Tuesday, May 28, 2013

4 Tea Party myths about the Founders (Via: samuel-warde.com)

Tea Party Founders Myths
The Tea Party is always raving on about the similarities between themselves and the Founding Fathers, which is interesting as in most ways they could not be any different. Below are 4 examples of how the Tea Party puts out false information in regards to the Founders and their intentions.
MYTH 1:  The American Revolution was a rebellion against “Taxation without representation”, similar to the modern day Tea Party tax revolts.
THE TRUTH: Actually, the Boston Tea Party was ultimately a protest against a corporate tax cut, whereas the modern Tea Party movement is in favor of tax cuts.
The original Boston Tea Party was a protest against the British East India Company (BEIC) for receiving huge corporate tax cuts.  By the 1760s BEIC was dominating trade from India to China as well as in the Caribbean.  They controlled nearly all commerce to and from North America with the help of those tax cuts along with subsidies and special dispensation from the British crown.
MYTH 2: The founding fathers wanted limited federal government
THE TRUTH: Actually the Founders were a diverse group, often times with opposing viewpoints. For instance Hamilton and his Federalist Party believed in a strong federal government and a powerful executive branch.  George Washington supported this view as well.
At the same time Jefferson and his Republican Party (which bears no relation to the modern GOP) supported strong states’ rights and a weak federal government.  Madison supported this viewpoint as well.
MYTH 3: The Constitution demands strict and literal interpretation
THE TRUTH: As was the case with the issue of federal government, there was much dispute over how to interpret and apply the Constitution and one cannot overlook the fact that the Constitution was only ratified in the first place with the understanding the Bill of Rights would be added later.
Jefferson and his Republicans promoted a strict interpretation of the Constitution while Hamilton and the Federalists endorsed a liberal reading of the Constitution.
Hamilton and his Federalist Party espoused a strong federal government, led by a powerful executive branch, and endorsed a liberal reading of the Constitution; although he resisted the label at first, Washington clearly belonged to this camp.  Indeed Washington and Hamilton’s embrace an expansive view of the interpretation of the Constitution runs diametrically opposed to that of the Tea Party who tend to embrace the theory of originalism, the viewpoint that any interpretation of the Constitution must take into account and abide by the original intent of the Founders.
MYTH 4:  created a “Christian Nation” founded upon “Christian Principles”.
THE TRUTH:  One need look no further than to Thomas Jefferson to understand the false nature of this claim.
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. “
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
And one cannot forget that Jefferson strongly advocated the separation of church and state:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State. “
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802
Another founder, John Adams, was a Congregationalist who later became a Unitarian. However, he deliberately avoided creed-based dogmatic religion.
The Treaty of Tripoli, introduced to the Senate by John Adams and ratified by unanimous decree, was signed by Adams in 1797 and includes the following passage for any doubters out there:
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
- The Treaty of Tripoli, signed Nov. 4, 1796, effective Jun. 10, 1797

IN-DEPTH: The Real IRS Scandal (Via: Randi Rhodes)

After all the confusion & lies in the media, the real IRS scandal is the same one it's always been - at least since 1959.

Since nearly the beginning of the IRS controversy, Randi's been saying the same thing on the radio that Lawrence O'Donnell has been saying on the television: That there is a real scandal at the IRS, but it's not the one most people in the media and politics - especially those like Speaker John Boehner - want you to believe it is.

In under two minutes, Lawrence lays out where the real scandal is - something any English teacher in the world can see.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

That's the difference - one word!

In case you missed the key details, here they are again, written out:
The official 501(c)4 statutory law, created by Congress, says the designation was to apply only to: "Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare."
The IRS interpretation guideline of the 501(c)4 rules, written by the IRS in 1959, says: "To be operated exclusively to promote social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare…"

So it should be obvious - the scandal isn't that the IRS went after tea party organizations. It's that they should have gone after ALL 501(c)4s. What would be even better is if they simply eliminated the designation altogether.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mazda Scandal Booth - The IRS - Trevor Potter

Stephen's lawyer explains that Colbert Super PAC SHH!'s tax-exempt status was never granted because he never filed for it.

SNL - VIDEO: Really!?! IRS Scandal (via: Randi Rhodes)

In case you missed the last live episode of Saturday Night Live this spring, Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Seth Meyers are all leaving.

As a sort of pre-send off send-off, Myers' former 'Weekend Update' partner, Amy Poehler joined Seth for one last blast of outrage at the IRS - and everyone that's been swept into that media mess.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gun Owner Holsters Her Weapon, Challenges NRA (via: The Big Slice)

It just occurred to me that I have been watching hunting shows, gun marksmanship shows, gunsmithing shows and even game warden reality shows with my husband for almost thirteen years. I can honestly tell you that I have not seen a gun sale that didn’t seem worthy of a short background check, nor have I seen a sale impeded by that process. I have never seen any form of wild game hunted with one of the guns that was once banned under the previous assault weapons ban. I have never seen a sportsman with a magazine on his gun and I have never seen a competition shooter loaded down with more than a few bullets either.
My grandfather has a gun hung for easy access that he uses to shoot coyotes from his heard of sheep. I have a .22 that I have used for target practice with my children. My freezer is stocked with venison procured by sportsmen who pay top dollar to hunt the family farm.
I have never seen a gun law that would impede any lawful or sane individual from any of the rational or common uses for guns  – and I come from a gun-toting Wyoming family.
Let me make it clear, for my second amendment loving cousins and all those who take the time to read this : Nobody wants Grampy’s coyote shooter. Nobody wants my twenty-two. Nobody is coming for old west sharpshooters, skeet shooters, the weapons of honorable veterans, the pearl handled revolver sold on Pawn Stars or the guns I have personally observed Ted Nugent use in his pursuit of wild game on shows aired on the OutDoor Channel.
I have not seen a regulation that would stop me or anybody I personally know, or even any responsible gun owner I have ever observed, from procuring game, from practicing gun sportsman and marksmanship, or from use on the family farm or in the family home.
Not one liberal gun control law would harm any of those people or their second amendment rights.
On the flip side, I can think of women I know, women I will never meet, women I’ve known and women I love dearly who are now and will be further impacted by the 694 new proposed laws infringing on our 14th amendment right to health and privacy which include a right to an abortion and other private health choices.
In listening to the sound bites of today, one would think there was a War on Guns instead of a War on Women.
Former VP wannabe, Paul Ryan, may dream of a country where abortion is never considered. I dream of one where the constitutionally protected right to life and the pursuit of happiness that the GOP is so concerned about when they think it applies to zygotes, is never threatened by a gun toting intruder in a first grade classroom.
I dream of an America where lock downs in elementary schools aren’t even considered.
When living, breathing, first graders can learn to read, safe from lunatics and gunfire… Then I propose that we can stop and go out to the shooting range and blow some shit up just to let off steam in our oh so destructive patriotism.
Until then, this gun owner is abstaining from the scent of sulfur and burnt gun powder.
I wonder, how many gun owners are there, like me, who are willing to respond, not by hoarding bullets but by hanging their gun up until this is solved?
I betcha that if enough of us told the gun industry that we aren’t spending more money until they drop the fallacious propaganda storm and start contributing to a meaningful gun responsibility conversation, that good, meaningful laws might come pouring out of the woodwork.
I am tired of going to the local ammo supplier and finding out that every bullet they had sold out as quickly as they put them on the shelves. I am tired of listening to hateful rhetoric about how the President is coming to take everything down to our pea shooter away. It’s ridiculous. We know that the only people who stand to profit from this are the ones who sell guns and bullets. They have motive, means and opportunity. All they want is our money.
I am a gun owner. I like my venison chicken fried. I like to shoot. My husband works as a dealer of hunting and fishing equipment. I understand what it means to know and love a lifestyle that includes guns.
I am also a mother of a first grader and I cannot look myself in the eye and believe with 100% certainty that my child will never die in a mass shooting. I cannot tell myself that simply locking up my own guns and doing what I can as a responsible gun owner is enough. We need to sit down, and make common sense gun regulations that protect all of us before we are forced to lay another classroom of seven-year-olds to eternal rest. Until the NRA, and the gun industry that pays them decides to tell the American public the truth, lay down their greed, and join the conversation, this gun owner is holstering her weapon. I won’t spend a single dollar to give them profit. I will not contribute to the death of innocents under the auspices of patriotism.
To join me, sign my petition here.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sign the Petition: Gen. Welsh Must GO!

Thank you for signing GENERAL MARK WELSH USAF MUST GO petition. With your help, we've reached 3652 signers!
Now it's critical that we kick this campaign up a notch. Can you take a moment make a phone call to President Barack Obama? Click here to find the phone numbers you need: http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4860375.
When you call, you don't need to say a lot—just reiterate the main message of the petition, which is:
"WATCH GENERAL MARK WELSH TESTIFY BEFORE THE ARMED SERVICES SUBCOMMITTEE ABOUT THE EPIDEMIC OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE AIR FORCE WHICH HE DISMISSES AS THE "HOOK UP" CULTURE. General Welsh, HOOK UPS ARE CONSENSUAL, RAPE IS NOT and WE ARE NOT DAMAGED GOODS http://video.msnbc.msn.com/mitchell-reports/51805681#51805681 President Obama said he's got our back. Mr. President, remove this man from his Command. We deserve serious leaders and this man is not fit to lead."
Then, help me keep track of how many calls have been made by clicking here:
Thank you for taking a stand on this important issue. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Daily Beast: The Forgotten Victim: Cleveland’s Michelle Knight

If you want to let Michelle Knight know that people out there care...

Michelle Knight
c/o MetroHealth Systems
2500 Metrohealth Drive
Cleveland, Ohio 44109


After ten years in Cleveland’s house of horrors, the oldest kidnapping victim is finally free. Now all she has to do is get back to her family, reports Christine Pelisek. 

Loud cheers greeted Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus as they arrived at their homes Wednesday afternoon, almost one decade after they were abducted, subjected to prolonged sexual and psychological abuse, and were apparently bound with ropes and chains, in the Cleveland house of horrors.
Michelle Knight, who disappearance in 2002, in seen here as a teenager in this an undated photo. (Knight family)
The happy homecoming came on the same day that 52-year-old Ariel Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape, and police officers pulled out over 200 items of evidence from Ariel Castro’s home on Seymour Avenue.
Castro reportedly only let the women, who he forced to wear disguises, outside twice in 10 years to walk from the house to the garage. Castro was arraigned this morning in a Cleveland Municipal Court and is being held on bond for $2 million in each case. His brothers, Onil and Pedro, were not charged in the kidnapping after police interviewed the women and Castro, who waived his rights to stay silent and spoke with investigators.
Berry, 27, and her six-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, arrived first to her sister’s home with a police escort. The front porch was covered with balloons, cards, and Teddy Bears. A big sign read “Welcome Home Amanda.” A few hours later, 23-year-old DeJesus, who pulled down a hoodie over her face, gave a thumbs up to the crowd before she ran into her family’s home, which was being protected by the red beret-sporting Guardian Angels.
Some family members of Michelle Knight, who is reportedly 32, are saying that they are still waiting for their moment to celebrate. Knight is reportedly receiving medical care in a hospital after FBI agents interviewed her on Tuesday. Knight was reportedly beaten regularly by Castro in the face and suffered hearing loss. According to a leaked police report, Knight got pregnant five times while in captivity, miscarrying each time after Castro pummeled her.
 “I’ve been trying since day one to see her,” says Knight’s grandmother Deborah. “Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus have been reunited with their family. We are just sitting here waiting. We are trying to get in touch with her. She has no one there for her right now.”
“We need to get all the family together,” she added.
Knight suffered from a mental condition that made her frequently confused, and she went by the nickname, “Shorty.”
“There was no one looking for her when she disappeared,” says Deborah’s granddaughter Tiffani White. “I want her to know that there is someone there for her. To find out she was in a basement is devastating… I have gone through hell and high water to come here to see her. It doesn’t seem like she has support but she does. We just want to hear from her mouth that she is ok. We want her home.”
Deborah, who lives only a few miles away from Seymour Avenue, says she has mostly been relying on media reports to find out the latest news on her granddaughter’s situation. Michelle’s mother, Barbara, recently flew in from Naples. Barbara, who was interviewed by WKYC, said that Michelle was currently being treated for a mental health condition. "By my understanding, she is having methro, methamphetamine, I can't even pronounce it, mental problems and there are some other problems too, with her."
Knight’s brother, Freddie, reportedly visited her in the hospital Monday. He told CNN that he was kicked out of the house when he was 14, and didn’t even know his sister was missing.
The story of Knight, the first known abduction, is less well known. Knight was 20 years old when she disappeared in 2002 near her cousin’s house near West 106th Street and Lorain Avenue, shortly after her own son, Joey, had been taken from her custody.
“She had problems with a case worker,” said Deborah. “After that we never saw her again… We tried to get the baby. He is out there someplace and we have no idea where he is.”
Family members say Knight was just a regular everyday kid who loved music, especially music by Christina Aguilera. “I used to babysit her,” says Nellie White, who was married to one of Deborah’s sons. “When she found out I was pregnant with Tiffani she was so excited. She was a really bright girl. She was not out of control. She was the best kid ever.”
Deborah said Michelle’s life changed dramatically in her mid-teens when two boys allegedly sexually assaulted her in a school bathroom. They pulled her into the bathroom and raped her, says Deborah. Deborah says Knight became pregnant after the attack. “She recovered and took care of the baby with her mom’s help,” she said.
The day after she disappeared, her mother, Barbara, filed a missing person report. The report mentioned that Knight suffered from a mental condition that made her frequently confused, and she went by the nickname, “Shorty.”
Deborah said her granddaughter’s case went nowhere because she was 20 years old at the time of her disappearance and they weren’t 100 percent sure she was abducted. She also thought Knight may have ran off because she was upset over losing custody of her son. “We thought she might have been with friends she knew.”
Barbara Knight who spoke to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, said she never believed her daughter would run away and kept searching for her.
“I know she was an adult at the time,” said Barbara’s stepson Frank. “But the Cleveland Police, they lack a lot.”
Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba admitted on Tuesday that the bulk of the investigations had centered on Berry and DeJesus. Knight, he said, “was the focus of very few tips.”
The fallout over Castro’s dirty deeds has affected many lives, including his former Gruepo Fuego bandmates he once played with. Band manager Miguel Quinones told The Daily Beast that he has received hate phone calls and emails since the story broke. He has had to deal with promoters who don’t want to have anything to do with a band affiliated with Castro. Quinones said that Castro only played with the band twice in 2008, and he got rid of him because he was always late.
“He was not an active member of the band,” he says. “He makes the band look bad. We have been getting emails from people talking negative about the band and the phone calls…I spoke to the promoters and told them I am talking to the media. The promoters were calling me concerned. I already made a statement on Facebook.”
Quinones, who knows Castro’s family says they are devastated by what happened. “His family is in shock,” he says. “The uncles are in shock, too. He comes from a great respectable family in the community. The family has been here for over 50 or 60 years.”
Castro’s family isn’t the only ones who are shocked by Castro’s sinister behavior. Rafael Davila says he met Castro 20 years ago when he needed some work done on his car. A friend recommended Castro, who at the time was working as a part-time mechanic. Davila said Castro was generous and would always fix his car on the cheap. He would oftentimes sit around and watch Castro fix his car, and chat. “He had aspirations,” he said. “He talked about making money from playing in a band. He was a prince. He was wholesome like John Ritter. I never heard him swear.”
Davila, who said that Castro was devastated over his divorce, said he was shocked when he heard the news. “I thought. It can’t be. Now, he is more like a Latino Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”