The federal government is accusing a Miami business of having forced employees to practice Scientology.
Dynamic Medical Services, which provides medical and chiropractic treatment, is accused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of having compelled at least four of its employees to participate in Scientology religious practices, and of having fired two for their refusal.
The company, in a statement faxed to ABC News, says it prides itself on the diversity of its staff and that it denies that it engaged in any improper or unlawful actions with regard to its employees. It intends, it says, to vigorously defend itself against the government’s “baseless allegations” and expects to be vindicated.
The Church of Scientology did not respond to requests for comment by ABC News.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, filed May 8, Dynamic Medical, owned by Dr. Dennis Nobbe, violated federal law by requiring employees named in the suit to spend at least half their work days in courses that involved “Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving.”
A few days after the Boston bombings, Stella Tremblay went to Glenn Beck’s Facebook page to express her conviction that the terror attack was, in fact, orchestrated by the U.S. government.
“The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack,” she wrote. “One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now ‘terrorist’ attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a ‘wake up’ to all of us.”
She then linked to a video at Infowars.com called Proof! Boston Marathon Bombing is Staged Terror Attack.
Tremblay’s post, though, stood out from the wave of post-attack crazy because of her day job: she is a New Hampshire state legislator.
Like too many enthusiastic dupes, the Republican representative was echoing conspiracy entrepreneurs like Beck and InfoWars’ Alex Jones, who blend dark alternate history with a dystopian future, offering the listeners the “secret truth.”
Tremblay is part of a disturbing trend of - conservative state legislators and even congressmen entertaining conspiracy theories that are creepy and unseemly coming from average citizen, but a sign of civic rot when they start getting parroted by elected officials.
Of course, craziness is a bipartisan issue, with Republicans frequently pointing to former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as a Democratic example - but the right has been particularly prone to paranoia since Bush Derangement Syndrone on the leftt gave way to an epic case of Obama Derangement Syndrome from the other side.
This week in Missouri, state legislators voted to cut funding for the state’s divers license bureau because it had been tasked in 2003 with also overseeing concealed-carry permits. The wife of state Rep. Kenneth Wilson explained - in the words of the Columbia Tribune - that the bureau “was part of a plot to impose United Nations policies in this country. ‘I have been doing some study on U.N. Agenda 21,’ Melissa Wilson… told the committee. ‘With this information going to the federal government, I feel that I will be a target. With Agenda 21, I will be someone who will be put on a watch list.’” She added that Agenda 21 is being pushed through in part because of a mass brainwashing known as the Delphi Technique.
Some interesting points:
There is nothing remotely left-wing, or anything other than right wing, about the ideology promoted by people like the Aryan Nations and the Ku Klux Klan and American Renaissance and a whole bevy of other hate groups out there operating in America today. The notion that they are not from the political right is simply risible.
It just depends where on the very real spectrum of right-wing thought each happens to fall. You see, the reason they call these people right wing extremists is that they begin with simple, perhaps even mainstream, conservative positions and extend them to their most outrageous and illogical extreme.
Conservatives are, for instance, skeptical of the power of the federal government to intervene in civil-rights matters; right-wing extremists believe it has no such power whatsoever, but it has been usurped by a Jewish conspiracy that is imposing its will on white people.
Conservatives are skeptical of internationalism and entities like the United Nations.
Right-wing extremists believe the U.N. represents a diabolical plot to overthrow American sovereignty and impose totalitarian rule.
Conservatives believe that abortion is murder of a living being and oppose its use on demand.
Right-wing extremists believe that this justifies committing murder and various violent crimes in order to prevent it.
Conservatives believe affirmative action is a form of reverse discrimination.
Right-wing extremists believe it is part of a plot to oppress white people.
Conservatives oppose taxation, and tax increases in particular, on principle.
Right-wing extremists believe that the IRS is an illegitimate institution imposed on the body politic by the aforementioned Jewish conspiracy.
Conservatives oppose increased immigration on principle and illegal immigration as a matter of law enforcement, and believe the borders should be secure.
Right-wing extremists believe that Mexicans are coming here as part of an “Aztlan” conspiracy to retake the Southwest for Mexico, and that we should start shooting border crossers on sight.
I think this is the best-case scenario.
More: Right-Wingers Use Boston Bombing to Paper Over Their Own Extremist Terror
The U.S. Supreme Court appears more likely to overturn part of the Defense of Marriage Act after oral arguments in a case challenging the law’s constitutionality.
The Court is “80% likely to strike down” DOMA because Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is expected to be the swing vote in the case, “suggests it violated states’ rights,” Scotusblog tweeted after Wednesday’s oral arguments.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin agreed.
“I think DOMA’s in trouble,” Toobin said, “and I think it’s in trouble because Anthony Kennedy was repeatedly concerned that the Defense of Marriage Act violates states’ rights.”
In the case, United States vs. Windsor, Edith Windsor sued the federal government, claiming that DOMA violated her constitutional guarantee to equal protection under the law. Windsor married her same-sex partner, Thea Spyer, in Canada. When Spyer passed away, she left her estate to Windsor, who then had to pay $363,000 in federal estate taxes. She would not have had to pay those taxes if the federal government recognized her marriage.
Automatic spending cuts due to go into effect March 1 would likely extend U.S. reliance on Russia for human spaceflight, delay development of badly-needed next-generation weather satellites, and force a reduction in radar scans searching for space debris, according to Obama administration officials.
That’s if Congress and the White House don’t act to avoid the across-the-board cuts, which will be automatically triggered at the end of next week without a compromise on how to deal with the federal government’s budget deficit.
NASA would lose about $894 million from its current budget outlook in the period between March 1 and Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2013.
More: Spaceflight Now
Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro created a bit of a stir last week when he alleged that Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee to be the next secretary of defense, may have ties to an organization called “Friends of Hamas.”
On Wednesday, after reporters at mainstream publications could find no evidence of any such organization even existing, Shapiro* Breitbart News doubled down: “The mainstream media have ignored the fact that at least one prominent supporter of Hamas has donated money to an organization associated with former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)—namely, the Atlantic Council, which receives support from the Hariri family of Lebanon, whose most prominent member, former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, publicly backs Hamas.”
The Atlantic Council is, like many such vaguely named D.C. institutions, a repository for pretty much anyone who has ever held a high-ranking foreign policy position in the federal government. If Shapiro is correct, Hagel should be the least of our worries; every administration since the 1960s has been corrupted by Hamas:
Condoleezza Rice: Bush’s second secretary of state—and Atlantic Council honorary director—hid her connections to Hamas by refusing to negotiate with it.
William Webster: The only man to ever helm the CIA and the FBI, Webster served under Presidents Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush and is an honorary director at the Atlantic Council.
Robert Gates: Gates, an honorary director, was George W. Bush’s last Secretary of Defense (and President Obama’s first).
James A. Baker, III: An honorary director of the Atlantic Council, Baker served as a chief of staff for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
No matter how you look at it this is a heart breaking story about one of our bravest.
WASHINGTON (CBSDC)— The Navy SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden is not getting health care or an income from the federal government.
The Shooter tells Esquire magazine that when he retired from the SEALs last September, he and his family lost health care coverage.
“I left SEALs on Friday,” he told Esquire. “My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You’re out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your 16 years. Go f*** yourself.”
Since the Shooter left before 20 years, he currently gets no income from the military or pension.
“He gave so much to his country, and now it seems he’s left in the dust. I feel there’s no support, not just for my family but for other families in the community,” the Shooter’s wife explained to Esquire. “I honestly have nobody I can go to or talk to. Nor do I feel my husband has gotten much for what he’s accomplished in his career.”
The two are separated but still live in the same house with their kids due to financial reasons.
The Shooter discussed with Esquire the witness-protection-like program the Defense Department would set him up with should his name ever get out.
“They [SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee,” he said. “”We’d lose everything.”
In case there is some type of retaliatory attack against him for bin Laden’s death, he taught his children to hide in a bathroom in the most fortified part of their house.
“[M]y family is always going to be at risk. It’s just a matter of finding coping strategies,” the Shooter’s wife explained.
Think about this for a minute, especially if you are a Texan. The taxpayers of Texas will now have to pick up approximately 31.5 million dollars in services, and the bulk of those dollars will go to anti-choice church backed clinics once Planned Parenthood is taken out of the picture. Are average Texans really so backward that they think it’s ok not to have family planning that includes abortion and contraception advice that’s not packaged with religion? Are Texans really so misogynistic that they are going to let loud mouthed religious zealots set health policy for most Women in Texas?
In the latest of a series of legal proceedings about the women’s health program, a judge ruled Monday that Texas could cut off state funding from Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and client Marcela Balquinta filed for a temporary restraining order to keep the provider in the new state women’s health program that is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1.
The provider will get another chance at a temporary injunction at another hearing on Jan. 11, but in the meantime, the Planned Parenthood will not be a part of the state-run women’s health program when it launches tomorrow.
Visiting Judge Gary Harger ruled that Texas may exclude the otherwise qualified provider as part of the state’s ban on abortion affiliates from the program, the Associated Press reports.
“It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women,” said Ken S. Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. “Regardless of what happens in the courts, Planned Parenthood will be here for our patients. Our doors remain open today and always to Texas women in need. We only wish Texas politicians shared this commitment to Texas women, their health, and their well being.”
Until today, the federal government paid for 90 percent of the $35 million program, but that match expired because Texas chose to switch to a state-funded version of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program that purposefully excluded Planned Parenthood as an approved provider.
I have to agree - even with the new demand for controls in the wake of the Newtown Massacre the only limits and regulations that possibly can pass will be minor ones that can also withstand the scrutiny of the Supremes.
It’s a sign of the legalization of American politics that activists worry about being thwarted by the Supreme Court even before they’ve managed to pass anything: Although they haven’t yet squeezed any new regulations through Congress or the state legislatures, gun-control advocates already fear that the Supreme Court will invalidate whatever progress they achieve.
They should stop sweating. Despite its turn to the right on gun control, the Supreme Court should almost certainly uphold any of the new regulations that have a chance of being enacted, according to the logic of its decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. Both liberal and conservative judges, from Justice John Paul Stevens on the left to Judges Richard Posner and J. Harvie Wilkinson on the right, denounced the decisions when they were handed down. But both decisions were relatively narrow, prohibiting states from imposing total bans on the firearms in the home. They shouldn’t be read to threaten the kinds of regulations that states and the federal government are currently debating—including an effective federal database for permit holders. The problem with the constitutional debate over guns, in other words, isn’t the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decisions but an over-reading of them by a handful of lower court judges—mostly notably, Posner himself.
Heller and McDonald struck down the two most restrictive gun regulations in the country—Chicago and D.C.’s total bans on gun possession in the home. No other state or municipality had similarly sweeping bans on private gun possession, and in this sense, the Court was playing a familiar role of bringing state and local outliers in line with a national consensus. Since the decisions came down, there have been hundreds of civil and criminal challenges to gun control laws, and the vast majority of them have been unsuccessful. Unfortunately, a few lower courts have seized on language in Heller and McDonald to strike down state laws that forbid felons from possessing firearms, for example, or that require applicants for concealed carry permits to show a “good and substantial reason.”
The killing of 27 people in Newtown, Conn., has focused the nation’s conversation on the issue of gun control. Legislators have announced they will revisit the federal ban on assault weapons which expired in 2004, while also looking to prohibit high-capacity magazines and to close loopholes that allow buyers to purchase firearms at gun shows without a background check.
However, mental health experts say there is something Congress must do immediately to keep the country safe and it has nothing to do with gun control-avoid the fiscal cliff.
The federal government has already cut public mental health services in the U.S. to the tune of $4 billion over the past five years and closed 4,000 psychiatric beds since 2008.
“Maybe that would be OK if we had replaced them with community services,” says Ron Honberg, the national director for policy and legal affairs at the National Alliance on Mental Health. “When you close hospitals and do nothing for the patients leaving them, it is a prescription for disaster.