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The Group Giving Kim Davis Legal Counsel Is Even Worse Than You Imagined

John Gallagher | Queerty | October 5, 2015

Kim Davis owes her notoriety to her legal enablers, Liberty Counsel, a right-wing group dedicated to the belief that having your client thrown in jail is the pinnacle of success.  The Rowan County, KY clerk was a nobody in need of a makeover until Liberty Counsel swooped in and made her the national test case for the right of government officials to ignore the law. Besides all the attention that Davis received for her time in jail, Liberty Counsel somehow snagged a meeting for Davis with Pope Francis, a PR disaster for the Vatican and a fundraising windfall for Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel came by Davis easily enough. The group’s founder, Mat Staver, received his law degree from the University of Kentucky. His advice to Davis hasn’t exactly covered his alma mater in glory. A panel on Fox News said that Staver’s advice was “ridiculously stupid,” which is quite the statement to come from that media outlet.

But then again, “ridiculously stupid” would be a good motto for Liberty Counsel. So would “unabashedly loathsome.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified Liberty Counsel as a hate group.

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Sharia Police Arrest Women for being Lesbian because of Public hug

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

By Melanie Nathan, Oct 02, 2015.

A few days ago, the Sharia police, in Indonesia, arrested  two young women aged 18 and 19, when they saw the pair hugging in a public place in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital. A police official told reporters that they “suspected the women were lesbians.” Yes with a mere hug, your sexuality can change! Beware!

The two women remain in police custody, but may be released to their families.

Indonesia Banda Aceh mosqueAceh provincial government criminal code introduced an Islamic By-law, which went into effect in September 2014, prohibiting so called “lesbianism” and sodomy, an offenses which is not in the Indonesian national criminal code. This by-law included non-Muslims in this Sharia/ Islamic law.

The code punishes consensual same-sex sex acts with 100 lashes and 100 months in jail.

According to HRW:

“Under national legislation stemming from a “Special Status” agreement brokered in 1999…

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Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Highlights Fracking’s Threat to Human Rights

Protesters at the Stop the Frack Attack march in Washington, DC, in the summer of 2012. (Photo: Ernesto Brown)

Protesters at the Stop the Frack Attack march in Washington, DC, in the summer of 2012. (Photo: Ernesto Brown)


Damien Short, Anna Grear, Tom Kerns and Simona L. Perry | Truthout | October 2, 2015


“The needs of public conscience can become a recognized source of law […] and a tribunal that emanates directly from the popular consciousness reflects an idea that will make headway: institutionalized powers and the people, from whom the former claim legitimacy in actual fact tend to diverge and only a truly popular initiative can try to bridge the gap between people and power.”—Lelio Basso 


Communities and individuals all over the world have been, and are being, affected by fracking operations. Frequently, such affected communities and individuals face powerful corporations and governments unresponsive to the voices of those claiming that their lives and communities have been blighted by fracking. While there is immense public resistance to fracking all over the world, and increasing evidence of health and environmental impacts, it is difficult for people to know where to turn for help and a hearing.

It is against this background that, in early 2015, a coalition of human rights lawyers and academics were granted the opportunity to put fracking on trial at hearings to be conducted in March 2017 by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT). The coalition of three groups, the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE), the Environment and Human Rights Advisory (EHRA) and the Human Rights Consortium (HRC), joined by partners and endorsers from across the globe, are organizing two weeks of hearings on the human rights impacts of fracking, one week in the United Kingdom and one week in the United States.

The tribunal’s panel of judges will be asked to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to indict nations on charges of “failing to adequately uphold universal human rights as a result of allowing unconventional oil and gas extraction in their jurisdictions.” In addition, mini-tribunal hearings are currently being organized for Canada, Australia and other locations prior to the main hearings. The findings of mini-tribunals will provide important evidence to the plenary tribunal hearings and are an opportunity for people all over the world to get directly involved in examining their own situations against international human rights law standards.

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Shell Abandons Arctic Drilling

Activists protest against the Shell drilling rig Polar Pioneer in Seattle, Washington, on 16 May, 2015. (photo: Jason Redmond/Reuters)
Activists protest against the Shell drilling rig Polar Pioneer in Seattle, Washington, on 16 May, 2015. (photo: Jason Redmond/Reuters)


Karolin Schaps | Reuters | Reader Supported News | September 28, 2015

oyal Dutch Shell has abandoned its Arctic search for oil after failing to find enough crude in a move that will appease environmental campaigners and shareholders who said its project was too expensive and risky.

The withdrawal came six weeks after the final U.S. clearance and three months after Shell was still defending the project, a rapid change of heart for such a large company that shows it is preparing for a prolonged period of low oil prices while trying to close its $70 billion takeover of rival BG.

Shell has spent about $7 billion on exploration in the waters off Alaska so far and said it could take a hit of up to $4.1 billion for pulling out of the treacherous Chukchi Sea, where icebergs can be as large as New York’s Manhattan island.

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It is now clear that the hippies won the culture war

A hippie (Shutterstock)



 | Raw Story | September 28, 2015

As blue jeans, beards, body adornments, natural foods, legal marijuana, gay marriage, and single parenthood have gained acceptance in mainstream American society in recent years, it is now clear that the hippies won the culture wars that were launched nearly fifty years ago. It was in the mid-1960s that one of America’s oddest social movements, the hippies, suddenly appeared. This counterculture of psychedelic drugs, rock music, and casual sex had its roots in the gargantuan size of the baby boomer generation, in youth’s churning hormones, and in the arrival of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or “acid”). The Sixties counterculture, its beliefs and practices, its odyssey into the Seventies, and its many legacies as it became integrated into mainstream culture help explain the United States today.

Hippies, almost all of whom were white and middle-class, owed a lot to the Beat Generation. In the Fifties the writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg promoted an alternative lifestyle outside the middle-class “rat race.” Like the Beats, hippies smoked marijuana, grew beards, indulged in a lot of sex, and rejected mainstream values, but the new generation also marked itself as distinct. Taking LSD in prodigious quantities, freaks preferred rock to jazz and wore bright-colored clothes. Far more numerous than the Beats, hippies dominated entire urban neighborhoods, such as the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and the East Village in New York. Unlike the gloomy Beats, hippies were exuberant. Large numbers made these youthful rebels optimistic that the entire society would eventually join the counterculture, and in a way it did.

At the heart, the counterculture was about three things: a search for authenticity, an insistence upon individualism, and a desire for community. Although hippies disagreed about many things, they shared a desire to be authentic. Being true to one’s self meant rejecting middle-class culture in order to “do your own thing.” A spiritual search was often part of the quest. Deeply suspicious of both society and government, freaks embraced individualism as a true expression of authenticity. However, this attitude left hippies feeling isolated and lonely, which explains why the love generation sought community. In the mid-Sixties communes popped up in cities. By the early Seventies rising rents, racial tensions, and crime drove hippies “back to the land.” Self-sufficient agriculture was a hard transition for children of the suburban middle class. Most communes failed when trust funds, parental checks, or welfare payments ran out. Hippie women bore a lot of children. Rural communes did enable residents to sort out their lives.

What Pope Francis Really Said About (Gay) Marriage — and What He Did Not


Bloomberg via Getty Images


 | Huffington Post | September 26, 2015

The United States this past June did something that the Catholic Church and the Vatican have for years railed against: granted marriage equality to its gay and lesbian citizens.

Yet, Pope Francis had nothing to say about it. Not then and not now.

Considering that Pope Benedict often vocally expressed harsh condemnation of marriage equality — even traveling to Spain to speak out against it when that country was among the first to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians and called it a “threat to the future of humanity”– it’s astonishing how silent Francis is on the issue. I’ve noted in the past how he had no comment as country after country in Europe legalized marriage for gays and lesbians. And then this past June, he had no comment after the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

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Mourning Trans Activist Malume

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

By Melanie Nathan, September 22, 2015.

The LGBTI community in Southern Africa is mourning the passing of a friend and comrade, trans activist Comrade Xolile Sane ‘Malume’ Mabuza.

As the director of Rock of Hope, Malume fought courageously for the rights of LGBTI people, not only in his home country Swaziland but also across the African continent.

Malume will be remembered for his contribution to the struggle for transgender rights in Africa. He was a founding member of the Southern Africa Trans Forum, and in the years since continued to play a leading role in the movement. Through his tireless activism, Malume helped to increase LGBTI visibility in the region. There are no words to describe this sad loss.

Malume will be sorely missed by all who knew him. We send our condolences to the LGBTI community of Southern Africa, comrades at  at Rock of Hope, to the LGBTI community…

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