Uneffingbelievable.

Sheldon Whitehouse: MUST WATCH: Republican @SenJohnKennedy asks one of @realDonaldTrump’s US District Judge nominees basic questions of law & he can’t answer a single one. Hoo-boy.

“Hoo-boy” does not begin to cover this. At all. I wanted to reach right through the screen, and space-time, to insist on answering the questions with a yes or no. Absolutely no other words allowed. I’m a 60 year old artist in rural nDakota, and I know what a motion in limine is, because Law & Order. So, do I get to be a judge?

Then there’s just the waste. The waste of time. The waste of money. The waste of brain cells in indulging this farce.

Via Twitter.

There’s Always A Loophole.

BCD means – Bad Conduct Discharge.

Most people are aware of the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting. The man who did the shooting, Devin Kelley, had been discharged from the USAF for domestic violence against his wife and child. After the court martial and a brief amount of prison time (1 year), Kelley was given a bad conduct discharge, which allowed for him to still own and purchase guns. A dishonorable discharge would have barred him from owning or purchasing guns.

Domestic violence and guns are deeply intertwined in America. The reason that at least one sensible restriction against gun ownership cannot be enacted, domestic violence conviction – no guns, is because it would strip too many cops of the right to carry a gun. The gun madness in this country is deep, and I don’t know how in the hell we can stop it, let alone change it. Especially when we have the Idiot King saying that more guns are needed, yes, more, more! The fucking idiot also went on to tar all people with mental illness, saying the shooter was deeply mentally ill. He wasn’t, he was angry.  The Tiny Tyrant is tweeting this utter crap from Japan, a country with very strict gun control, and guess what? Hardly any gun deaths at all:

In 2014 there were just six gun deaths in Japan, while there were 33,599 in the United States.

I’ll just let that sit there.

Via Raw Story, one, two.

In the meantime, a Fox Idiot said church is the ideal place to be shot dead:

Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt asserted on Monday that the dozens of people killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas had gone to the right place to be shot because they were close to Jesus at the time of their death.

The Violet Sister.

Louise Michel pictured at home in her later years, around the time she is presumed to have penned the piece translated below — Source.

A husky voice barked: “Entrez!”

Through a long, dim hallway, I followed the voice, until I reached a spare, curtained room. One empty chair stood near the entrance. Another, across the darkened space, was occupied by a slender, shadowed figure with erect posture, white hair long and flowing as in the fashion of the 1840s, in an elegant black suit, immaculate linens, a neckcloth of Persian design. A bright gaze set into a finely featured face pierced the gloom.

“Sit”, the figure commanded. As if under the influence of a powerful magnetizer, I sat without pause.

My host spoke sharply, gruffly. “Welcome, Mademoiselle. You have come to meet me, no? You wish to learn of my ideas, my thoughts. But should you not first know to whom you speak?” I nodded.

The figure straightened. “You wrote to Octave Obdurant. This is the name with which the person before you entered the Ecole Polytechnique. It is the name on my entrance papers to the Ecole de Ponts et Chaussées. It is the name with which I signed my first articles in geometry, my first statistical tables, as well as Free the Earth, which you were kind enough to notice.”

The voice was clear and occasionally guttural; there was a warmth beneath its unyielding syllables.

“But as you have certainly realized, this is not my true name.”

I felt my mind begin to spin. I was unsure of where I was, what I was doing here, in these isolated rooms. I stammered out:

“Excuse me, Monsieur. What, then, is your name?”

“I was baptized Tranchot.” Despite the pause which followed, the name meant nothing to me until it was repeated, with its prenames before it.

Marie Violette Tranchot.”

I was moved by an emotion of shock and recognition at once. Some part of me had already realized that I was not in the presence of a great man, but rather a great woman — no wizened brother of the struggle, but a sister. Instantly, I felt myself uncannily at home, safe at last in a place I’d never been — truly at home, perhaps, for the first time in my life. This hero, epitome of the courage and intelligence the world saw as masculine, was a woman like myself.

Fascinating reading, from Louise Michel, in Le Libertaire, iii, 1895. She writes about the Scoundrel Laws, and the paucity of an overly-praised history, and her meeting with Octave Obdurant.

You can read the whole thing at The Public Domain. Highly recommended.

On Postponing The 2020 Election.

Republican. A synonym for every evil thing.

A chilling new poll conducted by scholars Ariel Malka and Yphtach Lelkes, which they write about in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog today, finds that not only do nearly half of Republicans falsely believe that President Trump won the popular vote in 2016 and that nearly 70 percent believe that “millions of illegal immigrants voted” in the election, but that  more than half would support postponing the 2020 presidential election “until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote” if Trump were to propose it.

Malka and Lelkes caution that this whole situation is hypothetical and that people’s views might be different if faced with the situation in reality. But they write that their findings, at a minimum “show that a substantial number of Republicans are amenable to violations of democratic norms that are more flagrant than what is typically proposed (or studied).”

It’s worth remembering that one of the many conspiracy theories that the right-wing media propagated about President Obama was that he would invent some kind of crisis in order to justify staying in office for a second term, or even indefinitely.

Just in case Trump doesn’t nuke us all to death, we can look forward to this shit. RWW has the full rundown on all the conspiracies which were rife when an actual President was in office.

On Being Arrested in Japan.

English cards translated from Japanese by Rachel Mimms.

Getting arrested is a scary experience in every country, but perhaps even more so in Japan, where the conviction rate is over 99%. Last month, the Japanese government passed a new anti-terror conspiracy law that has drawn controversy among Japanese citizens who feel it is a threat to civil liberties and privacy. Artist Megumi Igarashi (pen name Rokudenashiko), famously arrested in 2014 on charges of obscenity for distributing 3D data of her genitals, is creating a set of playing cards that educate people about what it’s like to be arrested in Japan.

Critics of the anti-conspiracy law claim it is too broadly worded and contains acts that have little to no connection to terrorism, such as: copying music, picking mushrooms in conservation forests, and competing in a motor boat race without a license.

No stranger to the absurdity of Japanese law, Ms. Igarashi is responding by making a tongue-in-cheek karuta card game set depicting scenarios of arrest and imprisonment in Japan partly based on her own experiences. Each one has a drawing humorously portraying the situation described on the other side of the card. Through these “jail cards,” players can learn about Japanese prison conditions, police interrogation, and testifying in court.

She has already posted 17 of these cards to her Twitter account and says she plans to create an entire set of 50 — one for each Japanese syllable — so that anyone can print them out and play along.

You can read and see more at Spoon & Tamago. Cop shops, same all over the world.

No More Reading On Planes?

Hrag Vartanian.

Oh, the TSA has come up with yet another of their unbelievably stupid ideas, and naturally, are quite enthused about it. All books and all paper of any kind will be pulled for extra scrutiny. Given the collective brain power of the TSA, this most likely means that a very high number of potential passengers will not be making their flight, but be locked up in a back room somewhere, while the crafty TSA agents attempt to figure out the reading material.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing new requirements that would oblige travelers to remove books and other paper goods from their carry-on baggage when going through airport security. The new proposal hasn’t gone into effect, though the TSA, which is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, has tested it at airports, including in early May, when screeners at a Kansas City airport “forced passengers to remove all paper from bags, down to notepads,” according to Wall Street Journal; The Sacramento Bee reported that the TSA also tested this policy in Sacramento.

[…]

TSA agents already have the authority to search what they want, and anyone who has been subject to extra screenings will know that notebooks and other books are often flipped through by agents, who sometimes even read their pages. That was the experience of artist Kameelah Janan Rashid, who was removed from a plane on her way to Istanbul in 2015. Yet this new policy, as outlined by Stanley, “would lead to more routine and systematic exposure and, inevitably, greater scrutiny of passengers’ reading materials in the course of the screening process.”

Henry Reichman, professor emeritus of history at California State University at East Bay and chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, told Inside Higher Ed that the screening change was troubling:

Academics are unsurprisingly big readers, and since we don’t simply read for pleasure, we often read materials with which we disagree or which may be seen by others as offensive. […] For instance, a scholar studying terrorism and its roots may well be reading — and potentially carrying on a plane — books that others might see as endorsing terrorism. In addition, because scholarship is international, I suspect academics are more likely than others to be reading and carrying material in foreign languages, which might arouse some suspicion. … Finally, academics (as well as editors and journalists) may well be carrying pre-publication materials — drafts for peer review or comment, etc. — and these could raise special concerns.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in an interview with Fox News Sunday last month that the department “might and likely will” expand the new carry-on policy.

The Full Story is at Hyperallergic.

America: Draconian, Backwards, Doomed.

Shutterstock.

America, the experiment, is one that will fail. And no, this isn’t yet another report about the disastrous regime, which is simply yet another symptom of the failure in progress. It doesn’t matter that there a few states sprinkled here and there that you could consider progressive and social minded. The majority of states are not those things. A whole hell of a lot of people aren’t those things. Christianity is the biggest obstacle to social progress, morality, and humaneness. And no, I don’t give a shit if you’re a progressive, social minded christian. Until I see all of you busy, active, protesting, and lobbying against all the asshole christians, I don’t care what you say in private. Whatever you’re doing, it isn’t enough.

The insistence on puritanism rooted in misogyny is one big reason this lost country will continue to slide inexorably downwards. Too many Americans seem to think of the country as a church, and they should have the right to oppress and stomp all over certain people. Missouri is providing a fine example of this in action:

Missouri’s Senate is considering legislation that would allow employers and landlords to discriminate against women who use birth control or have had abortions. The bill, which has the support of the state’s governor, Eric Greitens, was approved by the Missouri House Tuesday.

Known as SB 5, the bill was first passed by the Senate on June 14 following a special session called by Greitens. His aim was to overturn an ordinance that prevents employers and housing providers from punishing women for their reproductive health choices, according to a report by Feministing, a feminist website.

The ordinance was passed by the city of St. Louis, and Greitens had said it made the area into “an abortion sanctuary city.” The Senate seemed to agree with him, as did the House, which on Tuesday passed an expanded version of SB 5 that included more anti-abortion restrictions. Given the Senate’s vote on June 14, it it seen as likely to approve the updated version of SB 5. This would mean that landlords could refuse to offer housing to women based on their reproductive health choices, while employers could fire female staff members who were using birth control, or refuse to hire them. And while of course this isn’t information most landlords or employers have access to, under SB 5 they could ask women what forms of reproductive health care they are using.

Yes, of course women could lie; that’s not the point though, is it? The mere fact that anyone could be given the authority to question you on your contraception use* or specific bits of your medical history ought to scare the living hell out of everyone, it should not be something enshrined in law, to say the least. Can you imagine anything of this kind of thing being applied and passed in regard to men?

* Not that most women will be able to afford contraception in the near future.

Full story here.

Says It All.

Philando Castile (What’s Trending).

Rep. Barbara Lee: #Philando Castile was shot in cold blood. The world watched it LIVE. What will it take for the justice system to value Black lives?

Do not go looking at the comments, unless you feel like spilling your stomach.

Be A King: This is why there’s the cry & movement, #BlackLivesMatter. It’s not anti-all lives mattering. It’s anti-#PhilandoCastile’s not mattering.

Shaun King: I must remind you that #PhilandoCastile never even broke a law. He wasn’t speeding. He was racially profiled and pulled over for being Black.

Ox: I live in a country where cops can kill me & go home for dinner. But if we don’t stand for the nat’l anthem it’s a problem.

Via Raw Story.

Another Bad Bush.

John K. Bush, one of Trump’s federal judicial nominees, found himself in the position of having defend previous blog posts, which cited heavily from WorldNetDaily, the batshit christian conservative’s “news” source. Bush is a profound birther, and rabidly anti-choice. In spite of all this, he will most likely end up confirmed, unless some rethuglicans root around and find both a brain and a conscience.

Given Bush’s prolific history as a political blogger, those opinions were on full display during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Birtherism came up after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) noted a blog post where Bush relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for touting conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama. In the post — which bears the grammatically-dubious title “‘Brother’s Keeper’ — As In, Keep That Anti-Obama Reporter In Jail!”  — Bush touted a World Net Daily story claiming that one of the publication’s reporters was being held by immigration officials in Kenya after the reporter went there to investigate Obama’s Kenyan half-brother.

[…]

In any event, Bush felt that he needed to distance himself from the birther website he once cited, telling Franken that “I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group, as far as birtherism goes,” when he wrote this particular blog post.

Questionable citations aside, many of Bush’s other blog posts stated much more directly how the judicial nominee views the world. In one post in particular, for example, Bush claimed that “the two greatest tragedies in our country” are “slavery and abortion.”

After Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Bush if he still held this view, Bush attempted to paint his views on Roe v. Wade as relatively innocuous. “I believe that [Roe] is a tragedy,” he said, “in the sense that it divided our country.”

Later in the hearing, however, Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history.

“Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer.

“I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”

Well. There’s a heaping dose of flaming stupid. I didn’t exist at the time of Brown either, but I’m certainly aware of it, and aware of the massive divisiveness it caused, ripples of which abound to this day. You would have to be somewhere in the realm of complete dedication to ignorance to claim unawareness in this regard, especially if your career in life is that of a fucking judge. Fucking Idiot does not even begin to cover this.

In fairness, Bush’s ignorance of American civil rights history, while certainly not an optimal trait in a judge, might not prevent him from performing the core responsibilities of an appellate jurist. Typically, judges spend far more time parsing statutory language and consulting legal precedents than they do digging into political history.

But Bush is not like most people named to the federal bench. In a 2009 panel hosted by the conservative Federalist Society — an organization which has played a major role in selecting Trump’s judicial nominees — Bush aligned himself with originalism, the belief that the only valid way to interpret the Constitution is to apply its text in the way those words were originally understood at the time they were drafted.

Whatever the virtues or demerits of originalism as an interpretive method, it only works if the judges applying it have a deep command of history and the skills necessary to sort good historical arguments from bad ones. After all, how can someone figure out the original meaning of a text if they don’t understand the historical and political context that brought that text into being?

The fact that Bush knows so little about one of the most famous judicial decisions in American history does not suggest that he is up to this task.

I’d say that’s quite the understatement. The reality? Bush is yet another toady who will do whatever the Tiny Tyrant wants, regardless of law.

Think Progress has the full story.  * RWW watch also has this, along with video of the questioning by Franken.

DAPL Approval Illegal, Judge Finds.

Trump on DAPL. © Marty Two Bulls.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in its fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ruled. Judge James Boasberg said the Corps did not consider key components of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in granting the Lake Oahe easement under the Missouri River when directed to do so by President Donald Trump shortly after his swearing-in.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with the Cheyenne River Sioux as interveners, had challenged the approval on the grounds that adequate environmental study had not been conducted. Boasberg agreed on many points, though he did not rule on whether the pipeline should remain operational. It has been carrying oil since June 1.

“Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial,” Boasberg said in his 91-page decision. “To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”

A status conference will be held next week, according to the environmental law firm EarthJustice, which is representing the tribes in this case. Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s builders, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately. ”

Indian Country Today has the full story.

Where there’s the smallest good news, there’s always bad news, and in this case, it comes in the form of Zinke:

“I think, talking to tribes, they’re very happy,” Zinke said of his proposal, adding that he “talked to all parties, and they’re pretty happy and willing to work with us.”

But this is not so, according to tribal representatives. In a June 12 press call hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said the tribe’s leaders have “maintained a consistent position that they support the monument designation.

“If there is any happiness,” Branch said,” it’s probably that the monument remains intact as of now.

“I think [the ‘happy’ characterization] is probably just a characterization coming from Trump,” Branch added.

Natalie Landreth, a lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund who represents the Hopi, Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes on Bears Ears issues, said during the Udall call that the proclamation that set up Bears Ears as a national monument had already formed a structure in which five tribes, known as the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, work together to co-manage the monument.

“It’s unclear exactly what the secretary is suggesting, so until we know more details about what he’s talking about, it’s difficult to have a view on it,” Landreth said. “Our initial reaction on behalf of the three tribes we represent is that this was really a cynical effort to distract Indian country from the devastating blow of reducing the size of the monument.”

Landreth said that some of her impacted tribal clients told her as of June 12 that Zinke had not been in touch with them on this matter.

“We don’t know who he’s talking to and what they may have said,” Landreth said.

Full story here.

196 Members of Congress: Suing Trump.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting, Monday, June 12, 2017, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik.

The lawsuits against the Tiny Tyrant are piling up, and a good part of congress has decided to join in, this time dealing with the emoluments clause, which has been utterly shredded by the Tiny Tyrant, who seems to think this whole presidenting thing is just like his many sleazy real estate cons. He’s not entirely wrong about that, but he hasn’t even so much as made an effort at appearances. Unfortunately, this particular lawsuit will only deal with forcing the Tiny Tyrant to abide by the constitution. If successful though, it may provide the means of exposing the so-called business empire, so people can finally have a peek inside and see what’s truly there, and what isn’t.

Nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers will file suit against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, alleging that he is violating the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign governments through his businesses while president.

The plaintiffs include 30 Senators and 166 members of the House of Representatives — but a source familiar with the lawsuit said more lawmakers could join an amended complaint later if they wished. The case will be lead by the nonprofit Constitutional Accountability Center.

The lawsuit — and the sheer number of members of Congress participating — reflects the deep frustration of Democratic lawmakers with the leeway the White House has been given by the Republican majority in Congress.

Traditionally, Congress is taxed with oversight and accountability of the executive branch, which they carry out through hearings and other means. But the way Congress is set up gives extraordinary control to the majority party — and the Republicans in charge of the oversight committees have refused to investigate Trump, a Republican president, on issues involving his business activities.

Hamstrung by more traditional oversight means, and already shut out of any sort of working relationship with the president, Democratic lawmakers have now turned to the courts to try to force Trump to comply with the Constitution.

[…]

They also serve another purpose: As part of their discovery process, it is likely that the plaintiffs will ask for Trump’s tax returns.

From foreign profits to foreign debt, Trump has been unprecedentedly opaque about his finances for an American president. His tax returns pose the best chance at clearing up lingering questions over conflicts of interest and whether his decisions as president stand to benefit his pockets as a citizen.

But Trump has thus far refused all calls to make his tax returns public — meaning that these lawsuits may pose the public’s best chance at finally getting a look at exactly what the president’s business empire really looks like.

Think Progress has the full story.

A Divine Recall.

One Mitch McConnell, a face of evil if ever there was one, also reveled in the adulation of the Road to Majority conference. He was positively giddy over Gorsuch, and continuing to fill up the highest courts with walking travesties of christianity, extending the Tiny Tyrant’s “legacy”.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s appearance at today’s Road to Majority conference was devoted in part to gloating about his having blocked President Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, from consideration by the Senate so that President Trump would be free to nominate Neil Gorsuch from the list of judges pre-approved by the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society.

The depth of gratitude among the Religious Right for McConnell’s theft of that Supreme Court seat was evident in Ralph Reed’s introduction, in which he called McConnell “a gift to the United States of America” and “one of the most distinguished public servants who has served in the Senate in our lifetimes.”

If you’re going to go with the whole christian mythology, I’d say McConnell is indeed a man of Jehovah, an oily rictus of psychopathic hate, leering out from under that avuncular mask, hanging on a stout frame of gloating hypocrisy. I’m afraid the mythical Pennywise doesn’t have anything on the all too real McConnell.

With characteristic lack of shame, McConnell slammed the Democratic Party’s “rabid left-wing base,” which he said “can’t get over the results of the election.” Democrats, he said, are engaging in “blind obstruction” and “total opposition.” McConnell, of course, masterminded the Republicans’ unprecedented obstructionism when Barack Obama was president, declaring that his one goal during Obama’s first term was to deny him re-election.

McConnell said Trump is looking to fill all the vacancies on the federal bench with “Gorsuch-like nominees,” which will give Trump an impact “far beyond his tenure.”

It’s hard to beat that level of open hypocrisy, and people like McConnell do not care about being hypocritical. It’s all right to them – whatever they do is always right; what others do in opposing is always wrong. Not a teeny shade of gray there. As for “far beyond his tenure”, let us  all hope not. Ousting Trump might be the one thing which would thrust a spear home in this rough beast, come slouching from Washington DC.

Charles Krauthammer was also interviewed, and was all worried over the current scandals interfering with “Trump’s legislative agenda”, but ended on what he felt was a light-hearted note:

“Given the age of some of the other members of the Supreme Court,” quipped Krauthammer, “I think another recall may be in order, so to speak, a divine recall.”

Gee, there’s just so much love in that tiny display of christian wit.

Via RWW.