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8353NEWS -- 2013.09.11.Wednesday -- 40 years ago today Pinochet 9-11

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  • James Martin
    Sep 11, 2013
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      40 years ago today, 9-11-1973, Pinochet -- orchestrated by Richard M. Nixon -- the United States caused the terrorism and bloodshed in Chile.
      The United States has a long, sorry history of this sort of thing. I'm surprised that anyone in Central America or in Vietnam likes us.  One thing for sure -- the Muslims have said "no" to our excursions around the planet.
      156 years ago today, 9-11-1857, the Mormon Mountain Meadows massacre occurred.
      Good christian people gone wild, behaving badly.
      Looks like Obama still does not have a clue.  But he knows he will lose the vote.
      Obama's government as a police state.
      Digby on the Barrett Brown government witch hunt farce.
      Take away quote:
      It's this sort of governmental overreach, harassment and intimidation that makes all the unctuous calls for "Ed" Snowden to come back and face a trial absurd. They drove Aaron Swarz to suicide.  They're harassing this guy into mental breakdown.  Why would anyone believe that the government would act in a fair manner toward someone like Snowden who's been accused of espionage on top of it all?
      1) Texas Refuses to Give Same Sex Marriage Benefits to Soldiers -- doesn't matter what the Supreme Court said
      2) U.S. Conservatives: Russia’s Gay Ban is Good for the ‘Natural Family’
      3) Conviction in slaying over 'existence of God'
      4) Colorado's recall vote: What the results mean for gun control
      5) Pro-life groups don't really protect the unborn
      6) In south Egypt, Islamists take over a town

      Texas Refuses to Give Same Sex Marriage Benefits to Soldiers

      --- click on URL to read the story, and to see the other links ---

      U.S. Conservatives: Russia’s Gay Ban is Good for the ‘Natural Family’

      --- click on URL to read the story, and to see the other links ---
      San Francisco Chronicle

      Conviction in slaying over 'existence of God'

      Henry K. Lee
      Updated 4:40 pm, Thursday, September 5, 2013

      An Oakland man has been convicted of first-degree murder for using an assault rifle to gun down a friend and wound another during an argument over the existence of God.

      Douglas Yim, 33, was found guilty by an Alameda County jury on Tuesday of killing Dzuy Dunh Phan, 25, of Alameda. Yim was also convicted of assault with a firearm and mayhem for wounding Paul Park of El Sobrante.

      He faces more than 100 years in prison at a November sentencing.

      Yim's attorney, Mario Andrews, said Thursday that his client "is not denying he shot Mr. Phan. It is our contention that the killing was manslaughter" because Yim was provoked.

      On April 2, 2011, Yim invited the two men to his home on Herriott Avenue in Maxwell Park to hang out and play video games, said Deputy District Attorney Allyson Donovan.

      All three men were using alcohol and drugs when Yim began arguing with Phan "about the existence of God and religion," Donovan said.

      Andrews said his client "is a religious man. He was trying to see if he could get Mr. Phan to become more religious."

      Park testified that Phan asked Yim why God wasn't present whenever Yim lost a video game - and when Yim's father had died several years earlier.

      The victims tried to calm Yim, and at one point Phan told Yim that if he wouldn't calm down, he should just get his gun.

      Yim got up, walked into his back bedroom and retrieved an AR-15 assault rifle that he illegally possessed, the prosecutor said.

      Yim shot Park through the wrist before shooting Phan six times - in the chest, stomach, arms, hand and in the head at close range, authorities said.

      Henry K. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: hlee@... Twitter: @henryklee


      Colorado's recall vote: What the results mean for gun control

      Peter Weber, Wednesday 11 September 2013The Week
      Two Colorado Democratic state senators, Angela Giron and Senate President John Morse, were voted out of office in a special election Tuesday, in Colorado's first-ever recall vote. Both were replaced by Republicans.

      The election was billed as a showdown over gun rights: Giron and Morse were important backers of four gun control laws passed earlier this year, and both the National Rifle Association and Michael Bloomberg, founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, wrote fat checks for their respective sides (the NRA contributed at least $362,000 to oust the two lawmakers; Bloomberg spent $350,000 to support them).

      Both sides of the bitter gun debate wanted to send a message with this election: Gun control opponents forced the recall vote to warn lawmakers in Colorado and across the country that voting for stricter gun laws has consequences; gun control advocates wanted to show that, after bloody mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., they now have the resources and muscle to defend lawmakers against the mighty NRA.

      In that light, this was a big win for the NRA and a big loss for gun control advocates. Morse, who represented a conservative-leaning district including Colorado Springs, narrowly lost, 51 percent to 49 percent (voter turnout: 21 percent). Giron, whose working-class district around Pueblo tilts Democratic, lost by a larger margin, 56 percent to 44 percent (voter turnout: 36 percent).

      "The results tonight will certainly be interpreted through the lens of the national gun debate," Denver political analyst Eric Sondermann tells Politico. "About whether it's safe to pursue this kind of legislation or whether to do it at your political peril." And the results probably will reverberate around the country, he adds. "I have to believe that the state representatives, the state senators in this and that state, would walk a little more hesitantly in this debate."

      As a practical matter, the NRA's win is less significant: Democrats will still hold a one-vote majority in the Colorado Senate, as well as control of the state House and governor's veto pen. The gun laws, including background checks for all gun purchases and 15-round limits for ammunition magazines, will still stand. "The sound and the fury, the noise and the money are far larger than the consequences" of this election, Colorado State Univeristy political scientist John Straayer tells The New York Times.

      Morse, who was on his way out anyway thanks to term limits, called his opponents' victory "purely symbolic" in his concession speech. "We made Colorado safer from gun violence," he added later. "If it cost me my political career, that's a small price to pay."

      That's a decent consolation prize for gun control supporters. But it's still the national fight that matters most, "by far," says Alec MacGillis at The New Republic. "There is only so much impact state laws can have when guns are so easily trafficked from states with lax regulations to ones with stricter ones." That's why gun control advocates are "still quietly working to line up just the handful of additional votes in the U.S. Senate" for nationwide gun control measures, MacGillis says. They hope to hold a vote before the midterm frenzy hits.

      That is, if those key senators don't take a cautionary message from the Colorado result. Gun control advocates are dearly hoping that legislators elsewhere will recognize the unique circumstances of the recall, and also recognize that, for once, the gun control side was actually in the fight in a big way, providing backup. [New Republic]

      Financially, the anti-recall side can "hardly plead the underdog on this one," says MacGillis. Thanks to liberal groups and philanthropists, they had far more money than the recall supporters. And they even had some help from new gun-control groups with canvassing neighborhoods and calling voters to drum up support. But the gun control side will have to do better if it wants to beat the gun lobby in the future, MacGillis notes:

      Even with the rise of a real grassroots movement of gun control advocates, [the NRA] still enjoys its famed "intensity gap" that makes it much easier to turn its supporters for an event like this: An off-cycle, one-off election at a time when most people are thinking more about making it to back to school night than heading to the polls. [New Republic]

      This was "an ugly chapter in Colorado's political history," says The Denver Post in an editorial. It was "an instance when recalls were used against elected officials not for malfeasance or corruption in office but for simply voting their consciences."

      We have repeatedly said it was inappropriate to launch recalls against Morse and Giron simply for their votes instead of waiting one year for regular elections. It was also a colossal waste of taxpayer money that ran well into six figures.... It's time to move on. It is not time, for either side, to ponder more ways to use the recall process to undermine our system of regular, democratic elections. Enough already. [Denver Post]

      My comment ---
      Americans love their guns.  Big guns.  One just needs to know how to flex 'um.
      Christian Science Monitor

      Pro-life groups don't really protect the unborn

      Pro-life groups funnel tremendous resources into a legal war against abortion in the US without providing adequate practical support for women to maintain pregnancies. Yet not being able to afford a child is one of the main reasons women have abortions.

      By Elizabeth JahrOp-ed contributor / September 4, 2013

      Arlington, Va.

      Religious and political groups that funnel tremendous resources into a legal war to limit and even ban abortion in America are at best, wasting time, and at worst, damaging efforts to protect the unborn. Texas’s new abortion law – one of the toughest in the country – is only the latest in a string of efforts to limit abortions in numerous states across the US. 

      Members of the pro-life movement spend countless dollars and hours on rallies and lobbying without providing adequate financial and emotional support for women to actually maintain pregnancies. And the majority of women who have abortions cite not being able to afford a child as one of the main reasons for their decision.

      Let’s look at, for example, the resources spent on one of the biggest spectacles of the pro-life movement, the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Supporters spend millions on the annual rally that draws hundreds of thousands to the American capital in January, around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

      As a college junior at a private Catholic school in Arlington, Va., I’ve witnessed the March for Life three times. Each year students who wish to attend are excused from classes to travel as a group to nearby Washington, D.C., to attend the march and a mass that precedes it. I have witnessed firsthand how significant the event can be to the people who attend it, but I was still surprised when I found out some Catholic dioceses are already recruiting for the March for Life in 2014. People are willing to plan and fundraise for months to attend a political event that lasts a few hours.
      The Diocese of Kansas City, for example, is currently charging $320 for adults and youth (the cost is much less for members of the clergy or religious life) to attend the march. Last year an estimated 650,000 people attended. For the sake of simple estimation, let’s say that even just a tenth of those attendees – 65,000 people – pay $320 to attend. That comes out to an estimated $20.8 million spent by individuals passionate enough to travel to Washington and protest the legality of abortion in the United States. All of this is, supposedly, to protect the life of the unborn.
      According to figures on the websites ehow.com, webmd.com, and vitaminshoppe.com, the average cost of prenatal care alone for an uninsured woman in a healthy pregnancy is around $3,146. That’s $1,862 for regular visits to the doctor, $1,000 for routine tests, $200 for an ultrasound, and $84 dollars for nine months of prenatal vitamins. 

      That’s just the cost of pre-natal care. That doesn’t include the cost of delivering the child, or the cost of raising that child for 18 years afterward. Nor does it include the cost to the government – and taxpayers – of managing children in foster care when their parents are unwilling or unable to care for them.

      It’s no surprise that, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute in 2005, 73 percent of women terminating their pregnancies cited not being able to afford a baby as a reason for their decision. 

      So while pro-life Americans spend millions of dollars on events geared toward making abortion illegal, there were 1.16 million women who came to the conclusion in 2009 (a figure that has steadily decreased since the 1990s) that they could not carry their child to term – many of them because of money. The money spent on the March for Life alone could pay for prenatal care for around 6,600 women, or prenatal vitamins for nearly 250,000.
      Even if those who participate in the March for Life were able to successfully revoke the legality of abortion in the US, or substantially limit the time in which women can obtain an abortion, statistics indicate that it wouldn’t necessarily protect the unborn. The Guttmacher Institute’s statistics show that abortion rates are higher in countries where it is illegal and procedures are often unsafe.

      Even more disheartening are statistics from the Turnaway Study done by The University of California, San Francisco, which showed that women who sought abortions and were turned away (because they had passed their state's gestational limits) were three times more likely to fall into poverty than women who obtained an abortion.

      A woman’s decision to have an abortion often stems from a very real and legitimate fear that she will not be able to care for a child. Pro-life supporters and activists spend incredibly large sums to take away that decision, but do not provide the equivalent practical support women need to have a baby. Is that really a fight for life? Or just a fight for a long sought-after political goal? It’s time the pro-life movement focuses its resources more on helping women and babies, not gaining legislative power that ultimately will do little to protect the unborn.

      Elizabeth Jahr is a senior at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. majoring in politics and theology and religious studies.

      My opinion --
      Rightwingers are all for the birthing event.  After that, the baby can starve to death.  Look how they want to cut social services and welfare.

      In south Egypt, Islamists take over a town

      By HAMZA HENDAWI | Associated Press – Friday 06 September 2013

      DALGA, Egypt (AP) — The Coptic Orthodox priest would only talk to his visitor after hiding from the watchful eyes of the bearded Muslim outside, who sported a pistol bulging from under his robe.

      So Father Yoannis moved behind a wall in the charred skeleton of an ancient monastery to describe how it was torched by Islamists and then looted when they took over this southern Egyptian town following the ouster of the country's president.

      "The fire in the monastery burned intermittently for three days. The looting continued for a week. At the end, not a wire or an electric switch is left," Yoannis told The Associated Press. The monastery's 1,600-year-old underground chapel was stripped of ancient icons and the ground was dug up on the belief that a treasure was buried there.

      "Even the remains of ancient and revered saints were disturbed and thrown around," he said.

      A town of some 120,000 — including 20,000 Christians — Dalga has been outside government control since hard-line supporters of the Islamist Mohammed Morsi drove out police and occupied their station on July 3, the day Egypt's military chief removed the president in a popularly supported coup. It was part of a wave of attacks in the southern Minya province that targeted Christians, their homes and businesses.

      Since then, the radicals have imposed their grip on Dalga, twice driving off attempts by the army to send in armored personnel carriers by showering them with gunfire.

      Their hold points to the power of hard-line Islamists in southern Egypt even after Morsi's removal — and their determination to defy the military-backed leadership that has replaced him.

      With the army and police already fighting a burgeoning militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, there are growing signs that a second insurgency could erupt in the south — particularly in Minya and Assiut provinces, both Islamist strongholds and both home to Egypt's two largest Christian communities.

      The takeover of Dalga has been disastrous for the Christian community in the town, located 270 kilometers (160 miles) south of Cairo in Minya, on the edge of the Nile Valley near the cliffs that mark the start of the desert.

      In the initial burst of violence, the town's only Catholic church was ransacked and set ablaze, like the Monastery of the Virgin Mary and St. Abraam. The Anglican church was looted.

      Some 40 Christian families have fled Dalga since, Yoannis said. Nearly 40 Christian-owned homes and stores have been attacked by Islamists, according to local Minya activists. Bandits from the nearby deserts joined the looting and burning, they said. To ensure the spread of fear, the attackers torched houses in all Christian neighborhoods, not just in one or two.

      Among the homes torched was that of Father Angelos, an 80-year-old Orthodox priest who lives close to the monastery. Yoannis' home was spared a similar fate by his Muslim neighbors. A 60-year-old Christian who fired from his roof to ward off a mob was dragged down and killed, the activists said.

      "Even if we had firearms, we would be reluctant to use them," said Yoannis. "We cannot take a life. Firing in the air may be our limit."

      Those who remain pay armed Muslim neighbors to protect them. Yoannis said his brother paid with a cow and a water buffalo. Most Christian businesses have been closed for weeks.

      Armed men can be seen in the streets, and nearly every day Islamists hold rallies at a stage outside the police station, demanding Morsi's reinstatement.

      Most Christians remain indoors as much as possible, particularly during the rallies. They say they are routinely insulted on the streets by Muslims, including children. Christian women stay home at all times, fearing harassment by the Islamists, according to multiple Christians who spoke to the AP. Most requested that their names not be published for fear of reprisals.

      "The Copts in Dalga live in utter humiliation," said local rights activist Ezzat Ibrahim. "They live in horror and cannot lead normal lives."

      None of the town's churches held Mass for a month, until Wednesday, when one was held in one of the monastery's two churches. About 25 attended, down from the usual 500 or more.

      "They don't want to see any Christian with any power, no matter how modest," Yoannis said of the hard-liners now running Dalga. "They only want to see us poor without money, a trade or a business to be proud of."

      Like other Christians in town, he said police and authorities were helpless to intervene.

      "Everyone keeps telling me that I should alert the police and the army," he said. "As if I hadn't done that already."

      At intervals, the 33-year-old father of three would stop talking, move carefully to the edge of a wall, stick his head out to check if someone was coming.

      His big worry was the bearded Muslim at the gate, Saber Sarhan Askar.

      Skinny with hawk-like hazelnut eyes, Askar is said by Dalga's Christians to have taken part in the torching and looting of the monastery. Outside the monastery that day, Askar was telling priests he was there to protect it. But the orders he yelled to other priests left no doubt who was in charge.

      "Bring us tea!" he barked at one priest. "I need something cold to drink!" he screamed at another soon after.

      School teacher and part-time entrepreneur Kromer Ishaq fled Dalga a day after the Islamists took over. The Islamists already were accusing his father in a family blood feud — a charge that could prompt the killing of Ishaq. Then on the night of the takeover, Ishaq's gold shop was broken into and looted.

      The son of a wealthy family, Ishaq fled with his extended family all the way to the Nile Delta north of Cairo, where he is now looking for work.

      "I used to employ people and now I'm looking for work. I once lived in a house I own and now I live in a rented apartment. You ask me what life is like? It's like black tar," Ishaq said by telephone.

      Dalga is the most extreme example of Islamist power in Minya — no other towns are known to be under such extreme lockdown. But the province in general has seen a surge in Islamist violence since the coup against Morsi.

      In the province, 35 churches have been attacked, including 19 completely gutted by fire. At least six Christian schools and five orphanages have been destroyed, along with five courthouses, seven police stations and six city council buildings. A museum in the city of Malawi was looted and ransacked.

      On Aug. 11, policemen suspected of loyalty to Morsi stormed the provincial police headquarters in Minya city. They dragged out the province's security chief and his top aide from their offices and ordered them both to leave the province. They did.

      Minya was the epicenter of an Islamic militant insurgency against the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in the 1980s and 1990s. It remains a stronghold of Islamists, including the extremist Gamaa Islamiya group. It also has the largest Christian community of any of Egypt's 29 provinces — at 35 percent of Minya's 4 million people, compared to around 10 percent nationwide.

      Over Egypt's past 2 ½ years of turmoil, Islamist strength has grown. Hundreds of jailed radicals who purportedly forswore violence — though not their hard-line ideology — were freed after Mubarak's 2011 fall and given the freedom to recruit. The south has seen a flood of heavy weapons smuggled across the desert from neighboring Libya.

      A top Interior Ministry official in Cairo said the Minya police force suffered large-scale infiltration by pro-Morsi Islamists. The local force is now under investigation by the ministry. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was still undergoing.

      The Minya security chief who fled the province, as well as two top aides, were replaced on Wednesday for what the Interior Ministry called the failure to maintain law and order.

      In the security vacuum, it has been Christians largely paying the price.

      Christian businessman Talaat Bassili recounted how on Aug. 15, dozens of men, some armed, stormed his home in the city of Malawi, not far from Dalga. For three hours, with no police or army in sight, the attackers made off with TV sets, washing machines, mobile phones, jewelry and cash.

      The attackers descended on the house from the scaffoldings of a mosque next door. In footage from Bassili's security camera, shown to AP, men in robes and boys in sandals try to force their way into the house, then finally blast away the lock with Kalashnikov assault rifles. Some loaded their loot into a donkey cart.

      Later, the footage shows Bassili, his wife Nahed Samaan — in a nightgown and a house robe — and son Fady leaving to take refuge with a neighbor.

      A week later, Bassili said a man called him on his mobile phone to ask whether he wanted to buy some of his stuff back.

      "I said no."

      My comment ---
      Echos of the destruction of the Library at Alexandria.