There is nothing worse than a bigot with a gun

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The attack on Orlando LGBT club Pulse on Saturday night was carried out – like so many mass shootings before it – with an assault rifle, of the “AR-15 type”. These weapons have the ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, spraying waves of hot lead and fire, giving the shooter the power to mete out death on an industrial scale.

The NRA and its supporters have fanatically lobbied to keep these weapons cheap, legal and easy to obtain, in spite of the fact that there is no sporting use for them. You can’t hunt deer with an assault rifle. Animal targets would vaporize if struck by a single round.

Their utility in stopping a home invasion is questionable, but this is true of all guns. According to the FBI, for every case of “justifiable homicide” with a firearm in the US – that’s to say, a self-defense shooting – there are 32 murders, suicides or accidental gun deaths. The overwhelming weight of evidence says that the high rate of gun ownership in this country makes us less safe, not more…

There are many people who insist they “need” a gun – particularly an assault weapon – to feel safe. But unless you are a marine in Fallujah or a Chicago SWAT cop, you don’t “need” anything of the sort. You want it, and not in any kind of reasonable way. It’s either because you’re a sociopath or you’re unreasonably afraid. Neither one of those states is a valid place from which to make the decision.

Perhaps this moment will be a kind of tipping point where the US comes to its senses and starts placing some reasonable restrictions on the owning and trafficking of firearms. My hopes, however, are not high.

After Sandy Hook – when we as a nation heaved a deep, sad sigh over the deaths of an entire schoolroom full of children, then looked away and did nothing – I’ve come to see my countrymen’s gun obsession as an unreasoning dependency, like an alcoholic steadily drinking herself to death.

I would like to believe that we’ll learn something from this, but in truth, the thing I think we’re mostly likely to learn is that when we’re in public – especially in previously safe spaces like gay bars and churches – we need to keep one eye constantly on the nearest exit and always be ready to run.

David Ferguson’s opinion in The GUARDIAN is sad but true. I don’t expect many of our nation’s newspapers to publish anything like it. They are run by cowards. I expect most electronic media – from TV talking heads to online pulpits – will not publish anything like it. They are run by cowards. I expect most politicians, office-holders by virtue of being elected by American citizens – the overwhelming majority of whom support regulated vetting of gun purchases, an end to the sale of assault weapons – will lack the courage and foresight to echo David Ferguson’s good sense. They are cowards.

I have been a gun owner for over 60 years. I don’t hunt anymore. No longer any interest in target shooting. I still own 3 guns – none of which are assault rifles. I support a return to that ban in a heartbeat. I would stand in line to vote for restrictive regulation, oversight and licensing for all guns. I would welcome the debate over details and limits because limits are needed in this nation which would rather protect bigots with guns than ordinary unarmed citizens.

Alabama’s secessionist judge Roy Moore suspended over bigoted rulings – once again

Alabama politics are at a low point even by the state’s own high – or low – standards: three top elected officials are embroiled in scandal or facing removal from office while a former governor serves time in federal prison on a corruption conviction.

On Friday, chief justice Roy Moore was suspended from his job. He faces possible ouster over his attempts to block gay marriage following the US supreme court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

It is familiar territory for the Republican, a Christian conservative who was removed from the same position in 2003 over a Ten Commandments monument, then easily won re-election later…

Idjits love re-electing idjits.

Among the nation’s poorest states, Alabama is troubled by problem areas including physical and mental health; comparatively low high school graduation rates; and too many occupational deaths, according to a report by the United Health Foundation…

In its list of civil charges against Moore, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission said the 69-year-old chief justice abused his office by issuing an administrative order to probate judges in January, telling them an Alabama court order and law banning same-sex marriages remained in effect despite the US supreme court decision affirming same-sex marriage six months earlier…

The court of the judiciary will decide whether Moore violated judicial ethics, and he could be removed from office if found guilty. The same court removed Moore from office in 2003 for his refusal to follow a federal court order directing him to remove a washing machine-sized Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state’s judicial building.

At least this gives today’s generation a demonstration of the thought processes of secessionists like the Confederate Judge Moore. If the federal constitution supersedes your own archaic ruling – stop recognizing federal law. He’s trying to do the same regarding the state constitution and the commission which suspended him. It’s all the same kind of anarchist silliness that ego-smitten nutballs embrace every time they confront civilized law which refuses to bend to their patriarchal dementia.

The toughest row to hoe is that red dirt and rocky line that women and men of good will in Alabama have to fight to cross. Plenty of folks who love their home state, self-educated or schooled in enough history and philosophy, science and law, to understand what a modern state and society can accomplish for all citizens. So it was when I lived in Louisiana. So it is in Alabama, today.

Judge reverses order to take baby from lesbian couple — will obey the law


Republican governor tells judge to follow the law

A Utah judge has reversed his decision to take a baby away from her lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple, after the initial ruling led to widespread backlash.

Judge Scott Johansen signed an order, which was released Friday, that will allow the 9-month-old baby to stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, a married couple who live in the city of Price.

Johansen had said in court Tuesday that the baby would be removed from the couple’s home. Utah officials and the couple filed court challenges demanding the judge rescind the order.

In his first decision, Johansen cited [crap] research that allegedly showed children do better when raised by heterosexual families. However, the American Psychological Association has said there is no scientific basis to the belief that same-sex couples are unfit parents based on sexual orientation…

Hoagland and Peirce are among a number of same-sex married couples who were allowed to become foster parents in Utah after last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal across the country. State officials don’t keep an exact count, but estimate there are a dozen or more foster parents who are married same-sex couples.

The move to take the baby away generated widespread criticism, including from national gay rights groups and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert…Herbert said Thursday that Johansen should follow the law and not inject his personal beliefs into the decision.

Groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union called the order shocking, outrageous and unjust.

Life might also be more just for the whole nation if bigots and reactionaries got around to obeying laws instead of circumventing progress and imposing their petty ideology on others. BTW, I include phony libertarians and papier mache conservatives in that clot of ignorance, selfishness and egregious anarchy.

At least federal judges are willing to serve the public good in Kentucky

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April Miller and Karen Roberts

A county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds was held in contempt of court by a U.S. federal judge on Thursday and sent to jail.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was led away by U.S. marshals who confirmed she was under arrest.

“The court doesn’t do this lightly,” District Court Judge David Bunning said in ordering that she be taken into custody.

Bunning also said his earlier injunction ordering Davis to issue marriage licenses applied to everyone and not just the four couples whose suit in July had accused Davis of not doing her job.

Davis has refused to issue licenses to any couples, gay or straight, since the U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry under the U.S. Constitution, citing her Christian beliefs.

Before and during the hearing, about 200 demonstrators on both sides of the issue gathered outside the courthouse, some chanting slogans and many holding signs. As word of the ruling emerged, supporters of same-sex marriage erupted in cheers.

Davis’ seven deputies still face their own reckoning as Bunning assigned each of them attorneys and said their fate would be determined at a 1:45 pm EDT hearing, warning them they could face fines or jail…

The hearing in Ashland, Kentucky, lasted just over two hours. Crying at times, Davis maintained that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman and she was unable to recognize same-sex marriages…

Also testifying was April Miller, who along with her partner Karen Jacobs had three times tried to get a marriage license from Davis’ office. They were one of four couples who sued Davis in July.

Throw away the key!

I have no sympathy for someone who runs for elective office and then refuses to obey the law of the land.

This is an individual who individually and as a member of her religion claims that violating the civil rights of other Americans is somehow godly. Just plain old-fashioned crap. The same lies used to hinder normal lives for people of color, of minority religions, of nationalities somehow unacceptable to this year’s favorite flavor of bigot.

She gets no sympathy from this jailbird who willingly entered cells in a half-dozen states because local law decided whether or not someone could go to school or sit down and have a crappy soft drink – based on the color of their skin.

I never expected to see anyone like Ms. Davis sitting-in alongside me. And never did. That’s not condemnation of all religious folk. You should know that, by now. Second-best time I ever had in a jail cell was discussing religious history with a Catholic priest busted in the same demonstration in Chicago.

She adds to the number of people who reject her kind of religious beliefs out-of-hand because of her denial of civil rights, civil liberties, for all Americans.

UPDATE: 5 of 6 deputy clerks say they will start issuing kicenses tomorrow. Davis wants to be released, then – but, the judge rightfully doesn’t trust her to keep from interfering. Not so incidentally, the one deputy who wouldn’t obey the law is her son. Not enough she’s paid $80K/year – she puts her kin on the payroll, too.

Girl Scouts turn down $100K from gender bigot

Last May the Girl Scouts took a historic stance for inclusivity and made their long-term policy on accepting transgender girls into their troops official, much to the chagrin of bigots everywhere. Unfortunately, some of those bigots have bank. Fortunately, there are good people in the world too.

An unnamed $100,000 donor sent the Queen Anne offices of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington a note last May asking the chapter to “guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can’t, please return the money.”

Council CEO Megan Ferland returned the donation, which would have sent 500 girls to camp and helped the troop meet nearly a quarter of their annual fundraising goal, with a note saying “Girl Scouts is for every girl. And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

An Indiegogo has now been set up to help raise back the funds returned to the donor.

SeattleMet reports that the Gender Justice League, an organization designed to support Seattle’s transgender community, has offered to help promote the Indiegogo campaign.

$172,690 has so far been donated to the Indiegogo campaign in a single day. The campaign’s stretch goals will go towards helping the estimated 2,000-plus girls who will require financial assistance to participate in Girl Scouts over the next year.

Bravo! An example of real heart, principled courage, rewarding an old organization with the good sense to change with the times – in a progressive direction.

Donald Trump – you’re fired! Sincerely, NBC


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NBC is ending its business relationship with Donald Trump over his recent comments about Mexican immigrants.

“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” NBC said in a statement. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

The network will no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that were part of a joint venture with Trump, the statement added. Its relationship with “Celebrity Apprentice” will continue, as Trump ceased his involvement with the reality show during his presidential bid…

Univison previously announced that it would cease its relationship with the Miss Universe Organization over the comments. Trump has said he will sue that network for breach of contract and defamation.

Trump responded to the news after an appearance in Chicago, telling reporters: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

No need to repeat crap lies from a reactionary clown show like Donald Trump. His deceit, foolishness, lifelong dedication to self-aggrandizement and bigoted causes is well-enough known.

The Republican Party deserves him. My only hope is that his billion$ buy him a candidacy.

Racist, sexist St. Louis County cop suspended – finally!


Domestic violence? “If you don’t like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with…”

Officer Dan Page was outed as a racist extremist after video of his speech at an Oath Keepers meeting went viral Friday…A St. Louis County police officer who pushed CNN’s Don Lemon, a black television host, during live coverage of protests this week in Ferguson, Mo., has been suspended from duty after video of an hour-long racial rant against minority groups, women, liberals and politicians emerged online.

Officer Dan Page spewed the vile rhetoric during an Oath Keepers of St. Louis/St. Charles meeting in April, just months before he was tasked with keeping order among a crowd of majority black protesters in Ferguson.

Page’s first spin on live TV went horribly wrong: “Move out of the way, sir. Move!” he can be heard screaming as Lemon tries to do a live stand-up amid the crowd in broad daylight on Monday afternoon, footage from Mediaite shows.

“We’re on national television, so imagine what they’re doing to people when you don’t see it on national television, people who don’t have a voice like we do,” Lemon says as he’s pushed around.

The bizarre rant went viral after Page was on the frontlines of the Ferguson, Mo., protests in his duties as a St. Louis County police officer…And on Friday, Page was relieved of his duties in response to his vile comments raging against hate-crime legislation, the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” women and Muslims.

“You’re either gonna go to the ballot box or the bullet box in the next 18 months,” he demands as he decries Missouri’s two Senators.

“Roy Blunt (Republican) and Claire McCaskill (Democrat) won’t even talk to me, they say, ‘you’re an extremist’ and I say, ‘amen!’” the cop raves on video. “And I’m real good with a rifle. My best shot is 1,875 meters, I got me a gold star on that one. You run from me, you’re gonna die tired…”

For as many sensible cops, dedicated to Constitutional rights, that I have known – I’ve confronted dozens more in my lifetime as an activist. Even the otherwise-unemployables who treat their local police department as a safe job with benefits aren’t likely to have encountered anything approaching a high school civics lesson in the course of their job training.

Friends of mine who are serious about law enforcement as a professional career have had to change police departments more than once because a professional attitude, respect for equal justice, is judged unacceptable to the wardheelers and hacks who often float to up to command rank – like toasty turds in a septic tank.

And, please, don’t believe the public accepts the excuses and lies from the Saint Louis County PD that the ideology of this creep just suddenly surfaced. If anything, he’s been working his racist butt off trying to recruit other members of the force into his scumbag cell for years.

Thanks, Mike

Hypocrite-of-the-week screams about unvaccinated migrants – opposes mandatory vaccination


Har!

Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: Some of the child refugees streaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. “Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote. “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles.”

Gingrey’s analysis carried an aura of credibility among conservatives, because, as Judicial Watch noted, the congressman is “also [a] medical doctor.” But his two-page letter is filled with false charges—there’s no evidence that migrants carry Ebola or that they’re less likely to be vaccinated—from an inconvenient messenger: The congressman has himself pushed legislation to discourage some kinds of mandatory vaccinations in the United States.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola virus has only ever affected humans in sub-Saharan Africa. (It has been found in China and the Philippines, but has never caused an illness, let alone a fatality)…Gingrey’s misdiagnoses aren’t confined to Ebola. As the Texas Observer points out, when it comes to measles, children in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are more likely to be vaccinated than children in the United States. None of those countries have recorded an outbreak of measles in 24 years. Kids in Marin County are more at risk.

And in 2007, he wrote an amendment that would allow parents to block their children from receiving HPV vaccines, which are designed to combat cervical cancer.

Nothing new about today’s Republicans being as ethically corrupt as they are economically ignorant, socially and politically bigoted. Some – obviously including Congress-slime Gingrey – ignore conflicts between their record and their lies.