You are browsing the archive for 2014 March 06.

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Wife of Outspoken Dead Judge Weighs in on Depressing Saga of Woody Allen, and Mia and Dylan Farrow

March 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Betty Levinson, AlterNet

It is hard to say which among Dylan Farrow’s experiences are the most heart-wrenching.


As an attorney with over three decades of experience advocating for women and children whose lives have been blighted, some by domestic violence and some by childhood sexual abuse, and as the widow of Elliott Wilk, the judge in the Allen v. Farrow custody case, my interest in Dylan Farrow’s recent disclosures of sexual abuse by Woody Allen is both professional and personal.

Because of Allen’s celebrity, I fear that his deceptive words of denial will reverberate in a way that further silences mothers of child abuse victims, as well as adult survivors, who would otherwise seek justice in our courts. This is one of the reasons his reliance on a flawed forensic report and the testimony of other mental health practitioners, lacking expertise about sexual abuse, is so troubling.

The role of mental health evidence in cases of domestic violence and child sexual abuse has evolved over the last 35 years. Back then, medical and social science research about these atrocities was still in a state of relative infancy. “Domestic violence” was still called “wife beating,” and like cancer, was rarely spoken about in public. Many psychiatrists, trained in the orthodoxies of that profession in those times, viewed its victims as mentally ill masochists. Discussion of child sexual abuse was even more taboo, particularly incest.

Representing a mother whose child was sexually abused by an intimate partner has always been difficult. Allen’s attack on the credibility of Mia Farrow, which was specifically determined to be without basis at trial, is now renewed, again echoing the misogynistic voices in American law that trivialize violence against women and children. This places the mothers of abused children in the untenable position of being savaged as vengeful women, lashing out against the men who have “spurned” them, or being charged with being neglectful parents who have failed to protect their children.

Many attorneys who represented men accused of child sexual abuse and domestic violence resorted to the primitive view that women are unworthy of belief. In one case counsel argued that …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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18 Outrageous Things CPAC's Right-Wingers Have Said in Public

March 6, 2014 in Blogs

By Josh Eidelson, Salon

With the right-wing confab starting, here are some golden oldies — like comparing gay people to alcoholics.


Starting this week, conservative activists converge in Maryland – along with a healthy complement of journalists (this one included) – to hear from top Republicans and leading voices of the modern right. Controversy is basically inevitable.

But CPAC’s top stars will have a high bar to clear if they want to outdo themselves in the provocation department. Here are some head-turning past comments from headlinershighlighted on CPAC’s site — on black people, gay people, “takers” and much more:

“Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender.” – Rick Perry, 2008

“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia.” – Wayne LaPierre, 2013

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country … It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” – Rick Santorum, 2011

“More background checks? Dandy idea, Mr. President. Shoulda started with yours.” –Sarah Palin, 2013

“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what the recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s [the age of the Earth] a dispute amongst theologians, and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.” – Marco Rubio, 2012

“Probably the most heartwarming experiences I’ve had over the last several days is when naturalized American citizens, who have immigrated here from Germany, Iran, and other countries, they come up to me and they say: Why are we doing what so many have fled from? … [T]hese people who’ve lived under socialist type economies, and totalitarianism, they know where we’re headed …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Paul Speaks in Support of Military Justice Improvement Act

March 6, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul joined Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Walsh (D- Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Dean Heller (R- Nev.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to urge passage of the Military Justice Improvement Act. This piece of legislation will combat sexual assault and other violent crimes in the military by restructuring the way in which they are reported and prosecuted.
Following Sen. Paul’s floor speech, the bipartisan legislation was voted on, but failed to receive enough votes to invoke cloture. Sen. Paul’s remarks can be found below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL’S FLOOR SPEECH ON MJIA …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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One Year Anniversary of Sen. Paul’s Filibuster

March 6, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One year ago today, at 11:47 a.m., Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to lead an active filibuster of President Obama’s nominee for Director of Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan. Sen. Paul spoke for 13 hours on the legality and constitutionality of the U.S. government using lethal force, including drone strikes, on Americans and in U.S. territory. The next day the Attorney General reversed the Administration’s previous position and declared that the government does not have the authority to use such force in a non-combat situation. Prior to the filibuster, Sen. Paul sent three inquires on the matter to President Obama’s nominee, John Brennan (found HERE, HERE and HERE). Sen. Paul finally received responses from both Mr. Brennan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on one item of inquiry. Attorney General Holder stated in a letter to Sen. Paul dated March 4, 2013: ‘It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.’ The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil led to Sen. Paul’s 13-hour filibuster.
Senators who participated the filibuster include: Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Sen. Paul also received support from Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and many colleagues from the House of Representatives.
Following the historic 13-hour filibuster, Sen. Paul’s repeated correspondence to President Obama’s nominee to be CIA director, John Brennan, was finally answered, in part, with the following response from Attorney General Eric Holder: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that question is no.’ This was a rapid reversal and a major concession by the Executive to adhere to the basic Constitutional protections.
‘One year ago today, I took to the Senate floor to filibuster in defense of the Bill of Rights. We prize our Bill of Rights like no other country. Our …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Rand Paul- 1 year Anniversary of Filibuster

March 6, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Breitbart Op-Ed: Putin Endangering Russia's Oil Supply by Flexing Muscles in Ukraine

March 6, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Russia’s Putin has invaded his neighbor’s sovereign territory. He must and will face serious repercussions for doing so, and the international community must make the price severe.
Unless we are willing to go to war for Ukraine-and I believe that would be unwise-Russia without question has the military might and geographic advantage to control the Crimea and the Russian dominated areas of Ukraine.
But at what cost? Russia’s stock market is dropping precipitously and their economy is quite dependent on exports that depend on a stable Ukraine.
Likely, the cost will be universal condemnation from Europe and America and isolation from trade and the benefits of behaving and participating in the civilized world.
Does Putin care? Perhaps not. Maybe flexing muscle may impress maidens in Sochi but perhaps not the 14-year old men of the Maidan. A Ukrainian teenager with $200 of explosives and a burning desire to thwart the Russian bear can disrupt a pipeline. 80 percent of Russia’s oil and gas traverses Ukraine.
Before Putin commits further aggression in Ukraine, he should take the time to peer into the eyes of Ukrainian teenagers with bandaged and bloodied heads and ask himself if he is really up to the task.
The Soviets (I mean Russians) may roll into Ukraine without firing a shot, for now. Surely, though, some among the renewed nationalists of Moscow must remember the Mujahedin?
It will not be American or European might that deters or defeats the Russian bear. It will be a 14-year old Ukrainian with their flag as a bandana wrapped to cover the scars of the police truncheon.
Also, awaken the sleeping giant in America at your own peril. Unleashed, America might just produce enough oil and gas to supply all of Europe.
If President Obama weren’t so beholden to environmental extremists, he might immediately announce support for legalization of oil and gas exploration and export. The Keystone pipeline might escape Obama’s arbitrary and capricious clutches. Western powers might decide that the Russian bear can wait in line for finances. Perhaps loans for oil and gas exploration in the free world might trump Russian pleas for finance.
The international banking system effectively squeezed Iran. Does Putin really desire the opprobrium of the civilized world? Is salvaging some nostalgic conception of Soviet hegemony worth the ostricization and calumny of becoming the new Iran?
I am one who values Reagan’s words to potential adversaries: ‘Don’t mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Letter to the Editor: Venezuela's Phoney Inflation Rate

March 6, 2014 in Economics

By Steve H. Hanke

Steve H. Hanke

Dear Sir:

The authors of “In search of a solution” (Analysis, March 3) assert that prices in Venezuela “are rising at the almost hyperinflationary rate of 56 per cent a year”. This is way off the mark, in two respects.

First, hyperinflation is reached when the inflation rate exceeds 50 per cent per month. This monthly rate, if annualised, equals 12,975 per cent.

The second problem is the fact that they quote a 56 per cent annual inflation rate without telling readers that this is a phoney rate put out by the Venezuelan government. I estimate Venezuela’s current annual inflation rate to be 302 per cent. That’s more than five times higher than the official rate.

Steve H. Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

…read more

Source: OP-EDS