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US Supreme Court Behaving Badly, July 1, 2014

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  • Justice is supposed to be blind to such things as sex, race, religion, or income status, but what she really is blind to are the violent and outrageous crimes committed by the 1%.
  • Part 1: SCOTUS gets Hobby Lobby horribly wrong: Why this isn’t a “limited” ruling
  • Part 2: SCOTUS’ other huge ruling today: Court picks the 1 percent over workers

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: SCOTUS gets Hobby Lobby horribly wrong: Why this isn’t a “limited” ruling

If you think Monday's decision won't affect you, you haven't been paying attention

Katie McDonough, Salon

Rob Rogers 

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 | In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that Hobby Lobby can ignore federal law and deny its employees comprehensive health insurance because of its “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Analysis of the case has so far called this a limited ruling because it only applies to closely held corporations and “only” impacts contraceptive coverage. But this framing completely ignores the fact that more than 90 percent of corporations in the United States are closely held, and that the court just effectively ruled that it’s fine for employers to discriminate against half of the labor force. There’s nothing limited about it. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her powerful dissent, far from being narrow in its ruling, the high court just “ventured into a minefield.”

So what does the decision actually mean? In the immediate term, it means that women who work at Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are paying for health coverage (insurance is part of their compensation package, it’s not some gift bestowed upon them by their bosses) that their employers have decided that they can’t have. That’s really what this comes down to in the most blunt terms imaginable. The religious owners of these companies have medically inaccurate ideas about contraception and abortion, and they now get to impose those ideas on the the people who work for them. In the majority opinion, five male justices argued that the Department of Health and Human Services can fill in the gaps in coverage created by this ruling by including for-profit companies in the accommodation system created for religious nonprofits and other explicitly faith-based organizations. Women’s health, it seems, has become someone else’s problem.

Katie McDonough is an assistant editor for Salon, focusing on lifestyle.

Full story … 



Part 2: SCOTUS’ other huge ruling today: Court picks the 1 percent over workers

Harris v. Quinn hurts vulnerable workers and their clients, and weakens -- but doesn’t gut -- public union rights

Joan Walsh, Salon

Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy (Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 | Although Harris v. Quinn stood in the shadows of the Hobby Lobby case this session, both decisions dealt with women’s rights, since the home healthcare workers affected by it are disproportionately low-paid women. The Supreme Court’s decision in the case Monday made life harder for unions representing some of the lowest-paid workers in one of the fastest-unionizing sectors, but left most of public sector collective bargaining law intact.

At issue was an Illinois decision to let home care workers who are paid by clients with public funds be represented by a union. Workers doing such jobs in hospitals and other institutional settings have union representation, but with a growing consensus that care at home is more humane and less expensive, the number of home care jobs is projected to jump 70 percent in the next decade.  Individuals working in private homes had no way to unionize, and no larger “employer” with whom to negotiate pay and working conditions, so a growing number of states have made a public agency their “employer of record.”

Joan Walsh joined Salon in 1998 to become the first full-time news editor and became editor in chief in February 2005. At the end of 2010, she became editor at large, to write full time. In the last couple of years she's had the privilege of debating conservative zealots on TV, from Bill O' Reilly to Dick Armey to Pat Buchanan.

Full story … 

 

Cops Behaving Badly, June 28, 2014

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  • Search  on the internet "police brutality" or "police excessive force."  If you search YouTube, there are many videos of cops acting WAY beyond their limits.
  • Part 1: A SWAT Team Blew a Hole in My 2-Year-Old Son
  • Part 2: US police departments are increasingly militarised, finds report
  • Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

 

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Part 1: A SWAT Team Blew a Hole in My 2-Year-Old Son

Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. Officers threw a flashbang grenade in my son's crib, and left a hole in his chest. It gets worse.

Alecia Phonesavanh, Salon

screen_shot_2014-06-24_at_10.14.38_am.pngJune 24, 2014  |  After our house burned down in Wisconsin a few months ago, my husband and I packed our four young kids and all our belongings into a gold minivan and drove to my sister-in-law’s place, just outside of Atlanta. On the back windshield, we pasted six stick figures: a dad, a mom, three young girls, and one baby boy.

That minivan was sitting in the front driveway of my sister-in-law’s place the night a SWAT team broke in, looking for a small amount of drugs they thought my husband’s nephew had. Some of my kids’ toys were in the front yard, but the officers claimed they had no way of knowing children might be present. Our whole family was sleeping in the same room, one bed for us, one for the girls, and a crib.

Alecia Phonesavanh wants "justice for my baby, and that means making sure no other family ever has to feel this horrible pain."

Full story … 



 

Part 2: US police departments are increasingly militarised, finds report

  • ACLU cites soaring use of war zone equipment and tactics
  • Swat teams increasingly deployed in local police raids
  • Seven civilians killed and 46 injured in incidents since 2010
  • Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population

Ed Pilkington, Guardian (UK)

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1403552477606/ca29770c-e6a2-4551-8b3e-3b502fe4c9ba-460x276.jpeg Heavily militarised equipment, such as APCs and flashbang grenades, are increasingly entering police arsenals. Photograph: Marcus Donner/Reuters 

Tuesday 24 June 2014 | At 3am on 28 May, Alecia Phonesavanh was asleep in the room she was temporarily occupying together with her husband and four children in the small town of Cornelia, Georgia. Her baby, 18-month-old Bou Bou, was sleeping peacefully in his cot.

Suddenly there was a loud bang and several strangers dressed in black burst into the room. A blinding flash burst out with a deafening roar from the direction of the cot. Amid the confusion, Phonesavanh could see her husband pinned down and handcuffed under one of the men in black, and while her son was being held by another. Everyone was yelling, screaming, crying. “I kept asking the officers to let me have my baby, but they said shut up and sit down,” she said.

justice190v.jpg Ed Pilkington is the chief reporter for Guardian US. He is a former national and foreign editor of the paper, and author of Beyond the Mother Country.

Full story … 

Related:

Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population, Ed Griffith, New Progressive Alliance

  • Search  on the internet "police brutality" or "police excessive force."  If you search YouTube, there are many videos of cops acting WAY beyond their limits.
  • Jim Hightower | The Absurdly Dangerous Militarization of America's Police

 

 

Minnesota’s jails turn into storehouses for people with mental illness

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  • “We are clearly as bad as our weakest link. People have to have a place to go. If there are not places to go then the mental health hub can only do so much,” he said. “We really want to work toward a comprehensive solution to the problem.” --Hennepin County Judge Jay Quam
  • Drug Cocktail Used In Executions Is Too Painful To Use On Animals

 

Briana Bierschbach, MinnPost

 

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images/articles/LockChainGate640.jpgCorbis 

 

06/19/14 | There were a lot of red flags that Michael Schuler was not OK sitting in his solitary cell in the Hennepin County jail. Schuler would talk to himself for hours, sometimes screaming gibberish. He refused medication for his well-documented psychosis and began defecating on himself in his cell. At one point he asked for medication but was denied because of behavioral issues. In May of 2012, he stabbed himself with a pencil in both of his eyes.

 

Last October he settled a lawsuit with Hennepin County for $1 million, accusing the jail of negligent treatment of his mental illness while he was held there for more than a month. Schuler now lives in a halfway house and receives his medication regularly, but he is partially blind in one eye.

 

Briana Bierschbach reports on public affairs, higher education, politics and other important topics and issues in the news. 

 

Full story … 

 

Related:

 

Drug Cocktail Used In Executions Is Too Painful To Use On Animals, Simon McCormack, Huffington Post

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  • Veterinarians in at least one state are barred from using a three-drug formula used on several inmates, including Clayton Lockett last week. 
  • For-Profit Corporation Seeks Protection of its "Religious Freedom"

 

 

Justice Scalia, Religion, and the Failure of Legal Reasoning

  • What Justice Scalia seems to be saying is that because the First Amendment guarantees "the free exercise of religion," the government should itself be free to engage in "the free exercise of religion." This is wrong on multiple counts. 
  • Beyond the war on science: Why the right embraces ignorance as a virtue

Geoffrey R. Stone, Huffington Post

Thank%20You%20%28Lg%29%20w%3A10%20yr%20banner.jpg This article is made possible with the generous contributions of all reader supported Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

Rob Tornoe

06/17/2014 | One of my former law professors, Harry Kalven, liked to say that "law is the process of choosing among competing analogies." At its core, legal reasoning is about trying to find insight, or logic, or common sense by comparing different situations and then striving to identify the most important similarities and differences. Analogies open some doors and close others. They shape and direct the analysis.

For example, if it is settled that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, then what other types of speech are also not protected by the First Amendment? Are depictions of violence protected by the First Amendment? Are depictions of cruelty to animals protected by the First Amendment? Is opera protected by the First Amendment?

Geoffrey R. Stone: Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago

Full story … 

Related:

Beyond the war on science: Why the right embraces ignorance as a virtue, Amanda Marcotte,  Alternet

  • Current efforts to nullify abortion coverage in Ohio and elsewhere can all be traced back to the Bush White House
  • Totally Nuts
  • Age of Ignorance

 

Bob Wedl | An open letter to three archbishops: It's Over

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I%20Want%20You%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpg If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

My friends...

The good news is that our faith given us by the Christ remains as strong as ever.  The bad news is that the institutional church continues to sink into a hole of crime and cover-up.  The terrible sin against children and the cover-up of that violence continues at the highest levels in our church hierarchy.  The latest testimony of Archbishop Robert Carlson made heaven weep.

Take%20Action%20button%20with%20arrows.jpgThe time for the laity wringing our hands has got to change to action.  Here is a letter I intend to send to Archbishops Nienstedt, Flynn, and Carlson.  It would likely have a greater impact to have a hundred signatures...a thousand would be better....a million would be best.  We cannot just sit by and say, "Why don't 'they' do something?" 

The "they" includes us.  If you are willing to add your name to the letter, please let me know.  If you want to ask some of your friends, please do so...and let me know so I can add them.  It is important to include both their email address and mailing address. 

If not us...who?  If not now...when?

Enjoy the beauty of the day...and let the light shine.

Robert Wedl, Evergreene Digest

media.cagle.com/38/2014/02/12/144275_600.jpg June 9, 2014

Dear Archbishops John Nienstedt, Harry Flynn and Robert Carlson:

It is fitting that I write this letter to you on Pentecost Sunday when Jesus Christ asked the Holy Spirit to guide the disciples as he sent them into the world to preach the new gospel…the new faith…our faith.  But on Pentecost, the Christ also instituted the Sacrament of Penance… “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven in heaven….”  But as theologians, you know that forgiveness does not mean there are no consequences for wrong doing.  Both the laws of our faith and the laws of our state and nation concur with that.  

I know my brothers that the three of you are spending a significant amount of time with your conscience these days.  The intent of this letter is to tell you the obvious.  Yes…it is over.  It is now time for you to truly lead by example.  To come forth and admit that as leaders of the institutional church, you committed grave acts of sin by covering up the sexual violence against children, that you are sorry for your sin, that you are asking your God and the victims for forgiveness and that you are ready to accept the consequences of your actions.  Depend not on your lawyer for advice…but rather on your conscience.  You might also insist that you and others engaged in this cover-up spend time in prison just like anyone else who has committed your crimes.  It’s over.

Full story … 

 

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