“That ain’t my culture and heritage!”

Pay no attention to the unbiblical dinosaur behind Georgia State Sen. Josh McKoon.
Pay no attention to the unbiblical dinosaur behind Georgia State Sen. Josh McKoon.

The champion of Georgia’s “religious liberty” bill, Republican State Sen. Josh McKoon, has come clean on the real purpose of the legislation that is currently stalled in the state legislature.

As Slate explains, when moderate Republicans proposed an amendment to the bill that would expressly clarify that it was not intended to legalize discrimination against LGBT Georgians,

McKoon let the façade drop. “That amendment,” he fumed, “would completely undercut the purpose of the bill.”

In a loving homage to the good old days of the struggle against civil rights for African Americans, McKoon blames opposition to the bill on a group of outside agitators that the rest of us would recognize as the bedrock pillars of the state’s corporate community. You know, troublemakers like Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot.

We’ve had this problem because very large multi-national corporations that are headquartered in this state – their executives, many of whom are not from Georgia, have different values than you and I do. They think that their cultural norms, their liberal, far-left cultural norms, should be applied to our state.

In short, those goddam Yankee liberal do-gooders with their corporate dollars just don’t fit in with the cherished culture and heritage of the great state of Georgia.

You know, I think McKoon ought to let Homer T. Stokes explain from here.

They had never gone away

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Four sets of quotes spanning 16 years on the Provisional IRA and its ceasefire. In each case emphasis has been added by me.

After the July 1999 murder of Belfast taxi driver and low-level police informer Charles Bennett:

The official response to his murder, delivered on Thursday by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, has thrown a shadow over the peace process. Almost in the same breath, she declared that “there is no doubt that the IRA were involved in the Bennett murder” and that there is “not a sufficient basis to conclude that the IRA ceasefire has broken down.” — (Irish Independent)

The ceasefire relates to attacks against the British state, but the IRA retains the right to deal with matters in its own community, said a republican source. “That includes taking action against informers, carrying out `punishment’ attacks, and `policing’ dissidents if need be.” — (Irish Times)


 

At the sentencing in 2010 of Harry Fitzsimmons, convicted of the 2004 abduction of dissident Bobby Tohill from Kelly’s Cellars pub in Belfast City Centre:

Belfast Crown Court was told the attack in February 2004 was meant as a message to Tohill not to oppose the then fledgling peace process.

Jailing Fitzsimmons for what he described as a violent preplanned attack, Belfast Crown Court judge Lord Justice Girvan said it was “ironic” the Provisionals should, in the so-called interests of peace, use violence and intimidation to secure their ends. — (BBC)


 

In response to reported threats against the life of senior Belfast Republican Seamus Finucane by the armed dissident group Oglaigh na hEireann:

All sorts of thin lines were being walked. One source, commenting on the likely implications of any attack on Seamus Finucane, or any other mainstream republican figure, commented: “They [the dissidents] would be swatted like flies.” And that comment tells you that the IRA could be resurrected. … What would happen if they attacked a senior republican? They know the answer to that question. “The gear [guns] would be out,” one of them told me. — (Belfast Telegraph)


 

After the murder two weeks ago of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan in apparent retaliation for the May killing of former senior IRA member Gerard Davison:

One of our major lines of enquiry is that members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder. I have no information to say at this stage whether this was sanctioned at a command level or not and I am not prepared to speculate about that. — (PSNI Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes)

Individual members cooperated in shooting dead Kevin McGuigan in East Belfast but organisational structures have brought members of the outlawed organisation along the path of peace, Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable George Hamilton said.

Mr Hamilton said: “They are not on a war footing, they are not involved in paramilitary activity in the sense that they were during part of the conflict.” — (RTE News)

Reacting to Mr Hamilton’s view, [Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa] Villiers said: “It didn’t come as a surprise to me. My understanding is, very much in line with that of the chief constable, that a number of the organisational structures of the Provisional IRA still exist but that there is no evidence it’s involved in terrorism or paramilitary activity.” — (Belfast Telegraph)

But if you listened to Bobby Storey back in June 2014, you knew all this already.

We have a message for the British Government, for the Irish Government, for the cabal that is out there: we haven’t gone away, you know. — (Belfast Telegraph)

If you give them time to read …

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They figure out the Iran deal is pretty darn good.

That’s the take of Slate’s Fred Kaplan:

Something interesting has happened the past few weeks. Many lawmakers have read the 159-page deal, known as the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” signed by Iran and the P5+1 nations (the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany). Many more have been briefed on the deal’s fine points by the American negotiators and technical specialists, as well as by Western ambassadors. And many of them—those who aren’t bound by GOP discipline or constituents’ pressure (and even a few who are)—have concluded that this is a good deal.

And it also appears that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his faithful lobbyists in AIPAC have badly overplayed what was at best a weak hand by so ferociously and publicly trying to kill the agreement in Congress. While the final cards haven’t yet been played, it looks more and more like Obama has held on to sufficient support among Senate Democrats to prevent the deal being blocked.

Kaplan’s piece is an excellent overview both of the politics, and of the details of the agreement itself. If you’ve followed the issue at all it is worth your time to read.  And Netanyahu and AIPAC may want to keep in mind this sage wisdom:

The Oath Keepers’ historic forebears

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Draft rioters, New York City, 1863.

 

The Oath Keepers, who rose to public prominence earlier this month through their appearance at the protests in Ferguson, MO, marking the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, are far from the first group of Americans to pledge to resort to arms to defend the Constitution and resist the tyranny of their own government. For historic precedent, meet the “Decemvirates.”

In 1863, amidst rising Northern opposition to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, an anonymous letter was printed and circulated in Philadelphia calling for the formation of secret underground cells of armed fighters “ready to resist by armed force [Lincoln’s] tyrannical usurpations and those of his hired minions” and prevent the enforcement of the Conscription Act which had passed in March of that year, instituting a draft to replenish the ranks of the Union Army.

With a very few minor changes in wording, the letter (you can read the whole thing at Slate) could have been written by the Oath Keepers or any of the other multitude of anti-government “patriot” groups which have emerged from the shadows of the political far right over the last few years:

We are in the midst of the most desperate and cruel despotism that ever disgraced the civilized world. The worst form is about to be developed in the enforcement of the “Conscription Law,” by which men are to be torn from their families and homes, and forced to fight against their will, against the Constitution and against the voice of the majority of the people; in order that the present tyrants in power may be sutained in their usurpations.

Frankly, the chief difference between the Decemvirates, so-called because the cells were to be comprised of 10 members, and today’s self-appointed armed defenders of the Constitution is that today they organize in the open.  And they are far better armed.