Alabama Bills Aim To Grant Personhood to Embroyos

Republican lawmakers in Alabama have introduced three bills that would change the definition of personhood and potentially make abortion in all circumstances illegal in the Yellowhammer state. The story from the American Independent:

Senate Bill 301, introduced by Sen. Phil Williams (R-Cherokee, Etowah), is a proposal to amend the Alabama Code of 1975 to change the definition of the term “person” to mean: “any human being from the moment of fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof.”

Williams’ bill — read for the first time last Tuesday — has 18 co-sponsors and has been referred to the Senate committee on Health.

Rep. John Merrill (R-Tuscaloosa) filed an identical personhood bill in the House on Thursday, House Bill 405. But taking a step further from just amending the state’s legal code, Merrill also filed House Bill 409, which is a ballot proposal to amend the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, so that every time the word “person” is used in that document it would include “‘all humans from the moment of fertilization.”

Personhood laws are the latest tactic by the far right to overturn the right to an abortion. Personhood laws aim to grant constitutional rights to zygotes and fetuses, and ban abortion without exception, certain forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization, and the treatment of pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies. The Colorado-based Personhood USA, a radical anti-choice organization, along with the Foundation for Moral Law, led by former Alabama state Supreme Court Roy Moore, are the main forces behind the Alabama’s personhood legislation. Personhood USA is led by far-right Christian Evangelical ministers Keith Mason and Cal Zastrow. They claim to be a ministry for the "pre-born."

As if the above isn't enough, Alabama Alliance Against Abortion Director James Henderson is encouraging the Republican-controlled legislature to dust off a pre-Civil War statute that would make aiding and abetting abortion a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. That is, if you drive someone to get an abortion in Alabama, you could go to jail.

Women in Alabama already face a hostile environment when it comes to their reproductive freedom. Alabama law subjects women seeking abortion services to biased-counseling requirements and mandatory 24 hour waiting period. The state restricts low-income women's access to abortion and restricts young women's access to abortion services by mandating parental consent. At present, there are only six abortion clinics in Alabama and over 90 percent of the state's counties lack any reproductive health facilities. NARAL already rates Alabama an F when it comes to reproductive health freedom issues. What's left, an F Minus?

Mississippi is set to vote on a similar personhood amendment this coming November.

Wyoming Forced to Suspend Tax Collections at Gun Shows

In early July, the Department of Revenue in Wyoming suspended sales tax collections at gun shows because of increasing animosity toward the state's field tax agents that jeopardized their safety. The story in the Casper Star Tribune:

Dan Noble, director of the department's excise tax division, said Friday that an incident at a gun show triggered the decision. He added, however, that resistance from gun show sponsors and participants has been a recurring problem statewide. "I have 10 field reps throughout the state, and every one of them has experienced some animosity," he said. "Folks are nervous anyway because there are guns there. I don't want to put my people at risk."

Guns shows, like craft shows, are required to set up temporary sales tax licenses but do not have to pay the $60 fee for a permanent sales tax license. The department's field tax representatives attend the shows and ask the sponsors to distribute tax forms to the sellers who, in turn, are required to collect and remit sales tax to the Department of Revenue.

Noble said the tax agents have never had a problem with compliance from the craft shows, for example. "We tend to have more trouble at gun shows than any place," Noble said Friday in an interview. "This last incident was something I felt kind of crossed the line and, because of it I have suspended our activity in trying to collect this until we can get a better way of approaching it." He said the "climate" has changed and some of the gun show people are "fairly extreme."

Noble said he didn't want to identify the show where the incident took place because the problem has been statewide. Anthony Bouchard, executive director of the Wyoming Gun Owners' Association, said the only confrontation he knew of was at a gun show in Pine Bluffs. The gun show participant involved was an "in your face" type, he said, adding that he did not believe there was any threat made. "I think they're trying to create a political climate, to make it sound like a bigger thing than it is," he said.

The position of his group, Bouchard said, is that the state shouldn't charge sales tax on gun and ammunition sales because of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. "Everybody's on edge," said John Wise, director of the Pine Bluffs Shooting Association and of the gun show.

Identifying himself as a "tea partier and damned proud of it," Wise said Friday that people are angry at the federal government over health care reform and other actions. Wise said he was sitting at the front desk during the April gun show at Pine Bluffs when a participant got into a confrontation with a state sales tax representative. The tax agent called for backup from the Pine Bluffs Police Department.

Wise said the police officer intervened, the tax agent left and no charges were filed. He said he thought both men had "short fuses." Wise said that individual gun owners who pay $30 to rent a table at a gun show so they can sell a couple of guns should not have to collect sales tax for the state. Bouchard said he will personally work on legislation to exempt gun show sales from the state's sales tax.

Check any of the far-right blogs and you will find regular calls for "patriot uprisings" or comments that in effect call for "patriotic citizens" to get ready for the coming war. On Free Republic, the comments on this story ranged from "our tea-partying Bostonian ancestors would be proud" to "the government...any government...absolutely needs to fear the people."

These comments can perhaps be dismissed the insane rantings of anonymous conservative malcontents but the fact remains that we are witnessing a break down in order coupled with the re-emergence from the shadows of fringe right wing anarchism that rejects the established prerogatives of government in part or even the wholesale denial that any law applies to them. This is more than Grove Norquist's forty year anti-tax crusade though it can be argued that such behaviour is the culmination of decades of anti-government rhetoric by the more 'mainstream' right even if such currents run deep in the American psyche. 

There's more...

Unsustainable Lunacy

Just when you think Republican candidates can't say anything more buffoonish along comes Dan Maes, a Tea Party candidate running in the GOP gubernatorial primary in Colorado, who told a crowd of 50 Tea Party loons at a July 26th rally in Centennial, Colorado that a bike-sharing program advocated by John Hickenlooper, the current Mayor of Denver and the Democratic candidate for Governor, would lead to United Nations control of Denver and that such a program threatens the freedom of Americans. 

“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes told the lunatic fringe. “This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms."

"These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor," Maes added as his audience foamed at the mouth. "These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."

The UN program to which Maes is referring is the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an association with more than 1,200 cities as members, half of which are in the United States. Denver became a member in 1992. The ICLEI helps communities design and implement sustainable living practices such as Denver's bike sharing program.

The B-Cycle biking sharing program places a network of about 400 red bikes for rent at stations around the city. It is funded by private donors, such as the HMO Kaiser Permanente, and from grants.  Additional revenue comes from memberships and transaction fees. The program was launched in April and it is the nation’s first large-scale citywide bicycle sharing program.

World-wide more than 50 cities have biking sharing programs. In North America, both Montreal and Mexico City have had successful biking-sharing programs up and running for over a year. And just last week Chicago started up its program which is modeled after the Paris program. Each bike comes with a lock, lights and brakes. The first hour is free and each additional half-hour is $2.50 for members, $10 for nonmembers. So far, there are 100 bikes and six locations. Minneapolis and Philadelphia are other cities with bike-sharing programs.

The Denver Post followed up with more extended interview in which Dan Maes, now the front-running candidate in the GOP primary, doubled down on his John Birch Society views.

"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?' But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty," Maes said.

He said he's worried for Denver because "Mayor Hickenlooper is one of the greatest fans of this program."

"Some would argue this document that mayors have signed is contradictory to our own Constitution," Maes said.

I'd like to think that lunacy that now reigns supreme in the GOP is unsustainable but I suspect before long another of these paranoid, conspiratorial-minded Tea Party loons will open his or her mouth and offer something even more outlandish and buffoonish.

Sharron Angle: "We Have Become a Country Entrenched in Idolatry"

In an interview with TruNews Christian Radio's Rick Wiles back in April, Sharron Angle, the Tea Party extremist who is now the GOP nominee for the Senate in Nevada, touches on her religious views going as far as to claim that government entitlement programs are a violation of the Bible's First Commandment - Thou Shalt Not Have Any Gods Before Me.

"And that's really what's happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment," said Angle, "we have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We're supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government."

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Angle: As believers we know that we have to lean on the Lord daily. And I’ll tell you in this political walk that I’m walking… and I think it is a calling that God has on my life. I have watched him walk with me through politics and help me to see the pitfalls of the political machinery, the seduction of the Party, and even those outside the Party: the lobbyists – all of that to say that the Lord shows me daily where he wants me to walk. And I think that’s what he always wants from us, is not to worry about tomorrow or what is past yesterday, but just take the troubles of the day and work through them with Him. My husband and I pray every morning together, and what we pray is that the Lord would order our day according to His will, not our own. We all have plans, but at the end of the day we need to be content with that thought that God has ordered this day and that he will work it to get it for our good according to Romans 8:28. And also those things in the Old Testament where he says the world means it for bad, but God means it for good.

Wiles: Sharron, why did you get in the race to defeat the biggest Democrat in the U.S. Senate, the majority leader of the entire Senate? Why did you get into this race?

Angle: We’re at war in this country – for our freedom, our culture, for our liberty, our Constitution, and we need a true, battle-tested, proven, Constitutional conservative to take out Harry Reid. It isn’t just about anybody but Harry. Harry is a consummate politician. He reinvents himself at each one of his elections as a conservative. And he has a record that works on both sides of the issue. So, we needed someone who can run to the right and stay to the right of this fellow. When he says that he’s voted seven times against partial-birth abortion, we need someone who can say, “And I have a better pro-life record than you, Harry Reid, and we don’t like the way you confirm our Supreme Court judges, who are all pro-choice. And we all know that the battle has been in the Supreme Court all along for life.” The same thing stands for those who love our Second Amendment. Harry Reid now has the NRA saying, “Thank Harry Reid for all his pro-gun votes.” Well, I have the GOA endorsement and we know that once again those Supreme Court judges would take away our right to keep and bear arms. I’m the only one in this race with a battle-tested, proven, Conservative record that I can stand on. The rest of them fall out in this area fighting Harry Reid. And I knew that all along when I started praying over a year ago over it. And this just seemed to be the battle that I needed to go to war with. And I need warriors to stand beside me. You know, this is a war of ideology, a war of thoughts and of faith. And we need people to really stand for faith and trust, not hope and change.

Wiles: Then I saw the report the other day that 47 percent of the American public will pay no income tax in this country this year. This explains the divide.

Angle: Yes.

Wiles: Half of the country is working to produce and pay the taxes and pay the bills, the other half is living off the taxpayers -- they’re living off the other 51 percent.

Angle: We’re right to that point in the graph where it says, “government dependency.” And we know that once we have a majority that are dependent upon the government, we will lose our freedom; it says we go into bondage. That’s the next stage. Our Founders warned against this. They said don’t… that your liberty is only as secure as the people are. Because once they, um, get the ability to vote themselves entitlements from the largesse of the government, liberty is done; freedom is over with. We were warned. We are there. We’re right on the cusp of it, and you’ve identified those numbers. That’s the war that we’re in. You know, when I talk about a war and a battle and soldiers we have to take up our…our cry for freedom. And we can do it right now at the battle box… I mean at the ballot box. I’m not sure what continues on after 2010. I know people are very frightened about what’s going on in this country. And these programs that you mentioned -- that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward -- are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government. And you’ve just identified the real crux of the problem. I’ve also been endorsed by a PAC out of Washington D.C. and the name of that PAC is Government is not God. And I thought that that was so appropriate because that is really what’s happening in our society and we need to take our country back.

You can listen to a snippet of her interview with TruNews Christian Radio's Rick Wiles here.

The Christian Right Meets Punk

Jason "Molotov" Mitchell, a former wedding videographer now 30, is the founder and president of the independent motion picture company Illuminati Pictures that is based in North Carolina. Founded in 2003, his production company has made over a hundred commercial projects, documentaries, music videos, and short films. He's also an evangelical Christian who has had the word "zealot" tattooed in Old English on his forearm and oh he advocates the death penalty for gays. The zealot is a reference to the Christian Zealot Movement that advocates an in your face, no holds barred radical if warped form of Christianity.

Anyone holding to the original tenets of Christianity has been labeled extremists, radicals, zealots.

And so it began, the birth of the Zealot Movement, an underground cause dedicated to the power and love of the Gospel, protected against misuse by the core tenets of the Four Pillars. No one can claim to be a zealot and a drug user at the same time, nor would he want to, considering the intensity of our opposition to that lifestyle. The same goes for the lukewarm believer and his fornication. The line has been drawn for the committed and noncommittal alike. There is forgiveness, but God’s grace is not a place to wipe your feet.

Our weapon of choice is music. Music, a force dating before the birth of man, is a sword with which we battle the powers of this world, and great for the breaking of chains and curses. We wage war in the underground through music and we will shatter the walls of this world’s empire, dead to ourselves and alive in Christ.

…We are children of the Sword, the face of Truth on a dying planet. We are the worldwide tribe and at the feet of our King the nations will bow. We are the pure and royal priesthood. All that we put our hands to must prosper. We are servants to man, relentless in our toil, driven by love of the Greatest Servant. We are the Brotherhood of Christ. Our family does not break like those of the fallen world. We are the enemies of injustice and defenders of those without defense. Our eyes are the coals of righteousness and our hearts burn with hatred for all that is evil. We are the warriors. We are the fearless. We are the Zealots.

Together with his wife Patricia who performs as DJ Dolce, they make videos for World Net Daily, the Internet site founded by Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, that is home to the most vile and offensive right wing hate found on the web today. If there is a conspiracy theory to expound, odds are that it first found wings on World Net Daily (WND).

Molotov Mitchell first gained notoriety in 2008 for producing 13-minute attack video called A Video Portrait of Barack Hussein Obama that pretty was a foretaste of all the right wing slurs that have been leveled at the President - that Obama is a Muslim who hates Christians, that he is foreign born, that he is a socialist, that he is a racist that hates white people. 

Prior to his assault on then candidate Obama, Mitchell produced and hosted a Christian, political, comedy talk show called "Flamethrower" which began airing nationally in October 2007 on a Christian television network called Faith TV. He came to the attention of WND over a episode that Faith TV refused to air called "All Things Islam" that show a likeness of the face of the Prophet Mohammed on a cookie. 

A regular weekly feature on WND is a "comedy" review of the week's news called "News, News" anchored by Molotov's wife DJ Dolce that so unfunny that it has to be backed by a laugh track. In an recent episode, DJ Dolce notes that it is unacceptable to use the n-word but perfectly fine to call Barney Frank a "faggot."

Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Timothy Kincaid notes the obvious: World Net Daily is a hate site.

World Net Daily makes no bones about being virulently anti-gay. However, most anti-gays make at least a shallow attempt not to say, “we don’t hate” and try to keep their language – in public – from including the worst slurs.

But it looks like WND has given up all pretenses.

WND has a recurring “comedy” feature called News! News! with D.J. Dolce, WorldNetDaily Exclusive Commentary. Dolce, the wife of Molotov Mitchell, shares her husband’s contempt for gay people. But while he masks his animus in religion (he endorses the death penalty for gay people using Scripture), Dolce just engages in slurs and endorses bigotry.

…It’s been a while since I’ve seen hatred expressed to blatantly in public.

Frankly, it was pretty obvious after this beauty:

Diaries

Advertise Blogads