Archive for the ‘Corruption’ Category

Below, we present this year’s dirty dozen with accompanying highlights where they came up short.

Make & model Test score Low points
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 20 Ride, handling, braking, wind noise, access, driving position, seat comfort, fit and finish, visibility, fuel economy, reliability.
Smart ForTwo Passion 28 Transmission, acceleration, ride, agility, noise, seats only two, premium fuel.
Scion iQ 29 Ride, noise, acceleration, steering, driving position, fit and finish, radio controls, blind spots, tiny rear seat.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV SE 34 Short range, long charging time, weak cabin heat, Spartan accommodations, acceleration, ride, agility, seats only four, complicated radio, headlights.
Chevrolet Spark 1LT 34 Acceleration, transmission, ride, noise, front-seat comfort, driving position, controls.
Toyota FJ Cruiser 36 Visibility, ride, handling, noise, fuel economy, fit and finish, access.
Toyota Yaris LE 41 Noise, ride, agility, driving position, front-seat comfort, fit and finish, radio controls, rear visibility.
Dodge Avenger SXT (4-cyl.) 43 Engine noise, acceleration, braking, handling, rear visibility, transmission, driving position, fuel economy.
Jeep Compass Latitude 49 Engine noise, acceleration, driving position, front-seat comfort, rear visibility, cornering limits, braking, reliability.
Ram 2500 Laramie (6.7L, inline 6) 49 Ride, noise, handling, transmission, high step-in, complicated optional radio, reliability.
Toyota Tacoma(V6) 50 Ride, handling, driving position, high step-in, low rear seat.
Jeep Patriot Latitude 52 Engine noise, acceleration, driving position, front-seat comfort, complicated optional radio.–cars-that-fail-our-tests-223026019.html

Kirk Adams Money LaunderingKirk Adams Money Laundering-2Eric Lach-November 5, 2012, 12:17 PM41773
Updated: November 5, 2012, 2:39 p.m. ET

In a move that cuts directly against the secretive nature of dark money political efforts, California’s campaign finance watchdog on Monday publicly released the names of the donors behind an Arizona group’s $11 million donation to ballot initiative efforts in the Golden State.

In a sharply worded press release, California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) said the money for the donation made by Americans for Responsible Leadership came from Americans for Job Security, the conservative organization, and had been funneled through The Center to Protect Patient Rights, a non-profit helmed by Sean Noble, a former congressional aide who has been tied to the movement of millions of dollars between political non-profits. The FPPC also said that in disclosing the donors, the Arizona group Americans for Responsible Leadership admitted to “campaign money laundering.”

Americans for Responsible Leadership, a Phoenix-based 501(c)4 nonprofit group run by an unlikely collection of Arizona Republicans, began drawing criticism from California Democrats and progressives in October, when it made the enormous donation to another group, called the Small Business Action Committee PAC (SBAC). The SBAC is opposing California’s Proposition 30, which is Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike initiative, and supporting Proposition 32, which would prohibit labor unions from raising political money through payroll deductions.

“Americans for Responsible Leadership… today sent a letter declaring itself to be the intermediary and not the true source of the [$11 million] contribution,” the FPPC said in its press release. “It identified the true source of the contribution as Americans for Job Security, through a second intermediary, The Center to Protect Patient Rights. Under California law, the failure to disclose this initially was campaign money laundering. At $11 million, this is the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign money laundering in California history.”

Emails to Americans for Responsible Leadership director Robert Graham, and a call to Noble’s political consulting firm, DC London, were not immediately returned.

Dark money groups like Americans for Responsible Leadership, sometimes called “social welfare” organizations, are generally allowed to collect and spend unlimited amounts of money without disclosing their donors. But the FPPC began seeking records from the group late last month to determine whether the its donation complied with state disclosure laws. A legal battle over the FPPC’s audit authority quickly reached the state’s Supreme Court, which ruled Sunday in favor of the watchdog, ordering the Arizona group to turn over records. Americans for Responsible Leadership had at first indicated that it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the California order. But that request was withdrawn Monday.

“The persistence and hard work of the FPPC has won a significant and lasting victory for transparency in the political process,” Ann Ravel, chair of the FPPC, said in a statement. “We will continue in this matter and all others to ensure that the people of California know who is funding political activity in this State.”

As TPM reported last month, Americans for Responsible Leadership was formed in July 2011, stating in an incorporation document in Arizona that the group’s purpose was “to further the common good and general welfare of the citizens of the United States of America by educating the public about concepts that advance government accountability, transparency, ethics and related public policy issues.”

Initially, the group’s board of directors included Graham, the founder of a wealth management firm, former gubernatorial candidate, and anti-union activist; Eric Wnuck, a 2010 congressional candidate; and Steve Nickolas, a beverage industry executive. The group’s incorporation document was signed and submitted by Cathleen West, a partner at the Washington D.C. and Virginia-based law firm HoltzmanVogelJosefiak PLLC, which specializes in providing counsel to outside spending groups, and is home to some of the most prominent Republican lawyers working today.

In September, the group added two new directors: Kirk Adams, a former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Arizona’s newly redrawn 5th District earlier this year; and Taylor Searle, a CPA who works for The Wolff Company, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based real estate private equity firm.

Since adding Searle and Adams (who now serves as the group’s president), American for Responsible Leadership’s spending has skyrocketed. In addition to the $11 million donation in California, the group has dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the battles over ballot initiatives in Arizona, and paid more than $2.3 million to companies in North Carolina and Washington D.C. for anti-Obama phone calls.

Monday’s disclosure confirms the hunches of Arizona political insiders, who had whispered that Americans for Responsible Leadership’s sudden big spending was tied to the political consultant Sean Noble, whose firm had been paid $44,000 by Kirk’s recent congressional campaign. In early October, Bloomberg reported on Noble’s activities. In 2009 and 2010, Noble’s and the Center to Protect Patient Rights contributed $55.4 million to other nonprofit political groups. Among the recipients were the Iowa-based American Future Fund, which itself has spent more than $4 million opposing Prop. 32 in California, and Americans for Job Security.

Back in May, The Los Angeles Times reported on the several links between the billionaire Koch brothers and the Center to Protect Patient Rights.

Americans for Jobs Security, founded in 1997, is a 501(c)6 “business league,” which promotes the common business interests of its members. The group’s website says its goal is to support a “free markets and pro-paycheck public policy,” and its president is Stephen DeMaura, a former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party. According to figures maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics, Americans for Job Security has spent more than $15 million on federal-level elections this year, most of which has gone to oppose Obama. As a 501(c)6, the group does not disclose its donors.

The FPPC provided TPM with two letters, one from Noble to Adams and one from Adams to the treasurer of the Small Business Action Committee PAC, detailing the disclosure:

Obama Wins!
Labor wins!
Americans reject policies of greed and union busting!

By Scott Marshall

President-elect Barack Obama.

Those words ring with meaning. For organized labor they ring with pride, hope, and energy for the struggles ahead. No one feels like labors candidate won, so now we can go home and rest. Rather, as congratulation messages pour in from all parts of the labor movement, the critical subtext is, we are ready and eager to march with you for change. At the top of labors change agenda is boots-on-the-ground support for the Obama agenda of a new New Deal for economic recovery and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Organized labor played an amazing role in the election Barack Obama.

Unions played an extraordinary leadership role in winning the working class for Obama.

Its been many years since labor was so totally united behind a presidential candidate.

Labor raised the struggle against racism and for class unity to a whole new level.

Unions gave vital leadership in building support for Obama on issues like the economy, workers rights to organize, protecting retirees pensions and social security, healthcare, and building green manufacturing that protects the environment and puts people back to work.

The labor movement took independent political action to spectacular new levels. Unions broke all previous records in mobilizing its rank and file for labor walks, phone banks, plant gate distributions, and member to member contact in the workplace. Labor continued to build and develop its own political apparatus and voice. Hundreds, if not thousands, of union halls became campaign central for the Obama campaign as well as for targeted Congressional contests.
As phenomenal as labors efforts were, the impact of the Obama upsurge and campaign on labor was also incredible. New coalitions were built or strengthened. A new depth was added to ties between labor and all the components of the Obama movement.

Labors role was hardly mentioned in the mainstream press. All the more reason for labor to have a big showing of celebration and support for our new President. Some in labor have begun to talk about a big mobilization for President Barack Obamas Peoples Inaugural.

What a great idea!

Communist Party USA: Go, Obama, Go!
Organization staging events to encourage higher taxes, spending

The Communist Party USA, which just days ago boasted of its celebration over the election victory by Barack Obama, now is organizing teleconferences and promoting rallies in support of Obama’s plans to raise taxes – and to demand full government funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid “and other basic human needs.”

According to a statement from the communists, it is the “will of the voters” that Obama be allowed to “end … tax breaks for the wealthiest.” And the party said no spending cuts should be allowed because they would be borne by the “working class families, starting with children and youth and the most vulnerable.”

Facing the nation right now is the fiscal cliff which was set up by earlier decisions from the White House and Congress not to address longterm budget problems then. The scenario now is that without new legislation immediately on spending cuts, sought by Republicans, or more taxes, demanded by Democrats and the Communist Party USA, automatic changes will create both spending cuts and new tax liabilities.

Many Washington observers say, in fact, that’s a goal for Obama, in order to allow him to blame the GOP for the nation’s ills, and for him to work on tax increases amidst the backlash from Americans facing huge new liabilities.

“The national legislative struggle is the first challenge to continue the deep organizing that resulted in the election victory, in order to win priorities that benefit the 99 percent,” the party said in a statement.

It has organized a teleconference on the fight at 8 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 4, at 605-475-4850 (1053538#) with Art Perlo, chair of the Economics Commission CPUSA. And it is promoting that the AFL-CIO and “hundreds of organizations” will hold a Candlelight Campaign against Cuts on Dec. 10, all in support of the “Five Weeks to Protect Our Future.”

According to preliminary reports from Washington, Obama already has picked up on one of the suggestions from the Communist Party USA National Committee, which wrote a week ago that there needs to be an “enhanced version of the American Jobs Act … as part of a green New Deal to create millions of jobs for infrastructure, renewable energy, education and support to state and local government services.”

As part of his demands to Congress regarding a compromise to avoid the “fiscal cliff” Obama has proposed $50 billion in new stimulus spending, reports said. He also wants $1.6 trillion in new taxes and the authority to borrow what he pleases.

“The will of the voters is being put to immediate test as the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations play out in Washington. Labor and the broad alliance that re-elected President Obama clearly supported an end to tax breaks for the wealthiest and keeping hands off Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other basic human needs,” the party statement said.

The communists noted that there already was a round of protests held two days after the election, “spearheaded by AFL-CIO and hundreds of organizations.”

The group continued, “Coming out of the election, the big fight is the crisis over the federal budget. Forces representing corporate power and the richest of the 1 percent are trying to achieve their long-held goals of looting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and cutting all government programs that help people or serve a public good.”

The national committee of the communist organization said, “The outcome of this battle will set the framework for the next four years and have impact on the lives of ordinary working people for decades to come. Only the mobilized working people can stop the corporate offensive and begin to meet our needs. The unity of the broad, inclusive and diverse alliance that won this year’s election victory should now be directed to reaching out in every community and workplace to bring the message to Congress in a strong and public way. We urge immediate participation in this critical struggle.”

The national committee said, “It is cruel and divisive to whip up hysteria around the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis. The calls to make benefit cuts to Social Security and Medicare go in the opposite direction of the mandate delivered by the majority of voters on November 6. The message of the election clearly was: tax the wealthy more and protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

It also said the expiration of the “Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy” should be only the starting point.

“We support calls for a financial transaction tax, for closing the capital gains loophole and increasing tax rates on millionaires to the level of the prosperous 1960s, and cutting the level of Pentagon spending in order to meet pressing domestic priorities that create jobs.”

WND reported only days ago that the CPUSA called Obama’s election results, “an enormous people’s victory.”

The comment was in a report to the Communist Party USA National Committee from the party’s chairman, Sam Webb.

“We meet on the heels of an enormous people’s victory. It was a long and bitterly contested battle in which the forces of inclusive democracy came out on top. The better angels of the American people spread their wings,” he wrote in the online report.

He said blacks, Hispanics and women worked together to defeat “racist … white people” and that it now is time for the Communist Party USA to work on the foundations established by Obama on issues regarding the environment, homosexual marriage and minorities to its potential.

“If anything the vote … is an insistent call for action on the most pressing problems facing the working class and people. That is the election’s mandate,” he wrote. “This was not a vote in favor of destroying social programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; or rolling back domestic spending; or resolving the budget crisis on the people’s backs.

“It was instead a vote for jobs, housing relief, health care, withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, an end to U.S.-led wars in the Middle East, preservation of the social safety net, health care access, reproductive rights, and equal pay for women, infrastructure renewal (an issue that took on greater importance after megastorm Sandy), marriage equality, a larger commitment to public education, a tax system in which the wealthiest families and corporations pay a much larger share, reform of our punitive and anti-democratic immigration laws, a reduction in unconscionable inequality, a legislative and electoral system that isn’t awash with corporate money,” he wrote.

Hunting in Arivaca is a tradition for the Ybarra family. Bill Ybarra grew up in the Rio Rico area and was out hunting with his son and brother-in-law last weekend.

“I remember coming on horseback in the day,” Bill said. “It’s a tradition.”

Living Southern Arizona their entire lives, they’ve been coming to these parts for decades. The familiarity keeps them coming back. “We’re local. Been hunting it for 20 years.”

Gregg Rath and his friend, Mike Shirey are from Phoenix and like the terrain Arivaca has to offer.

“We keep coming back because we love it,” Rath said. “We stop in Arivaca to eat or stop at the Longhorn or other place. It’s a nice break.”

But they’re in the minority. Fewer and fewer hunters are coming to border areas because of illegal immigrants and smugglers. Arizona’s game and fish has seen the drop off.

“Our hunting license and game tag sales in the borderland areas have been down for the last 15 years,” Mark Hart, the public information officer of the Game and Fish Department in Tucson, said.

The biggest change in the last 15 years is the security along the border. Hart attributes it to the Clinton administration’s focus on San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas forced immigrants and smugglers to funnel their way through Arizona..

“For many years now we have had left over game tags specifically for deer and javelin — specifically in the borderland areas,” Hart added. “Probably the place that has had the most left over is from Arivaca South to Sasabe.”

With all the illegal activity on the border, hunters are chasing game elsewhere. Making it tough for establishments down South who are starving for business.

Lyndel Caswell has been the manager of Cow Palace restaurant and bar for the last five years. She’s noticed a drop off in business. “Yes we’ve seen a decline even from last year,” she said. “There’s been a decline in hunters. They used to come in for lunch and dinner or go to the bar but not so much.”

Scott Skober manages the bar at Cow Palace for the last three years. “Business has been down,” he agreed. “But I don’t know if it’s because of the illegal activity or not.”

Last summer, The Longhorn Grill went out of business. It’s likely the result of the recession but fewer hunters didn’t help either.

The BK Outlaw Barbecue is across the street and has several signs outside inviting hunters inside. Co-owner Vickie Wandfluh gives hunters a free sandwich if they get a deer. “We cater to them,” she said. “We offer camp fire meals they can take with them… but, business has definitely been down.”

“Some hunters are concerned about the activity on the border. But the one that have been hunting here for years are not concerned.”

You are sure to see border patrol agents stop by BK Outlaw Barbecue, but their increased presence can sometimes scare away even the locals.

Wandfluh recalls a time the Border Patrol loaded up body bags in her parking lot. “When a Black Hawk helicopter lands at your restaurant and doesn’t let anyone out of the building or off the freeway exit, it scares people. New visitors don’t want to come back. It’s bad for business.”

The hunters that are still coming admit they have to make allowances for the beefed up border presence. “We know they’re just doing their jobs and we notice the migrant traffic is down because of it,” Gregg Rath said.

Mike Cotton lives in the Three Points area and doesn’t even try to hunt the area anymore. Instead, he gets his shooting in on the range. “It’s not as safe as people say,” Cotton said. “It’s pretty bad out there.”

Game and Fish is aware of hunters’ reluctance to frequent the borderlands, but say those areas can still offer a positive experience.

“We believe you can still recreate safely there you just have to be safe about it,” Hart said. He suggests taking the following precautions:

– Let others know where you’re going and when you’re returning.

-Carry a GPS unit and know how to use it.

-Avoid suspicious areas where there’s lots of garbage.

-Avoid abandoned cars and back into spots.

-Be reluctant to render aid to someone who appears injured.

-Contact Border Patrol if you see suspicious activity at 1-800-BE-ALERT.

Bill Ybarra knows things have changed. But, that doesn’t mean he has to. “This is my hunting ground, no one’s going to push me out.”

by Scott Kilbury at

Obama Thanksgiving address: Calls to unite behind WH, doesn’t thank God

The Daily Caller 11-23-12

During his fourth Thanksgiving presidential address, President Barack Obama referenced the recent, long and bruising campaign season, urged the country to unite behind his administration and, for the fourth year running, neglected to offer verbal thanks to God.

“As a nation, we’ve just emerged from a campaign season that was passionate, noisy, and vital to our democracy,” Obama said. “But it also required us to make choices“ and sometimes those choices led us to focus on what sets us apart instead of what ties us together; on what candidate we support instead of what country we belong to.”

“Thanksgiving,” he continued, “is a chance to put it all in perspective “ to remember that, despite our differences, we are, and always will be,  Americans first and foremost.”

The president’s call to unite behind his administration follows a bitter election, in which his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, won independents 50 to 45 percent, and whites 59 to 39 percent.

At the same time, while Democrats made gains in both the House and the Senate, the GOP held control of Congress. Speaker of the House John Boehner has since indicated that he is willing to work with the president, especially regarding the Jan. 1, 2013 fiscal cliff, when a combination of draconian spending cuts and massive tax hikes will hit the sluggish U.S. economy.

Additionally, for the fourth year in a row, the president did not explicitly thank God, raising the ire of conservatives.

“Today we give thanks for blessings that are all too rare in this world,” Obama said. “The ability to spend time with the ones we love; to say what we want; to worship as we please; to know that there are brave men and women defending our freedom around the globe; and to look our children in the eye and tell them that, here in America, no dream is too big if they’re willing to work for it.”

The president’s mention of the freedom “to worship as we please” could be seen as a challenge to conservatives and the Catholic Church, both of which have accused his administration of waging a war on religious freedom. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — an organization that has often angered conservative Catholics for its left-wing rhetoric — held a week of Masses, culminating in a Wednesday afternoon, July 4 Mass at the National Basilica, where 5,000 Catholics overflowed the 3,500-seat basilica.

American schools teach that the Pilgrims, who held the first Thanksgiving, fled to America from England to flee religious persecution.

Catholics, however, do not vote as a coherent bloc.

God did make an appearance, however, in the president’s 2012 Thanksgiving proclamation.

“Let us spend this day by lifting up those we love, mindful of the grace bestowed upon us by God and by all who have made our lives richer with their presence,” the proclamation reads.

In his address, the president also made mention of God when speaking of the victims and first responders in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“When our brothers and sisters are in need, we roll up our sleeves and get to work “not for the recognition or the reward, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Obama said, repeating an oft-cited campaign trail line, often used to promote a tax hike. “Because there but for the grace of God go I. And because here in America, we rise or fall together, as one nation and one people.”

The mention of God comes just over two months after the Democratic National Convention narrowly voted to not strike God’s name from the party’s platform.

The official proclamation is lower-profile than the address, and the neglect to verbally thank God — as the original celebrators of Thanksgiving convened to do — angered some conservatives.

“Yet again, President Obama’s Thanksgiving message eschewed any direct reference to thanking God, making this the fourth straight year in which the president of the United States has ignored the central message of the holiday in favor of political grandstanding,” the conservative Big Government reported. “This year, Obama’s central message was that now that he’s been re-elected, Americans should agree with all of his policies. His unity routine sounds strangely empty after a campaign in which he focused on dividing Americans.”

“Obama’s lack of overt religiosity has been a source of controversy,” the pro-life LifeSiteNews reported, “with polls consistently showing that a large number of Americans are unaware that Obama is a Christian, or doubt the claim.”

The president has a long history of upsetting the religious right, and even some in his own party. Incidents include having a cross removed from the allegedly Catholic Georgetown University while he delivered a speech there; infrequent church attendance; an overtly pro-abortion presidential campaign and open support for gay marriage.

But conservatives aren’t the only people the president upset on Thanksgiving. Soon, he may hear from animal rights activists.  (RELATED: Butterball no longer halal)

“Peace, one of two turkeys pardoned by President Obama last year, was euthanized Monday, according to an official who insisted the timing of the death – days before the Thanksgiving holiday – was not suspicious,” CNN reports.

By LAURAN NEERGAARD | Associated Press – 11-20-12

(NOTE: This is yet another opportunity to get the pro-homosexual agenda put in front of the general public. The article itself says: “Most of the 50,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. every year are among gay and bisexual men..”. If you are not part of a high risk group then there is no practical purpose for this testing unless you just want to see a rise in healthcare costs which subsequently is followed by a call for government programs to deal with the rising coasts which then causes costs to rise higher still.)

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s a new push to make testing for the AIDS virus as common as cholesterol checks.

Americans ages 15 to 64 should get an HIV test at least once — not just people considered at high risk for the virus, an independent panel that sets screening guidelines proposed Monday.

The draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force are the latest recommendations that aim to make HIV screening simply a routine part of a check-up, something a doctor can order with as little fuss as a cholesterol test or a mammogram. Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has pushed for widespread, routine HIV screening.

Yet not nearly enough people have heeded that call: Of the more than 1.1 million Americans living with HIV, nearly 1 in 5 — almost 240,000 people — don’t know it. Not only is their own health at risk without treatment, they could unwittingly be spreading the virus to others.

The updated guidelines will bring this long-simmering issue before doctors and their patients again — emphasizing that public health experts agree on how important it is to test even people who don’t think they’re at risk, because they could be.

“It allows you to say, ‘This is a recommended test that we believe everybody should have. We’re not singling you out in any way,'” said task force member Dr. Douglas Owens of Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.

And if finalized, the task force guidelines could extend the number of people eligible for an HIV screening without a copay in their doctor’s office, as part of free preventive care under the Obama administration’s health care law. Under the task force’s previous guidelines, only people at increased risk for HIV — which includes gay and bisexual men and injecting drug users — were eligible for that no-copay screening.

There are a number of ways to get tested. If you’re having blood drawn for other exams, the doctor can merely add HIV to the list, no extra pokes or swabs needed. Today’s rapid tests can cost less than $20 and require just rubbing a swab over the gums, with results ready in as little as 20 minutes. Last summer, the government approved a do-it-yourself at-home version that’s selling for about $40.

Free testing is available through various community programs around the country, including a CDC pilot program in drugstores in 24 cities and rural sites.

Monday’s proposal also recommends:

—Testing people older and younger than 15-64 if they are at increased risk of HIV infection,

—People at very high risk for HIV infection should be tested at least annually.

—It’s not clear how often to retest people at somewhat increased risk, but perhaps every three to five years.

—Women should be tested during each pregnancy, something the task force has long recommended.

The draft guidelines are open for public comment through Dec. 17.

Most of the 50,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. every year are among gay and bisexual men, followed by heterosexual black women.

“We are not doing as well in America with HIV testing as we would like,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, CDC’s HIV prevention chief, said Monday.

The CDC recommends at least one routine test for everyone ages 13 to 64, starting two years younger than the task force recommended. That small difference aside, CDC data suggests fewer than half of adults under 65 have been tested.

“It can sometimes be awkward to ask your doctor for an HIV test,” Mermin said — the reason that making it routine during any health care encounter could help.

But even though nearly three-fourths of gay and bisexual men with undiagnosed HIV had visited some sort of health provider in the previous year, 48 percent weren’t tested for HIV, a recent CDC survey found. Emergency rooms are considered a good spot to catch the undiagnosed, after their illnesses and injuries have been treated, but Mermin said only about 2 percent of ER patients known to be at increased risk were tested while there.

Mermin calls that “a tragedy. It’s a missed opportunity.”

By | Healthy Living

A federal judge in Santa Monica ruled on Monday against a church group’s right to reopen a nativity scene display in a public park.

The ruling comes after a contentious battle between the church group and one prominent atheist in the area, Damon Vix. Just last year, Vix put up a banner with images of Santa Claus, Jesus, King Triton and the Devil that asked “what myths do you see?” right next to the church group’s nativity display. The large nativity display, which depicts 14 religious scenes, and Vix’s banner, were located in a public city park, not on the private grounds of the church.

The argument between the church group and the atheists last year resulted in a great deal of vandalism and upheaval in the community. This year, anticipating the same result, the city of Santa Monica barred both the church group and the secular groups from displaying anything at all.

In suing the city, the church had hoped to argue to the court that it should have the right to display in the park as part of its first amendment rights. The judge, however, solved the problem by ruling that any kind of unmanned display in the park is illegal, religious or otherwise.

Group Sues Over Calif. Nativity Display

‘It’s a sad, sad commentary on the attitudes of the day that a nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition is now having to hunt for a home, something like our savior had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested,” said Hunter Jameson, the head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee in an interview with the Daily Mail.

Vix’s display.The argument between the church and Vix goes back nearly three years, when Vix placed a banner next to a booth in Palisades Park belonging to the church that depicted Jesus’ birth. The banner read: ‘Religions are all alike-founded on fables and mythologies,’ a quote from Thomas Jefferson. ( NOTE: This is a bold faced lie. There is no evidence that Jefferson or any other founding Father ever said this. What is all too common today, is for radical Nihilists to make up quotes and start these rumors in order to gain popularity for their quotes while simultaneously throwing our founders under the bus. This quote has also been blamed on Madison- Another falsehood. To the contrary, here is a letter from James Madison concerning religion:

Madison Letter to Bradford, September 25, 1773

William Bradford, having decided not to pursue the ministry as a career, wrote James Madison asking his advice on the choice between law, medicine, and merchandising. Madison’s response expressed disappointment in Bradford’s decision not to pursue the ministry, yet he remained supportive of any choice his friend would make. The advice that follows is an expression of humility and devotion to Christ. Madison seems to say that too often men in positions of great public influence fail to follow Christ in their public lives. According to Madison, no stronger testimony of Christ can be born than for those who have acquired much reputation and wealth to publicly declare their devotion to the cause of Christ.


RJ&L Religious Institutions Group




September 25, 1773

I cannot however suppress [this] much of my advice on that head that you would always keep the Ministry obliquely in View whatever your profession be. This will lead you to cultivate an acquaintance occasionally with the most sublime of all Sciences and will qualify you for a change of public character if you should hereafter desire it. I have sometimes thought there could be no stronger testimony in favor of Religion or against temporal Enjoyments even the most rational and manly than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent Advocates in the cause of Christ, & I wish you may give in your Evidence in this way. Such instances have seldom occurred, therefore they would be more striking and would be instead of a “Cloud of Witnesses.”

Letter from James Madison to William Bradford, Jr. (September 25, 1773), in 1 Papers of James Madison, at 96 (Robert A. Rutland and William M. E. Rachal eds., 1973). )  


The other side read ‘Happy Solstice.’

By LISA LEFF  11-18-12

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco may be getting ready to shed its image as a city where anything goes, including clothing.

City lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in most public places, a blanket ban that represents an escalation of a two-year tiff between a devoted group of men who strut their stuff through the city’s famously gay Castro District and the supervisor who represents the area.

Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposal would make it illegal for a person over the age of 5 to “expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region on any public street, sidewalk, street median, parklet or plaza” or while using public transit.

A first offense would carry a maximum penalty of a $100 fine, but prosecutors would have authority to charge a third violation as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and a year in jail. Exemptions would be made for participants at permitted street fairs and parades, such as the city’s annual gay pride event and the Folsom Street Fair, which celebrates sadomasochism and other sexual subcultures.

Wiener said he resisted introducing the ordinance, but felt compelled to act after constituents complained about the naked men who gather in a small Castro plaza most days and sometimes walk the streets au naturel. He persuaded his colleagues last year to pass a law requiring a cloth to be placed between public seating and bare rears, yet the complaints have continued.

“I don’t think having some guys taking their clothes off and hanging out seven days a week at Castro and Market Street is really what San Francisco is about. I think it’s a caricature of what San Francisco is about,” Wiener said.

The proposed ban predictably has produced outrage, as well as a lawsuit. Last week, about two dozen people disrobed in front of City Hall and marched around the block to the amusement of gawking tourists and high school students on a field trip.

Stripped down to his sunglasses and hiking boots, McCray Winpsett, 37, said he understands the disgust of residents who would prefer not to see the body modifications and sex enhancement devices sported by some of the Castro nudists. But he thinks Wiener’s prohibition goes too far in undermining a tradition “that keeps San Francisco weird.”

“A few lewd exhibitionists are really ruining it for the rest of us,” he said. “It’s my time to come out now to present myself in a light and show what true nudity is all about so people can separate the difference between what a nudist is and an exhibitionist is.”

Because clothes are required to enter City Hall itself, demonstrators who try to disrobe at the Board of Supervisors meeting will be escorted out by sheriff’s deputies. That is what happened last Monday when Gypsy Taub removed her dress at a committee hearing where the ban had its first public hearing. Taub, a mother of two, said she got her start as a nudist while hosting a local cable program devoted to the theory that the government was behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“I thought if I take my clothes off, I bet they are going to listen,” she said.

San Francisco lawyer Christina DiEdoardo filed a federal lawsuit last week on behalf of Taub and three men that seeks to block Weiner’s ordinance, if it passes and is signed by Mayor Edwin Lee. The complaint alleges that the ban infringes on the free speech rights of nudists and discriminates against those who cannot afford to obtain a city permit.

While it may seem strange that going out in the buff is not already illegal in San Francisco, most California cities do not have local nudity laws, Wiener said. Instead, they are adequately covered by state indecent exposure laws and societal mores. But indecent exposure technically only applies to lewd behavior, so city officials have had to craft a local solution, he said, adding that the cities of Berkeley and San Jose already have done so.

“I suspect there are a lot of places that maybe don’t currently have a local law (and) that if people started getting naked every day would quickly see a local law,” Wiener said.

by Anita Christy of Gilbert Watch

Dear Friends of Liberty,

It has become obvious from the Press Release below that the current Republican leadership in the Arizona State Legislature prefers Democrats over Conservatives!

Here’s some background. In a disgusting misuse of the Republican Victory Fund, under the leadership of Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin, thousands of dollars were spent to defeat Conservative John Fillmore in the Primary. That wasn’t the way the money was supposed to be spent. It was supposed to help Republicans defeat Democrats in the General Election.

Instead, this “Victory Fund” was used to erect signs and spread campaign literature all over the Legislative District, denigrating John Fillmore’s conservative record, and extolling the virtues of the Left-Leaning RINO Rich Crandall, calling him “more conservative” than Fillmore.

S.H.I.E.L.D. reported on it here:

I reported on it as well:

Now. Take a look at this Press Release. Pay close attention to this paragraph:

“Legislative Districts 8, 9, and 10 are the most competitive districts in the state and we have highly qualified candidates, including many incumbents, who are being pummeled by the Democrat Party while NO support is provided from the so-called “Republican Victory Fund.” It is increasingly apparent that the funds are being spent to help only those candidates that would be a friendly vote for the reelection of the current leaders.”
It’s obvious that the Republicans in the Arizona Legislature, under the “leadership” of Senate President Steve Pierce and Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, would rather see DEMOCRATS in the Legislature than Conservatives.

Steve Pierce’s lame response is always the same, “I just raised the money; I didn’t control how it was spent.” Really? Camilla Strongin is the Chairman of the Republican Victory Fund. She also received $84,000 for “campaign services” on behalf of Steve Pierce Hieu Tran is the Treasurer of the Republican Victory Fund. She is also the Treasurer of Steve Pierce’s campaign.

If Senate President Pierce has no “control” over this money, then who does?

This vote takes place on November 7. Please contact your state senators and representatives…the ones you’re voting for on November 6! Strongly encourage them to vote for Steve Smith for Speaker of the House and Andy Biggs for Senate President. They are interested in protecting the citizens of Arizona, not their own personal political careers!

For Liberty,

Anita Christy



A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
Sunday, October 28, 2012
“My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”


October 27, 2012
Press Release: Pinal County Republican Committee endorses Steve Smith for Speaker of the Arizona House and Andy Biggs for President of the Arizona Senate
Today the Pinal County Republican Committee unanimously drafted Senator Steve Smith to be a candidate for Speaker of the Arizona House and endorsed Andy Biggs by acclimation for President of the Arizona Senate. This endorsement of legislative leadership is unprecedented in Party history and was taken due to the deep concerns about the failures of the current legislative leadership. The PCRC thanks Sen. Al Melvin for his floor motion to make the endorsements as well as his well-reasoned recitation outlining the substantive case necessitating this action.
November 6, 2012 marks one of the most important election dates in the history of our nation. The American public will determine the election of the world’s leader as well as the makeup of our Congress and state legislature. While that date will be remembered by millions for decades to come, another critical election will occur on November 7 that will certainly determine the course here in Arizona and that election will be unnoticed by all but a very few – the election of the Arizona Legislature leadership teams.
Arizona now more than ever needs strong and principled leaders who will correct the course of our economy, secure our border, reduce government intrusion into our lives, halt the rise of public employee union influence and restore our primary and secondary education options for parents, students and teachers.
It is clear that Republican Precinct Committeemen and the elected county and legislative district chairmen have earned the right and the responsibility to give counsel to those officials we will elect on the issue of who will lead our legislative efforts for the next two years. Over the last two years, the current leaders of our legislature have been steering an erratic course. It is a stark reality that the policies and principles endorsed by the electorate have been thwarted at the sole discretion of the current Senate President and Speaker of the House.
During the last session of our legislature, some of the most egregious leadership actions include:
· Killed critically important immigration legislation
  • · Killed pension reform legislation
  • · Killed public employee union reforms
  • · Killed State Guard legislation


Outside of the legislative session, the Senate President and Speaker raised hundreds of thousands of dollars with the promise that the Republican Victory Fund would be used to help elect Republicans during the General election. However, a large portion of these funds were used in a Republican Primary to defeat a conservative Republican Representative. This irresponsible decision is now being compounded by further incredulous actions in the General Election.

Legislative Districts 8, 9, and 10 are the most competitive districts in the state and we have highly qualified candidates, including many incumbents, who are being pummeled by the Democrat Party while NO support is provided from the so-called “Republican Victory Fund.” It is increasingly apparent that the funds are being spent to help only those candidates that would be a friendly vote for the reelection of the current leaders.

Gratefully, Senator Andy Biggs has stepped up to the plate as a candidate for Arizona Senate President. Senator Biggs has a strong history of principled conservative leadership and will lead our state senate on a course consistent with our Constitution and our Party Platform, and we heartily endorse his candidacy for this position. However, as we have seen in Washington, the efforts of one house of the legislature can be totally destroyed without the concurrence of the other.

Before today, no one had stepped up to contest Representative Tobin for the position of Speaker of the House. It is with that in mind that the Pinal County Republican Committee called upon its favorite son, Senator Steve Smith, to be a candidate for this important position. Steve Smith’s conservative credentials are unsurpassed, having achieved the highest rankings from the PAChyderm Coalition, the Goldwater Institute and Americans for Prosperity.


President Biggs and Speaker Smith would labor side-by-side to pass legislation to protect Arizonans during these challenging times and their first priority will be the citizens of Arizona, not their own personal political careers.


The necessary actions by this body should demonstrate the magnitude of the problem and encourage others across the state to join us in making sure that the people’s voice will be loudly and clearly heard.

Stephen Kohut

Chairman, Pinal County Republican Committee