce a bill expected to protect some of its most controversial activities.

Perhaps most significant is her announcement that the intelligence committee "will initiate a review into all intelligence collection programs." Feinstein did not say the review would be limited only to the NSA. If the review also touched on other intelligence agencies under the committee's jurisdiction, it could be one of the most far-reaching reviews in recent memory, encompassing secret programs of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, agencies that run imagery and spy satellites, as well as components of the FBI. A former intelligence agency liaison to Congress said Feinstein's sudden outrage over spying on foreign leaders raised questions about how well informed she was about NSA programs and whether she'd been fully briefed by her staff. "The first question I'd ask is, what have you been doing for oversight? Second, if you've been reviewing this all along what has changed your mind?" The former official said the intelligence committees receive lengthy and detailed descriptions every year about all NSA programs, including surveillance. "They're not small books. They're about the size of those old family photo albums that were several inches thick. They're hundreds of pages long." A senior congressional aide said, "It's an absolute joke to think she hasn't been reading the signals intelligence intercepts as Chairman of Senate Intelligence for years."

The former official added that the "bottom line question is where was the Senate Intelligence Committee when it came to their oversight of these programs? And what were they being told by the NSA, because if they didn't know about this surveillance, that would imply they were being lied to." A spokesperson for Feinstein did not respond to a request for more details in time for publication. And a spokesperson for Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the intelligence committee's vice chairman, said the senator had no comment at this time. In a tacit acknowledgement of how supportive Feinstein has been of the administration's surveillance practices, the White House issued a lengthy statement about her Monday remarks.

"..We consult regularly with Chairman Feinstein as a part of our ongoing engagement with the Congress on national security matters," said National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden. "We appreciate her continued leadership on these issues as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. I'm not going to go into the details of those private discussions, nor am I going to comment on assertions made in the Senator's statement today about U.S. foreign intelligence activities..."



Jake Tapper BUSTS Dick Cheney on His ‘DEFICITS DON'T MATTER’ Comment

The Art Of Stacking Sh*t Ten Feet High...........

Jake Tapper has gone rogue since moving to CNN. He busted the Benghazi email lies this summer and today his interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney was aired, in which he challenged Cheney on his “deficits don’t matter” comment. Cheney told former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill that “(Ronald) Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” Tapper wondered how Cheney squared that with deficit concerns now. Cheney responded to Tapper’s question by saying that the Bush administration was running surpluses at the time. From CNN:

Cheney said at the time he made that comment about the former President, the administration was running surpluses, and they were trying to determine whether they could – like Reagan – run a deficit in order to build up military capability.
“I’m not opposed, under certain circumstances, to running deficits,” said Cheney.
“The debt is another problem. And we’ve gotten to the point now, where especially because of entitlement programs, but because there really hasn’t been much done by way of trying to restrain spending, when we have, you know, trillion-dollar deficits every year,” said Cheney.

Hmmm. That’s a lot of not true. Tapper stepped up with some reality. He pointed out that economists look at the data and in addition to “entitlements”, they blame things that happened under Bush and Cheney for the deficit, “such as funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, and tax cuts.”

Cheney pooh-poohed that away because you see, it was necessary for our security (remember the days when anything was justified by invoking “security” but these days Republicans defund Libya and then investigate when it goes wrong). Cheney said, “In terms of what we had to spend with respect to the aftermath of 9/11, setting up security systems, TSA, Homeland Security and so forth, we thought that was a necessary and legitimate expense. We did it because we believed it was important to do and, still do.”

Or, “deficits don’t matter”? Yes. That’s what he’s trying to say.

Cheney won’t take responsibility for the unfunded Medicare Part D – he dumped that on Bush, and why shouldn’t we believe that Dick Cheney wanted nothing to do with Medicare Part D. It helped people and as such is an “entitlement” program.

“But how were the programs paid for?” CNN wondered.

Cheney hemmed and hawed his away around but the bottom line is it was not paid for. He claimed they tried to pay for it but mean people would not let them take away Social Security, so, “We were totally unsuccessful,” Cheney admitted to Tapper.

Oh, a speck of truth. Cherish this moment people because it didn’t last long. Cheney also claimed that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars “were paid for. The funds were appropriated.”

Oh really?


David Leonhardt of the New York Times disagrees:

He started a very expensive war in Iraq, and even apart from the debate about whether that war was a good idea, he clearly didn’t pay for the war. He didn’t even put it in his budget in the main way they budgeted, so he didn’t really even pretend to pay for it.

“And the combination of the tax cuts, the war in Iraq, Medicare Part D and some other things meant that he essentially did not run the government as if it needed to make its payments over the long term. He ran it as if it was fine to have a huge deficit.”

Clive Cook of the Financial Times (via PBS) added, “But it had huge implications for deficits. Any fiscally responsible administration would’ve attended to that. And if you were going to cut taxes as much as they did, at the very least you would’ve tried very hard to squeeze down on the spending side, so the deficit didn’t run out of control. And they failed to do that.”

Ooops: Official: Feinstein's Statement On Intel Collection NOT ACCURATE

A senior administration official told TPM Monday that Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein's statement that the United States would no longer collect intelligence on U.S. allies was not accurate.

Earlier in the day, Feinstein said: “The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support."

“Unlike NSA’s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed," she said. "Therefore our oversight needs to be strengthened and increased."

Feinstein added that it was "a big problem" that President Obama was not aware of the surveillance. The administration has assured Feinstein that the surveillance would not continue, she said: “The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support."


The official said that statement is not accurate.

The official said that the administration had made some specific policy changes, which could not be detailed, but not overall changes, such as across-the-board termination of intelligence collection that might be aimed at U.S. allies.


Marijuana And The Modern Lady

What it means that more women are defending pot as a natural form of relaxation

In January 1989, in the wake of the extreme measures passed by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, the marijuana-centric magazine High Times ran an advertisement from a group calling itself the Freedom Fighters asking readers to join its “cannabis protest movement”:

“For three years we’ve been asking our readers to get involved in the cannabis reform movement,” the ad read. “During that time, we have witnessed the steady erosion of our civil rights. Now Congress has passed a truly reprehensible bill aimed at illegal drug users. Don’t you think it’s about time you stepped out of that cannabis closet you’re hiding in?”

The advertisement was primarily speaking to men. After all, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that, even in 2012, men were nearly 50 percent more likely to smoke pot than women. High Times, with its centerfolds of scantily clad women and often boorish humor, has reflected those statistics for nearly 40 years. But, given the current softening of pot's political and social stigma, more women than ever are following the Freedom Fighters’ advice and are coming out of the “cannabis closet” by exposing themselves in public as marijuana users. From articles about closing the pot gender gap to sociological studies of “Mary Jane’s Gender,” women and weed are a hot topic. Discussions of "hot bud-tenders" (the women who work at marijuana dispensaries) and how pot gives women a better sex life are rife. Yet larger questions—about who these women are, how they’re being portrayed, and what the effects of their “coming out” might be—remain.

The image of the pothead has long been a male one. The stoner is a trope, a media fixture recognizable in Half Baked, Friday, The Big Lebowski, Pineapple Express, and This Is the End, among other works. As Wendy Chapkis, a sociologist at the University of Southern Maine, put it, the stoner’s slacker attitude “relies on a mismatch between expectation and condition; this is why it is most available to white heterosexual men with some measure of class privilege.” In other words, a stoner is usually a dude who can spend all day sitting in his underwear, smoking weed and eating Cheetos and Goldfish. A woman—especially a hardworking, college-educated adult woman—would more likely be portrayed as pathetic instead of funny. And yet, recently, more women are starting to use the internet to come out of the cannabis closet. Whether on Facebook, through online journals like Ladybud, or in the comments section of popular articles on Jezebel and The Stranger, women are exposing themselves as tokers—and as mothers, lovers, students, employees, taxpayers, voters, and otherwise upstanding citizens. Many of the comments following these articles voice an overwhelming sense of relief: “I finally felt like I wasn’t alone!” There’s an air of cognitive dissonance about it, that a woman, especially a nurturing professional woman, could both smoke pot and not be Jim Breuer in Half Baked was, to many, a revelation.


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