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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

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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

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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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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.

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NSA Spying

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  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • Part 1: Why fusion centers matter: FAQ
  • Part 2: How the NSA is Transforming Law Enforcement

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Why fusion centers matter: FAQ

This story demonstrates what we called “one of the biggest dangers of the surveillance state: the unquenchable thirst for access to the NSA's trove of information by other law enforcement agencies.” This is particularly concerning when NSA information is used domestically. Fusion centers are no different.

Nadia Kayyali, Electronic Frontier Foundation

fusion-1.png April 7, 2014 | NSA surveillance has been front and center in the news recently, fusion centers are a part of the surveillance state that deserve close scrutiny.

Fusion centers are a local arm of the so-called “intelligence community,” the 17 intelligence agencies coordinated by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The government documentation around fusion centers is entirely focused on breaking down barriers between the various government agencies that collect and maintain criminal intelligence information.

Nadia Kayyali is a member of EFF’s activism team. Nadia is particularly interested in surveillance, national security policy, and the intersection of criminal justice, racial justice, and digital civil liberties issues.  She has been an activist since she was a teenager, when she participated in the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle.

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Part 2: How the NSA is Transforming Law Enforcement

Everything we now know about the NSA paints a picture of an agency that has grown wildly outside the bounds of its purpose—to protect national security. The national security justifications for dragnet surveillance ring hollow. It’s time to take Congress and the President to task for this, and call for an end to the unchecked actions of our dangerous spy agencies­—the NSA and the FBI.

Nadia Kayyali, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Snooping%20Bill.jpg May 20, 2014 | If you’ve been imagining NSA surveillance as something distant, with analysts sitting in remote data centers quietly analyzing metadata—stop now. NSA surveillance has become a part of day-to-day law enforcement fabric in the United States. The Snowden disclosures that were made public as part of Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide drive this point home, and they emphasize why we need real change to government surveillance, not minor reforms.

There are two key points necessary to understand the domestic aspect of NSA surveillance: the integral role of the FBI in helping the NSA spy on Americans, and the acceptance of usage of NSA material for domestic and traditional law enforcement purposes. These are contingent, of course, on the fact that the NSA’s procedures allow widespread targeting of Americans.

Nadia Kayyali is a member of EFF’s activism team. Nadia is particularly interested in surveillance, national security policy, and the intersection of criminal justice, racial justice, and digital civil liberties issues.  She has been an activist since she was a teenager, when she participated in the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle.

Full story … 

NRA’s constitutional fraud: The truth behind the “right to bear arms”

  • The notion that the framers meant for every nut to have unlimited guns is a sham. Here's the little-known reality.
  • How the NRA Enables Massacres

Heather Digby Parton, Salon

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lapierre_happy-620x412.jpg Wayne LaPierre (Credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Monday, June 2, 2014 |  In the wake of the horrific Isla Vista, California, mass killing, Americans have once again engaged the debate over gun proliferation. Victims’ families issue primal cries for regulation of these deadly weapons and gun activists respond by waving the Constitution and declaring their “fundamental right” to bear arms is sacrosanct. Indeed, such right-wing luminaries as Joe the plumber, who not long ago shared the stage with the Republican nominees for president and vice president, said explicitly:

“Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.”

Iowa Republican Senate candidate Jodi Ernst, known for her violent campaign ads in which she is seen shooting guns and promising to “unload” on Obamacare, had this to say when asked about Isla Vista:

“This unfortunate accident happened after the ad, but it does highlight that I want to get rid of, repeal, and replace [opponent] Bruce Braley’s Obamacare. And it also shows that I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. That is a fundamental right.”

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon.

Full story … 

Related:

How the NRA Enables Massacres, Cliff Schecter, Daily Beast

As a shooting spree leaves seven dead in California, the gun lobby is trying to thwart attempts to study gun deaths and officials who see gun violence as a public health crisis.

 

 

Wide Majorities Losing Faith In John Roberts' Supreme Court, Want Term Limits

  • Those surveyed said that Supreme Court justices were more likely to be carrying out a personal or political agenda than working to render a fair and impartial judgment, an opinion that cut across party lines. 
  • Overall approval of the Supreme Court has been falling since its 5-4 Bush v. Gore decision handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000, according to Gallup.

Ryan GrimHuffington Post

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SCOTUS%20Bldg%20w%3Astorm%20Clouds.jpg05/07/2014 | An overwhelming majority of voters would support sweeping reforms to the Supreme Court, as trust and confidence in the institution has eroded in recent years, according to a new survey by the Democratic-aligned firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

Wide majorities disagree with the recent 5-4 party-line rulings that have upended a century of campaign finance law and tilted the rules in favor of the extremely wealthy and major corporations. The landmark Citizens United ruling was opposed by a whopping 80-18 margin. The more recent McCutcheon decision, which lifted caps on total giving, was said by a 51 percent majority to be likely to create more corruption, while 8 percent suggested it would lead to less.

Ryan Grim is the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post

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