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Democracy Doesn’t Exist If Citizens Can’t Vote

This post originally appeared on RingofFireRadio.com

The GOP war on voting is very real, and right now it’s taking a very serious turn for the worse.  With restrictive photo ID laws popping up and right wing governors vetoing legislation that would register millions of new voters, the foundation of our democracy is under attack.  Democrats need to step up their game in order to win this battle.

Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this. 

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Study: Police Body Cameras Actually Reduce Use of Force

This post originally appeared on RingofFireRadio.com.

Police wearing body cameras in South Florida are finding that they greatly reduce the need to use force. That’s the finding of a USF criminology study that found the presence of the cameras in a department had an effect even on officers who didn’t wear the cameras.

From Tampa’s Fox 13:

Research focused on the Orlando Police Department, where 100 officers were monitored with body cameras.

In the year before they wore body cameras, the officers used force an average 3.5 times.

During the year after half of the officers started wearing body cameras, the use of force dropped more than 50 percent, from 3.5 to 1.6.

The presence of the cameras also reduced the use of force by officers not wearing a camera. Their average dropped from 3.5 to 2.2. Complaints from the public also dropped, from .26 percent to .09 percent.

The theory goes that with both the officers and the public knowing they are being recorded, they are less likely to escalate a situation.

For more on this, read the article from Fox 13 titled: “USF study shows police body cameras reduce use of force.

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400 Days Locked Up: Journalist Peter Greste on Surviving Egyptian Prison Term

Democracynow.org - Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste remembers his time in prison in Egypt, where the government held him for broadcasting false news. "Prison anywhere is pretty tough experience. And Egyptian prisons are never the easiest. I was in two police cells before we actually entered the prison system. And I think the police cells were probably some of the toughest experiences of my life. One cell was a box about eight-foot square. It had a toilet in one corner and a sink in the other and a tiny little exhaust fan in the corner. There were 16 guys in that box. It was unbelievably crowded. It was impossibly crowded. A couple of guys had been there for about six months without almost no time out of that at all. It was quite shocking.”

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Bernie Sanders on John Boehner Resignation

Bernie Sanders discusses the implications of John Boehners resignation during his appearance on the Thom Hartmann Program

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Pope Francis Smacks Churches: “If You Don’t Help the Poor and Needy, then Pay Taxes Like a Business”

This post originally appeared on RingofFireRadio.com.

With Pope Francis coming to the United States just a little over a week away, he has sent a very clear message to churches that use their tax-exempt status as a way to exploit their property for economic gain. Some churches are refusing to accept refugees into the buildings they own, instead preferring to use it to make money on rentals.

“Some religious orders say, ‘No, now that the convent is empty we are going to make a hotel and we can have guests and support ourselves that way, or make money,'” said Pope Francis. “Well, if that is what you do, then pay taxes! A religious school is tax-exempt because it is religious, but if it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbor. Otherwise it is not fair business.”

The practice of renting space in religious buildings is very common in Europe. The philosophy behind it, that Pope Francis describes, could very well undermine what many televangelists do in the United States. Rather than practicing their religion, these charlatans run lean businesses and make fat profits. If the church isn’t engaged in the business of the Church, as Pope Francis explained, then it’s time for them to pay their fair share of taxes!

Demonstrating that he follows his own words, the Vatican is taking in two refugee families, who will remain “as long as the Lord wants.”

In the same interview, Pope Francis stated the importance of the Catholic Church adapting to modern times and getting out into the real world to try to make a difference: “If somebody has a room in his house which is closed for long periods, it develops humidity, and a bad smell. If a church, a parish, a diocese, or an institute lives closed in on itself, it grows ill and we are left with a scrawny Church, with strict rules, no creativity. On the contrary – if it goes forth – if a church and a parish go out into the world, then once outside they might suffer the same fate as anybody else who goes out: have an accident. Well in that case, between a sick and a bruised Church, I prefer the bruised, because at least it went into the street.”

Finally, Pope Francis made clear his disgust with those in government failing to take action to protect the environment. “Nowadays the world is at war against itself … in installments, bit by bit, but it is also at war against the land, because it is destroying the land, our common house, the environment.”

For more on this, read the article at Crux titled: “Pope warns religious orders: Take in refugees, or pay property taxes.”

Watch our interview with author Michael Mann on Pope Francis and his climate change encyclical:

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Bernie Sanders This Morning: Debate Made It Clear, Republicans Completely Lost

This post originally appeared on RingofFireRadio.com.

This morning, Bernie Sanders went on CNN to discuss last night’s Republican debate. Sanders discussed that last night’s debate made it very clear that Republicans are completely out of touch with the world as it really is. Instead, the Republicans want to blame absolutely every hardship on President Barack Obama.

Watch Bernie on CNN below.

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Bernie Sanders Crushed the GOP on Twitter Last Night

This post originally appeared on RingofFireRadio.com.

During the GOP debate last night, Bernie Sanders was not sitting back and enjoying the fireworks. He was tweeting criticisms and responses to the GOP’s arguments throughout the entire event. We’ve pulled them together below.

Watch Ring of Fire's commentary on how Bernie is taking the political world by storm:
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Pope Francis is Coming to Congress Sept. 24: GOP Furious with his Main Five Points

This post originally appeared on RingofFireRadio.com

Pope Francis is scheduled to come address Congress on September 24, much to the pain of conservative politicians. Pope Francis has repeatedly made statements and policy decisions that have put him at odds with Republicans. Whether he is saying that women may be forgiven for having abortions or explaining that creationism and evolution are not mutually exclusive theories, he is setting conservative’s heads spinning.

Here are five points that Pope Francis has made that conservatives have been completely at odds with:

1. Pope Francis has made ending a marriage more easily accessible.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis outlined new rules that made it easier and less expensive for couples seeking an end to their relationship to part. The new rules are seen as a complete divergence from the church of the past, which had a history of making divorce and annulment difficult to obtain.

2. Pope Francis has made addressing climate change non-negotiable.

In his encyclical, Pope Francis explained that dealing with climate change is an issue of moral importance. It effects every single person on this planet and will disproportionately hurt people of lower means. Francis explained that the most vulnerable on our planet are those who will be faced with the brutality of climate change.

3. Pope Francis has offered forgiveness to women for abortions.

During the upcoming year of mercy, Pope Francis has announced, the Catholic church will extend mercy and forgiveness to women who seek forgiveness for an abortion.

4. Pope Francis said that capitalism without restraint is evil.

While visiting Bolivia in July, Pope Francis criticized the practice of wealthy nations and banks taking advantage of weaker and developing nations. The pope defended what he described as “sacred rights” that belong to poor people. Those rights cannot be taken by a bank or foreign power.

5. Pope Francis does not see creationism an evolution as exclusive.

Conservatives tend to use the concept of evolution as a wedge to divide true conservatives from others. Pope Francis rejected the idea that the theory of evolution and the theory of creationism need to be exclusive.

While talking at the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, he said, “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything, But that is not so.”

These are just a handful of the issues that have put conservatives on edge when dealing with the new, more progressive Catholic church. It should be interesting to see how they react to the pope’s message later this month.

For more on this, read the Alternet article titled: 5 Ways Pope Francis Has Recently Caused Conservative Christians’ Heads to Explode.

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Kim Davis is Back, and Still Won’t Do Her Job

This post originally appeared on RingofFireRadio.com.

The bigoted, gay-hating Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis returned to work on Monday, but says she will continue defying the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

Although she denies the right of same-sex marriage, she will not interfere with her deputies’ issuing of marriage licenses. However, she still contends that the marriage licenses already issued are invalid. She said, in a handwritten statement, that any licenses issued by her office would be “unauthorized.” It’s horrendous how defiant Davis has remained.

“I want the whole world to know . . . If any [deputy clerk] feels that they must issue an unauthorized marriage license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice, and I will take no action against them,” said Davis. “However, any unauthorized license that they issue will not have my name, my title or my authority on it. Instead, the license will state that they are issued pursuant to a federal court order.”

Davis further contended that she is being forced to ignore the word of God and her religious views by honoring marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In short, she found a way to sit on her big butt, not do her job, and circumvent the law. If she wasn’t an elected official, she’d get fired on the spot.

Here’s hoping that she gets thrown in jail again.

For more on this story, visit the Huffington Post.

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