"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, June 29, 2020

Law and Order, Right-Wing Version

These are from a couple of days ago; I just ran across them late yesterday and thought they deserved mention.

First, Rick Wiles, who's known as a vicious anti-Semite:

"We were concerned as conservatives that you’re going to have a far-left regime in power that is going to try to round up conservatives, confiscate guns, put people in detention centers, and so forth,” Wiles said. “You know what? This is turning out to be Haman’s gallows. What they planned for the church, for conservatives, for patriots, what they planned is going to be flipped around on them."

"There’s a Republican president in the White House right now who’s brought the military in,” he continued. “You know who’s going to get rounded up? The left, the communists, the people who are burning down the country. That’s who’s going to get rounded up. This thing has completely flipped on them."

Oh, he also wants us tortured.

Next up is Jim Hoft, the dumbest man on the internet. He's after the FBI:

In the accompanying article, Hoft repeatedly attacked the FBI and its director Christopher Wray, whom ​right-wing activists have publicly and privately pressured ​Trump to fire​ over the agency’s conduct during its investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. Hoft only attacked Wray and the FBI, ignoring the other two agencies involved in the issuance of the bulletin.

“Despite the mass looting and violence by the left Chris Wray’s FBI sent out a memo warning white supremacists pose the greatest risk of violence,” Hoft wrote. “What a disgrace.”

“Maybe it’s time to disband the FBI,” Hoft stated. “It’s become a joke.”

Don't worry, Hoft -- Bill Barr is working on turning the FBI into Trump's own Gestapo.

Next is John Guandolo, a former FBI agent (no, he didn't retire willingly):
“It’s time to start crushing these enemies,” he continued. “The leaders of this defund the police movement are communists and jihadis. They’re Muslim Brotherhood organized organizations like the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Society of North America. They’re designated terrorist groups like Hamas, the Council of American Islamic Relations. They are leaders of communist organizations like Black Lives Matter and antifa, and as this country has done in the past, we should round up the leaders and execute them for trying to revolt and overthrow the government. And if this doesn’t happen soon, we will lose this.”

To call him unhinged is putting it very mildly.

There it is, a quick portrait of the "law and order" contingent of the right wing. Read it and weep.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

What's New at Green Man Review

In spite of all the chaos in the world, we still manage to come up with reviews of interesting things every week:

Sherlock Examined, Edward Weston, Teen Superheroes, Storytellers, Acoustic Americana, a quick Indian Dinner, and more

So click on over and enjoy.

Wow. Just, Wow. . . .

This story broke yesterday (actually, probably Friday, but I saw it late yesterday):

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter. . . .

The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

(Via Towleroad, where you can year Rachel Maddow's commentary.)

The reaction has not been positive. A small sample:

There's lots more at the link.

It's indicative of the way Trump's mind works that he accused Obama of treason for "spying" on the Trump campaign. (L'Etat, c' est moi) There is some speculation that this was a combination of projection and deflection, since he reportedly knew about the Russian bounties at the time.

I think with any other president, this would be unbelievable. But it is believable. Here's an interesting take on that issue:

Whether Trump has actually committed treason is arguable. Treason is defined as:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 3.

Although there's been no format declaration of war against Russia, Putin's certainly not a friend of the U.S. And the Taliban is an enemy.

The White House, of course, is denying that Trump knew anything about it:

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Saturday that the President and Vice President Mike Pence were not briefed “on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence.” McEnany said her statement “does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story,” which said Trump had been briefed.

We're back at the believeability thing. Who are you going to believe, a serial liar or the New York Times?

At this point, it's almost a toss-up, but NYT still has more credibility than Trump.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Are We Great Yet?

Based on this, I'd say no:

European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers reviewed by The New York Times.

That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.

This is interesting:

President Trump, as well as his Russian and Brazilian counterparts, Vladimir V. Putin and Jair Bolsonaro, has followed what critics call a comparable path in their pandemic response that leaves all three countries in a similarly bad spot: they were dismissive at the outset of the crisis, slow to respond to scientific advice and saw a boom of domestic cases as other parts of the world, notably in Europe and Asia, were slowly managing to get their outbreaks under control.

Congratulations, Trump -- you've managed to turn the US into, to use your own words, a "shithole country".

Via Joe.My.God.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Today in Alternate Realities

This speaks for itself:

So, 60 is young?

Something tells me "Rosie" doesn't spend a lot of time thinking.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

What's New at Green Man Review

Our Summer Solstice issue. It's the longest day of the year, so there's plenty to time for you to click over and read all the good stuff.

It's Officially Summer

And to usher in the season, here's a musical offering: violinist Joshua Bell performing the third movement, "Summer", from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons:

Something to Warm Your Heart

Thanks to TikTok and K-pop fans:

The New York Times reports:

TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After @TeamTrump tweeted asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.

It gets worse:

CNBC reports:

Talking up the rally last week, Trump said nearly a million people had requested tickets to attend. “We have a 22,000-seat arena, but I think we’re going to also take the convention hall next door, and that’s going to hold 40,000 … We expect to have a record-setting crowd. We’ve never had an empty seat, and we certainly won’t in Oklahoma.”

But they did have empty seats. Approximately 13,000 of them, according to the Tulsa Fire Marshal, who counted slightly less than 6,200 attendees at the 19,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Arena on Saturday night.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

(Wonder who's going to get fired over this.)

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Dreamers Can Keep Dreaming -- For Now

This "conservative" Supreme Court has handed Trump a double whammy this week, first deciding that "sex" as used in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes sexual orientation and gender expression, and now cutting his attempt to cancel DACA off at the knees -- on a technicality. Ian Milhauser examines the decision:

The legal issue in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, an extraordinarily narrow decision preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, is quite small: whether the Trump administration completed the proper paperwork when it decided to wind down the program.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the administration’s paperwork was insufficient, keeping the program alive for now.

They're so incompetent they can't even get the paperwork right. This is the key element:

The basic rule underlying Regents is that, even when a federal agency has discretion to implement a particular policy, it typically may not do so until it has provided a reasoned explanation for why it chose that policy. Though a court may not “substitute its judgment for that of the agency,” the same court has a duty to assess whether the agency’s decision “was ‘based on a consideration of the relevant factors and whether there has been a clear error of judgment.’”

This means DHS can try again. Hopefully, they'll as be so busy trying (and failing) to get the "president" re-elected that they won't have time.

For the Supreme Court nerds, it's worth reading the whole article.

Via Digby.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Hysteria Mounts

The Supreme Court's ruling in Bostock has really hit the anti-gay hate groups and hate-group wannabes hard. They're just beside themselves. This, from the ever hateful Tony Perkins, is perhaps more revealing than he intended:

To most Americans, the sellout of Neil Gorsuch, who not only voted with the liberal members on the Harris case but authored the majority opinion, will be the lingering horror. If even he can’t bring himself to agree that the word “sex” means male and female — not the Left’s wild reinterpretations of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” who will?

To label Justice Gorsuch a "sellout" just fairly screams "We didn't put you on the Court to rule on the basis of reality!" I like the bit about the ruling being a "lingering horror", too. They're really pulling out the stops.

And The Federalist is even more over the top:

Joy Pullmann, executive editor at The Federalist, wrote that the ruling would result in the “further degradation of Americans’ natural rights to free speech, to free association, and to worshipping God as their consciences require.” The headline on Pullmann’s article claims that Monday’s ruling “Firebombs” the U.S. Constitution. She writes:

This decision is a disgrace to these bedrocks of Western civilization, our nation built upon them, the voters who vote for them, and to these men’s honor. President Trump ran promising judges who wouldn’t murder America, and Gorsuch just gave him and everyone who voted for him a giant middle finger. The court’s newfound weakness will also be exploited and explored by leftist legal agitators whose goal is the destruction of the American system.

Now, Ms. Pullman, we all know who's out to destroy the American system, and it's not Neil Gorsuch or his colleagues on the Court -- it's your hero's puppet master, who's sitting in the Kremlin laughing himself silly.

Even James Dobson has come out of his crypt to rant (yes, apparently he's still alive):

Not only was this decision an affront against God, but it was also a historical attack against the founding framework that governs our nation.

Our judiciary is constitutionally charged with interpreting the law, not making law. In its 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court acted as a super-legislature and failed to carry out its primary duty to the American people. And we will all pay the price.

Oh, and about the judiciary interpreting the law: that's exactly what they did.

And from our "president":

“They’ve ruled and we live with the decision,” Trump said, defeated and somewhat sad. “We live with the decision of the Supreme Court.”

I guess someone told him he can't fire Gorsuch. And note the enthusiasm. (My own take is that he doesn't care one way or the other about LGBT rights -- he just needs to keep the evangelicals feeding at the trough.)

And in spite of the right, time marches on, and society marches with it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Today's Must-Read: Color Me Flabbergasted (Updated)

Well, OK, maybe not flabbergasted, but certainly surprised. It's all over the place, but here's the most concise and complete single story I've found:

In the cascade of bad news that has marked 2020, it’s almost impossible to believe that something good could happen, and yet here we are: On Monday morning, the Supreme Court ruled that gay and trans workers are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits firing someone on the basis of sex. The decision encompasses a number of cases, but the most prominent was that of Aimee Stephens, a trans woman from Michigan who was fired by her longtime employer, Harris Funeral Homes, because she had transitioned from living as a man to living as a woman. Sadly, Stephens did not live to see this victory — she died from kidney failure in May — but she will go down in history as the person who secured this critical right for trans people to do their jobs free of discrimination.

I wasn't really all that surprised by the ruling -- well, OK, a little bit -- but more by the 6-3 split.l If I'd thought about it, I probably would have expected Roberts to join the liberal wing of the Court -- legacy and all that -- but Gorsuch did surprise me.

The really delicious part is that the "religious" right was hoping this case would provide the wedge to start rolling back gay and trans equality -- and everyone else's rights as well:

But this victory is not just a victory for trans people. This decision, surprisingly penned by Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, is a potentially major setback for the religious right’s push to gut federal laws that protect all Americans from discrimination on the basis of race or sex. The right has been looking for a way to weaken the Civil Rights Act for decades now, and for the moment that mission has been thwarted.

Especially those of women:

Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian right group that was representing Harris Funeral Home, is still pretending it was doing this to protect women.

“Redefining ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ will create chaos and enormous unfairness for women and girls in athletics, women’s shelters, and many other contexts,” the group tweeted after the decision came down. “Civil rights laws that use the word ‘sex’ were put in place to protect equal opportunities for women.”

BS, to put is succinctly. You know as well as I do that ADF and its backers want women back in the kitchen with a kid hanging on each hip.

At any rate, read the whole thing, and while you're at it, check out the Salon article linked in the first paragraph above.

There's a lot of follow up, especially at Joe.My.God. Highlights are here (Tony Perkins -- not the sexy actor, the bigoted grifter); here (Joe Biden, on the plus side); h ere (Alliance Defending Freedom, the losers); and here (Heritage Foundation, bravely facing the eleventh century). There are more -- just scroll down until you find one you like.

Update: Needless to say, Franklin Graham has weighed in, with the expected wailing and rending of garments over "religious freedom":

I believe this decision erodes religious freedoms across this country. People of sincere faith who stand on God’s Word as their foundation for life should never be forced by the government to compromise their religious beliefs.

And so on and so forth.

As a matter of fact, the Court quite specifically did not address the issue. The demurrer is on page 36 of the opinion (which a PDF file that I can't copy and paste).

Graham's comments are worth reading, just as an example in the double-talk at which the "religious" right excels.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Wonder Where All That Money Went?

Too bad -- the Trump regime ain't telling:

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the Trump administration never promised to release the names of businesses that received forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans as a part of the CARES Act.

Have you noticed a certain resistance to accountability in the Trump regime? I wonder why that is. And Kudlow's comment is so much horsepucky:

The PPP loan application also warns borrowers that their company names, loan amounts, and other information are public records “that will be automatically released," according to TIME. And in April, the SBA told news organizations that it intended to post "individual loan data" after the loan process had been completed.

Could it bee that they don't want us to know how much of that money -- our money, let me remind you -- went to a)Trump's businesses and b) major Republican donors?

I suggest you check out the full article. It basically describes the Trump-generated swamp that used to be our government.

And get this video of Kudlow wallowing all over the place trying to justify Mnuchin not releasing any information on who got how much:

Via Joe.My.God.

What's New at Green Man Review

It's that time of the week again, and here we are:

Jennifer’s cold green summery sludge (really), John Hartford’s fiddle tunes, the War for the Oaks film, three novels by Pat Murphy, chocolate chip cookies and other yummy matters

Dive in an enjoy.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Today's Must-Read: The Lunatic in Chief

From Digby, this article on our acting "president" and his destruction of the government:

During his three and a half years in office, President Trump has succeeded in damaging every institution of politics and government, from the Department of Justice to the federal courts to the Foreign Service and the State Department to the intelligence community, public health agencies and beyond. But until fairly recently he had more or less left the U.S. military alone.

The George Floyd/Black Lives Matter demonstration have really brought his dictatorial impulses to the fore. This bit is telling:

This episode illustrates one of the ongoing destructive dynamics of the Trump administration. The president makes mad demands and, in order to keep him from doing his worst, people around him appease him with flattery or come up with slightly less bad options and then scurry to carry them out. In the process, so many of them destroy their credibility and their reputations. Even if they succeed in short-circuiting the very worst of Trump’s impulses, their willingness to appease him always produces bad outcomes anyway.

It's a lose-lose situation for anyone involved -- and for the rest of us as well.

The man -- and I use the term loosely -- is insane.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Today's Must-Read: The Press as King-Maker

A commentary by Eric Bohlert, via Digby, that crystallizes a number of thoughts I've been having about our"free, independent, adversarial press". Here's one key part:

For readers of the New York Times, this development might come as a surprise, since the paper’s message this spring has leaned heavily on the idea Biden is struggling. Specifically, the newspaper has been obsessed with portraying Biden as stuck in his Delaware basement during a pandemic, broadcasting out messages, unable to counter the savvy Trump.

Indeed, the message from the Times has been that “perilously passive” Biden is “grappling,” “uncertain,” “tentative,” “cloistered,” “stuck at home,” and “struggling with basic technical difficulties,” while Democrats are “worried” and “perplexed.”

The storyline is that Biden became a spectator while Trump was running the campaign show. Today, that narrative has proven to be dead wrong and it ought to be buried.

This is a perfect example of the press firmly clinging to the idea that Democrats are in a constant state of confusion and that Trump and Republicans can easily outmaneuver them. (See: Dems in Disarray.) And preferred media narratives are hard to break.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Smarmy Hypocrite du Jour

None other than Tony Perkins:

They were the biggest gatherings, by far, but in Washington, D.C., where one reporter said it “felt as if the entire city had emptied into downtown,” the atmosphere felt different. Calmer.

For once, it was pastors and faith leaders holding the bullhorns, as riots turned into rallies for reflection and repentance. Hundreds of evangelicals in the D.C. area led a long march across the Anacostia River, stopping, periodically, to pray.

Together with different generations and races, they called for the church to rise up and help heal our nation. “Our protest needs to be different,” Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile urged the crowd — not rooted in hatred or bitterness, but in Jesus.

Across the city — from the Reflecting Pool to hot asphalt sidewalks — people knelt to pray. It was the same serene picture in other parts of the country, where Christians met up in parking lots and city centers to offer an alternative to the violence and anger.

A few random thoughts on this:

I'm old enough that I remember when "faith leaders" would have been leading these demonstrations from the beginning -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., anyone? Or the Berrigans, both priests and leaders of anti-war demonstrations in the '60s and '70s. What's changed? Maybe it's just that the voices of the real followers of Christ have been drowned out by the power-hungry hypocrites.

There's evidence that the violence was initiated by right-wing, white supremacist agitators:

As demonstrations spread from Minneapolis to the White House, New York City and overseas, federal law enforcement officials insisted far-left groups were stoking violence. Meanwhile, experts who track extremist groups also reported seeing evidence of the far-right at work.

I'm sure they're all good "Christians". And at this point, I'll believe anyone but the feds -- the party line is "It's Antifa"; my guess is it's the Boogaloo Bois.

And where has Perkins been during all this? Hiding in a bunker? Why wasn't he out marching against racism in law enforcement? Oh, right.

Oh, in case you were wondering, from Merriam-Webster:
Definition of smarmy

1: revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, or false earnestness

a tone of smarmy self-satisfaction
— New Yorker

Sunday, June 07, 2020

What's New at Green Man Review

In spite of everything, here we are again:

Zelazny, Rights and Freedoms, More “Chocolate Covered” Goodies, Chamber Music You Weren’t Expecting, another Comics Cross-Over, and More

And the "more" is really worth checking out. Go to it.

Antifa, Part II

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, and as a slightly belated observance of D-Day, this:

With thanks to commenter Falconlights at Joe.My.God.

Addendum: They're coming thick and fast:

View image on Twitter

Via commenter joe ho at Joe.My.God.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

The Original Antifa Leaders

With thanks to Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof:

Police Culture

This story has been unfolding for the past few days.

During protests in Buffalo, NY, 75-year-old Martin Gugino approached a group of police officers. He was pushed to the ground. Here's a video of the encounter:

As you can see, one of the officers started to help Mr. Gugino, or at least check his condition, and was pulled away by another officer. From reports, the National Guard finally got medical help to the scene. The two officers involved have been suspended without pay.

Now, the entire emergency response team has resigned from the team in support of the two officers who were suspended.

News 4 has learned the entire Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team has resigned from the team.

That’s a total of 57 officers.

We’re told this is a show of support for the officers who are suspended without pay after shoving 75-year-old Martin Gugino.

They are still employed, but no longer on the team.

The statements by the police chief and mayor are so much wishy-washy bullshit. Here's the key quote:

“If they resigned, I’m exceptionally disappointed by it because it indicates to me that they did not see anything wrong with the actions last night,” [County Executive] Poloncarz said after being asked about the ERT Team[.]

And there's the problem: these officers who are supporting the two who attacked a 75-year-old-man and refused to call for medical aid don't see anything wrong with this. (I can't help but wonder how many of them voted for Trump -- it's the same attitude.)

There's been a lot of talk over the years about "police culture", which can be summarized in too many cases as "us versus them", where "them" is the people they are supposed to be protecting. You know, the citizens who are paying their salaries. In Chicago, one of the biggest obstacles to reform has been the police union; I'm sure that holds true for other localities, as well.

In this case, these 57 sympathizers with police lawlessness (not to mention complete lack of moral foundation) should also be suspended without pay. Maybe at least some of them will think about it.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Coming Soon To Your Home Town

Bill Barr's Secret Police:

Attorney General Bill Barr is defending his use of an unmarked, unidentified, black-clad heavily-armed paramilitary federal secret police force brandishing riot gear, on the streets of the nation’s capital. Apparently they have been deployed to, as he put it Sunday, “reestablish law and order.”

Many across DC have taken to social media, posting photos and video of these mysterious “soldiers” seemingly charged not with protecting the citizenry, but with protecting the federal government from the citizenry.

They wear no identifying labels: No one can see their name or rank, what agency they work for, what their job is, why they are there. They wear no badges. They just showed up and the Attorney General did not even ask the Mayor of Washington DC or anyone else if it was OK.

They are heavily armed, wear different uniforms, have most of their face covered, and refuse to say who they are.

When asked, they say they work for the Dept. of Justice.

I suppose this is the next step, after gassing peaceful demonstrators (engaged in a lawful assembly, as guaranteed by the First Amendment) so the "president" can have a photo op.

This is choice:

“Barr and Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal said at a Thursday press conference that the officers were from the Bureau of Prisons Special Operations Response Team (SORT),” Yahoo News reports.

“We normally operate within the confines of our institution and we don’t need to identify ourselves. Most of our identification is institution specific and probably wouldn’t mean a whole lot to people in D.C.,” Carvajal said.

“I probably should have done a better job of marking them nationally as the agency. Point is well taken. But I assure you that no one was specifically told in my knowledge not to identify themselves.”

Horsepucky. When asked, they all give the same response, that they work for the DOJ. Tell me there's been no coaching. Of course, it's not inconceivable that Carvajal doesn't know what they were told -- this is a regime where no one knows what's going on.

Oh, and if you don't know what a Republican means by "law and order", you've been asleep for the last forty years.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Chipping Away, "Free Exercise" Version

Catholic Charities is at it again, and now the Trump/Barr "Justice" Department, Evangelical Division, has stepped in:

In the latest example of the Trump administration seeking to enable legal discrimination against LGBTQ people, the Justice Department is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to allow religious-affiliated adoption agencies to refuse child placement into LGBTQ homes.

In a 35-page brief, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco and other Justice Department attorneys maintain the City of Philadelphia has “impermissibly discriminated against religious exercise” under the First Amendment by requiring Catholic Social Services to abide by a contract requiring LGBTQ non-discrimination practices in child placement.

“Governmental action tainted by hostility to religion fails strict scrutiny almost by definition,” the brief says. “This court has never recognized even a legitimate governmental interest — much less a compelling one — that justifies hostility toward religion.”

The U.S. government isn’t a party to the case, known as Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, so the brief is completely voluntary. In justifying the brief before the Supreme Court, the filing makes the case the Justice Department has a compelling interest to intervene.

The City of Philadelphia is insisting that "Christians" abide by a contract. The horror!

The case came about after the City of Philadelphia learned in March 2018 that Catholic Social Services, which the city had hired to provide foster care services to children in child welfare, was refusing to license same-sex couples despite a contract prohibiting these agencies from engaging in anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

And the DOJ's brief looks to be 35 pages of bullshit:

Although the case involves Catholic Social Services refusing to abide by the terms of its contract, the Justice Department framing of the litigation makes it seem like the City of Philadelphia is an aggressor and unfairly targeting Catholic Social Services, asserting the municipality is allowing for exemptions in some cases, but not religious-affiliated adoption agencies.

“The City impermissibly targeted religious organizations for enforcement of its newly articulated policies,” the brief says. “Commissioner Figueroa testified that, in determining whether foster-care agencies were complying with the anti-discrimination requirements of their contracts, the city focused only on religious agencies, making just a single inquiry to a secular foster-care agency…City officials made no effort to determine whether other secular agencies perform home studies for everyone who requests them, or show preference for or against individuals who fall within particular groups.”

When this happened in Illinois, the state suspended funding to Catholic Charities adoption services and threatened to pull their license. Catholic Charities got out of the adoption business -- and a number of other agencies, including those run by the Lutheran Church -- took over their case load.

Via Joe.My.God.

"Far Left Agitators"? Sure, Jan

This is a surprise exactly how?

Three Nevada men with ties to a loose movement of right-wing extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas.

Federal prosecutors say the three white men with U.S. military experience are accused of conspiring to carry out a plan that began in April in conjunction with protests to reopen businesses closed because of the coronavirus.

More recently, they sought to capitalize on protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air, prosecutors said.

The three men were arrested Saturday on the way to a protest in downtown Las Vegas after filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in glass bottles, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by The Associated Press.

It's worth reading the whole article. Trump and Barr's rhetoric notwithstanding, these are right-wingers. And they're terrorists, pure and simple.

Via Joe.My.God.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Commentary du Jour

With thanks to commenter Steven B at Joe.My.God.


It's not just the Episcopal church Trump is appropriating for his re-election campaign (via Towleroad):

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Today's Must-Read: What a Pathetic Creature

This post, by Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo, lays out what a total loss as a human being our "president" is:

The warnings have become clich├ęs. There is no bottom. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. You can fool some of the people all of the time, etc. But as the country devolves into what the rest of world might describe as a hellhole, it is not clear what comes next after Monday. But it won’t be pretty.

Sullivan goes down the line and lays it out.

The trigger for this one is Trump having the police gas and fire flash-bangs and rubber bullets at peaceful, unarmed protesters in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, so that he could make a big show of walking across the street to St. John's church for a photo op -- and to prove he's a "real man" after hiding in a bunker the evening before.

In fact, scroll down today's posts at Hullabaloo -- it's pretty grim.

Monday, June 01, 2020

The Next Step

So, Trump is going to declare Antifa a terrorist organization:

Donald Trump has claimed that left-wing activists are responsible for the violent protests in Minneapolis and other cities, and declared his administration will move to designate the loose association of militant left-wing, anti-fascist demonstrators commonly known as “Antifa” as a terrorist organisation.

“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organisation,” he said in a series of tweets on Sunday blaming violent outbursts and rioting at police brutality protests across America over the weekend on the group and other “Radical Left” elements.​

As usual, our acting president is right on target -- Antifa (which he mispronounced) is not an organization; it's a loose association of groups and individuals opposed to fascism. Such groups and individuals have included the U.S., the UK, France, the USSR, Frankllin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and, in the present day, Angela Merkel, the Democratic Party -- well, you get my drift.

There's also a matter of U.S. law, which only allows for designating foreign groups as terrorists.

And his butt boy, Bill Barr, is chiming right in:

“In many places it appears the violence is planned, organised, and driven by far left extremist groups and anarchic groups using Antifa-like tactics,” the attorney general said.

In Chicago, the mayor says there's no doubt that the riots, looting, and arson were organized. we just don't know who organized the mess -- but based on recent history, my guess is that it wasn't leftist groups. (If what they've discovered in Minnesota is any indication, look to Trump supporters and other right-wing and neo-fascist groups. Irony note: the spelling the "Boogaloo Bois" use for "boys" is old gay slang for a gay man.)

This is a key point (with thanks to commenter BeccaM at Joe.My.God.)

The comments at Joe.My.God. are worth reading -- a lot of information there.