@jsonitsac

Cam’ron #fundie

Cam’ron #fundie vice.com

See, the 43-year-old rap icon and Dipset veteran revealed to the long-running hip-hop podcast that he isn't sold on the whole dinosaur thing. He tells hosts Jeff and Eric Rosenthal, seemingly unprompted, "I have fights with people about dinosaurs and their existence all the time.”

Asked to elaborate, he continues: “I’m not believing nor disbelieving. It’s like, there’s no proof. Because they throw these big bones, pause, up in a museum, and then be like, ‘Yo, these are the people that were here before us…’” After getting pushback from the hosts that yes, the bones themselves are quite literally proof that dinosaurs existed, Killa Cam was still unfazed. He explains, "I'm not necessarily going for that one. If we get more proof on it, cool, but I’m not going off museum facts. I been to every museum when I was young, I’m like, ‘Word, so they just found all these bones and glued them together.'"

Interviews this absurd don't happen very often. When asked about whether or not he believes the Earth is flat, Cam'ron responds with a simple "Nah" which further confounds the podcast hosts. The chat is the perfect amount of lively and hilarious but with an ample dose of grating pseudoscience to keep it balanced.

Cam'ron, who later mistakes paleontology for archeology, says, "I wish I could be an archaeologist and be like, ‘I found some shit.’ I’d be at the beach every day like, ‘Yo, look what I discovered,’ and just make some shit up." Even though his grasp of science is way off, it's 100% worth a watch.

William Barr #conspiracy #wingnut

William Barr #conspiracy #wingnut washingtonpost.com

The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horo­witz, is due to release his long-awaited findings in a week, but behind the scenes at the Justice Department, disagreement has surfaced about one of Horowitz’s central conclusions on the origins of the Russia investigation. The discord could be the prelude to a major fissure within federal law enforcement on the controversial question of investigating a presidential campaign.

Barr has not been swayed by Horowitz’s rationale for concluding that the FBI had sufficient basis to open an investigation on July 31, 2016, these people said.

It’s not yet clear how Barr plans to make his objection to Horowitz’s conclusion known. The inspector general report, currently in draft form, is being finalized after input from various witnesses and offices that were scrutinized by the inspector general. Barr or a senior Justice Department official could submit a formal letter as part of that process, which would then be included in the final report. It is standard practice for every inspector general report to include a written response from the department. Barr could forgo a written rebuttal on that specific point and just publicly state his concerns.

Spokespeople for the inspector general and the FBI declined to comment.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement that the inspector general investigation “is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”

The Russia investigation was opened after the FBI was told of statements made by a then Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, that the Russians possessed hacked Hillary Clinton emails. Papadopoulos’s alleged comments were key because they were made well before any public allegation that Russian intelligence operatives had hacked the Democratic National Committee.

The attorney general has privately contended that Horowitz does not have enough information to reach the conclusion the FBI had enough details in hand at the time to justify opening such a probe. He argues that other U.S. agencies, such as the CIA, may hold significant information that could alter Horo­witz’s conclusion on that point, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Barr has also praised the inspector general’s overall work on the matter, according to one person familiar with the matter. The inspector general operates independently of Justice Department leadership, so Barr cannot order Horowitz to change his findings.

But the prospect of the nation’s top law enforcement official suggesting the FBI may have wrongly opened an investigation into a presidential campaign, even after the inspector general announces the agency was justified in doing so, will probably generate more partisan battles over how the Justice Department and the FBI operate.

It is not unusual for an attorney general or the Justice Department to disagree with some of an inspector general’s findings. However, typically those disagreements occur because senior leaders at the department believe the inspector general has been too critical. In this case, Barr has conveyed to others his belief that Horowitz has not been critical enough, or is at least reaching a conclusion prematurely.

People familiar with the draft language of Horowitz’s report said that while it is critical of some FBI employees, and found some systemic problems in surveillance procedures, it overall does not agree with Trump’s charge that the investigation was a “witch hunt” or a politically motivated attack on him first as a candidate and then as president.

Instead, the draft report found that the investigation was opened on a solid legal and factual footing, these people said.

Part of Barr’s reluctance to accept that finding is related to another investigation, one being conducted by the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, John Durham, into how intelligence agencies pursued allegations of Russian election tampering in 2016. Barr has traveled abroad to personally ask foreign officials to assist Durham in that work. Even as the inspector general’s review is ending, Durham’s investigation continues.

Barr’s disagreement with Horowitz will probably spark further criticism from Democrats, who have already accused Barr of using his position to protect the president and undermine federal law enforcement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged in September that Barr had “gone rogue.”

In recent weeks, Democrats have charged that Barr’s Justice Department was too quick to decide not to investigate Trump over his efforts to persuade Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to announce an investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The Ukraine controversy has led to an impeachment inquiry.

Criticism of Barr previously centered on his handling of the Russia investigation. The case that began in 2016 was taken over in May 2017 by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. After a nearly two-year investigation, Mueller filed a lengthy report of his findings to Barr, by which point he had charged 34 people with crimes, including 26 Russian nationals. Those charged and convicted included Trump’s former campaign chairman, former personal attorney, former deputy campaign chairman and former national security adviser.

After receiving the Mueller report, Barr released a short letter summing up its main points, including that there was insufficient evidence to accuse any Trump associates of conspiring with the Russians. Barr also said Mueller had made no determination about whether Trump had sought to obstruct the investigation, but Barr and his then deputy concluded he had not.

When the full report was released, Democrats protested that Barr had improperly skewed the findings to be more favorable to Trump.

Barr has dismissed such criticism, and charged it is Democrats who are abusing legal procedures and standards in their quest to drive Trump out of the White House.

“In waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in shredding norms and undermining the rule of law,” Barr said in a speech last month.

In his first months on the job this year, Barr made clear he had serious concerns about how the FBI had conducted the investigation into possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia.

The attorney general declared in April that the Trump campaign was spied on, though aides later said he used that term not in a pejorative sense but in the more general meaning of surveillance.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told lawmakers. “I think spying did occur, but the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.” He also criticized former leaders of the FBI, saying, “I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there in the upper echelon.”

Current and former law enforcement officials have said that, when presented with information about a possible plot to undermine the U.S. election, they had a duty to investigate, and that it would have been wrong not to have launched an investigation.

In the months since, Barr, through Durham, has pursued information related to a onetime associate of Papadopoulos, a European academic named Joseph Mifsud.

Mifsud was publicly linked to Russian interference efforts in late 2017, when Mueller revealed Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the details of his interactions with Mifsud.

Shortly after his name surfaced publicly, Mifsud told Italian media he did not work for Russia. “I never got any money from the Russians: my conscience is clear,” Mifsud told La Repubblica. “I am not a secret agent.”

Since then, the professor has disappeared from public life, leading to a host of theories about him and his whereabouts. While court papers filed in Mueller’s investigation suggested Mifsud operated in Russia’s interests, Papadopoulos, conservatives and conspiracy theorists have suggested he was working for Western intelligence agencies.

T.I. #sexist #pratt

T.I. #sexist #pratt washingtonpost.com

Rapper T.I. takes his teenage daughter to the gynecologist each year to check if her hymen is “still intact,” he said during a podcast released Tuesday.

T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., detailed aspects of the examination while appearing on the “Ladies Like Us” podcast with Nazanin Mandi and Nadia Moham. When the conversation turned to parenting and “the sex talk,” the rapper invoked his 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah Harris, who he says just began her first year of college.

“Right after her birthday, we celebrate, then usually like the day after the party, she’s enjoying the gifts, I put a sticky note on the door: ‘Tomorrow. 9:30,’ ” he said.

Harris’s annual trips to the gynecologist to “check her hymen” began after her 16th birthday, he said. Some people believe that the hymen, a thin membrane located at the opening of the vagina, remains intact until a woman has sex. This false indicator of virginity has been debunked by medical experts, and human rights organizations have called “virginity testing” both unnecessary and harmful for women.

Continuing his story, T.I. said his daughter’s doctor requires her to sign a waiver allowing him to see the results of her examination.

“So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor will come and talk, and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism,” T.I. said. “He’s like, ‘Well you know, sir, I have to, to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah, they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you would not want me to know? See, Doc? Ain’t no problem.’ ”

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, a doctor may discuss a patient’s health status or treatment “if the patient agrees, or when given the opportunity, does not object.”

The rapper indicated his daughter’s gynecologist also explained other ways a hymen can become stretched open, such as riding a bike, horseback riding or other physical activities.

“I say, ‘Look doc — she don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bikes, she don’t play no sports, man — just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously." He added: “I will say, as of her 18th birthday, her hymen is still intact.”

Lindsey Graham #racist

Lindsey Graham #racist washingtonpost.com

10:15 a.m.: Lindsey Graham says impeachment is ‘a lynching in every sense’
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) defended Trump’s use of the term ‘lynching’ to describe the impeachment process.
“So yeah, this is a lynching in every sense,” Graham said at the Capitol. “This is un-American. I’ve never seen a situation in my lifetime as a lawyer where somebody’s accused of major misconduct who cannot confront the accuser, call witnesses on their behalf and have the discussion in the light of day so the public can judge.”




Graham was an impeachment manager during the Senate trial of President Bill Clinton in 1998.

Focus on the Family #fundie

Focus on the Family #fundie focusonthefamily.com

We have serious concerns about “Dungeons and Dragons,” as well as some of the other popular fantasy role-playing games (RPGs).

On one level, “D & D” is about strategy and mathematical skill, and there are players whose interest would remain strong even if its mystical and magical elements were replaced with other kinds of imagery. That doesn’t change the fact the game includes occultic elements. Some former players have said that “D & D” brought them into contact with demonic activity. Such claims need to be taken very seriously.

A second problem is that this game can become an obsession. Some gamers have been known to play for 48-hours straight, forgetting to eat or sleep due to their intense focus on “D & D.” Responsible parents worry about this particular aspect of “D & D,” and maybe you should, too. Entering a fantasy universe and assuming a different personality can be addictive for some gamers, particularly those who tend to be isolated or who have a hard time connecting with people in the real world.

There are Christian products that can be positive alternatives to occultic and secular games such as “Dungeons and Dragons.” But even these RPGs should be examined and evaluated. Before deciding to play any game, ask yourself what message it communicates and what values it promotes. Games that focus on violence, sexuality, greed, and self-indulgence should be avoided. Philippians 4:8 gives us a great standard that we apply to our entertainment choices: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

If you’d like to discuss this topic in greater detail with a member of our staff, please contact our Counseling department. They’d be glad to assist you in any way they can.

Also, you might be interested in a book titled Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today’s Kids that discusses “D & D” and other games, in-depth. This resource may be available at your local Christian bookstore, library, or through various online retailers.

Cuban Government #moonbat #wingnut

Cuban Government #moonbat #wingnut washingtonpost.com

On Oct. 7, a group of 19 independent Cuban news outlets, many of them digital news sites, published a rare and revealing open declaration protesting attacks on journalists working in the country, saying in recent months there had been “a noticeable increase” in assaults and pressure on the unofficial and non-state press, including arbitrary arrests, interrogations, psychological intimidation, house searches, prohibitions on leaving the country, sexual harassment and defamation, among other things, all “part of a systematic campaign by the Cuban government to silence independent journalists.” The journalists demanded the repeal of laws that restrict freedom of expression and insisted that independent journalism be legalized. The declaration was a gutsy and laudable moment of speaking out without fear, just the approach Mr. Ferrer had urged.

Jack Posobiec #conspiracy

Jack Posobiec #conspiracy washingtonpost.com

[Lt. Colonel Vindman fled anti-Semitic persecution in Soviet Ukraine]

The conspiracy theory was advanced by Jack Posobiec, a far-right provocateur known for promoting the “Pizzagate” lie. In a tweet, he falsely claimed that Vindman was working with his “home country” to thwart Trump’s agenda. He cited the New York Times as his source, though the notion appeared nowhere in the newspaper’s reporting.
The falsehood gained more than 10,000 retweets Tuesday, and the same claim was also repeated word for word by other accounts. Others amplifying the smear against Vindman included Ryan Fournier, the co-chairman of Students for Trump.

Ascension Parish, Louisiana Sheriff #racist

Ascension Parish, Louisiana Sheriff #racist aclu.org

A Louisiana Parish Jailed a U.S. Citizen for Being Latinx. We’re Suing.

Ramon Torres had been a U.S. citizen for nearly ten years when he was detained for four days on an immigration hold – despite having a U.S. passport, a Louisiana driver’s license, and a Social Security card, and despite that fact that a court ordered his release.

Torres’ ordeal began in August 2018, when he was pulled over and arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Torres, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2009, was carrying multiple forms of identification, including his driver’s license and other security credentials. Torres was booked at the Ascension Parish Jail, and the next day the Parish Court ordered his release.

But Torres wasn’t released. Instead, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office placed an “immigration hold” on Torres on the suspicion that he was unlawfully present in the United States.

The basis for this suspicion? He had a Latinx name and brown skin. Staff at the sheriff’s office explained that they had a policy of detaining all Latinx people for immigration review.

When his friends and family tried to intervene and provide additional documentation proving that Torres is a U.S. citizen, officials in the sheriff’s office still didn’t budge.

Torres spent four days in jail before a lawyer’s involvement finally secured his release.

This was a flagrant violation of Torres’ constitutional rights, and this week the ACLU of Louisiana sued on his behalf.

Racial profiling is illegal, unconstitutional, and deeply harmful to families and communities – diverting scarce resources away from pressing public safety priorities.

What happened to Torres is inexcusable and antithetical to our most cherished American values.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when local law enforcement authorities get in the business of federal immigration enforcement. From Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reign of terror in Arizona to the Trump administration’s mass deportation and detention agenda, immigrant communities are being unfairly targeted, harassed, and terrorized by the very law enforcement agencies that should be protecting them.

It’s also a reminder of the thinly-veiled racism that underlies these policies. Ramon Torres is a U.S. citizen. He owns a home. He has a driver’s license and other forms of proof of his identity. But he was held in jail because of his Latinx name and the color of his skin.

Our lawsuit asks the court to declare these actions unconstitutional and to award damages to Torres for what he endured. But more broadly, we must also continue the fight against all forms of anti-immigrant bias and discrimination. The safety and wellbeing of our communities depend on it.

Patti Bugg #fundie #racist

Patti Bugg #fundie #racist 14news.com

“I’d say 99 percent of the day of the dead is probably innocent. I think that’s fine," says Commissioner Bugg. "I think if you want to honor your loved ones. I think the only challenge is if they actually try to summons somebody else, you know, a loved one from the grave, then I think they’re asking for some serious stuff. As a Christian, I don’t think they can do that.”

Laura Ingraham #racist

Laura Ingraham #racist apple.news

Speaking on The Ingraham Angle yesterday, the host said: "The road to Democrat dominance in the commonwealth was paved long before Trump took the presidency. The undeniable fact is demographic changes throughout the state, but especially in northern Virginia, have altered what was once a moderate to right-of-centre state.

"It made it really a petri dish for radical, left wing ideas. Virginia's foreign-born population nearly doubled from 2000 to 2017, and these immigrants are mostly concentrated in northern Virginia."

After referring to a Washington Post editorial reporting that a third of Fairfax County's population was foreign-born, Ingraham said: "Since immigrants are more likely to vote Democrat, well this of course has dragged the electorate to the left. It's just a fact of life."

Phyllis Chesler #fundie

Phyllis Chesler #fundie meforum.org

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It's become fashionable to draw comparisons between the popular television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Donald Trump's America.

It's become fashionable to draw comparisons between the popular television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Donald Trump's America.

Margaret Atwood, whose work I have long admired, is now being hailed as a prophet. It is quite the phenomenon. According to the pundits, Atwood's 1985 work, The Handmaid's Tale, which Mary McCarthy once savaged, and the recently-published 2019 sequel, The Testaments, are dystopias which aptly describe the contemporary climate change crisis, toxic environments, the rise in infertility, and the enslavement of women in Trump's America.

Is this all Atwood is writing about? Do the increasing restrictions on abortion in America parallel the extreme misogyny of Gilead, the theocratic state in Atwood's saga? Is the unjust separation of mothers and children, a la Trump on the southern border, what Atwood has foretold? Every review and interview with Atwood that I could find strongly insists that this is the case.

Michelle Goldberg, in the New York Times, attributes the current popularity of The Handmaid's Tale to Trump's ascendancy. She writes: "It's hardly surprising that in 2016 the book resonated—particularly women—stunned that a brazen misogynist, given to fascist rhetoric and backed by religious fundamentalists was taking power."

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Gilead-inspired handmaid outfits have become popular at anti-Trump rallies as far away as Poland.

Gilead-inspired handmaid outfits have become popular at anti-Trump rallies as far away as Poland.

... At the anti-Trump pro-women's rights marches around the country, some feminist protesters dressed like Handmaids in billowing, shapeless red dresses, their facial identities obscured by large, white Victorian-era bonnets, carrying signs that read: "Make Margaret Atwood fiction again" and "The Handmaid's Tale is not an instruction manual."

They have a point. Abortion rights are being steadily challenged and nearly eviscerated in the formerly slave-owning American states. Right-to-life lawyers insist that the protection of unborn children without any gestational markers is the law of the land. We now have free states and slave states in terms of access to high quality, insurance-funded abortions. Pregnant, drug-addicted women are being jailed for child abuse.

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Gilead most reflects what is happening not in America, but in most Islamic countries.

Gilead most reflects what is happening not in America, but in most Islamic countries.

However ... [t]here's another contemporary parallel that also gets scant attention. Gilead's system of pseudo-theocratic totalitarian control in both her novels and in the MGM/Hulu versions does not accurately reflect what is happening in America today; it mirrors what is happening in most Islamic countries, a fact that Atwood and her admirers are too politically correct to notice.

Obscuring one's individual identity, masking one's face, sequestering women at home, may have been true of many previous cultures and regimes. However, in this day forced niqabs (face veils) and burqas (head, face, and body bags) are mainly realities for women in Muslim countries and communities in the West. In Iran in July, three women were sentenced to a total of 55 years between them for protesting against the veil.

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In July 2019, an Iranian court sentenced Yasaman Aryani (left), Monireh Arabshahi (center), and Mojgan Keshavarz to a total of 55 years in prison for protesting against the veil.

In July 2019, an Iranian court sentenced Yasaman Aryani (left), Monireh Arabshahi (center), and Mojgan Keshavarz to a total of 55 years in prison for protesting against the veil.

In The Handmaid's Tale Atwood does mention Islam twice (to exonerate Muslims as the suspected mass murderers of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Oval Office in Gilead (p.174) and again in a reference to the "obsession with harems" on the part of allegedly Orientalist Western painters who did not understand that they were painting "boredom" (p.69). Atwood's quintessential Bad Guys are Caucasian, Bible-thumping, right wing, conservative, American Christians.

Where else but in the Islamic world do we see forced face veiling, forced child marriage, women confined to the home, polygamy (a "wife" and a "handmaid" under the same roof), male guardians and minders, cattle prod shocking, whipping, hand amputations, stoning, crazed vigilante mobs stomping and tearing people apart, and tortured corpses publicly displayed on city walls or hanging from cranes in order to terrify the populace? Or the torture murder of homosexuals? This is how Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Islamic Republics of Iran and Afghanistan, the tyrants of Somalia and Saudi Arabia, interpret, correctly or incorrectly, Sharia law.

How could all the reviewers not see what I so clearly see? Perhaps here's how.

I once lived in a harem in Afghanistan—a harem simply means the "women's quarters." It is forbidden territory to all men who are not relatives. If you can't leave without permission or without a male escort, you are in a harem and living in purdah.

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"I once lived in a harem ... the property of a polygamous Afghan family."

"I once lived in a harem ... the property of a polygamous Afghan family."

After a 30-month courtship, I married the glamorous, wealthy, very Westernized, foreign student whom I first met at college when I was 18. We never once discussed religion. Not a word about Islam. He had not prepared me for what life would be like in his country, even temporarily. For example, he had never even mentioned that his father had three wives and 21 children, that most Afghan women still wore burqas or heavy hijab, that I would be pressured to convert to Islam, and would have to live with my mother-in-law.

When we landed in Kabul, officials smoothly removed my American passport—which I never saw again. Suddenly, I was the citizen of no country and had no rights. I had become the property of a polygamous Afghan family. I was not allowed out without a male escort, a male driver, and a female relative as my chaperones.

This marriage had transported me back to the 10th Century and trapped me there without a passport back to the future.

I experienced what it was like to live with people who were permanently afraid of what other people might think—even more so than in Small Mind Town, USA.

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Read more about the author's captivity in Afghanistan in her acclaimed 2013 book.

Read more about the author's captivity in Afghanistan in her acclaimed 2013 book.

I was terrified when I first saw women wearing ghostly burqas—ambulatory body bags, sensory deprivation isolation chambers—huddled together literally at the back of the bus. My Afghan family laughed at my over-reaction, which was considered abnormal, not their practice of burying women alive.

My dreamer-of-a husband kept assuring me that the dreadful burqa and my captivity would both soon pass. He lived to see this dream come true for about 15 years for the middle classes until it was shattered again, perhaps forever.

Many Afghan women have mothers-in-law who beat them and treat them as despised servants. Mine never hit me or ordered me to cook or clean, but she tried to convert me to Islam every single day and tried to kill me by telling the servants to stop boiling my water and washing my fruits and vegetables. I got deathly ill.

Poor woman, she was a deserted and much maligned first wife. She feared me, envied me, hated me—as a woman, an infidel, a Jew, an American, and mainly, as a "love match," something considered too dangerously Western. Afghan mothers-in-law do collaborate in or even perpetrate the honor/horror killings of their daughters and daughters-in-law. So do rural India-based Hindu mothers and mothers-in-law, Muslim mothers and mothers-in-law world-wide, and Sikhs, to a lesser extent.

I got out of the wild, wild East and I moved on. But I never forgot the way it was. I always understood that as imperfect as America and the West might be, it was still a much better place for women than the Islamic world. Forever after, I understood that barbaric customs are indigenous, not caused by foreign intervention; and that, like the West, Islam was also an imperial and colonial power, owned slaves, and engaged in gender and religious apartheid.

I owe Afghanistan a great deal for teaching me this. Perhaps my radical Western feminism was forged long ago in pampered purdah in Kabul.

Islamic or Islamist totalitarianism today and as I knew it nearly 60 years ago in Kabul is the more obvious face of Gilead than the one imagined by Atwood more than 30 years ago.

Like the handmaids and domestics in Gilead, the captive population in Orwell's 1984 is monitored around the clock through "telescreens" that can view every room, each person. The telescreens broadcast Big Brother's orders and conduct daily "hate" sessions. People are always anxious and paranoid; everyone has permanent enemies.

Today, Orwell's Thought Police sound a lot like the Afghan Taliban or like Iran's or Saudi Arabia's Virtue­ and-Vice squads, who arrest men and women for the smallest sign of "individuality" or difference, and who harass and arrest women for showing a single strand of hair, or a glimpse of ankle. Here's Khaled Hosseini's fictional description of life in Afghanistan under the Soviets in The Kite Runner:

You couldn't trust anyone in Kabul anymore—for a fee or under threat, people told on each other, neighbor on neighbor, child on parent, brother on brother, servant on master, friend on friend...the rafiqs, the [Afghan] comrades, were everywhere and they'd split Kabul into two groups: those who eavesdropped and those who didn't...A casual remark to the tailor while getting fitted for a suit might land you in the dungeons of Poleh-charkhi...Even at the dinner table, in the privacy of their own home, people had to speak in a calculated manner—the rafiqs were in the classrooms too; they'd taught children to spy on their parents, what to listen for, whom to tell.

And here he is describing Afghanistan in the Taliban era:

In Kabul, fear is everywhere, in the streets, in the stadiums, in the markets, it is a part of our lives here...the savages who rule our watan [country] don't care about human decency. The other day, I accompanied Farzanajan to the bazaar to buy some potatoes and naan. She asked the vendor how much the potatoes cost, but he did not hear her, I think he had a deaf ear. So she asked louder and suddenly a young Talib ran over and hit her on the thighs with his wooden stick. He struck her so hard she fell down. He was screaming at her and cursing and saying the Ministry of Vice and Virtue does not allow women to speak loudly. She had a large purple bruise on her leg for days...If I fought, that dog would have surely put a bullet in me, and gladly!

Hosseini's descriptions are right out of 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale.

Two memoirs set in Iran, Azar Nafisi's best-selling Reading Lolita in Tehran and Roya Hakakian's Journey from the Land of No, describe the savage curtailment of private life and thought—and of life itself—by radical Islamists.

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Two compelling accounts of life for women in Iran's Islamic Republic.

Two compelling accounts of life for women in Iran's Islamic Republic.

According to Nafisi, Khomeini's goon squads closed news­papers and universities and arrested, tortured, and executed beloved teachers, prominent artists, intellectuals, and activists, including feminists, and thousands of other innocent and productive Muslims. The squads constantly harassed women on the street and at work. If a woman failed the dress-code standards even slightly, or by accident, she risked being arrested, probably raped, probably executed.

In Journey from the Land of No, Roya Hakakian describes the in­describable "Mrs. Moghadam," the newly-installed head of the Jewish girls' high school. Mrs. Moghadam tyrannizes, terrifies, and shames the Jewish girls. She tries to convert them to Islam. However, her true passion is more Talibanesque. She informs the innocent girls that, although they do not know it, they are "diabolical," "abominable," "loathsome," "lethal," capable of "drowning everything in eternal dark­ness," capable of bringing the "apocalypse" by showing a single strand of hair. To Hakakian's credit, she presents a rather dangerous turn of events as a dark comedy.

Mrs. Moghadam is definitely an Aunt Lydia, the lead female tormentor of the Handmaids, right out of Gilead, circa 1985.

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Many Western feminists mistakenly see the face veil and head scarf as symbols of anti-racism.

Many Western feminists mistakenly see the face veil and head scarf as symbols of anti-racism.

As Muslim women are being tortured, honor-murdered by their families, or stoned to death, sometimes for refusing to wear the veil, many Western multiculturally and politically correct post-colonial feminists are deconstructing and wearing the face veil and the head scarf as symbols of anti-racism and as a form of respect when they visit Muslim countries. Such feminists are also silencing and demonizing all other views in academic journals, in the media, and on feminist internet groups.

I've written about this many times. Therefore, while I know that violence against women still remains a burning issue in the West, I agree with Allison Pearson's recent article in The Spectator: "The appalling vanity of Western Feminists who think Margaret Atwood writes about them."

Atwood depicts an all-female power structure in which the handmaids are kept in line by cruel female "Aunts," led by Aunt Lydia, who casually apply cattle prods and tasers, who blame them as evil sluts, punish them with group condemnation, bouts of solitary confinement, exile them to the "Colonies" to die cleaning up toxic waste, etc. Such behavior seems to contradict feminist views of women as morally superior to men and as more compassionate and intuitive.

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Aunt Lydia (left) and the al-Khansa Brigade of ISIS

Aunt Lydia (left) and the al-Khansa Brigade of ISIS

Like men, women are human beings and as such are as close to the apes as to the angels. Women are also aggressive, cruel, competitive, envious, sometimes lethally so, but mainly toward other women. I would not want to be at the mercy of a female prison guard—or a female concentration camp guard—in the West. But let's not forget the Wives of ISIS—the all-femaleal-Khansaa Brigade who whipped, beat, and mutilated the breasts of girls and women when their heavy black burqas slipped. Displaced ISIS women continue their anti-woman reign of terror.

Misogynist thinking and actions exist in America today but not only among right-wing conservatives. It is also flourishing among our media and academic elites. Such thinking is flying high under the banner of "free speech," "multi-cultural relativism," "anti-racism," and "political correctness." Dare to question this elite's right to silence and shame those who challenge their views—i.e., that the West is always to blame, that jihadists are freedom-fighters, that the Islamic face veil is a free choice or a religious commandment, that polygamy encourages sisterhood, that Islam is a race, not a religious and political ideology—and, as I've noted many times, one is attacked as a racist, an Islamophobe, and a conservative, and swiftly demonized and de-platformed.

While MGM/Hulu's TV series is dramatically compelling, part soap opera, part horror movie, part Warrior Queen fantasy, the series is radically different from Atwood's 1985 novel. For example, Atwood's narrator, Ofglen, is not an increasingly daring, crazed, female assassin, as Elizabeth Moss brilliantly plays her. She is hardly heroic at all; under totalitarianism, heroism, collective or individual, is quickly ferreted out and destroyed. It exists but is rare.

Contemporary viewers are hungry for multi-racial characters, interracial and same-sex couples, "badass" women. Hulu gives them to us. Hulu's Canada is a multi-racial, politically correct refuge for Gilead's escapees; same-sex couples and feminists are government leaders. This is not true in the novel. On the contrary, in her 1985 Epilogue, Atwood has Canada rounding up and returning all Gilead escapees.

<table>

Media and academic elites are playing partisan politics with Atwood's original vision.

Media and academic elites are playing partisan politics with Atwood's original vision.

Atwood the divine novelist is absolutely entitled to depict whatever she wishes. But the current crop of reviewers as well as the filmmakers are playing partisan politics with her original vision and are refusing to see other and larger global dangers contained in her work.

Women's freedom and women's lives worldwide are under the most profound siege. To focus solely on the United States or on the Caucasian, Judeo-Christian West is diversionary. It scapegoats one country, one culture, for the far greater crimes of other countries and cultures.

Phyllis Chesler, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, is an emerita professor of psychology and women's studies and the author of eighteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, An American Bride in Kabul, and A Politically Incorrect Feminist.

Notes:

[1]Commercial surrogacy has been outlawed in India, Thailand, parts of Mexico, Malaysia, and South Africa, as well as in many European countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK. Hence, the campaign to legalize commercial surrogacy in America has gathered momentum.

[2] Contemporary surrogacy has now become a way of slicing and dicing biological motherhood into three parts: an egg donor, who undergoes painful and dangerous IVF procedures; a "gestational" mother who faces all the risks of pregnancy, childbirth, and potentially negative and lifelong medical and psychiatric consequences; and an adoptive mother or father. This vivisection of motherhood makes it impossible for a birthmother to win custody for any reason.

The Republic of El Salvador #fundie #sexist

The Republic of El Salvador #fundie #sexist washingtonpost.com

A Salvadoran woman charged in the death of her stillborn baby was cleared Monday, a ruling advocates say is a notable triumph in a country with one of the world’s most severe abortion bans.

A judge’s decision to acquit 21-year-old Evelyn Hernández marks the culmination of a tragic saga that began when she was raped at the age of 18, her lawyers said. Those close to Hernández say she didn’t know she was nearly 34 weeks pregnant in 2016, when she walked into a latrine and delivered a stillborn child. Her mother found her, bleeding and unconscious, before rushing her to a hospital.

Paula Avila Guillen, director of Latin America Initiatives at the Women’s Equality Center, said a doctor concluded that Hernández’s condition was a result of an “incomplete abortion.” Police discovered her fetus in the latrine and charged Hernández with aggravated homicide. In 2017, she was handed a 30-year prison sentence.

“Mere suspicion of possible abortion immediately makes [women] guilty, presumption of innocence gets erased,” said Guillen, who worked closely with Hernández’s defense team. “When police were notified, they shackled her to a hospital bed and interrogated her.”

[Women serving decades-long prison terms for abortion in El Salvador hope change is coming]

Hernández spent 33 months in prison and was released in February after a successful appeal. In an attempt to retry Hernández on the same charges, prosecutors last week fought to increase her sentence to 40 years, arguing that she had lied about being raped and should have known she was pregnant.

The woman bled frequently and faced other obstetric ailments during her pregnancy, Guillen said, which she confused with her period.

The judge “simply couldn’t see enough evidence to be convinced she had done anything to commit any crimes,” Guillen said. “It was the right thing to do.”

Several Latin American countries have stringent abortion laws, including Argentina, where an 11-year-old rape victim was forced to give birth in February, even though the girl had repeatedly asked for an abortion. But no restriction is more severe than El Salvador’s absolute ban, which has been in place since the late 1990s and applies even if a mother’s life is in danger.

Guillen and other advocates say the ban is applied arbitrarily and specifically targets poor women in El Salvador who lack access to quality medical care. Even in instances of miscarriage, prosecutors in the country seek homicide or manslaughter charges on top of abortion-related counts.

Hernández’s case was remedied only after a painstaking process, and Guillen notes that this was just the second time a judge in the country has ruled that a stillbirth or miscarriage was not criminal. About 20 women remain imprisoned under similar circumstances, Guillen said.

But slowly, some of them have had their charges commuted or dismissed.

In December, Imelda Cortez was released after spending about 18 months in prison for attempted murder. She also gave birth to a baby in a latrine, but the infant survived, and prosecutors argued that she hid her pregnancy and was negligent. Cortez contended she was a rape victim and did not know she was pregnant.

Four months later, three Salvadoran women charged with aggravated homicide after suffering miscarriages had their sentences commuted. They’d spent a collective 29 years in prison.

“The stories are all so similar because they all follow a pattern of persecution of women who have stillbirths and are impoverished,” Guillien said. “You have to mobilize the world to save one woman; that’s what it takes in El Salvador."

Morena Herrera, an prominent advocate for women’s rights in the country, said in a statement that Hernández’s acquittal “is a sign of hope for all women who remain in jail for crimes they did not commit, for health problems that should have never been brought to court."

“It is a hope for Salvadoran society because we are beginning to take steps along the path of justice, of truth and of well-being for everyone,” Herrera added. “No woman should go through the ordeal that Evelyn did.”

Lebron James #mammon

Lebron James #mammon washingtonpost.com

“I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey [an NBA executive that criticized China over the Hong Kong protests], but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke,” James said, before the Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors for a preseason game Monday, in comments that drew criticism from American politicians. “So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. Just be careful what we tweet, what we say and what we do. Yes, we have freedom of speech but there can be a lot of negatives that come with that as well. … Sometimes social media is not always the proper way to go about things as well.”

Oregon Cattle Ranchers #conspiracy #ufo

Oregon Cattle Ranchers #conspiracy #ufo nwnewsnetwork.org

Outside of Pendleton, Oregon, Terry Anderson’s cattle have messed up his irrigation spigots. Again.

The cows knock them down pretty much daily, and he has to fix ‘em. He jumps out of his side-by-side vehicle and deftly rights them again or screws on a new spigot if they’re really bad.

“Cows just rub on stuff for the heck of it,” Terry Anderson says with a smile. “They love to scratch.”

Not One Drop Of Blood

Right now in remote eastern Oregon, a serial crime spree is unfolding. Young purebred bulls are mysteriously showing up dead. Cowboys recently found several animals with body parts precisely removed -- and it’s happened just like this before in the West.

It happened to Anderson back in the 1980s, when one of the rancher’s mother cows was mysteriously killed overnight. From his homeplace, Anderson points to the exact spot where he found her on top of a mountain. He’s never gotten over it. 

As he remembers, Anderson says he had just been near the spot the night before. The next morning, his cow was laid over and dead, her udder removed with something razor sharp. 

“And not one drop of blood anywhere,” Anderson says. 

Everything You Do Leaves Tracks

Over 200 miles away — outside Princeton, Oregon — Andie Davies is canning green chili peppers in her remote ranch kitchen. The air smells spicy, warm. She wipes her strong, working hands before giving a shake. 

Another cut up and bloodless cow was found two years ago a mile from her homeplace. A hunter discovered the carcass near a water trough, just hours after the kill. 

Her son, a butcher at the time, inspected the slain animal. He couldn’t understand how the cuts were made so clean. 

Davies says she and her husband rode strategic circles around the area with four wheelers to try and find vehicle tracks, horse tracks, something. They never found any. And in this country, “everything you do leaves tracks,” Davies says. 

Silvies Valley Ranch

Over an hour away, north of Burns, cowboys whistle and talk low to eager cattle dogs. 

Dust from hooves, both cloven and shod, creates a fog in the early light. As they gather the cow-calf pairs out of a large draw, the animals call to each other. 

Silvies Valley Ranch is nearly the size of Chicago. This summer, five young purebred bulls were cut down in their prime. Colby Marshall, is the vice president of the ranch.

To understand better, we rattle up a two-track U.S. Forest Service road. 

“And we’re gonna drive in here,” Marshall says, “oh a little ways and then we’ll get out and take a little walk to where one the bulls was found. And the carcass is still there.”

These animals were found bloodless, with their tongues and genitals precisely removed.

Coming upon one of the dead bulls is an eerie scene. The forest is hot and still, apart from a raven’s repeating caw. The bull looks like a deflated plush toy. It smells. Weirdly, there are no signs of buzzards, coyotes or other scavengers. His red coat is as shiny as if he was going to the fair. 

Marshall says these young animals were just reaching their top value as breeding bulls. Now the animals worth as much as $7,000 each, and their collective future progeny worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, are lost.

Finding these rangey young Hereford bulls in this remote country can sometimes take the ranch’s experienced cowboys days. Marshall suspects a coordinated effort. 

“It’s rugged,” Marshall says. “I mean this is the frontier. … If some person, or persons, has the ability to take down a 2,000-pound range bull, you know, it’s not inconceivable that they wouldn’t have a lot of problems dealing with a 180-pound cowboy.” 

Staff are now required to ride in pairs, and encouraged to carry arms. 

Alien (And Other) Theories

In Burns, Dan Jenkins is a deputy with the Harney County Sheriff's Office. Jenkins has been working the cattle cases, and gotten calls from all over. 

“A lot of people lean toward the aliens,” Jenkins says. “One caller had told us to look for basically a depression under the carcass. ‘Cause he said that the alien ships will kinda beam the cow up and do whatever they are going to do with it. Then they just drop them from a great height.” 

Jenkins says the cases have been tough, with little evidence and no credible leads. He personally inspected four of the animals. He has a running list on his white board scrawled with green marker with the top theories. 

“Another one told us we should run like a geiger counter type thing around the animal and guarantees that there would be radiation there,” Jenkins says. “And the number one on the list there, he thinks it’s the North Vietnamese army.”

Whatever or whoever the cause, what’s clear is it isn’t bears, wolves, cougars or poisonous plants. Nor were the animals shot.

The FBI won’t confirm or deny it’s looking into the killings. 

Little Time To Dwell

Back on bull-breeder Terry Anderson’s spread near Pendleton, he’s got his solid-set sprinklers running now.

The spigots hiss and sputter, then click, click. 

What happened to his mother cow decades ago, and these new cases, leaves him with an uneasy feeling.

“But you just go on,” Anderson says. “‘Cause the next day has a lot of projects to get done, too.”

Ranching, after all, leaves little time to dwell.

Donald Trump #racist

Donald Trump #racist google.com

President Trump on Tuesday compared the ongoing impeachment inquiry into him to a "lynching."

"So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights," Trump tweeted. "All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here - a lynching. But we will WIN!"

Ned Holstein #sexist

Ned Holstein #sexist washingtonpost.com

[Alabama law doesn’t automatically terminate the parental rights of rapists who conceive a child with their victim]

Ned Holstein, board chair for the National Parents Organization, which advocates for shared parenting after divorce, said that allowing family courts to sever parental rights based on rape accusations is “an open invitation to fraud.”


“Taking a person’s child away is a grievous act,” he said. “And if it is done to an innocent parent, you are also denying the child a fit parent forever and putting her into the sole custody of a ruthless parent who is willing to fabricate a heinous accusation.”


Even if a person is convicted of rape, “there is merit on both sides of this issue, and we have no position on it, either way,” he said of his organization.

Rafi Peretz #fundie #homophobia

Rafi Peretz #fundie #homophobia washingtonpost.com

JERUSALEM — Israel’s newly-appointed education minister has sparked outrage after saying in a televised interview broadcast Saturday that he believes it is possible to perform conversion therapy on homosexuals to change their sexual orientation.

Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz, head of the far-right, ultranationalist Jewish Home Party, also told Channel 12 News that he had carried out such treatments in the past, counseling young religious students who spoke to him about being gay.

“I think it is possible. I can tell you I have a very deep familiarity with this kind of education, and I have also done this,” said the education minister when asked if he thought people could change such inclinations. 

Peretz, a former chief military rabbi, described counseling one student, “I hugged him first then uttered very warm words, I told him that we needed to think about this, learn about this, observe this. The objective is for him first of all to know himself and then I can give him the data.” 

Peretz became minister for education three weeks ago as part of a coalition deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has engaged in some complex political maneuvering to maintain his interim government as Israel heads toward its second general election this year to be held on Sept. 17. 

Peretz’s comments could now play a pivotal role in the election campaigning, possibly having a negative impact on Netanyahu’s reelection chances. Leaders of several rival parties said Sunday that a government expressing such extreme views was dragging the country back into the Dark Ages.

Netanyahu was quick to distance himself from Peretz’s comments, saying in a statement, “the education minister’s remarks regarding the gay community are not acceptable to me and do not reflect the position of the government under my leadership.”  

Also, in the interview, Peretz said he believed Israel should annex the entire West Bank, but under no circumstances allow the more than two million Palestinians living there the right to political vote.

“Israel should have full sovereignty in the West Bank,” said Peretz. “We will take care of [the Palestinians’] needs and make sure it is good for them … but of course they would not be able to vote.”

[Netanyahu’s election rivals merge as Israeli leader makes pact with extreme right]

Members of Israel’s LGBTQ community said they would hold a protest Sunday evening decrying Peretz’s comments and call for his resignation. 

“There is only one adequate response to such dark statements by the minister of education and that is to fire him immediately,” The National Association of LGBT in Israel said in a statement. “It is imperative to prevent Israeli girls and boys from exposure to the homophobic poison disseminated by one who is presumed to be involved with education and values.”

Israeli radio stations on Sunday interviewed individuals who had been subjected to such conversion attempts. 

“You are told to punish yourself for thinking about boys and it brings you to a very low point,” Shai Bramson, who said he was treated for three years as a teenager, told Israel’s Army Radio. “You are told that there is no hope for you unless you change this identity.”

Zvi Fishel, chairman of the Israel Psychiatric Association, said Peretz’s comments were “disgraceful and disturbing.” 

“The Israel Medical Association, the Israel Psychiatric Association and many other medical associations in Israel and around the world have determined there is no treatment that can replace a person's sexual orientation,” he said in a statement. “Conversion treatments that purport to change sexual orientation, not only have been scientifically proved useless, [they] pose a danger, and cause serious harm to the patient’s psyche, the sense of failure and may lead to suicide.”

Nitzan Horowitz, head of the left-wing Meretz Party, himself openly gay, called Peretz irresponsible and said his statements were very dangerous.  

“You are not a minister of education, but a minister of darkness. You are not worthy of being responsible for the future of our children. You must be removed from being minister of education to a position where you will cause less damage,” said Horowitz.

In an attempted to clarify, Peretz released a statement saying he didn’t mean it was necessary to send children to conversion therapy.

“In my years as an educator I have met with students who were in terrible distress with regard to their sexual orientation and decided to request professional help in order to change,” he said. “The school system under my leadership will continue to accept all of the boys and girls in Israel, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Last week, Peretz also caused a stir when it was reported that during a cabinet meeting he had likened the rate of intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews in the United States to “a second Holocaust.”

William Latson #racist

William Latson #racist washingtonpost.com

A Florida high school principal has apologized for telling a parent concerned about Holocaust education that he couldn’t say the World War II genocide was “a factual, historical event,” adding that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

Spanish River Community High School principal William Latson made the comments in emails to the parent in April 2018, according to the Palm Beach Post, which first publishedcopies of the messages last week. The public high school located in Boca Raton, Fla., is believed to have one of the county’s largest populations of Jewish students, the Post reported.

“I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust,” Latson said in a statement to the newspaper.

The contents of Latson’s emails have since prompted fierce backlash amid growing nationwide concern over Holocaust education in the United States. Earlier this month, the World Jewish Congress launched a petition in support of federal legislation that would make teaching the Holocaust mandatory in schools, noting an “alarming rise in antisemitism” in the U.S. and abroad and a declining public understanding of the atrocity.

In a statement Sunday, Palm Beach County’s school board chairman Frank A. Barbieri Jr. wrote that the board “is, and always has been, committed to teaching all students, in every grade level, a historically accurate Holocaust curriculum; one which leaves no room for erroneous revisions of fact or the scourge of anti-Semitism.” Barbieri added that the situation involving Latson is “being investigated at the highest levels of the District Administration.”

“Every generation must recognize, and learn from, the atrocities of the Holocaust’s incomprehensible suffering and the enduring stain that it left on humankind,” he wrote. “It is only through high quality education, and thought provoking conversations, that history won’t repeat itself.”

The principal and the Palm Beach County School District did not respond to requests for comment from The Washington Post late Sunday.

Latson’s troubles began when a mother emailed him with a question on April 13, 2018: “in what ways/classes is Holocaust education provided to all of the students?” (The emails were obtained by the Palm Beach Post.)

A bill passed in 1994 requires all school districts in Florida to incorporate lessons on the Holocaust as part of public school education, but the mother wrote that Spanish River’s offerings on the subject were not mandatory and were only attended by “the minority of students.” A 2018 study conducted by Brandeis University reported that the number of Jewish children living in Palm Beach County increased from 11,000 in 2005 to 17,300 in 2018.

In response to the parent’s email, the principal wrote that Holocaust studies are “dealt with in a variety of ways.” However, he noted that the “curriculum is to be introduced but not forced upon individuals as we all have the same rights but not all the same beliefs.” Latson referenced an optional annual Holocaust assembly intended for 10th-graders and said the topic is also “covered in the various social science courses it aligns with.”

According to the Post, the mother, who was not identified, wrote back and asked Latson to explain his stance, telling him that, “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event” and “not a right or a belief.”

But rather than apologize, Latson appeared to stand firm.

“Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently,” Latson wrote in a subsequent email, adding, “my thoughts or beliefs have nothing to do with this because I am a public servant."

Latson said his position dictates he be “politically neutral,” while continuing to “support all groups in the school.”

“I work to expose students to certain things but not all parents want their students exposed so they will not be and I can’t force that issue,” he wrote. “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in the position to do so as a school district employee."

The principal added that he approaches lessons about slavery in the same way, writing, “I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly.”

Unsatisfied with Latson’s answer, the mother met several times with the principal and school district officials to propose changes, which included making the Holocaust memoir “Night” by Elie Wiesel required reading for all 10th-grade English students, the Post reported. She also suggested that Holocaust assemblies be offered to all students and not just 10th-graders, according to the Post.

As a result of her efforts, “Night” became mandatory reading for sophomores this past school year, and Palm Beach County deputy superintendent and chief of schools Keith Oswald told the Post that the assemblies are slated to happen next year.

Oswald said Latson was counseled about the emails, but not formally disciplined. The school district administrator defended Latson, touting the longtime principal’s success leading one of Palm Beach County’s largest public schools. Latson has been the school’s principal since 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“It was a hastily, poorly written email that he apologized for,” Oswald said. “That’s some of the challenge that we face when we email back and forth instead of picking up the phone.”

Laura Fellman, a member of the school’s advisory council, told the Post that she also didn’t think the emails represented Latson’s actual beliefs. Fellman wrote in an email that she has heard Latson “say he knows that the Holocaust happened” and praised him for working “diligently” to “make sure that Spanish River’s students are well informed about the Holocaust.”

Latson’s emails, however, did not sit well with Karen Brill, the only Jewish member of the county school board, the Post reported. “The Holocaust is a historical fact, and I am appalled that anyone in our district believes that its teaching may be opted out of,” Brill said.

The newspaper reported that Latson toured the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington this summer. In his statement, Latson said it is “critical, as a society, we hold dear the memory of the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter anti-Semitism.”

Despite Latson’s apology, critics blasted him as a “Holocaust denier” and a petition calling for his resignation had more than 4,000 signatures as of early Monday.

But in the April 2018 email exchange, Latson made it clear that he was “not looking for a situation to divide.”

“My personal beliefs are separate and will always be as they have no place in my profession,” he wrote. “I am simply letting you know we do all we can as a public school within our ability.”

Donald Trump #fundie #ableism #megalomania

Donald Trump #fundie #ableism #megalomania news.vice.com

Homelessness is super sad, President Donald Trump conceded — at least for the white-collar workers walking by unsheltered people to get into their office buildings.

For the people actually experiencing homelessness, though, Trump didn’t offer much sympathy in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Monday night.

Trump said the government “may intercede” in cleaning up West Coast cities swamped with tent cities and vehicle encampments after Carlson suggested people were living in “filth.” To be sure, Trump’s administration has proposed eliminating the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness — twice. The council was established in 1987 to coordinate the government’s homelessness efforts across federal agencies.

“Perhaps they like living that way,” Trump said of unsheltered people. “They can’t do that. We cannot ruin our cities.”

“You have people that work in those cities,” Trump continued. “They work in office buildings and to get into the building, they have to walk through a scene that nobody would have believed possible three years ago."

Homelessness has been gradually increasing in recent years to at least 553,000 people on a single night in 2018, according to government data. (Advocates and scholars have repeatedly said such “point-in-time” counts vastly underestimate the true number of people experiencing homelessness on any given day.)

Currently, about 59,000 people in Los Angeles County alone are homeless — a 12% increase from last year that’s shocked local lawmakers and spurred increased coverage on Fox News over the past month. The crisis is exacerbated by a shortage of affordable rental units in major cities, an inadequate amount of shelter beds, and a lack of resources for drug users or people experiencing mental illness.

But the homelessness epidemic has been used by conservative voices like Carlson to deride left-leaning cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles, where visible homelessness is concentrated and, in some cases, growing worse. During the recent G-20 summit in Osaka, Trump told reporters that San Francisco and Los Angeles have become “sad to look at” due to their liberal leadership.

Fox News recently increased its coverage of the issue, according to the left-leaning group Media Matters, but has mostly argued the crisis is caused by “virtue signaling” and city officials failing to take control of their residents.

“You only have one solution: You bulldoze the 50-block radius, and you institutionalize everybody and detoxify them, and then you let them out,” Fox News host Jesse Watters said of homeless encampments in June.

Cities have tried something pretty close to that: sweeping people off the streets and arresting them, or literally shipping people out of town. Advocates say those efforts don’t help. In fact, Trump mentioned that he “ended” homelessness in Washington D.C. because he was concerned world leaders were “looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

It’s unclear whether or not “ending” homelessness in D.C. meant that people were given help — but D.C. has greatly increased its efforts to remove homeless camps over the past two years, according to NBC4 in Washington.

“We have to take the people and do something, it’s destroying a whole way of life,” Trump told Carlson.

Cover: Homeless people move belongings from a street near Los Angeles City Hall as crews prepared to clean the area Monday, July 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Sandy Rios #fundie #racist

Sandy Rios #fundie #racist rightwingwatch.org

Sandy Rios says that when progressives criticize white supremacy, what they’re really criticizing is conservative Christianity. Rios works as the American Family Association’s director of governmental affairs and has been present at conservative events like the Values Voter Summit and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

On this morning’s episode of “Sandy Rios in the Morning” on American Family Radio, Rios argued that people who speak out against white supremacy in the United States aren’t actually talking about white supremacy, but rather they are secretly attacking conservative Christians. Rios also claimed that comparing President Trump to a Nazi is unfounded because the Nazis also killed some white people along with the millions of Jews they murdered in a genocide.

“It’s not about your skin color and when they go further and compare President Trump to Nazis and their white racism, it’s really silly because, remember, the Nazis killed thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people, but guess what? They were white,” Rios said. “The Nazis were Aryan supremacists. They had a certain superhuman race they wanted to develop and most white people did not qualify.”

She continued, “So when the left is talking about white supremacism, they’re talking about the roots of this country. They’re talking about Christianity. They’re talking about hard work, about capitalism and free-market values. They’re talking about everything that has made America what it is. That’s what they mean.”

Rios went on to cite examples of left-of-center people criticizing racist and controversial remarks made by conservative activist Candace Owens to make her point.

“It may seem as though the hatred is focused on the president, but as I have said to you before, it is really focused on us—those of us that love this country, even if you don’t support Trump fully but you love the Constitution, you love the founders, you believe in Jesus—you are an object of their wrath.”

Rios made a similar argument in 2017 when she argued that the term “alt-right”—the label the white supremacist movement fixated to itself in the run-up to the 2016 election—was coined to denigrate conservatives, especially those who speak “in the name of Jesus.”

Evo Morales #conspiracy #falseflag

Evo Morales #conspiracy #falseflag theguardian.com

Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, has accused opposition leaders and foreign powers of attempting a “coup” against him amid growing tensions over the result of Sunday’s desperately tight election.

In an angry televised speech on Wednesday, Morales said: “A coup d’etat is under way. The right wing prepared the coup with international support.”

Morales went into elections needing 40% of votes and a 10-point margin of victory to avoid a second-round runner against the main opposition candidate, Carlos Mesa. By Wednesday afternoon 97% of the official results had been processed, giving him 46.49% and a 9.5-point lead.

With most outstanding votes from remote rural areas expected to go in his favour, Morales repeated his declaration of a first-round victory, which he had made prematurely on Sunday night.

But on Wednesday the Organization of American States (OAS) said that a runoff should be held even if Morales breached the 10-point margin.

“In the case that … the margin of difference exceeds 10%, it is statistically reasonable to conclude that it will be by negligible margin,” said Manuel González, the head of the OAS election observation team in Bolivia. “Given the context and the problematic issues in this electoral process the best option continues to be the convening of a second round.”

International observers have expressed concern over an unexplained daylong gap in the reporting of results which was followed by a surge in Morales votes when the count resumed on Monday.

“Why did the government shut down the reporting of results?” asked Carlos Trujillo, US ambassador to the OAS, at a special session convened to discuss the Bolivian situation. “The government allowed a somewhat fair election because they did not realise their own popularity and thought they could win under their system. When they realised they could not win in the first round they shut down the results so that they could steal the election.”

The vice-president of Bolivia’s electoral board resigned on Tuesday, saying that the decision of the board’s six-member panel to suspend reporting results had discredited “the entire electoral process, causing unnecessary social convulsion”.

Mesa has accused Morales of trying to conduct “a giant fraud” and vowed that his party “will not recognize a fraudulent result”.

In a video statement on Wednesday, Mesa called for “permanent protests” until a second-round vote was confirmed, and said he would present evidence of electoral fraud.

Allegations of electoral fraud have already sparked street violence, in which anti-government protesters clashed with police, and set fire to electoral offices in eight of Bolivia’s regional capital cities.

On Tuesday the OAS said it would conduct an analysis of the election, focusing on the results reporting systems and the chain of custody of ballot boxes. However, the results of such an analysis are unlikely to please either side as the positions become increasingly entrenched.

Civil society groups in eight of the country’s nine departments called for a general strike that could bring the country to a standstill. “Not even an ant will move in Santa Cruz,” declared Luis Fernando Camacho, the leader of the civil society group for Santa Cruz, the country’s largest and richest city.

Morales has overseen relative stability and growth, but angered many by running for a fourth consecutive term despite a 2016 referendum which ruled against lifting term limits.

The results reflect the split between Bolivia’s urban population – which broadly backed the opposition – and the rural Andean populations that remain loyal to Morales, a former coca farmer.

“I don’t think Evo will accept the OAS’s calls for a second round,” says Jorge Derpic, a Bolivia specialist and assistant professor at the University of Georgia. “This is the first time we have seen protests by the middle classes in all the country’s major cities against Morales. Evo has called to mobilize his base – the coca growers, the miners and the campesinos [the rural poor] – and we could see further partisan violent clashes between rural and urban areas.”

Cheryl Chumley #fundie

Cheryl Chumley #fundie gopusa.com

Christians Against Christian Nationalism, a movement driven by church leaders and executives of faith-based groups, just put pen to paper to warn Americans that “Christian nationalism” is becoming a concern because, in their words, it often serves as a cover for “white supremacy and racial subjugation.”
Sounds dire. Until you peer past the curtain, that is.

This is a campaign led by far-left types who use their religious positions to push their far-left ideas.
This is a campaign filled with self-proclaiming Christians whose Christian ideals and beliefs are, in strict biblical teaching, very un-Christian.

Hmm. Suddenly, the “Christian nationalism” they spit on becomes a pin the proud patriot, and particularly, the proud Christian patriot, should wear.

Among the “Christians Against Christian Nationalism” endorsers: There’s the Rev. Dr. Paul Baxley, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, who supported the CBF’s opening of doors to gay church employees.
There’s Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, who openly backed the pro-LGBTQ bill, H.R. 5, The Equality Act, that would have barred discrimination based on “sex, gender identity and sexual orientation” — and who denounced President Donald Trump’s crackdown on refugees as “antithetical to our faith.”

There’s Tony Campolo, a founder of the Red Letter Christian Movement, who called for “full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the church,” as he put it, in June of 2015.
There’s Patrick Carolan, executive director of Franciscan Action Network, who just joined with more than 100 civil rights activists and social justice leaders to “pledge solidarity with LGBTQ Catholic school teachers,” Metro Weekly reported.

There’s Paula Dempsey, director of partner relations with Alliance for Baptists, who in 2017 said her staff were “thrilled” at the hiring of a lesbian couple to serve as senior members of a Washington, D.C., church — and that she hoped other churches would “have ministers who would identify as members of the LGBTQ community.”
There’s more. Many more.

But the big question is this: Just how “Christian” is this “Christians Against Christian Nationalism” movement in the first place?

After all, if these CACN types see the Bible as their rally call to fight against borders — which is another way of bucking the rule of law — why can’t they see it’s this same Bible that makes clear homosexuality, to God, is an abomination?

Grain, meet salt.

Or maybe, more to the point, conservatives, meet the newest leftist attack. It’s far-left ideology masked as religious righteousness. And it’s as wicked as it is clever.

An example? Here’s one. So when CACN endorsers write that “conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups,” they’re not referring, say, to Sharia law, and how its Muslim adherents, working within the confines of government, toss homosexuals off buildings, or publicly cane women for the crime of walking in public without a face covering. No. They’re talking about Christian conservatives who stand for the rule of law.

They’re talking about Christian conservatives who believe in traditional marriage.

They’re talking about Trump, his supporters and those who believe in border controls.

They’re trying to draw moral equivalencies between religions that behead those of different faiths and religions of those in the Republican Party.

CACN endorsers say this: “Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions.” And this: “People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage constructively in the public square.”

They mean this: “Leave Rep. Omar Ilhan alone.”

They forget this: America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, with an emphasis on both the importance of the individual and the concept of original sin that are spelled out in the Bible. From there sprang our governing documents.

Truly, it’s easy to keep Christian preaching out of the public square. It’s easy to confine the formal teaching of the Bible from a religious perspective to Sunday morning pews.

What’s not so easy, though, is to remove Judeo-Christian principles from our government — while still keeping the government our founders envisioned intact. Bluntly put, the country would crumble from within without its moral compass of Judeo-Christian teachings, without its base values of Ten Commandments principles, without its guiding belief of individual rights coming from God, not government.

Without its borders.

Without its traditions, and yes, traditional values. Traditional, biblically sound values.

Calling out such viewpoints as Christian nationalism, either subtly or overtly, is to deride our entire nation.
The takeaway is this: On CAGN, beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Mitch McConnell #racist

Mitch McConnell #racist washingtonpost.com

Congressional Republicans have made their decision: Most of them are defending or at least not speaking out against President Trump amid the fallout from his “go back” remarks directed at four minority congresswomen.

But how do you defend racist language from the president of the United States? It appeared particularly difficult for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose wife is an immigrant, a woman of color and a member of Trump’s Cabinet. Reporters asked McConnell multiple times at his regular Tuesday news conference why he’s standing by the president on this, and McConnell didn’t have an answer. (The most obvious answer, of course, is that Republicans have a lot to lose by speaking out against Trump.)

Here’s the telling exchange between McConnell and reporters, annotated. Click on the highlighted text to read the annotation.

MCCONNELL: Yeah?

QUESTION: Several of you, including Senator Young, have talked about socialism and — and problems with which you have — policies and approaches with some of these Democratic members. That said, then the president uses such language that’s so far over the line, regardless of what their points of view are, or policies. Doesn’t that undercut your argument that these issues are — are a problem? That these policies, these approaches are a problem for the country? Doesn’t that undercut your argument, when he uses [language like that]?

MCCONNELL: Well, obviously, I think it’s a good idea to focus on what our Democratic colleagues are up to. The Green New Deal, their version of it, would take away your job. Medicare-for-all would take away your private health insurance. And if they made any effort to pay for all of this, they’d have to go after the most productive parts of our economy, because remember, the top 10 percent of taxpayers provide 70 percent of the revenue for the federal government. So I think this is a prescription for slowing America to a crawl. And I think it’s also important to remember that most countries that ended up adopting socialism did it by voting for it. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is, pretty soon, you run out of other people’s money.” So yes, I think we’re better off to talk about the policies of our adversaries. And as I said earlier, and I think, quite clearly, to lower all this incendiary rhetoric. Everyone involved should do that.

QUESTION: Senator McConnell, you’re — you’re married to an immigrant who’s a nationalized [sic] U.S. citizen. If someone were to say to her she should go back to her country because of her criticism of federal policies, wouldn’t you consider that a racist attack?

MCCONNELL: Well, the secretary of transportation came here at age 8 legally, not speaking a word of English, and has realized the American Dream, and I think all of us think that this is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time and is good for America, and we ought to continue it.

QUESTION: Was it racist for him to say go back to your country?

MCCONNELL: As I said, legal immigration has been a fulfilling of the American Dream. The new people who come here have a lot of ambition, a lot of energy, tend to do very well and invigorate our country, and my wife’s a good example of that.

QUESTION: Would you ever use the words, “Go back to where you came from”?

MCCONNELL: Look, I — I — I’m obviously a big fan of legal immigration. It’s been a big part of my family for a quarter of a century. As I look around the country and watch the contributions that have been made by new arrivals, and the children of new arrivals, it’s been reinvigorating America for hundreds of years. So I’m a big fan of legal immigration.

QUESTION: Do you think that the president would be more likely to tone down his rhetoric if Republican leaders like yourself spoke out more forcefully against it?

MCCONNELL: Well, I think I’ve just said I think everybody ought to tone down their rhetoric. We have examples of that across the ideological spectrum in the country — all across it. Everyone ought to tone down their rhetoric, and we ought to move back to talking about the issues.

QUESTION: But you’ve stopped short of calling his comments racist.

MCCONNELL: Look, I — I’m sorry?

QUESTION: You’ve stopped — but you’ve stopped short of calling his comments racist.

MCCONNELL: Well, the president’s not a racist. (CROSSTALK.) The president’s not a racist. And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country, but it’s coming from all different ideological points of view. That’s the point. To single out any segment of this, I think, is a mistake. There’s been this kind of rhetoric from a whole lot of different sources all across the ideological spectrum in our country.

Craig Northcott #fundie #homophobia

Craig Northcott #fundie #homophobia washingtonpost.com

Y’all need to know who your DA is,” he reminded the crowd. “You give us a lot of authority. . . . We can choose to prosecute anything. We can choose not to prosecute anything.”


Using what he termed “prosecutorial discretion,” Northcott said, “the social engineers on the Supreme Court now decided we have homosexual marriage. I disagree with them.”
In his jurisdiction, which includes the area that hosts the summer music festival Bonnaroo, Northcott ensured that same-sex partners would not be afforded the protections of domestic violence laws.


In Tennessee, a domestic assault conviction carries enhanced punishments, like permanently forfeiting the right to own a firearm. The prosecutor’s interpretation of the statute was that the sanctions were created to “recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage.”


When reached by phone, Northcott said, “There’s no marriage to protect with homosexual relationships, so I don’t prosecute them as domestic,” and refused to comment further.

Minnesota Prayer Caucus #fundie

Minnesota Prayer Caucus #fundie rewire.news

In December 2018, Kiffmeyer along with 25 members of the Minnesota Legislative Prayer Caucus—the state action arm of Project Blitz—had written to the nonprofit Minnesota Historical Society, objecting to a talk scheduled for March 2019 by a distinguished scholar and law professor, Steven K. Green, on the theme of his 2015 book, Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding. They claimed that the Society was “promoting a narrative about our nation’s history and founding that is patently false,” and that it would be “prudent” for the Society “to cancel Prof. Green’s presentation or, better yet, allow us as Christian legislators in Minnesota, to debate this issue with Prof. Green.”

(Green later recounted the episode in Church & State magazine, noting that “the Caucus objected to my upcoming lectures, calling my book biased and one-sided—though admitting they had not read it.”)

Minnesota Historical Society Director Kent Whitworth replied that Green was a respected scholar (detailing how that was so) and would welcome respectful questions and dialogue. But that wasn’t good enough. Although the Prayer Caucus reiterated their demand in another letter, the program proceeded as planned. Afterward, Prayer Caucus state director, Rev. Dale Witherington, along with several Caucus members wrote again, this time demanding that the Society schedule someone who represented their point of view (which they had been casting as the “truth”) to speak or debate before “we begin reviews of the budgetary requests of the MHS.”

Witherington wrote that “we are here to encourage prayer, and to defend our religious freedom. The third pillar for the existence of our Caucus is to preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage. Prof. Green’s argument is a direct attack on that pillar. We cannot let that go. We will not be silenced.”

Ralph Drollinger #fundie

Ralph Drollinger #fundie rightwingwatch.org

Drollinger pronounced himself “blessed” and “honored” by the invitation to come to Nicaragua for the celebration and to talk about creating Bible studies for government officials. “In the United States of America, we have found amongst our political leaders, that it is essential they have a Bible teacher in their midst,” Drollinger said. He reiterated that point, saying “we have found in our nation, that it’s an important aspect of our government to have a Bible teacher in the midst of our political leaders.”

“Mrs. Vice President has said you are a Christian nation,” he told the crowd. “In America, we view ourselves as a Christian nation. But what is a Christian nation? A Christian nation is a Christian nation to the degree that the people in the nation reflect the attributes of God.”

Drollinger went on to say that it falls to the institution of the church to reflect the mercy, grace, love, patience and kindness of God, adding that other attributes include justice and righteousness, which God has “asked the state to manifest.”

María Corina Machado #conspiracy

María Corina Machado #conspiracy venezuelaconspiracytheories.blogspot.com

Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado warns in a recent video published via her party’s Twitter account (@VenteVenezuela) that the opposition must not “fall in the trap created by the Maduro regime of the so-called dialogue and farce elections.”

Machado, herself the target of accusation by the Venezuelan government of being the mastermind of a plot to assassinate Maduro, seems to however subscribe the government’s conspiratorial discourse about an “unconventional conflict.” But she claims this war has been unleashed by the government against the rest of the word. “The Venezuelan criminal State has unleashed an unconventional conflict in coalition with terrorist groups such as the ELN, the FARC, Hezbollah, Hamas, drug cartels, and the Cuban tyranny, and they will not let go of the Venezuelan territory, resources, and institutions, unless they are confronted with a stronger liberating force of those democratic actors in the region that understand what’s at stake,” says Machado.

Machado also speaks of the catastrophic consequences if Maduro were to remain in power. The main issue, according to her, is the problem created for the region by the exodus of millions of Venezuelans. Some of the consequences of this exodus, she claims, are obvious, but some are not: “...because the regime has managed to infiltrate some of these groups of migrants with what they call ‘social movements’, individuals whose objectives are to destabilize these democracies in our region.”

Venezuela expert David Smilde commented on Twitter (@dsmilde): “Brilliant. In a two-minute video aimed at international audiences, MCM manages to feed stereotypes of the Venezuelan opposition as crazy and intolerant, AND raise suspicions that Venezuelan migrants are dangerous.”

Indeed, on behalf of the millions of Venezuelan migrants around the world: thank you Maria Corina!

Charles C. W. Cooke #racist

Charles C. W. Cooke #racist nationalreview.com

it is absolutely reasonable for [Americans] to wonder aloud how a person [Ilhan Omar] who hails from a dysfunctional, dangerous place built atop dysfunctional, dangerous institutions can exhibit the temerity—the sheer gall—to talk about America in the way that she does.

Craig Northcott #fundie

Craig Northcott #fundie washingtonpost.com

Less than two months ago, he was severely criticized for saying that Muslims have “no constitutional rights."


“There are only God-given rights protected by the Constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect,” News Channel 5 quoted him as saying in response to a claim that Muslims worshiped the same God as he.
Northcott refused to apologize and dismissed calls for his resignation at the time.

Ralph Drollinger #fundie

Ralph Drollinger #fundie elclip.org

Drollinger’s latest expansion plan is the most unusual. On July 18, he traveled to Nicaragua following a personal invitation from President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to establish a ministry in the capital city of Managua. The presidential couple also invited Drollinger to share a podium with them during the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution.

In a press release, Capitol Ministries explained it was Ortega who sent a letter to Drollinger inviting him to open a ministry in his government. The letter, published by CM, declared that “we know that if the people God has entrusted with the destiny of a nation are born again, our representatives will legislate according to the Bible”.

But while Ortega professed his faith, a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights charged that “the repressive actions of the State of Nicaragua had left, by June 2018, at least 212 dead, 1.337 wounded and 507 people deprived of freedom.” The report listed the names of each person who died.

By August that year, the commission counted 322 dead, most of them young people protesting alleged government abuse and corruption. Ortega harshly criticized the report, but acknowledged that 128 people had died during the civilian protests.

Despite Ortega’s human rights record, Drollinger accepted the invitation with enthusiasm and without acknowledging the crisis. During the commemoration of the Sandinista Revolution, he said “we would like to thank the President and the Vice President for the opportunity to plant the word of God here, and to begin by growing this Capitol Ministry within the community of politicians”. He also highlighted his close ties to the US government, adding that “in the name of the Bible studies of the White House, in the name of the students of the Bible in the US Senate, in the name of the Representatives of the Lower House that study the Bible, we bring you our peace and our blessings”.

Dominoes Pizza and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce #ableism

Dominoes Pizza and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce #ableism washingtonpost.com

Domino’s sells more than 2.5 million pizzas every day, and the company says it offers at least 15 ways to order one. But Guillermo Robles, who is blind, said neither the company’s website nor its mobile app allowed him to order the pizza he wanted, or receive a discount for ordering online.

He sued.

Now Domino’s, backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the nation’s largest retailers, wants the Supreme Court to step in to decide whether the Americans With Disabilities Act, which has transformed America’s physical landscape, applies equally to the Internet.

The ADA “says nothing about the accessibility of websites or applications on smartphones, whether standing alone or in connection with restaurants, stores, or any other brick-and-mortar establishments that qualify as public accommodations,” wrote Washington lawyer Lisa S. Blatt, who represents Domino’s.

“When Congress passed the ADA in 1990, websites were in their infancy, and apps did not yet exist.”

Lower courts have said the statute does apply, although they have disagreed about exactly when and to whom. As a result, the number of lawsuits has exploded: 2,250 federal suits asserting ADA violations based on website inaccessibility were filed in 2018, nearly triple the number from the year before, according to the Domino’s brief.

Beyoncé’s website has been targeted. So have art galleries in New York.

And the National Retail Federation tells the Supreme Court in a friend-of-the-court brief that its website doesn’t comply with industry standards, either.

The group ran supremecourt.govthrough a free online resource that applies Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) developed by private parties and found “19 ‘known problems’ and 411 ‘potential problems.’ ”

“Only this court’s intervention can establish a true nationwide standard establishing the proper scope” of website accessibility, writes Washington lawyer Pratik A. Shah, representing the retailers. “It is time for this court to bring order to a chaotic legal landscape marked by unpredictable and unworkable accessibility standards that run counter to the goals of the ADA, consumers, and the retailers who serve them.”

Businesses have rallied around the Robles case in their effort to persuade the Supreme Court to intervene, even as they profess that it would be in their best interests to make their goods as accessible as possible.

Robles sued because he said his attempts in 2016 to use the Domino’s website and mobile app to order a pizza for delivery were unsuccessful.

A federal judge in California agreed with Robles that the ADA covered websites but dismissed the lawsuit. He agreed with Domino’s that its due process rights would be violated because the Department of Justice has never made good on its obligation to issue guidance on exactly how websites and apps should comply with Title III of the act, which concerns public accommodations.

But earlier this year, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit disagreed.

“At least since 1996, Domino’s has been on notice that its online offerings must effectively communicate with its disabled customers and facilitate ‘full and equal enjoyment’ of Domino’s goods and services,” Circuit Judge John B. Owens wrote.

He added: “While we understand why Domino’s wants DOJ to issue specific guidelines for website and app accessibility, the Constitution only requires that Domino’s receive fair notice of its legal duties, not a blueprint for compliance with its statutory obligations.”

The judges sent the case back for the lower court judge to decide whether Domino’s has complied with its obligations, saying “courts are perfectly capable of interpreting the meaning of ‘equal’ and ‘effective.’ ”

Domino’s and the business interests urging the court’s intervention said the decision in the 9th Circuit — which covers California and most of the western United States — was a game-changer.

“Virtually every national business and non-profit offers its goods and services at physical locations within the Ninth Circuit,” Domino’s tells the court, so its rule “will apply nationwide no matter what. No one can tailor their online presence to fit different rules in different circuits.”

But Eve Hill, a Baltimore attorney who has worked on website accessibility cases for the National Federation of the Blind and at Justice, said the decision “breaks no new ground.”

Courts across the country have found that websites and apps must comply with the ADA, she said. Companies may not like the message, but that doesn’t mean there is a need for the Supreme Court’s attention.

And she said the Justice Department’s inability to issue guidelines for compliance — it announced in 2017 that it was giving up the effort — does not mean companies are helpless. The lack of a national standard could be seen “as a feature, not a bug,” freeing companies to comply in different ways, Hill said.

In the Domino’s petition, and the accompanying amicus briefs, is a familiar battle between companies and lawyers who sue them.

Gregory G. Garre, representing the Chamber of Commerce, told the court that an “opportunistic plaintiff’s bar” has discovered “a lucrative sue-and-settle practice against businesses.”

“Businesses now face a rising sea of litigation that flows from one venue to another as plaintiffs’ lawyers seek out the most favorable local precedent, leaving companies unable to tell what standards they should meet in order to provide access and avoid liability,” he wrote.

Domino’s said the firm representing Robles has filed 14 suits on his behalf, and more than three dozen for a Montana resident. Joseph R. Manning Jr., the Newport Beach, Calif., lawyer who represents Robles, said in an email that he was not discussing the pending case.

He is due to respond to the pizza chain’s petition to the high court next month.

But Hill said the explosion in the number of lawsuits was simply a result of the explosion in new websites and apps.

Her client, the National Federation of the Blind, is not interested in “stick-up lawsuits,” she said, but securing companies’ compliance in opening the web to people with disabilities.

The case is Domino’s v. Robles.

Thomas Homan #racist

Thomas Homan #racist newsweek.com

Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Thomas Homan said on Monday that he thought about "beating" Democratic Representative Jesús Garcia during a congressional hearing last week.

During the Friday hearing, Homan was visibly angered as he responded to a line of questioning by Garcia, who is Mexican-American and represents Illinois. The former ICE director, who served in the acting leadership role under President Donald Trump from January 2017 until June 2018 when he retired, discussed the interaction in a Monday morning interview with Fox & Friends.

"I hesitated a minute before I started yelling because I actually think about getting up and throwing that man a beating right there in the middle of the room [sic]," Homan admitted. "Because when you tell somebody that spent their career saving lives that I don't care about dying children and I'm a racist, that's where I broke and that's where I had enough," he asserted.

Prior to Homan's angry response on Friday, Garcia had lashed out at the "zero-tolerance" migrant family separation policy implemented by the Trump administration until it was struck down by a federal judge last year. "Mr. Homan, do you understand that the consequences of separation of many children will be lifelong trauma and carried across generations?" the congressman asked. Pointing out that he himself was a father, Garcia asked if Homan had children and how he could "possibly allow this to happen" under his watch.

"Do you not care? Is it because these children do not look like children that are around you? I don't get it. Have you ever held a deceased child in your arms?" Garcia asked. At least five migrant children have died in custody since December.

"First of all," Homan responded, "your comments are disgusting."

Garcia shot back: "I find your comments disgusting as well, sir."

Homan yelled over the congressman to continue. "I've served my country 34 years and yes, I held a five-year-old boy in my arms," he said, claiming he said a prayer for that deceased child. "For you to sit there and insult my integrity and my love of my country and for children, that's why this whole thing needs to be fixed."

As acting director of ICE, Homan served during the Trump administration's family separation policy, which tore thousands of immigrant children from their parents or guardians. That controversial policy drew national and international condemnation. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General found earlier this year that the Trump administration did not even know how many children had been separated from their families. Furthermore, government officials had lost track of the whereabouts of many children, making reuniting them with their parents or legal guardians, as a federal judge had ordered, even more difficult.

As Garcia pointed out, detaining minors and separating them from their parents can cause lifelong psychological trauma, according to experts. Dr. Judy Ho, a clinical psychologist, told CNN earlier this month that detained children "have higher risk of depression and suicidal thoughts as they grow older." She also warned of the possibility of them suffering from PTSD and "having functional difficulties as adults as well as worse physical outcomes."

Ángel García Banchs #conspiracy

Ángel García Banchs #conspiracy venezuelaconspiracytheories.blogspot.com

Part of the opposition is convinced that its own leadership is being sponsored by the Maduro regime and is betraying a clear and clean break with chavismo. The theory is linked to a warranted skepticism in Venezuela’s electoral system and with the belief that only a foreign military intervention will trigger a transition from authoritarian rule. Any sign by the opposition leadership of willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition, basically through elections, is considered by this faction of the opposition as a sellout to the regime. Indeed, to simply engage in dialogue with the government is tantamount to collaboration with a criminal narco-regime.

A good example of this conspiracy theorizing is Ángel García Banchs (@garciabanchs), a popular Twitter influencer with 336.1 K followers. García Banchs is convinced that Juan Guaidó, interim president named by the National Assembly, has been unwilling to unequivocally call for a foreign military intervention against the Venezuelan government because he is funded by bolichicos and boliburgueses (corrupt pro-government businessmen and government officials.)

Here is my translation of some recent posts by García Banchs:

“Foreign military intervention will happen even despite @jguaido and all the collaborators with the narco-regime, funded by the bolichicos and boliburgueses who looted PDVSA, CORPOELEC and the Venezuelan nation.”

García Banchs, however, is concerned that some people in the United States may be lobbying against a military intervention in Venezuela. They are doing this because they are financed by the Maduro government:

“How is it that these people are falling from the sky [paracaidistas] and giving talks in Washington? Money from the narco-regime or the bolichicos.”

“If there is funding by the bolichicos and the boliburgueses, the National Assembly and @jguaido are part of the regime. They will never become separated [from the regime].”

“Bolichicos and boligurgueses pay for the very expensive trips and lobbies of those talking about a PSUV-MUD transition. Unfortunately serious Venezuelan industrialists are not funding radicals in Washington [lobbies] to talk about the foreign military rupture/intervention”

“VENEZUELA is in the hands of a lobby struggle. Lobbies payed by bolichicos and boliburgueses to convinced Washington to wait for free presidential elections or for a coup by Padrino [Lopez], which will never happen. In the end, everything leads to a foreign military intervention.”

García Banchs seems aware that a military intervention would be far from a clean affaire and would entail sacrifice and suffering. Today he wrote:

“I won’t lie: the foreign military intervention, of course, will be a war. Those who speak of a surgical intervention are most likely referring to XIX Century surgery, not to XXI Century laparoscopy surgery. It’s either war with freedom or peace with submission under Maduro”

In fact, in the following audio, García Banchs argues that an “inevitable” foreign military intervention will lead to a purifying civil war which will purge Venezuela of chavistas and narcos, but also of populism and socialism. The war will end with a victory of “those in favor freedom, by which I mean liberals,” and will ensue in “the first economic miracle of the Twenty First Century.”

Jason Kenney #fundie #homophobia

Jason Kenney #fundie #homophobia washingtonpost.com

When Lea Cheeseman came out as bisexual in the ninth grade, her junior high school didn’t have a club for LGBT students. So she started the Calgary school’s first gay-straight alliance.

The student-run clubs, found in hundreds of schools across North America, provide a venue for gay students and their allies to meet — often without the knowledge of their parents. Studies suggest they can help reduce bullying, improve health outcomes and lessen the risk of suicide.

But across Canada and beyond, they have also been lightning rods for controversy, touching as they do on divisive debates around education, parental consent, religious freedom and students’ rights.

Now the United Conservative government of new Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, promoted by some on the Canadian right as a model for the nation, is proposing legislation that gay rights activists say would roll back protections for the groups. The education bill would eliminate a requirement that schools form clubs “immediately” when asked by students and would drop an explicit ban on notifying their parents.

Provincial Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has said that those provisions might have been well intentioned but were “unnecessary to begin with.” The aim of the new legislation, LaGrange said, “is to balance the need that, at times, students have around the way that they want to create their organization, but also to allow for occasions where there is a need for parents to be involved as well.”

Cheeseman, now 19, and others say gay-straight alliances are under assault in Alberta. Thousands have taken to the streets of Edmonton and other communities to protest.

“The end result of the changes will be that students will not feel safe,” Cheeseman said.

The education bill, which encompasses school policy, planning and funding, is one in a series of measures advanced by the United Conservatives to reverse the liberal policies of their New Democratic predecessors in Alberta, while also pushing back against the Liberal Party of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.

In their first months in office, the United Conservatives have repealed a consumer carbon tax, cut the minimum wage for teenagers and introduced legislation to slash corporate taxes.

While federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer struggles to connect with voters ahead of the federal election this fall, and Progressive Conservative Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s popularity plummets amid unpopular budget cuts and scandal, conservatives are pointing at Kenney, 51, as a model for effective leadership.

The former federal cabinet minister once promised not to legislate on “divisive social issues.” But in changing the rules on gay-straight student alliances (GSAs), his government is taking on one of the most divisive.

In 2015, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government required school officials to approve the clubs in every school, public or private, where a student requested one.

Supporters of the clubs cheered the move — but their celebrations were short-lived.

“School administrators were dragging their feet on establishing GSAs, encouraging students to call them something else or suggesting to them that if they formed or joined GSAs, they would tell their parents,” said former education lawyer Rakhi Pancholi, a New Democratic Party lawmaker.

The New Democratic Party approved legislation in 2017 to close those loopholes. Bill 24 required schools to help students establish the clubs “immediately” and made it illegal for officials to disclose student participation to parents, except when students were at risk of harm. Failure to comply could cost a school its funding.

Zachery Yeung was president of the Pride Club at his Edmonton high school last school year. Before Bill 24, he said, friends were “on the fence” about joining a gay-straight alliance, because they feared they would be outed.

“They were more comfortable after the changes,” the 18-year-old said.

Not everyone was pleased. Some faith-based schools said the legislation infringed upon their religious freedom. Some parents said they had the right to know of their children’s participation.

The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms sought an injunction on behalf of dozens of faith-based schools and parents until it could be determined that the law was constitutional. In filings, the group described the clubs as “secret spaces” that exposed students to sexually explicit material, caused “irreparable harm” and violated parental rights.

Justice Johnna Kubik denied the request. In her decision, she wrote that an injunction would send LGBT students the message that “their diverse identities are less worthy of protection,” which would be “considerably more harmful than temporarily limiting a parent’s right to know and make decisions about their child’s involvement in a GSA.”

Kenney said in March that he supported allowing schools to notify parents if their children joined a GSA. After he was elected premier in April, students at nearly 90 Alberta schools walked out in protest.

His government’s education bill, which is expected to pass before September, would repeal Bill 24. There would be no deadline for school administrators to grant a student’s request to establish a club, and students would no longer be assured the right to use words such as “gay” and “queer” in the names of their clubs.

The bill would also eliminate language that explicitly prohibited teachers from disclosing a student’s participation to his or her parents. Instead, schools would be required to follow other laws, which allow school club participation to be disclosed if it would not be an “unreasonable invasion” of privacy, to minimize the risk of harm to a student or to aid law enforcement investigations.

Critics say that the changes will allow schools to delay club formation indefinitely and that relying on current privacy legislation leaves too much open to the interpretation of teachers. What, for example, is an “unreasonable invasion” of privacy?

“Teachers are not legal experts,” said Greg Jeffrey, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. “So we appreciated the clarity of ‘You cannot disclose.’ ”

“Taking out the word ‘immediately’ allows for forming a GSA to be put off with the hopes that students lose interest,” he said.

LaGrange did not respond to questions from The Washington Post about whether there would be a deadline for a school to form a gay-straight alliance before the government stepped in. A spokesman said the government opposes “mandatory parental notification of any student’s involvement in an inclusion group, including GSAs.”

“Alberta will have the most comprehensive statutory protections for LGBTQ2S+ students in Canada,” spokesman Colin Aitchison wrote in an email. He said the government “trusts educators to navigate these situations and do what is in the best interest of kids.”

Kristopher Wells, a professor at MacEwan University in Edmonton who studies sexual and gender minority youth and health, said the government is “softening and obscuring the language” around gay-straight alliances, “creating confusion and ambiguity.”

The clubs represent “one of the most promising health interventions that we’ve seen in a long, long time in schools,” he said, and it would be a mistake to make it more difficult for students to join them.

“We’d expect to see something like this in Alabama, not Alberta in 2019.”

Colombian Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Ordoñez #conspiracy #wingnut

Colombian Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Ordoñez #conspiracy #wingnut colombiareports.com

Dictator Nicolas Maduro is part of a global agenda to spread 21st-century socialism. Migration and transcontinental alliances are part of the strategy to realize this goal, which has been developing, calculated. Make no mistake, we are facing a coldly calculated plan to destabilize the region, exercising control and territorial dominance.