February 20th, 2011


Anonymous warns Westboro Baptist Church, "stop now, or else".

Vigilante “hacktivist” group Anonymous has a new target: Westboro Baptist Church. In an open letter to the notorious Kansas-based church, Anonymous promises “vicious” retaliation against the organization if they do not “cease & desist” their protest activities.

“We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated,” says the letter, “the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover.”

Led by pastor Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist has become infamous for picketing the funerals of US soldiers — events know as “Love Crusades” — and for their display of signs bearing inflammatory messages, like “God hates fags.” The church has long argued that their Constitutionally-protected right to freedom of speech allows them to continue their derogatory brand of religious activism.

Anonymous also considers itself an “aggressive proponent” of free speech, having recently launched attacks on organizations they consider to be enemies of that right: Companies like PayPal, Visa and Master Card, who stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks after the anti-secrecy organization released a massive cache of US embassy cables; and the government of Egypt, which attempted to cut off its people from the world by shutting down all Internet and mobile phone connections during protests there.

Other Anonymous targets include the Church of Scientology and, most recently, cyber-security company HBGary, which attempted to infiltrate Anonymous. In response, the loose-knit hacker group released 71,800 HBGary emails, which revealed highly dubious activities by the company, almost instantaneously destroying HBGary’s reputation and potentially setting it on a path to financial ruin.

According to the Westboro Baptist letter, Anonymous has “hitherto allowed [Westboro Baptist Church] to continue preaching [their] benighted gospel of hatred and [their]  theatrical exhibitions of, not only [their] fascist views, but [their] utter lack of Christ-like attributes” — specifically because Anonymous believes in free speech.

Not anymore, however. “The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex,” says the letter, “and we shall now be moved to action.”

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Before Anybody Asks: This Isn't From The Onion.

Hatred: The Hallmark of the Progressive-Left.

Just over a month ago, President Obama took to a stage in Arizona to decry what he perceived as the caustic nature of political discourse in our country. On this issue, and very few others, we agree. But Mr. Obama was delinquent in pointing out the individuals and organizations – the factions – responsible for stoking the fires of discontent and, dare I say, hatred. The unspoken reason for this omission is because most – if not all – of the caustic rhetoric – the unbridled hatred – comes from the Progressive Left and there are myriad examples to prove the point beyond argument.
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Abortion rights are under attack, and pro-choice advocates are caught in a time warp

Abortion rights activist Frances Kissling on why the movement is stuck in the past

In the nearly four decades since the Supreme Court ruled that women have a fundamental right to decide to have an abortion, the opposition to legal abortion has increased dramatically. Opponents use increasingly sophisticated arguments - focusing on advances in fetal medicine, stressing the rights of parents to have a say in their minor children's health care, linking opposition to abortion with opposition to war and capital punishment, seeking to make abortion not illegal but increasingly unavailable - and have succeeded in swinging public opinion toward their side.

Meanwhile, those of us in the abortion-rights movement have barely changed our approach. We cling to the arguments that led to victory in Roe v. Wade. Abortion is a private decision, we say, and the state has no power over a woman's body. Those arguments may have worked in the 1970s, but today, they are failing us, and focusing on them only risks all the gains we've made.


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buffy is sad
  • wemblee

Libyan Forces Fire On Mourners At Funeral Again

CAIRO – Libyan forces fired machine-guns at mourners marching in a funeral for anti-government protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi Sunday, a day after commandos and foreign mercenaries loyal to longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi pummeled demonstrators with assault rifles and other heavy weaponry.
A doctor at one Benghazi hospital said 15 people died in Sunday's clashes. Earlier he said his morgue had received at least 200 dead from six days of unrest. The doctor said his hospital, one of two in Libya's second-largest city, is out of supplies and cannot treat more than 70 wounded in similar attacks on mourners Saturday and other clashes.

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That's some fucked up shit. Also, the Libyan people are seriously amazing. ;_;


THOUSANDS of men blocked the road, surrounding the S.U.V. of the chief justice of Pakistan, a national hero for standing up to military rule. As a correspondent for The Chicago Tribune, I knew I couldn’t just watch from behind a car window. I had to get out there.

So, wearing a black headscarf and a loose, long-sleeved red tunic over jeans, I waded through the crowd and started taking notes: on the men throwing rose petals, on the men shouting that they would die for the chief justice, on the men sacrificing a goat.


I'm only posting the first 2 paragraphs here because, as mentioned in the post title, this article discusses rape and sexual harassment and therefore may be triggering. The rest of the article can be read at the New York Times
The X-Files // Scully Glasses

British gay Muslims seek Islamic weddings

British gay Muslims are joining the global fight for equality and seeking gay Islamic marriage. The BBC's 5 live Investigates speaks to one couple about their 'nikah' - a Muslim matrimonial contract - and asks how they balance their sexuality with the Islamic faith.

"We met about three years ago, at an iftar - a breaking of fast during Ramadan.

"I think a lot of Muslims find that time of year very spiritual and very enlightening, and so I think that's why our relationship developed, because we spoke about our faith."

"Eventually we went on a date."

Asra recalls the first time she met her partner, Sarah, three years ago. The gay couple, who are also Muslim, are one of a growing number of gay, British Muslims who have cemented their relationship with marriage - Islamic marriage.

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A really interesting read (and yes, I might have gone overboard with the bolding). I really hate this idea that queer and trans people of faith have to choose between their sexuality and/or gender identity and their faith. I hope that more and more queer and trans people can find acceptance and love within their own faith. And I am absolutely shocked that there's Islamophobia in the queer community. On a less serious note, how cute are Asra and Sarah? "I wanted to wear leather, but Asra wouldn't let me." X3

Ye Old Fox News: Freakish Giant Flees Illinois to Save Socialist Bank

Jacksonian Democrats to Hunt Down Fleeing State Representative.

FLASHBACK: Abraham Lincoln Wrote Playbook For Wisconsin Dems Who Fled State

Wisconsin Democratic state senators who fled the state to block Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) union busting said today they have “no plans to return to the state until Walker could reach a reasonable negotiation with state employees.” Republican politicians and conservative commentators have lambasted the state senators all week for their supposed “dereliction of duty.” But those in the Party of Lincoln should look to the 16th president before they criticize the Wisconsin Democrats.

Indeed, 170 years before the Wisconsin Democrats fled Madison to deny a quorum, then-state Rep. Abraham Lincoln was fleeing the capitol in Springfield, IL — via a window, no less — to do the same in an attempt to save the State Bank of Illinois:
[Democrats] agreed to allow [the bank] to suspend its obligation to exchange its paper money for specie, but only for the remainder of the legislative session.

That’s when Lincoln determined to keep the legislature in session in order to buy precious time for the bank to find a way to survive, and that’s how he jumped into the national limelight on December 5, 1840. On that date, the Democrats proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That’s when Lincoln made his move. He headed for the second story, opened a window and jumped to the ground!
Lincoln’s efforts failed, sadly, and “the bank was killed.” But as the Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday, “The tactic of quorum avoidance by simply leaving dates back at least to the days when the U.S. Constitution was being debated”:
Legislators tried to stymie passage [of the Constitution] in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts that way, and some in Pennsylvania had to be dragged out of a tavern to vote. The Constitution passed.

There have been at least four occasions of blocking a quorum in Wisconsin’s legislature alone. … And one representative in 1951, Rep. Ruth Doyle, had to be retrieved from the women’s bathroom for a vote on a resolution for the legislature to hear Gen. Douglas MacArthur speak.
Indeed, the tactic has been used in the U.S. Senate on occasion as well. More recently, the tactic garnered national headlines in 2003 when Texas Democrats fled to New Mexico to block a GOP redistricting effort. Eliot Shapleigh, one of the “Texas Eleven” is now advising the Wisconsin Democrats. “Stay close. When one gets picked off, the game’s over,” Shapleigh told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday.

Lincoln’s Jump into the National Spotlight

Abraham Lincoln's first success in the world of politics came when he won a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. He learned the craft quickly and by 1840, he was in a life and death struggle with the Democrats over the Illinois State Bank in Springfield. This set the stage for one of the most bizarre episodes in the career of Abraham Lincoln.

Now it just so happened that Illinois was in deep financial trouble in 1840. Its bank had given out more paper money than it had gold and silver in reserve. That's when the Democrats saw their chance to destroy the despised institution. They agreed to allow it to suspend its obligation to exchange its paper money for specie, but only for the remainder of the legislative session.

That's when Lincoln determined to keep the legislature in session in order to buy precious time for the bank to find a way to survive, and that's how he jumped into the national limelight on December 5, 1840. On that date, the Democrats proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That's when Lincoln made his move. He headed for the second story, opened a window and jumped to the ground!

For a while Lincoln's escape denied the House its quorum, but it didn't last long. He was returned to the chambers and the House voted to adjourn.

Although Abraham Lincoln wasn't able to prevent the vote on adjournment that day, his determined antics put him in the media spotlight for the first time. The newspapers couldn't resist telling their readers of "Mr. Lincoln's celebrated leap" from the 2nd story and how it "caused him no harm because his legs reached nearly from the window to the ground."

They knew they had not heard the last of Abraham Lincoln. Any politician who was willing to jump out of a window on principle was bound to amount to something some day.
TV | Peggy Olson

LIVE POST: Protests/Government Violence in N. Africa/Mid-East.

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Separate submissions related to the protests may likely be rejected. Please link articles in THIS post for discussion/entry spotlights.

How the government keeps us safe

Hiding Details of Dubious Deal, U.S. Invokes National Security

WASHINGTON — For eight years, government officials turned to Dennis Montgomery, a California computer programmer, for eye-popping technology that he said could catch terrorists. Now, federal officials want nothing to do with him and are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his dealings with Washington stay secret.

The Justice Department, which in the last few months has gotten protective orders from two federal judges keeping details of the technology out of court, says it is guarding state secrets that would threaten national security if disclosed. But others involved in the case say that what the government is trying to avoid is public embarrassment over evidence that Mr. Montgomery bamboozled federal officials.

A onetime biomedical technician with a penchant for gambling, Mr. Montgomery is at the center of a tale that features terrorism scares, secret White House briefings, backing from prominent Republicans, backdoor deal-making and fantastic-sounding computer technology.

Interviews with more than two dozen current and former officials and business associates and a review of documents show that Mr. Montgomery and his associates received more than $20 million in government contracts by claiming that software he had developed could help stop Al Qaeda’s next attack on the United States. But the technology appears to have been a hoax, and a series of government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Air Force, repeatedly missed the warning signs, the records and interviews show.

Mr. Montgomery’s former lawyer, Michael Flynn — who now describes Mr. Montgomery as a “con man” — says he believes that the administration has been shutting off scrutiny of Mr. Montgomery’s business for fear of revealing that the government has been duped.

“The Justice Department is trying to cover this up,” Mr. Flynn said. “If this unravels, all of the evidence, all of the phony terror alerts and all the embarrassment comes up publicly, too. The government knew this technology was bogus, but these guys got paid millions for it.”

Justice Department officials declined to discuss the government’s dealings with Mr. Montgomery, 57, who is in bankruptcy and living outside Palm Springs, Calif. Mr. Montgomery is about to go on trial in Las Vegas on unrelated charges of trying to pass $1.8 million in bad checks at casinos, but he has not been charged with wrongdoing in the federal contracts, nor has the government tried to get back any of the money it paid. He and his current lawyer declined to comment.

The software he patented — which he claimed, among other things, could find terrorist plots hidden in broadcasts of the Arab network Al Jazeera; identify terrorists from Predator drone videos; and detect noise from hostile submarines — prompted an international false alarm that led President George W. Bush to order airliners to turn around over the Atlantic Ocean in 2003.

The software led to dead ends in connection with a 2006 terrorism plot in Britain. And they were used by counterterrorism officials to respond to a bogus Somali terrorism plot on the day of President Obama’s inauguration, according to previously undisclosed documents.

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It's almost reminiscent of Hitler trying to find Allied ships in the Atlantic using psychics and pendulums. But I guess it's easy to sell snake oil when it fits your confirmatory bias of secret messages in Arab news or terrorists everywhere.

Tea Party plan to impersonate union protesters: “Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quo

Great thanks to viscous_rumors for linking me to this typical piece of tea bagger excrement, brought to you by radio personality Mark Williams:

That link will take you to an SEIU page where you can sign up as an “organizer” for one of their upcoming major rallies to support the union goons in Wisconsin.

… (1) I signed up as an organizer (2) with any luck they will contact me and I will have an “in” (3) in or not I will be there and am asking as many other people as can get there to come with, all of us in SEIU shirts (those who don’t have them we can possibly buy some from vendors likely to be there) (4) we are going to target the many TV cameras and reporters looking for comments from the members there (5) we will approach the cameras to make good pictures… signs under our shirts that say things like “screw the taxpayer!” and “you OWE me!” to be pulled out for the camera (timing is important because the signs will be taken away from us) (6) we will echo those slogans in angry sounding tones to the cameras and the reporters. (7) if I do get the ‘in’ I am going to do my darnedest to get podium access and take the mic to do that rant from there…with any luck and if I can manage the moments to build up to it, I can probably get a cheer out of the crowd for something extreme.

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If you don't remember Mr. Williams, he's the lovely man who, when complaining about the Cordoba House, described it as a place for "terrorists to worship their monkey god". He's also gone on CNN saying "racists have their own movement. It's called the NAACP." He has been posted about on ONTD_P in the past.

George W. Bush cancels trip because sanctioning torture actually has consequences

Bush’s Shrinking World: George W. Bush Cancels Europe Trip as Human Rights Lawyers Threaten Legal Action over Torture

Former President George W. Bush has been forced to cancel a planned trip to Switzerland after human rights attorneys threatened to take legal action against him for sanctioning the use of torture. The Center for Constitutional Rights said they had planned to bring a complaint on behalf of two men who were tortured by U.S. interrogators and held at the military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. "It was disappointing that we’re not able to actually prosecute him," says CCR legal director Bill Quigley. "But I think it has shown worldwide that even though he was the president of the United States, if you engage in torture... there are consequences."

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  • mswyrr

the international league for pizza and freedom

From Cairo to Madison, some pizza
By: Meredith Shiner
February 20, 2011 04:05 PM EST

MADISON, Wis. — Someone in Egypt has been paying attention to what’s happening in Madison and wanted to send a message of solidarity from across the globe — so they ordered a pizza.

It might seem like a small gesture, but it’s overwhelming to the staff at Ian’s on State Street — a campus staple mere blocks from the Capitol — where in the last few days, they’ve fielded calls from concerned citizens of 12 countries, and 38 out of 50 states looking to donate money to provide free pizza to the Wisconsinites who have congregated here.

On Saturday alone, Ian’s gave away 1,057 free slices in their store and delivered more than 300 pizzas to the Capitol itself.

By 2 p.m. local time Sunday, they’d given away 351 slices and sent countless other full pies to the rotunda, where protesters have been gathering since well before noon. As a few locals stood waiting for their slices, an Ian’s staffer went to the chalkboard hanging behind the register and wrote, “Turkey” in big block letters and co-workers expressed a sense of disbelief.

“I don’t think we started it,” said Ryan O’Connor, a sophomore at a local technical school who works the register at Ian’s. “We made a post to our Facebook page because of the volume of calls we already had been getting unprompted.”

O’Connor said Ian’s got its first call Thursday when a mother of a University of Wisconsin student called and offered to donate $200 to help feed the people her daughter told her had flooded the Capitol. Since then, the outpouring of money from all over the world has put the pizza-makers into overdrive.

The blackboard behind the counter lists the “countries donating” as “Korea, Finland, Egypt, Denmark, Australia, US, Canada, Germany, China, London, Netherlands, Turkey” and has the abbreviations for all 50 states listed below, with donating states circled. As of Sunday afternoon, 38 states had been marked as contributors.

The small pizza chain with locations in Madison and Chicago has been using Facebook and Twitter to take what started as one phone call and make it into an international movement. Saturday night, the State Street location was so overwhelmed by orders it had to cease its delivery operations. But employees still are finding time to update the restaurant’s social media pages to keep the pizza revolution going and share with the world their chalkboard progress.

“This is astounding!” Ian’s posted Saturday to twitter.


Facebook page of Ian's Pizza.

Heard about this from multred_a. Kind of made me tear up, NGL.

I guess it's that time again. C'mere, Egypt! HUG TEIM NAO.

MISC - moustache

Wisconsin roundup 2/20

I am speaking to you from a place very close to Tahrir Square in Cairo, "Liberation Square", which was the heart of the Revolution in Egypt. This is the place were many of our youth paid with their lives and blood in the struggle for our just rights.

From this place, I want you to know that we stand with you as you stood with us.

I want you to know that no power can challenge the will of the people when they believe in their rights. When they raise their voices loud and clear and struggle against exploitation.

No one believed that our revolution could succeed against the strongest dictatorship in the region. But in 18 days the revolution achieved the victory of the people. When the working class of Egypt joined the revolution on 9 and 10 February, the dictatorship was doomed and the victory of the people became inevitable.

We want you to know that we stand on your side. Stand firm and don't waiver. Don't give up on your rights. Victory always belongs to the people who stand firm and demand their just rights.

We and all the people of the world stand on your side and give you our full support.

As our just struggle for freedom, democracy and justice succeeded, your struggle will succeed. Victory belongs to you when you stand firm and remain steadfast in demanding your just rights.

We support you. we support the struggle of the peoples of Libya, Bahrain and Algeria, who are fighting for their just rights and falling martyrs in the face of the autocratic regimes. The peoples are determined to succeed no matter the sacrifices and they will be victorious.

Today is the day of the American workers. We salute you American workers! You will be victorious. Victory belongs to all the people of the world, who are fighting against exploitation, and for their just rights.

The protests that erupted last week in Wisconsin have attracted attention not only across the United States, but even as far away as Egypt. One of those out-of-state observers, Maine state Rep. Diane Russell (D), has decided that what is happening in Madison is so important -- even to her own Northeastern state -- that she has decided to pack up a vehicle and drive all the way out there with three of her friends to join the fight.

"I wanted to be there to show solidarity," said Russell in an interview Sunday evening with The Huffington Post as she was driving through New Hampshire. "I'm coming because if the levees break in Madison, everyone gets flooded."

Russell has been raising money through her website for the trip, which includes providing protesters with hot chocolate, coffee and hand-warmers -- cold-weather necessities for standing outside for hours in Wisconsin. She said that she had raised more than $1,000 in total. She is also tweeting and posting updates about her trip.

In an e-mail to her supporters she made clear that she believes what Walker is doing doesn't have anything to do with closing a budget gap. "This war isn't about the unions: it's a class war," she wrote. "This affects every worker and every member of the Middle Class -- what's left of it."

Last week I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them. Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work.

It is an honor for me to play for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and be a part of the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. I am also honored as a member of the NFL Players Association to stand together with working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against this attempt to hurt them by targeting unions. I hope those leading the attack will sit down with Wisconsin’s public workers and discuss the problems Wisconsin faces, so that together they can truly move Wisconsin forward.

Tensions remained high in Wisconsin on Sunday as Gov. Scott Walker (R) remained in a standoff with state public employees unions and Democratic legislators over a proposal that would not only require greater employee contributions to state benefits packages but also strip state employees of most of their collective bargaining and union rights.

In one development, one of the unions that did support Walker in the 2010 election, the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association (and would benefit from his plan)-- has released a statement repudiating the union's endorsement.

"I specifically regret the endorsement of the Wisconsin Trooper's Association for Gov. Scott Walker," executive board president Tracy Fuller writes in a statement dated February 16. "I regret the governor's decision to 'endorse' the troopers and inspectors of the Wisconsin State Patrol. I regret being the recipient of any of the perceived benefits provided by the governor's anointing. I think everyone's job and career is just as significant as the others. Everyone's family is just as valuable as mine or any other persons, especially mine. Everyone's needs are just as valuable. We are all great people!!"

Texas to pass bill allowing handguns on college campuses

More than half the members of state's house of representatives are co-authors of measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns.

Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus.

More than half the members of the state's house of representatives are the co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns.

The state's senate passed a similar bill in 2009, and is expected to do so again.

The Republican governor, Rick Perry, who sometimes carries a pistol when he jogs, supports the idea.

Texas is one of about a dozen states considering allowing weapons on university campuses. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a law.

Colorado gives colleges the option, and several allow handguns.


No bolding, because it's a very short article.