Fatsters rounds up the news links from May 15, with stories about Romney's economics, Ron Paul, Lincoln Chafee, Colorado same-sex marriage fail, Rebekah Brooks, drone law suits, Chinese banks, European austerity, President Hollande, large wind turbines,[...]
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Modern economic philosophy is generally considered to have started with Smith and Hobbes who were reacting against a system of monarchal merchantilism where favored courtiers were rewarded with monopolies in a planned economy enforced by a state claim of[...]
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A church in Beaverton, Oregon is suing a woman after she posted a negative Google review calling them a "cult."
Julie Anne Smith revealed on her blog in March that Pastor Chuck O'Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church had sued her for $500,000 over negative reviews on Google and DEX that claimed that she had been shunned for no reason.
"I thought, I'm just going to post a review," Smith told KATU. "We do it with restaurants and hotels and whatnot, and I thought, why not do it with this church?"
Smith said that after leaving the church a few years ago, the pastor instructed members to shun her family.
"If I went to Costco or any place in town, if I ran into somebody, they would turn their heads and walk the other way," she explained. "All we did was asked questions. We just raised concerns. There?s no sin in that."
In their 54-page lawsuit, Beaverton Grace Bible Church claimed that Smith had defamed them by using words like "creepy," "cult," "control tactics" and "spiritual abuse."
"What we had was indoctrination... That is how cult leaders work," the suit alleges Smith wrote. "Don't waste your precious lives and relationships being held emotionally/spiritually captive by this so-called church."
Another message claimed that the "beloved pastor knew about a sex offender in the church who had access to the nursery and children on a weekly basis and did not have any safeguards in place."
"This is a very destructive and disturbing 'church.' ... The exra-Biblical legalistic teaching is wrong. The gossip/slander, disclosure of what goes on in private counseling sessions, sex offenders have free reign in childrens' [sic] areas with no disclosure to parents. ... This is not a safe place."
According to comments posted on Google Maps, O'Neal had first threatened to sue Smith on February 25.
"DEFAMATION IS A CRIME: Pastor Chuck O' Neal, his wife, his children, and Beaverton Grace Bible Church as a whole, have suffered JulieAnne's hateful lying slander for well over three years," O'Neal wrote. "After seeking counsel from a pastor on staff with Grace Community Church (under Pastor John MacArthur) and reading him several excerpts from JulieAnne's endless defamation, he recommended that we FILE A LAWSUIT in an appeal to Caesar as the Apostle Paul did when falsely accused of crimes against God and the state."
"Her many lies and vicious criminal accusations will not stand in the light of day in the Washington County courthouse or in the coming courtroom before God."
Smith's profile says that she started her blog after noticing that her negative reviews had been removed from Google.
"Days after the commencement of this blog, I received a legal summons suing me and three others for defamation to the tune of $500,000," she recalled. "The story of spiritual abuse needs to be told. People are being hurt emotionally and spiritually by pastors who use bully tactics and we need a place to learn, to talk freely, and to heal. I will not be silenced."
The lawsuit also target's Smith's daughter and three other commenters.
At the time of publication, Beaverton Grace Bible Church had a rating of one and a half stars on Google.
(h/t: The Blaze)
A few years ago, Antonin Scalia, one of the nine justices on the US supreme court, made a bold statement. There has not been, he said, "a single case ? not one ? in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred ? the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops."
Scalia may have to eat his words. It is now clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit, and his name ? Carlos DeLuna ? is being shouted from the rooftops of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. The august journal has cleared its entire spring edition, doubling its normal size to 436 pages, to carry an extraordinary investigation by a Columbia law school professor and his students.
I'm visiting NYC and a friend asked me if I was planning on going down to Zucotti Park. I hadn't even thought of it; I guess I hadn't realized that there was still an occupation of the Park going on. I did think of getting in touch with George Martinez, one of the Occupy activists who is running for a congressional seat currently held by Democrat Nydia Velázquez. Velázquez isn't a Blue Dog or a New Dem and she has no outstanding ethics charges against her. I had hoped George would run against scandal-prone corrupt New Dem Joseph Crowley, but when the new district boundaries came down, he was in Velázquez' district and her lack of leadership and her longstanding role as a cog in the Democratic machine was enough of an impetus for Martinez.
She's a garden variety Democrat and votes with the leadership. She isn't out front taking a leadership role on any of the policies important to Bum Rush the Vote. Like most of the Members, she's about her career, not the people she's supposed to represent in Congress.Martinez and his OWS allies have a very different idea about what the role of a congressmember should be-- an a very different idea about how to fight for for goals.
The Bum Rush premise is simple: Controlling politics without money is power, people power.
Our goal is to create an open-source, crowd-sourced DIY campaign. All of the resources we need to accomplish this goal are available to us due to the fantastic technology that we now have access to. We started this campaign with no money, and are using our resources in a very efficient and frugal manner.
Our resources come directly from our people. We look toward whomever is involved. We are not seeking to hire anyone. We are seeking those who like us want to see a game change in politics.
As you can see in our website, we are going DIY all the way. Every platform we need online is available for free. This is at the core of the Bum Rush philosophy. We seek to demonstrate a model that you don?t need money to win a race. Certainly, we are accepting donations, but donations don?t allow us to move forward, they simply accelerate the process. Everything we need to run this campaign exists within our community. We are hoping that what is true for us, is true for other citizens out there who look at their representation and find something lacking.
We want to inspire you to work toward making real change by participating in electoral politics. Whether you get involved in George?s campaign, or you get involved in a campaign where you live, all we care about is that you get involved. Don?t think about all of the reasons you can?t do it, think of all the reasons you can. The resources are available in your community to take back our government from the crooked and the ineffectual. It is time to take the power back from the people who think that political office is theirs to trade back and forth, and who sell their legislation to the highest bidder.
This is a Bum Rush, we are running up to the halls of power, and we cannot be ignored.
As long as there has been a thing called Occupy Wall Street, there have been people who've suggested it should become the left's version of the Tea Party. Josh Harkinson's piece is a notable contribution to the conversation because it comes after eight months of in-depth reporting on the movement. Harkinson, like Jennifer Granholm, suggests that Occupy should recruit and run candidates, so the left has champions in Congress and can credibly threaten less ideologically aligned Democrats. According to this logic, it doesn't matter if Occupy does this itself or essentially outsources the job to our progressive allies-- the point is to find ways to elect more good Democrats.
The idea of a progressive Tea Party was totally my jam before Occupy started. Like Harkinson, I didn't see how the left could create real change in America without taking control of the Democratic Party. Now I think it's important to recognize that the problems we face as a country can't be solved by electing more Democrats, or even by electing more good Democrats. A progressive Tea Party would be a welcome addition, but it wouldn't be nearly enough to create the kind of change we need.
If Occupy tried to start a left Tea Party, we would be following in the footsteps of several progressive movement efforts that came up short. Howard Dean's presidential campaign turned into Democracy for America to reclaim the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," the Progressive Change Campaign Committee explicitly references the DCCC, and Rebuild the Dream originally billed itself as the progressive Tea Party. I have worked for each of these organizations and have lots of respect for their work. But unfortunately, none of these projects, despite their many successes, have managed to mount a serious national effort to take out bad Democrats and replace them with good ones. They are constrained by the lack of a grassroots base in many congressional districts and big donors reluctance to fund challenges to Democrats. Even big, collaborative efforts to take out bad Democrats have a relatively poor record (See Sheyman, Ilya; Halter, Bill; or Lamont, Ned).
Occupy is less well suited than the Progressive movement to overcome these challenges. Most occupiers I know aren't interesting in learning how to raise money, knock on doors, or run campaigns. Starting a progressive Tea Party is a completely legitimate, useful goal-- but it's something for the progressive institutions to take on. New York state and city provide a good model for how this can work harmoniously: the Working Families Party is a unified progressive block within the Democratic party. They support Occupy and we support them on the issues. Together, we won a huge, unexpected victory for the millionaires tax.
Despite the hard work of our progressive allies, the unfortunate reality is that our political system as presently constructed is simply incapable of responding to people's needs. The election of the most progressive Democratic nominee of the past 30 years and a Democratic super majority in Congress resulted in relatively little change in American political economy, even during a time of massive economic crisis. The tepid response showed our political system was designed to serve the whims of the market, and no politician has the power to do much about it.
My generation doesn't put all, or even most, of the blame for this state of affairs on President Obama. We don't hate the player, so much as we hate the game. I believe Democrats are better than Republicans, because Democrats care more about the lives of gays, women, and people of color. I also believe everyone should all vote, because not voting would hurt people that I care about. That being said, we won't just win by getting new players-- we need to change the game. The system is fundamentally incapable of healing itself.
Occupy has done more in the last 8 months than progressives in the last 20 years in exposing the social and economic injustices rooted in corporate control over all of us. In that time, we've inspired and energized labor with a spark that they've desperately needed. Together we can overcome the anti-worker, anti-people, anti-Occupy sentiment from the right. Are the labor unions the inspired rank and file that are with us in the streets or are they the staffers conspiring with the status quo of the Democratic party not to rock the boat even as it's sinking with our economy? ?Progressive? institutions could be the change they seek by endorsing a change in electoral politics coming from the Occupy movement or they can remain in bed with the entrenched corporate interests that allow state after state to enact anti-union legislation and increase the wealth gap. By standing with career Democratic politicians who have promoted holding the line in the face of full on assaults by the GOP, our communities have in fact fallen further behind. If not now, when? If not us, who? We are the ones we've been waiting for!
This is why I am running for Congress in New York's 7th Congressional District and am promoting the electoral direct action of Bum Rush The Vote.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you?re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- Yesterday, the offices of several LGBT organizations in Washington, DC were evacuated after a bomb threat was called in to the Los Angeles Polics Department.
- Richard Tisei of Massachusetts may become the first openly gay Republican to successfully campaign for Congress.
-The New York Times clearly does not appreciate how insensitive its recent coverage of a trans woman’s death was.
- Conservatives’ challenge to New York’s same-sex marriage law ? that the state’s open meetings laws were violated during last year’s proceedings ? advanced in a state appeals court yesterday.
- A third anti-gay group has joined the fight against marriage equality in Maine, claiming five-year-olds will be taught about gay sex.
- Disney is now hosting same-sex weddings in Japan.
- Two men in the United Arab Emirates have been jailed for alleged public gay “fondling.”
- Ellen DeGeneres has been named this year’s winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
- Black Jewish hip-hop artist Yitz Jordan (“Y-Love”) has come out as gay.
- Minnesota United for All Families has released a new video about the impact of marriage of discrimination on military couples:
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the same congressman who thinks states have a right to ban contraception, has revived an anti-abortion bill that is destined to die in the Senate. King has reintroduced his bill to “prohibit federal tele-health grants from going to clinics and doctors who use video-conferencing technology to prescribe the abortion medication mifepristone, also known as RU-486.” So far, the bill has 47 co-sponsors.
The Senate killed the same proposal in October after the House passed it as part of an agriculture bill, so it is likely the same thing will happen again.
King said these “telemedicine abortions” help Planned Parenthood save costs by getting the same result as a surgical abortion, but “without the overhead costs.” But King said evidence is mounting that the morning-after pill, RU-486, is dangerous to women.
“Eight percent of women who take the abortion drug known as RU-486 require surgical intervention to complete their abortion,” he said. “This new practice leaves those women at grave risk and should never be supported with taxpayer dollars.”
The problem is that King’s view of telemedicine abortion services as a way to lower overhead costs is completely inaccurate. For one, Planned Parenthood officials have confirmed that abortion medication is a very small part of the telemedicine services the organization offers.
And studies have shown that medication abortions with a doctor connected by teleconference is safe, and it expands health care options for rural women who otherwise would find it difficult to terminate their pregnancies. And as states like Wisconsin block these procedures, researchers have found that there is no reason to restrict medication abortion services via telemedicine. Once again, King is using scare tactics to push for unnecessary policies that would hurt women’s access to health care.
A round-up of the top climate and energy news. Please post other links below.
North Dakota has passed Alaska to become the No. 2 oil-producing state in the country, reflecting how the embrace of new drilling technology is redrawing the U.S. energy map. [Wall Street Journal]
Americans just lived through the hottest 12 months ever recorded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Tuesday. [LA Times]
Should nations of the world ever see fit to sign a treaty limiting emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide gas, scientists from the University of Utah and Harvard have developed a way to verify compliance. [CleanTechnica]
A proposed $5bn transmission line connecting wind farms off the East coast of the US to the mainland is on track to come online by 2017, after the Google-backed project cleared another regulatory hurdle. [Guardian]
Because sometimes to get your point across you need to dress up as an Arctic Tern, scores of anti-drilling activists on Tuesday gathered outside the White House dressed in fuzzy onesies and polar bear masks. [Huffington Post]
Chinese and Indian airlines failed to submit carbon-dioxide emissions data for 2011, disregarding European rules that seek to expand the region?s emissions trading system to include aviation. [New York Times]
The oil company Total started pumping heavy mud down its leaking well in the North Sea on Tuesday in an attempt to stop an escape of gas that has lasted nearly eight weeks and could deprive Britain of nearly 6% of its supply this summer. [Guardian]
Welcome to ThinkProgress Economy?s morning link roundup. This is what we?re reading. Have you seen any interesting news? Let us know in the comments section. You can also follow ThinkProgress Economy on Twitter.
First day of the work week in the House, and that means suspension bills. Eleven were scheduled, seven were dispensed with and four votes were postponed. Nothing terribly exciting to report on that front.
The Senate, per its agreement, considered and rejected all five of the precious Export-Import Bank bill amendments that Republicans just had to have in order to allow the motion to proceed to move forward. And guess what? They were all massively unpopular, some of them embarrassingly so, while the bill itself passed overwhelmingly. And even so, Republicans objected to moving to the bill quickly, and even threatened to filibuster and vote against cloture on the motion to proceed. Yet, interestingly enough, not a single one of the five amendments got 40 votes, which is what it would have taken (had every Senator voted on the cloture question) for Republicans to have enforced their filibuster threat. Hell, Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike LEE (R-UT) each offered an amendment, and the two couldn't even muster 20 votes between them. That's what we had to have votes on in order to get Republican agreement to allow a debate on a bill that ultimately passed unamended, by a vote of 78-20? What a bunch of #@%ing d*#ks.
Looking ahead to today:
Today's work in the House begins with another suspension bill. H.R. 5740, a bill to extend the National Flood Insurance Program.
After that, it's the House's own version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. Because why vote on the Senate version (which passed with 68 votes, 15 of them Republican) when you can vote on something new and horrible, which will also lead to a potential procedural nightmare in the Senate?
But the day's not over yet. Next up will be the new defense authorization bill.
That's right. Everybody should just get their own pointy stick, and stop depending on the Nanny Army to keep them safe.
Oh, and technically, the postponed amendment votes from yesterday are on the schedule, too.
The Senate has set up an interesting day for itself. Republicans are constantly complaining that the Senate hasn't considered a budget for the past few years. Of course, there's little point in doing so, since the House budgets coming from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-01) have been so wholly unacceptable to the Democratic Senate (as a Democratic Senate's budget would presumably be likewise unacceptable in the Republican House) that no one anticipates being able to reach a passable compromise.
Anyway, today the Senate has agreed to allow the Republicans to bring their wackiest budget ideas to the floor (well, really, make motions to proceed to them) so that everyone can see the Senate still not adopt them. Four of the wacky ideas are the Republicans' own, and one is Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III's (R-AL) interpretive dance exposition, based on what he claims is President Obama's budget. This freak show goes forward, despite the fact that last August's deal, embodied in the Budget Control Act, already set binding spending caps for the FY2013 budget.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his Republican troops are exceedingly proud of themselves over this, believing they've scored an important procedural victory that proves a point critical to their arguments:
McConnell pointed out that procedurally the budget votes are allowed under the 1974 Budget act which allows any member to bring up a budget if the Budget Committee fails to report one. He said this is confirmation that Reid's argument that the top-line spending number in the August debt ceiling deal does not constitute a full "budget."I don't know that the parliamentarian gives a crap one way or the other that they're having these votes, since they're being held pursuant to a unanimous consent agreement. That being the case, the parliamentarian has nothing to say about whether or not it's the Budget Act of 1974 that's "allowing" these votes. The controlling authority is the unanimous consent agreement. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that the agreement allows for six hours of debate on the various motions, which is an unusual thing, since the Budget Act of 1974 makes motions to proceed to budget resolutions non-debatable. So if there's going to be a debate, and an extensive one at that, maybe these aren't real budget resolutions after all. But hey, if the parliamentarian says anything about that, I expect Republicans to tell her (yes, her) to take a flying leap.
"I know that our friends on the other side of the aisle said that because of the Budget Control Act we already have a budget, but the parliamentarian does not view that as the case or we wouldn?t be allowed to have these votes that will occur tomorrow," he said.
McConnell's argument is that individual Senators wouldn't normally be allowed to propose their own budgets, unless the Senate Budget committee had failed to propose one. But Senators are always allowed to propose whatever they want. It's just that their budget proposals aren't entitled to the special protections outlined in the Budget Act of 1974 unless the committee fails. And what are those special protections? Well, for one thing, the motions to proceed to those budgets are made non-debatable. Yet here they are, debating them. So you be the parliamentarian here. You tell me if you think McConnell's right.
Today's floor and committee schedules appear below the fold.