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Conservatives support Christian theocracy.  Earlier this week, one of them in another state put it in writing.  From the America blog:

Yesterday, Win Johnson, a lawyer working directly under Moore, wrote a letter to public officials in the state calling them to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling. As Johnson wrote, in part

Public officials are ministers of God assigned the duty of punishing the wicked and protecting the righteous. If the public officials decide to officially approve of the acts of the wicked, they must logically not protect the righteous from the wicked. In fact, they must become protectors of the wicked. You cannot serve two masters; you must pick – God or Satan.

…Public official, what will you do? Will you stand up for the law of Alabama, for the people, for the weak and vulnerable, for the law of God? Or will you capitulate? Will you become complicit in the takeover by the wicked?

Johnson is the director of legal staff for Alabama’s Administrative Office of Courts, which runs the state’s court system. While the letter was addressed to all public officials in the state, a spokesperson for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said that it was directed at him.

No. Public officials are NOT ministers of God.  That is why there is specified in the constitution that there can be no religious test for public office.  Conservatives don’t care about the constitution. They want theocracy in spite of it.


Earlier this week, Kim Davis had another legal battle loss, looking to be one of many before she ends her grandstanding against the LGBT with a petulant whine.


After telling ABC Good Morning America viewers that she had a gay friend, the Daily Beast went looking for that friend; that gay friend may not be a friend any more. Davis appears to be out of sync with her town and county:


“Even after this all started, I went in a few days later and we spoke,” he told The Daily Beast. “We talked about how each other were feeling, and how we’re gonna be friends even after all this.”

But after the media frenzy, Black feels like he doesn’t know that woman anymore.

“I really don’t know who Kim is at the moment. I really want to believe that the kind, sweet person who was there when my mom passed away is still there,” he said. “I was friends with Kim in the past, but I don’t know this woman I’ve been seeing.”

Black said Davis’ decision to fight so hard against marriage licenses for gay couples was surprising to him and that he feels she’s taking it to an extreme. Black also notes that Davis didn’t become a Christian until four years ago.

What really bothers Black is how she has has transformed the town of Morehead, Kentucky.

“Kim Davis has become the face of Morehead, and that’s not the face we want to portray,” he said.

Black says Morehead is considered one of the most progressive towns in Kentucky, and that the city council passed an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in 2013, one of only six cities to do so in the state. He says many LGBT Kentuckians choose the town as a home  for its diverse and accepting  environment.This is kind of like a sanctuary for people who came to [Morehead State University]. They live here now, they’ve made it their home because it’s so progressive,” he said. “And now it’s like, what is this place we live in? This is not the home we know. We don’t feel safe now. That’s ultimately what she did. She made us feel like our home was invaded by strangers, and she made us strangers to it.”
This is kind of like a sanctuary for people who came to [Morehead State University]. They live here now, they’ve made it their home because it’s so progressive,” he said. “And now it’s like, what is this place we live in? This is not the home we know. We don’t feel safe now. That’s ultimately what she did. She made us feel like our home was invaded by strangers, and she made us strangers to it.”

But taking theocracy to the extreme is what conservatives DO. And that is why every effort at pushing theocracy on government at any level should be opposed, vigorously. Here is just the latest abuse of religion in government to hit the news, demonstrating exactly how the extremist religious right pursues preferential religious treatment, and attempts to control everyone else.

“When citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as a members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.”

- Associate Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, in a dissenting  Supreme Court opinion

The Kim Davis controversy is like other right-wing efforts to support theocracy and to undo the decisions of the SCOTUS which are mandated by our Constitution as the ultimate arbiters of what is and is not constitutional.  We saw it in the Hobby Lobby decision, we have seen it in other attempts at challenging marriage equality.  When conservatives dislike a ruling, they attempt a do-over and use the litigation as a delay to social justice.


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fashion two-fer: reigious bigot hood AND dunce cap

The Kim Davis fight has been timed and located carefully to provide one last wedge-issue boost to conservative voter turn out in an off-year election in Kentucky.  It’s not about same-sex marriage or individual rights of religious expression, that is a red herring.  Kim Davis is a pawn and a stooge trustingly serving the larger aims and agenda of the radical right.  She might as well appear in public in a dunce cap, (as well as a scarlet letter).


It is always wise not to let the opposition define – or name – the debate, the argument, the issue, but to look at what is involved without their labels.  That might sound cynical, and maybe it is — but it is also realistic.


The governor’s race to replace term-limited popular Democratic governor Steve Beshear takes place in a low turnout year that has neither a presidential race, nor any races for the House of Representatives or Senate.  Even the state legislature elections take place in even numbered years.  The 2015 races tend to get overlooked in all but local media coverage.


not an image of the real Kim Davis
but VERY very similar

If the liberal candidate wins, then BOTH Obamacare/Kynect AND same sex marriage will have a strong supporter in the executive branch; if not, if the tea party extremist candidate wins, then there will be continued organized opposition to both, and continued encroaching theocracy in Kentucky government.


The first of several debates by the candidates for governor takes place today:


“It will be an opportunity to hear from the three candidates on a range of issues,” said WKYT political editor Bill Bryant is among the panelists questioning the candidates. “I suspect everything from the controversy involving Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to underfunded pensions will come up during the debate.”
Going into the race, Conway was well-known for his recent high-profile, headline-grabbing failed battle against now Sen. Rand Paul and his emotional decision to not appeal a judge’s order for Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and countries while Bevin most recently tangled with Sen. Mitch McConnell who defeated him in the 2014 Republican primary.
The latest Bluegrass Poll from July 30 showed Conway with a slight lead over Bevin.
In a two-person governor’s race, Bevin suffered because 15 percent of those polled said they are “very conservative” but would cross-over and vote for the Democrat Conway. Bevin needs every one of these “very conservative” votes to win, according to SurveyUSA which conducted the poll which found 13 percent of likely voters remain undecided.
When all registered voters were asked which of the two is better qualified to deal with the state worker pension system, voters split: 37 percent named Conway, 36 percent named Bevin. When registered voters were asked who is better qualified to manage the state’s budget, voters split: 38 percent said Conway, 38 percent said Bevin.

Conservatives do well in low-turnout elections; they do not do well when voters participate in representative government.  To accomplish this, conservatives use wedge issues to turn out their voters, and they those wedge issues tend to be most effective with their most extreme and fringe voters. This is CENTRAL to the Kim Davis issue.  It is an attempt to turn out the religious right, in part by making Kim Davis important, and by extension, making their pro-theocracy a turn-out wedge-issue.  Less useful for this as an an anti-gay wedge issue is the problem for the right that same-sex marriage, like Obamacare, is gaining support on the right, although slowly; hence the need to redefine the issue as religious freedom for right wing radicals.


The legal battle of Kim Davis is nominally about individual religious freedom to persecute others citing sincere beliefs.  Nominally, according to the reference site, means “by or as regards name; in name; ostensibly”.  To name the Kim Davis legal fight ‘individual freedom’ is false; even to name it a fight about gay marriage is deceptive.


The Kim Davis issue is really about larger conservative control of government through the Kentucky 2015 election cycle, especially the election of the next governor; and 2016 election cycle.  It is really about issues like Obamacare, and the most successful state version of Obamacare in Kentucky, called Kynect, and attempts to replace a liberal governor with an extremist conservative successor who is campaigning on repeal of both Obamacare and the extremely popular Kynect.  Candidate Conway is part of the Bashear administration


So HOW Governor Steve Bashear, a supporter of same-sex marriage in spite of his ‘primitive Baptist’ family background handles the Kim Davis controversy is important to far more than the rule of law and the decision of the SCOTUS, in Kentucky.  While liberals call for Kim Davis to be impeached, the Kentucky governor with the Middle Eastern Muslim sounding name understands that is NOT the most effective way to promote justice and civil rights, as a practical matter.


Bashear knows that while in a rational society appreciates why government is and must remain secular, his legislature containing a 9 member Republican majority in the state senate and an 8 member Republican majority in the state House, won’t do their job to ensure secularism.  Bashear is correct when he refers to calling a special election as a waste of money; it would also be politically stupid in the extreme.  Bashear is correct in relying on the courts to slowly and laboriously ensure civil rights for all adults seeking to marry legally in the state of Kentucky.


SHOULD the legislative branch do their job, and impeach Kim Davis. Yes. HELL yes. This should not have to go through the courts, but it is precisely because we have a belt-and-suspenders provision in our government not to rely on only one branch of government built into the system that it works.  And a person who understands the system, the intentionally designed features of our government, like Steve Bashear, uses them to govern effectively.


The legislature at best would do nothing if called into special session; but at worst the legislature could very likely, in view of the current elections in progress, OBSTRUCT same sex marriage in Kentucky further, or at the very least make political hay for the right by attempting to do so and by turning this into more of a wedge issue than it currently is in the governor’s race.


As of recent polls, the two leading candidates for governor were in a statistical tie.  Bashear is smart enough not to tip the boat in favor of the tea party candidate, but rather to let the provisions of government that keeps the Kim Davis issue safely in the hands of the court take it’s course…. which will likely not be resolved until well after the 2015 elections for governor.


Given what he has done in Kentucky, democrats could do worse than put Bashear on the short lists for a possible VP running mate, especially if his successor in this election is another liberal.  He is a man who understands the practical function of government for good, which is I would argue the highest praise one can give a person in elected office.


This is a long post, but if you don’t have the time or interest to read all of it, I encourage you to at least skim the examples, from a variety of current events news, of religion enforced by government officials intruding into the lives of people who should be protected from that by our constitution. They range from losing your kids under a religious judge, to being fired for not going to church, to being stopped in the street and prayed at by cops at a road block that exists ONLY for the purposes of them pushing their religion on you.  I believe the examples below are both shocking but also significant to the arguments of freedom of religion being practiced on the job by people who are also exercising the authority of government at the same time.


Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk, Kentucky doesn’t want to do her job serving the public — the WHOLE public, and now is not serving the public much at all.  She wants her bigotry to supersede the rights of others on the faulty premise of the exercise of religious freedom.


Kim Davis got out of jail and went back to her office this week, beginning the week with a big bang, and ending it with a whimper and another loss in court.


To the religious right, this does not seem like such a big deal; people can get served elsewhere, so what if religion by a government employee is disrupting the function of government, so what if people are suffering very real discrimination in having to go outside their home area to get married.  The inconvenience, cost, and difficulty are exactly what they WANT, the chance to stick their finger in the eye of people with whom they disagree.


That is the most they can hope for as public consensus continues to grow AGAINST their bias and hatred, including conservative opinion locally  but also nationally,


So why should we NOT allow anyone in the capacity of a government official or exercising the authority and legal force of government to also exercise their religious preferences (or preferences they try to justify on the pretext of religion)?


Let’s look at a few of the more egregious examples from the news. From the Free Thinker, reporting below on a part of America outside the 50 states.  This applies as an example because Puerto Rico is a part of the US, subject to the same freedom of religion provision of our own Constitution AND the Constitution of Puerto Rico, which mandates even more specifically the separation of church and state.  And this STILL happened.  It is significant because of two points – that a roadblock for reasons other than police purposes is a really serious intrusion on individual freedom to go about one’s life and business, an intrusion that most people would resent; and secondly because it demonstrates that intruding one’s religion into how government is conducted amounts not only to giving preferential treatment of one religion over others, but to an unfair subsidizing of the practice and promotion of that religion with tax payer funds and government authority.


You should not have to make the choice to refuse to be proselytized to someone wearing a uniform and badge, and carrying a gun and handcuffs.  That is intimidating.


It is also the same argument against Kim Davis (minus guns and handcuffs).

‘In the name of Jesus, step out of your car’

An atheist group in Puerto Rico has lodged a formal complaint against police who subjected motorists to a ‘faith’ blitz on July 1.

‘In the name of Jesus, step out of your car’

In a statement issued yesterday, Elisaul Rodriguez, Vice-President of Ateístas de Puerto Rico (Atheists of Puerto Rico) alleged that a “faith road block” had been set up by Barceloneta City police.

Officers stopped people on the road for the purpose of preaching, distributing written religious propaganda and praying for drivers.

Rodriguez added:

It was a religious activity in which the Christian faith was professed, particularly of an Evangelical variant.
We understand that the Police Department of Barceloneta City has incurred violations to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico …

Article II, Section III says: ‘No law related to the establishment of any religion will be approved and the free exercise of religion will not be prohibited. There will be complete separation of church and state’.
We must also point out that Puerto Rico, as a territory, is under the protection of the Federal Constitution of the United States of America, which also provides a clause for the separation of church and state.

Acts carried out during the “faith road-block” reflected the officers’ personal religious interests and were outside the police departments scope of duty, Rodriguez pointed out. The officers wore their uniforms and badges and:

Used resources provided by the Government of Puerto Rico that should only be used for the purpose of fighting crime, not for personal religious benefits.

This sends the message that the State is Christianizing its citizens, which corresponds to a canonical government and impairs the integrity and impartiality of the State.

Then in ultra-conservative crazy failure Kansas, we have this law suit over a woman being fired for not attending an evangelical church on her own time on weekends, or religious services held in government buildings on government time using government provided resources.


It’s not like this is the only example either of the illegal intersection of cops and religion in Puerto Rico; there was this law suit just two years ago in the case of another cop protesting religious conformity in the police force, from nbc latino.


Do you want the government to have the power to enforce religious conformity with the religion of elected officials?  Keep in mind this is exactly the thing that the crazy radical right fears unreasonably happening with Sharia law – government enforcement of extremist religious people, forcing you to do and to profess belief in things with which you disagree.



The bad old days of puritans, religious police, and an official (or unofficial) state religion. Not an actual rendering of the image of Kim Davis, although there are distinct similarities.

“There’s nothing more self-righteous than a reformed whore.” - aphorism

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Matthew 7:1-3

“You shall not commit adultery.”  Exodus 20:14

“If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.” Deuteronomy 22:22

“If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.  And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Mark 10:11-12

“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Luke 16:18

There is nothing in the Bible, old or new testament, about conversion exceptions or exclusions for adultery. And from Wikipedia about Ms. Davis:

“Davis has been married four times to three different men. The first three marriages ended in divorce in 1994, 2006, and 2008. She is the mother of twins, who were born five months after her divorce from her first husband. Her third husband is the biological father of the twins, who were adopted by her second husband, Joe, who is also her fourth and current husband. Joe supports her stance against same-sex marriage. One of Davis’s twin sons, Nathan, works in her office as a deputy clerk and has taken the same position of denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.”

Kim Davis, county clerk of Rowan county, Kentucky, is a sincere but “cafeteria” (selective Christian) born-again Apostolic Christian.  The Bible has  a lot to say condemning adultery, but very little that addresses monogamy (marriage to only one woman) or same-sex relationships.  The few quotations interpreted against the LGBT and same sex relationships are far fewer and of far more dubious authenticity and significance than those against adultery, which are better established, frequent and unequivocal in interpretation.   Goody for her.  Given the chaos of her past personal life, and her inability to conform to ethical and moral decision making on her own, I can see why she might have needed the crutch of religion, and sought out an extreme version of religion to counter her own extreme poor behavior in her private life.   However, while I was shocked the first time I heard the lead quotation of this post; since then I’ve come to appreciate the validity of the observation that those who are religiously reformed, like Kim Davis, are too-often the most zealously excessive and extreme in their views, and all too eager and willing to enforce those beliefs on others, willing or otherwise, through persuasion or coercion.  Kim Davis, those like her, those who support her, are all too eager and too willing to ‘save’ other people from exercising their right to make a possible mistake in determining their own lives, including who they love and marry, which is the very ESSENCE of freedom.  Instead they seek to impose a narrow, puritanical, theocratic religious nanny state on them, denying them their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights.  I strongly doubt that Ms. Davis would have accepted the interference of a county bureaucrat telling her she could not seek a divorce, or a license to remarry because she would be committing adultery, for example, even though her conversion came while working in the county office as a deputy clerk where this was a real issue, a frequent occurrence – divorces for adultery, and subsequent marriages, including her own.

As a self-styled supporter of Biblical marriage, Ms. Davis has a lot of catching up to do, and it appears she hopes to do so by denying the civil and religious freedoms of others, and instead imposing her own.  Given how badly she screwed up without religion, it is perhaps understandable she now seeks to save everyone else by forcing her new-found (4 years) religion on them to save them from exercising their own freedom of choice and action – and religion. Or maybe she thinks it makes up for her own adultery.


I can’t really see that Davis is a deep thinker, but rather she comes across as a right wing religious fanatic who has become the willing stooge, the compliant pawn, of the radical religious right.


Given how quickly bigot bucks dry up after the first flush of notoriety, it seems far more likely that Ms. Davis is headed for more real life sorrow and catastrophe, not some sort of happy martyrdom that translates into subsequent success, and that her religious conversion and subsequent attempts at anti-LGBT martyrdom will be just one more bad choice in a long line of bad choices.   In her 2014 election, Davis won over her opponent by approx. 6.4% of the vote, and won over her primary challenger by only 0.6% of the primary vote.  With the exception of her son, her employees in the clerk’s office do not support her, and only complied out of fear. From Think Progress:


In an editorial note accompanying its reporting, the Trial Court Review paints a grim picture of life in the Rowan County courthouse after Davis began a symbol of anti-gay defiance. “The takeaways from the Watkins interview are clear. Davis is acting alone in her zealous mission. Her conduct has terrorized not just her staff but everyone that works in the courthouse. And all for a foolish mission aided by out of state charlatan lawyers trying to raise money for their ‘religious liberty’ mission.”

The county seat, per the AP, doesn’t seem to be happy with Davis and the attention it has brought to their county either.  That seems to be far more the action and wishes of outside agitators.  I would argue strongly that it is a mistake for Davis to give greater emphasis to these outside exploiters of her position, over the wishes of her community, given her election numbers just last year.  More than most, her politics need to be local.  The 2014 election was Davis’ first term; I don’t see her getting a second term with her stunt, however piously sincere.   Per the AP this morning:


Residents of Rowan County want things to return to normal

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Residents of the eastern Kentucky town where a county clerk was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples say they want things back to normal. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed for five days for refusing a federal judge’s order. Her resistance attracted news media and protesters from all over the country and forced residents of this eastern Kentucky community to confront each other with deeply held beliefs they hadn’t been talking about that much. The Rowan County Rights Organization suspended all protests against Davis on Wednesday. Spokeswoman Nashia Fife said it has been a difficult time since most of the groups’ members know Davis and her family. Local pastor Randy Smith said the situation will embolden Christians and gay rights activists alike. But he said both sides can live together in peace.

Comments below fold.


plannedA few items.

Though (Laura) Browder’s arrest was a daycare issue, it is part of a larger problem. Women make up nearly 50 percent of America’s workforce and 40 percent of household breadwinners, yet they have few of the protections mothers in other rich countries enjoy. America is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t offer guaranteed paid paternity or maternity leave to workers. Only 12 percent of U.S. workers reportedly have such coverage, but it is usually a benefit provided through employer insurance.
At least seven in 10 mothers with children younger than 18 were in the workforce in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. Yet, America is quite hostile toward its working mothers. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of, says part of the problem is that most policymakers can’t relate to the issues moms face. More than 80 percent of the 114th Congress is male, a figure Rowe-Finkbeiner says explains why lawmakers don’t see childcare access as an urgent issue.

The most glaring hypocrisy of most of the people in the anti-choice movement is how the whole “culture of life” philosophy stops at the moment of delivery. That’s glaringly apparent in the latest attacks on Planned Parenthood for “selling baby parts,” or in actuality facilitating the donation of fetal tissue from abortions, when the patient requests it, for medical research. That medical research is increasingly jeopardized as Planned Parenthood and other groups curtail their role in donations…
So all the non-fetus people out there who are sufferers and potential sufferers of the numerous diseases researchers are using fetal tissue to combat—Parkinsons, macular degeneration, various cancers, spinal cord injuries, and AIDS and Ebola. Your life and your health doesn’t count. Not any more than the life of the woman whose body is nothing more than a vessel for sacred fetuses. Same goes for the millions of people who didn’t get hepatitis A, German measles, chicken pox, and rabies because they got vaccinated—vaccines developed with fetal tissue.
(Daily Kos)

There’s a map here that shows how average distance to abortion providers has been increasing as clinics are shut down.


Image result for scalpelAnyone can occasionally contradict themselves, or alternatively change their views and opinions.  But there is something unique to the hypocrisy on the right, the emphatic and even coercive “do as I say, not as I do” foundation of their ideology.  I would posit this hypocrisy is so intrinsic to the right wing ideology that it invalidates it.


At the end of July, presidential candidate and right wing extremist theocrat Ben Carson ranted and railed for the defunding of Planned Parenthood over the possible expansion of fetal tissue donations.  Pretty much all of the right winger candidates did so; it’s how they make their money.

From CNN:

My entire professional career as a pediatric neurosurgeon was dedicated to saving the lives of children and promoting their long-term welfare, as I took the Hippocratic Oath to “First, do no harm.” Protecting innocent life is a duty consistent with that solemn oath. Destroying or butchering them is particularly offensive to someone like myself who has operated on babies while they were still in utero. All human life is precious and should be preserved and protected with the utmost respect and care.
When we reach a point where we are so callous that we kill innocent little babies, what else won’t we do? Is there a limit to our barbarism? Human history is replete with examples of what happens when we devalue human life. Here in the United States of America, we have a history of compassion and kindness that characterizes a model citizen. It is time to reclaim our heritage and reject the purveyors of selfishness and callousness.
Congress should defund Planned Parenthood and consider having the IRS revoke its status as a 501(c)(3) organization. I believe deeply, as it is written in the Declaration of Independence, that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. First and foremost among these unalienable rights is life, and we created a government in order to protect it — not fund its destruction.

Even as he spewed these words, Carson knew damn well that he himself had been one of the ‘buyers’ of fetal tissue donations, or consumer of it, if you prefer.  He KNEW this, but did not happen to mention it, apparently hoping it would not come out and discourage donors to his campaign.

H/t to the Daily Kos for the link to the published paper that Carson produced from his research
  (that’s ol’ Dr. Ben there, third name in):

Colloid cysts of the third ventricle: immunohistochemical evidence for nonneuroepithelial differentiation.

Tsuchida T1, Hruban RH, Carson BS, Phillips PC.

As  the same Daily Kos piece noted:


Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who is seeking the GOP nomination for President, is opposed to foetal tissue research. He claims nothing can be learned from it that cannot be learned in another way. He has flogged this position on FOX News Channel and on Breitbart.

In point of FACT, there are forms of scientific research for which other tissue IS NOT suitable or as effective as the unique qualities of fetal tissue.  Asserting so is dishonest.


Regardless of facts to the contrary, regardless of science contrary to their beliefs, it is what the right wing nuts do to get money and votes from their anti-fact, anti-science, anti-truth base.


Planned Parenthood has approximately 4 clinics that currently provide that service to their clients.  No tissue is ever sold, nor has it ever been proposed for sale.  Dishonest conservatives tried to deceive people as to the fees involved in tissue collection, storage and transport, which in some respects resembles similar procedures for organs used in transplants.  It requires special equipment and procedures which entail additional costs over the disposal of medical waste.


No abortion is done for the purpose of providing medical specimens; rather this is a decision women have as an option to procedures they have already chosen.  The women donors receive no compensation or benefit.


Let’s look at the contradiction in Carson’s statements, courtesy of the Wa Po:


He told Fox New’s Megyn Kelly that fetal tissue research was basically useless and that the same things could be accomplished without it.

“And if you go back over the years, and look at the research that has been done and all the things it was supposed to deliver, very little of that has been done, and there’s nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue”, Carson said.

and the big contradictions:


On Thursday, though, Carson told Weigel that the use of fetal tissue shouldn’t be banned. He declined to say whether Planned Parenthood should stop providing fetal tissue for medical research. So one one hand, Carson said the use of fetal tissue doesn’t produce results and is interchangeable with less morally fraught materials, and on the other he used it himself and now says it shouldn’t be banned.

Carson’s views on abortion appear to have long been complicated. In 1992, he appeared in an ad encouraging Maryland voters to oppose a law that would effectively keep abortions legal in the state if the Supreme Court overturned or weakened Roe v. Wade. He later appeared at a pro-abortion-rights activist press conference disavowing the ad, saying he didn’t realize he was making a political statement.

And the Huff Po gives us this additional information, quoting OB/GYN doctor and researcher Dr. Jen Gunter noting this research was on aborted fetuses, and giving the age of the fetuses.  Age and other descriptive factors are used to generate an emotional response rather than a logical one in propganda:


“…published a study with three other colleagues in 1992 that described using “human choroid plexus ependyma and nasal mucosa from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.”

As a neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson knows full well that fetal tissue is essential for medical research. His discipline would have a hard time being [where] it is today without that kind of work. What is even more egregious than dismissing the multitude of researchers whose work allowed him to become a neurosurgeon is the hypocrisy of actually having done that research himself while spouting off about its supposed worthlessness.

and the Huff Po goes on to quote Carson — this relates to the age of the aborted fetal tissue HE himself used, underlining his hypocrisy:


Last month, Carson railed against Planned Parenthood and pro-choice advocates by describing a fetus in the 17th week of gestation.

“At 17 weeks, you’ve got a nice little nose and little fingers and hands and the heart’s beating,” he said on Fox News. “It can respond to environmental stimulus. How can you believe that that’s just an irrelevant mass of cells? That’s what they want you to believe, when in fact it is a human being.”

So, apparently Carson is all morally and ethically comfy with the ethics of fetal research on 17 week fetuses when HE is the one doing it, but it’s all “no!-wrong!-BAD!” and “don’t fund it” when anyone else does the research.


Stick a fork in ol’ Doc Ben; I would bet his campaign as the token right wing negro candidate, the Uncle Tom du Jour, like Hermann Cain’s in the preceding presidential campaign cycle, is concluded.  No loss, really; he would never have been elected by the racists on the right anyway.


~ Invited Guest Commentary ~

by Invenium Viam on August 9, 2015 · 0 comments

randall tigue

Randall Tigue is a Twin Cities attorney, DFL activist, and Past President of both the First Amendment Lawyers Association and the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union.

Questions From the GOP Debate

By Randall Tigue


The first debate of Republican presidential candidates brought a number of questions to my mind that I hope someone in future debates will have the courage to ask the candidates.


The first is why, after Megan Kelly asked Donald Trump the question about his referring to women as “fat pigs” and “slobs” and then suggested that the question was about “political correctness,” why was it that not a single one of the remaining nine male candidates said, “There is an obvious difference between political correctness and treating women with basic dignity and respect, and if you can’t see that difference, you are too stupid to be President of the United States”?


The second set of questions has to do with all of the candidates demanding immediate defunding of Planned Parenthood.


As every one of those candidates knows, because of the Hyde Amendment, not a single penny of federal funding of Planned Parenthood goes to pay for abortions. Federal funding of Planned Parenthood goes for things like screenings for breast and other types and cancer and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


Take away that funding, and there is no question that women will die as a result. The Republicans who take that funding away will have a direct hand in those deaths.


So the questions that should be asked of those who advocate defunding of Planned Parenthood should include, at least the following: “Given that defunding Planned Parenthood will not stop a single abortion, how many women are you willing to murder to placate the lunatic fringe of your party? How can you openly support the killing of women and continue to call yourself “pro-life”?



We do not see conservatives trying to make THESE more legitimate challenges to the sanctity and success of traditional marriage illegal. In fact we have seen some of the clerks who claim sincere religious belief as a failed excuse not to do their jobs turn out to themselves have multiple failed traditional marriages to their credit, raising questions about how sincerely they really believe in monogamy.

For example, Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who is suing to be able to refuse to issue same sex marriage licenses on religious belief grounds, is apparently on her own fourth marriage. From Snopes:


A 9 July 2015 report from Lexington station WKYT on David Moore’s video noted the rumor that Kim Davis had herself been married four times and stated that her marriage certificate confirmed that fact

My understanding and impression is that Ms. Davis has undergone multiple divorces.


Quite the opposite of supporting traditional monogamy in practice, we see conservatives engaging in more cheating on spouses, more use of pornography (remembering that committing adultery in one’s mind and heart are the same as doing it in the flesh), higher rates of divorce, and high rates of multiple marriages (mostly while ex-spouses are still living). So the concept of one man/one woman until death do us part is just simply bullshit; the right does not defend this kind of traditional marriage. Rather it is more a case of TREAD-itional marriage, where they trample all over it. No, the objection to same sex marriage equality is about one thing and one thing only — screwing over the LGBT community and doing their level best to treat them as second class citizens. Shame shame shame on them; they do NOT deserve respect for their position. They instead deserve to be called out for their hypocrisy and hatred of others, and their desire to harm others.

A federal judge promises to rule later this month on the Davis sincere-religious-belief suit.  Rowan County is claiming they are immune from this suit, since the county is not refusing to issue the same-sex marriage licenses, which could leave clerk Kim Davis on the hook for some considerable cash.  However as her position and suits are being funded by the radical right wing instead of her personally, I’m sure there will be a generous outpouring of bigot bucks in her direction to help defray judgments against her, since it looks highly likely she will lose, and lose big.


~ Invited Guest Commentary ~

by Invenium Viam on August 4, 2015 · 1 comment

Honor our Founding Mothers: Finish the Job!

by Betty Folliard

Betty Folliard

Betty Folliard is a former state legislator, founder of ERA Minnesota and Executive Producer and host of A Woman’s Place ( on AM950Radio.


After 92 years of struggle, American women still don’t have legal equality.


According to an Opinion Research Survey, 96% of Americans believe women and men should have equal rights, 88% want an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) added to our Constitution — but a whopping 72% of Americans somehow are under the false impression that the U.S. Constitution already guarantees equal rights for women.


It doesn’t.


What we have are patchwork laws unevenly meting out legal protections against gender discrimination cases. The Constitution governs all courts in the land and absent an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) these laws are nails without a hammer.


The U.S. media has an obligation to accurately report this reality; however there remains a dearth of articles focused on women in our media.


All four sectors of the press/media in America are male-centric, according to the 2015 Status of Women in the U.S. Media report put out by the Women’s Media Center; and as a result issues regarding women’s equality rarely get coverage. Women are mentioned only 24% of the time in any news stories whatsoever: and of that 24%, only 6% ever mention equality or inequality; so overall, these issues get aired a mere 1.44% of the time.


Contrary to popular opinion and polarizing political reporting, the ERA didn’t die — it went dormant. Pushback from the right continues to spread untruths, to focus on red herrings, and to conjure up fear; but the ERA movement perseveres and will ultimately prevail because women are on the right side of history on this matter and we won’t take no for an answer.


We can now see light at the end of this tunnel. Today many national coalitions and organizations of women (and a few good men) have reinvigorated the fight to ratify the ERA.


This year alone:


• There’s legislation at both the state & national levels aimed at removing the artificial deadline that was slapped on equal rights for women and finally ratifying the ERA into our federal constitution (FYI: there’s no such thing as an expiration on equality);

• The documentary “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” opened this year, educating a whole new generation about the struggle for women’s rights in America;

• A new book “Equal Means Equal” written by Jessica Neuwirth unveils gender discrimination cases that went all the way to the Supreme Court only to be rejected because the Constitution doesn’t protect women against sex discrimination. In it, Neuwirth points to the 4 key issues that an ERA would help rectify: pay inequity, violence against women, pregnancy discrimination, and laws that discriminate against men;

• A film by that same title – “Equal Means Equal” – produced by Kamala Lopez will soon be released;

• In October, the film “Suffragette” starring Meryl Streep will open in theaters;

• And Helene de Boissierre-Swanson, a former legal professional & co-founder of Katrina’s Dream, has now walked the entire breadth of the U.S. to raise awareness of the need of the ERA in our U.S. Constitution.


On Women’s Equality Day – August 26th 2015 — Helene will culminate her walk across America with a final ERA march and rally to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to help finally pass the ERA. ERA Minnesota will be there. Women (and a few good men) from all across the country will be there standing up for legal equality. I’ll be speaking at the rally. You’re invited. Join us!


Like Suffragists of old, Helene de Boissierre-Swanson has endured homelessness, starvation, deprivation, and molestation on her solo walk across the USA all for the ERA.


Helene offered press access in each un-ratified state along her journey from California to Florida and up to Washington, D.C.; but not one national media outlet deigned to pick up this story.




Honor our Founding Mothers by finishing the job. Ratify the ERA.
Comment below fold.

{ 1 comment }

The deeply indebted MN GOP is trying to play their wedge politics on the state’s dime, in contrast to legitimate non-wedge-issue investigations, in calling for an investigation into MN Planned Parenthood. It makes sense they want to use state $$$$ to advance their political agenda, they’re still pretty much broke from their past considerable fiscal irresponsibility. They have very little money of their own, do to their own bad planning,  so they try to grab state money.


Planned Parenthood is seeing a spike upwards in donations; and now the MN GOP want to see a spike upwards in theirs out of this pseudo-controversy.


My hope is that in recognizing that MN PP is doing MORE, not less for women in this region, so that Minnesota consumers of the care they provide are not short changed by overstretching of the limited PP resources, the lege instead of investigating PP authorizes significant funding for PP.


A wasteful and pointless investigation would help the MN GOP gin up some excitement and motivate their base to action, which is the purpose of manipulating a wedge issue. The right operates not by legitimate governing, but by keeping their base in an emotional turmoil and misinformed state of agitation and anger. To keep that working for them, they have to poke the base with a big wedge issue stick on a regular basis or they get less crazy, and they give less money.


It’s pretty well established that in spite of the efforts to fake videos to the contrary, Planned Parenthood is NOT ‘selling baby parts’, not nationally, not in MN. Donating tissue are not selling, and only four clinics in the US have the costly arrangements in place that permit tissue donation. Minnesota is not one of them.


No one is getting rich on baby carcasses, to put it as crudely as the right likes to do, intentionally mis-framing and mis-representing the issue.


The reality is that once again the right has overplayed any legitimate objection they might have had — legitimate meaning one that is honest and valid. The result has been an INCREASE NOT A DECREASE in donations to PP.


Apparently it deeply upsets the right that their inept dishonesty did not work out as planned. Minnesota PP, which is now doing more, not less good work in taking on the overflow of women seeking reproductive health care and choice, from neighboring red states that have attempted to oppress them with unconstitutional over-regulation, is now under threat of investigation from Minnesota Republicans.


Like the endless efforts to repeal Obamacare, even though they know it is not happening, like the shutting down of government to defund Obamacare which did not happen, like the endless and pointless hearings on pseudo-scandals that produce NOTHING, at the federal level, now we have state level Republicans wanting to waste more tax payer money on a crazy, costly and useless witch hunt, for no other reason than cheap and exploitive political theater.


I’d speculate with some reason here that throwing in Mayo and especially the U of MN, that this is also the right’s way of subtly threatening those two entities as well. Certainly the U of MN is dependent on state funding directly, and the state lege can threaten the Mayo indirectly with their authority.


From the City Pages

Republicans demand investigation of non-existent abortion program

Though Planned Parenthood maintains that the videos were heavily edited to remove the employees’ repeated statements that fetal tissue is only donated, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is spearheading a federal investigation to prove otherwise. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has launched an investigation into Planned Parenthood in his own state, as has Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

A group of 65 Minnesota lawmakers are calling on Gov. Mark Dayton to follow suit. The problem is, Minnesota’s Planned Parenthood doesn’t even have a tissue donation program.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jen Aulwes says that although some other affiliates across the country give women the option to donate their aborted fetuses to science, the Minnesota branch doesn’t have any way of doing so even if patients specifically ask for it.

“We definitely stand by all our sister affiliates around the country who do have those programs,” Aulwes says. “We haven’t made a conscious decision not to have one. We just happen to not have that particular program in place.”

Fetal tissue donations contribute to all kinds of medical research, playing a role in the creation of the polio vaccine and the search for a cure to Parkingson’s Disease. Aulwes says none of the legislators who signed the letter to Dayton actually checked with Planned Parenthood Minnesota first to see if it had such a program to investigate.

Dayton said he would not grant the 65 Republicans an investigation. Instead, he offered a bewildered restatement of the obvious: “As far as I’m concerned there’s no basis for an investigation at taxpayer expense into a private nonprofit organization that has stated they don’t engage in those practices here in Minnesota.”

Still, Republican lawmakers press on, unconvinced that Planned Parenthood should be taken at its word.

Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) just wants Democrats to look into it. “The letter that was sent out was written in a way that was very matter-of-fact and in a way that I was truly hoping that Democrats would say, ‘Yes, we do need to look into this in Minnesota to make sure it’s not happening here,'” she says. “I could really change the tone of that letter but I really, truly wanted an investigation, and I’m not doing it for political reasons. It’s astounding that the pro-choice community has been basically silent on this.”

Planned Parenthood may say that fetal issue is only being donated and not sold for profit, but the undercover videos did reveal the callousness of the people in the abortion industry, Scott says. “How can you talk about crunching baby bones and parts while you’re dining? That I think is off-putting to a lot of people.”

Of course Planned Parenthood would deny doing anything illegal, she says. Lawmakers need to make sure that local research hospitals like Mayo Clinic and U of M aren’t in the market for fetal tissue.