Even the media have swallowed the concept of Second Amendment rights, often touted by the NRA, and gun owners. There are many reasons why society might sanction certain kinds of gun ownership. But the Second Amendment is definitely among the weaker ones. In fact, before 2008, the courts widely stressed the “well armed militia” clause of the amendment above the “right of the people to bear arms, secondary clause…. Blog Editor’s preface”




How The 2nd Amendment is Misunderstood

by Michael Owens on March 27, 2015 in Politics


President Barack Obama has never attacked the 2nd amendment. But. Since he’s been president. Gun sales have soared. There were over 65 million guns sold during his first term. The election of a Democrat to the White House was enough to cause 2nd amendment crazies to go well…crazy.

There was widespread fear of new gun control laws. Certain weapons would be banned, they said. Ammo purchases would be limited only to types allowed by the federal government.

I believe the craziness was also driven by some unspoken racial fears. How would blacks react to the election of a black president? Would they become bolder and more demanding? Will they pour out from their inner- city ghettos into white suburbia?

What I’m saying is this: This massive six year wave of gun-buying was caused by pure 2nd amendment paranoia. And racism. But mostly paranoia.

For the last six years we’ve witnessed the panic over and over. Obama is coming for your guns! He’s got a secret plan to repeal the 2nd amendment! He’s going to disarm conservatives and put them in camps!

None of this true. Yet the fear persists 6 years on.

With every tragic mass shooting there was brief media attention placed on gun control. There was the push to create a national gun registry. There was a plan to install nationwide background checks for gun purchases. None of these came to be.

These ideas were killed by gun lobbyists. These are the folks who actually run D.C. In case you had any doubts.

You would think any potential law that has as over 80% approval from the American public would be a shoo-in. Right? ………..Wrong. Not with the National Rifle Association running the show and writing our gun laws.


How The 2nd Amendment Was Traditionally Read

America is a violent place. We’re in the midst of a seemingly endless tide of gun violence. From police shootings to school massacres that place with alarming frequency.

In this climate pro-gun activists have come to rely on the 2nd Amendment as their trusty shield when faced with mass-shooting-induced criticism. They interpret it this way:The 2nd amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.

This reading was endorsed by a very conservative U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. Their ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller was a drastic change from the traditional view.

For over two hundred years, most judges and legal scholars reached the opposite conclusion. They found that the amendment protects gun ownership for purposes of military duty and collective security.

Keep in mind the 2nd Amendment was passed in 1791. This was early years of post-colonial America. At the time it made sense to arm most men. Those men could quickly form a local militia if needed.

This was the easiest way for a community to protect itself.  The idea of a standing army was foreign to most Americans. It in fact , was exactly what they were trying to get away from.


How the NRA Changed the Game

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” 

The 2nd amendment contains two clauses. The first part is the “militia clause”. The second part is “bear arms” clause.

Before 2008 all of the courts had ruled that the first part trumped the second part. This meant the amendment gave only state militias a right to bear arms. So individuals had no right to gun ownership.

Enter the modern National Rifle Association. This was not your father’s NRA.  By the 1970’s the organization had changed quite a bit. Before this time they were devoted to non-political issues. Gun safety being the main one.

But in 1977 there was a drastic change in leadership. And a whole new NRA was born. This new group was committed to pursuing conservative political power.

They were going to all but take over the Republican Party and control its gun agenda. The new NRA pushed for a different reading of the 2nd Amendment. This new interpretation would give individuals the same gun rights as militias.

They were in for quite a battle.  Some very influential people thought their ideas were stupid.  Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who was no liberal, coldly mocked the individual-rights theory of the amendment as “a fraud.”

But, the NRA was determined. And they pulled a very neat trick here. Conservatives almost always advocate for “originalism”. They think the meaning of the Constitution was fixed when it was ratified in 1787.

They hate the idea of a “living” constitution. One that changes meaning according to the values of the time. In other words the meaning of our Constitution is set in stone.

But there is no better example of the living Constitution than what conservatives have done with the 2nd Amendment.

The gun lobby’s drive to re-interpret the 2nd Amendment was a brilliantly calculated plan. They used their resources to work both inside and outside of government.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan became president. Of course he was a gun advocate’s dream candidate.

At the same time, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, became chairman of an important subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He commissioned a report on the 2nd Amendment.

The committee claimed to find long lost proof that the 2nd Amendment had been misinterpreted for nearly 200 years. And that it does grant an individual right to bear arms.

The NRA began paying for academic studies of their own. Before long, a dead and buried constitutional theory found new life. It quickly became conventional wisdom.



The Supreme Court and Hope For the Future

The NRA. The Republican Party. The Gun lobby. Through brute political force, they changed the way we think about the 2nd Amendment.

And so, unfortunately, this new theory became the law of the land.  In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the individual rights theory. The case was called District of Columbia v. Heller.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion. The court had to twist itself into a political knot in order to arrive at their decision.

In the early days of America, militias were serious business. They were well organized and armed with the latest military hardware.

So you can see the problem. In modern day America civilians aren’t allowed access to the latest military weaponry. We can’t go out and buy and M-16 rifle. A Stinger missile. A tank.

To get around this Scalia brought up handgun ownership. He came up with a rule that said D.C. could not ban handguns. This was because they are “the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home.”

So the government can’t ban handguns. It appears they can ban other weapons. Like the assault rifle for instance.

The actual meaning of Supreme Court’s Heller decision is still being played out. But this should tell you how much our understanding of the 2nd Amendment is influenced by politics.

This also shows the courts are in fact influenced by political pressure. They didn’t move to the right on gun control all on their own.

Things can change. But only if lawmakers feel the wrath of their constituents enough to defy the gun lobby and its money.

The battle over gun control is not just one of individual votes in Congress. It’s a continuing clash of ideas, backed by political power. In other words, our present interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is not set in stone. No law, not even the Constitution, ever is.


Trump has done the impossible, he’s left his propaganda machine speechless

DAILY KOS: What you would expect


Who’s a pretty birdie?

When a new blockbuster movie comes out, the producers know that they’re in trouble when the rave reviews they can put on their ads are all about the scenery, the costumes, and the theme song. When the critics don’t mention the stars or the plot, you know you’re in deep bovine excrement.

I got up at 9:15 am PDT, so I missed watching His Lowness perform various political acts of oral sex on Vlad the Imp live. But the compilation if his “greatest shits,” oops, I meant “greatest hits” was bad enough.And when the squeals of “outrage,” and “disappointment” coming from a bunch of GOP Senate doormats wasn’t enough to cheer me up, I new I was in trouble. What I needed was a fresh perspective.

So, I set off on a quest for self enlightenment. If the infamous peddlers of “FAKE NEWS!” couldn’t be counted on to present a fair and unbiased representation of what just went down, what were the bastions of conservative truth, decency, and moral fiber saying about Der Gropinfuror’s latest conquest?

Turns out, as little as possible. Y’all owe me, I put on my water wings, and went snorkeling in the Trump media cesspool. And even in that benighted realm of sadistic leather fetish fantasy, Glorious Bleater has left them scrambling to find rays of bitter sunshine.

Mostly, what the Trump Ministry of Propaganda seems to be trying to do is to ignore the press conference as much as possible. Instead, they’re trying to paint the disaster with a broader brush, say one about the size of a tractor trailer, and cherry picking the bare spots between all of the black paint.

I paid a visit to Steve Bannon’s old stomping grounds, Breitbart. Their headline was a thing of beauty to behold, if you really aren’t interested in the press conference. To quote, “Donald Trump Defends Summit With Vladimir Putin As ‘Bold American Diplomacy’.” That’s it. And if you were expecting a deep dive into Trump’s slavish fluffing of Putin in front of the cameras, you were in for as much disappointment as GOP Senators. The first reference to the press conference at all was a half a dozen paragraphs in, and only noted that it was the first joint US-Russian presser since Bush Lite did one. The only direct Trump quote from the press conference was in the last paragraph, when Trump described Mueller’s probe as “a disaster.” To get your news from Breitbart, you’d never even know that the two men appeared in front of microphones together.

OK, so maybe Breitbart was taking a lazy day today. But certainly a flaming fucktard like Alex Jones can find all kinds of rose petals to spread in front of Trump’s feet for his victory lap on The Drudge Report, right? Wrong-o. The screaming banner headline there was “Putin Dominates in Helsinki Summit,” which, when you clicked on the headline took you to a filing lifted from the Daily Mail. And somebody at Drudge is gonna get shitcanned if Alex Jones ever risks getting a virus by visiting his own site, because the Daily Mail article was rather unflattering to Putin’s Poodle. That was pretty much it for the in depth reporting from Helsinki from Drudge. Who knows, maybe Priceline was sold out of $49 fares to Helsinki.

But it’s nice to know, that even in an uncertain media world, there is still one bastion of sanity and hard core journalistic reality, FOX News. Whose banner headline was “Bipartisan backlash: Trump triggers outrage with defiant news conference with Putin, as Dem’s fume over Mueller criticism.” Under which the next article link was an opinion piece entitled “Losing Bigly? Putin eats Trump’s lunch in shocking Helsinki summit.” Those were the only two main page coverage of the summit, although there were a scattering of subset pieces down the left side. But at a glance, none of them went into any specifics of Trump’s disgraceful performance. Has the world gone mad?!?

Redstate, which never really drank the Trump kool-ade in the first place, is almost giddy with scorn and derision. My favorites were “Vladimir Putin Uses and Abuses President Trump in Helsinki,” and “Trump the traitor? Twitter Tempers Flare After Trump/Putin Press Conference.”Redstate alone, again a non Trump partisan conservative site, was the only one I saw that covered any aspect of the press conference in depth, and they blistered Trump for it.

This was stunning to me. When pandering online rags like Breitbart, Drudge Report, and even FOX News can’t find something to praise, you know that the debacle is complete. Maybe even these sites, whose readers identify each other by the “God, Guts and Guns” bumper stickers on the back of their rattletrap pickups, know that there is a line that they can’t cross, and that line is outright treason. The only thing they can do is to not cover it, and hope that their sheeple don’t find out that Trump just jumped over the line like Michael Jordan finishing a slam dunk.

The wait is over! Volume two of the trilogy, President Evil II: A Clodwork Orange is now available. Amazon is whining about me crashing their site, but the hell with them, I ain’t in this for their health. You can also find volume one, President Evil as well. And fear not, work on volume three is just beginning.

Cross posted on Politizoom.com


Trump Remakes America…(?)

Blogger’s note:
Is this a fair assessment or is it overblown.? The columnist is highly respected. If his words from two weeks ago are not “overkill” then we have even more to worry about. This blog is preparing to investigate what happened to the “Never Trump” movement, much talked about and subscribed to by mainline conservatives in 2016. Frederick L. Shiels

Trump Remakes America

Charles M. Blow

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

A Trump supporter outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.CreditWin Mcnamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump, a lying, bullying, womanizing autocrat-idolizer, is fundamentally transforming America in very real and lasting ways, in ways that have left decent people slack-jawed, enraged and exasperated.

He has overtaken and destroyed the structure of the Republican Party, unleashing its ugliest elements to chant his praise and stroke his ego like drunken apostates dancing around a golden calf.

He has attacked American institutions that seek truth and justice, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the press, because he wants to weaken America’s faith in truth and facts themselves.

He has shunned and denigrated America’s traditional allies and cozied up to America’s traditional enemies, in one of the most bewildering presidential postures the country may ever have seen.

And now, with the retirement of the Supreme Court moderate Anthony Kennedy, Trump will be able to solidify the court’s conservative majority for a generation.

Elections have consequences. Not voting has consequences. Falling for Russian propaganda has consequences. Voter suppression has consequences. Taking the absolutely ridiculous position that there would be little difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has consequences.

The most lasting consequence is in the Supreme Court, which has lifetime appointments.

So now, if you are a woman, a minority, an immigrant, a person who is L.G.B.T., the rights you have acquired could be in jeopardy.

If you are just a decent person who believes in expanding equality, respecting choice and identity and civil rights, your vision of America is in jeopardy.

This is for the long game; this is for all the marbles.

Conservative strategic thinkers are not caught up in the moment’s outrages and absurdities. They are thinking in terms of generations and eras.

They know as well as I know that the demographic tide is moving against them and will soon wash away much of their power.

Therefore, their strategy is to slow that progress as much as possible, if not reverse it.

That is why there is so much energy to restrict immigration, both illegal and legal. That is why there is such a push for voter restrictions, suppression and disenfranchisement. That is why there was so little resistance to mass incarceration.

Conservatives want to arrest America’s development and send our country into regression. This is about the maintenance of their power long after they have lost the dominance of numbers.

The courts are an insurance policy in their strategy of impeding progress.

Conservatives want to reserve the right to use religion as a weapon, to control other people’s bodies and to judge some people as less worthy of full participation in the American experience because of whom they love, how they identify, where they are from or which God they worship.

They want to protect what they call “American culture,” which is more aptly described as white culture. No matter how advantage was gained, no matter how privilege was acquired, it is the province of the deniable, scrubbed clean of blood and tears. Present privilege, power and prestige must be preserved.

That is one reason that the court’s decisions on the Affordable Care Act were closely watched and in some ways controversial. At its core, Obamacare is about the interconnectedness of civil societies. It asked those with more to help support the health and well-being of those with less.

This is precisely why conservatives hate it. They prefer a Darwinian ecosystem of care in which health corresponds directly with wealth.

Obamacare required the shifting of some of that wealth — redistribution, as we call it — for an overall healthier society. But in conservative circles, your well-being isn’t linked to mine. To them, shifting wealth was shifting power, and power in this grand battle over what America was, is and can be is the only thing that matters.

Trump’s imprint on the courts will help the conservatives preserve more of that power for a longer period of time.

This is one of the reasons that Trump’s base will never abandon him. He is their orange life raft in the middle of a blue ocean.

He is reassurance that although progress and enlightenment may feel like an uncontainable, unstoppable human yearning, it can be delayed and occasionally derailed.

Whoever Trump appoints to the Supreme Court will most likely be there for the rest of my life. I will live the rest of my days with Trump’s legacy. That’s a hell of a thought.

Over that time, the court will operate with his undeniable imprint. In this way, a man whose candidacy was a joke, whose election was a fluke tainted by fraud, and whose presidency is a bane will get the chance to remake the American bench.

This is an abomination and this moment of revulsion must burn itself into the psyche of the American electorate. This is how a country’s progress can be crippled. It’s happening right now in large part because too many people thought that it could not.

Trump sabotages UK Prime Minister May with ‘astonishing political knifing’

AYLESBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Prime Minister Theresa May greets U.S. President Donald Trump at Chequers on July 13, 2018 in Aylesbury, England. US President, Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with British Prime Minister, Theresa May at her grace-and-favour country residence, Chequers. Earlier British newspaper, The Sun, revealed criticisms of Theresa May and her Brexit policy made by President Trump in an exclusive interview. Later today The President and First Lady will join Her Majesty for tea at Windsor Castle. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Did they lose some weight? Just in 2 days?

Donald Trump seemed very happy to be with Theresa May on Thursday, smiling, waving, even holding the British prime minister’s hand as they strolled following a gala dinner May threw in honor of his visit. But Trump’s apparent attitude was really the ugly, anticipatory joy of the naughty child who has left a sack of something vile on the doorstep and is just waiting for the moment when it’s discovered.

Previous to meeting with May, Trump conducted an interview with ultra-right tabloid, The Sun. In what CNN referred to as an “astonishing political knifing” and “a stunning intervention in British domestic politics” that interview, the release of which was timed to drop while May and Trump were together, contained a number of nasty surprises that were designed to harm May, roil her government, keep the fires of white nationalism burning, and give a boost to the UK’s own blowhard Trump-a-like, Boris Johnson. Some overnight reporting even suggested that Trump’s interview might be enough to unseat May’s fragile government—an idea that surely thrills Trump.

Trump’s interview was particularly savage on the topic of “Brexit” — Britain’s departure from the European Union. Where May has been trying to manage a “soft Brexit,” one that would move the UK out of the union while preserving freedom of movement and mostly open trade in exchange for continued observation of EU rules on some goods, Trump thundered that May was “doing it wrong.” So wrong, in fact, that as the Wall Street Journal relates, he stated that rather than working out the one-on-one United States and UK trade deal many had expected to emerge from his talks with May, Trump thought the US would be better off going back to talking with the EU. And best of all, Trump delivered this information in the form of an ultimatum.

Trump: If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal. If they do that, then their trade deal with the U.S. will probably not be made.

So Trump is telling May how she should conduct the delicate business of extracting the UK from the EU, directly interfering British domestic politics, and holding up the threat of taking away a US trade deal unless she reverses course in the eleventh hour to do it the way he wants—an action that would likely result not in a clean Brexit, but a “Brupture” that would leave the UK isolated and apart from an angry EU. But Trump didn’t stop there. He had plenty of time for other topics—like a massive shot of white nationalism.

Trump: Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame. I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was—and I don’t mean that in a positive way.

As CNN relates, these statements are …

… a fresh sign that Trump has no time for diplomatic niceties, is either oblivious to the political pressures that foreign leaders face or simply does not care about them and is willing to sow disruption wherever he goes in order to enhance his own outspoken political brand.

But the idea that Trump doesn’t understand the damage he is causing, like the idea that he doesn’t understand the nature or funding of NATO, is last year’s news. Trump understands. He understands that his way forward requires that he always find some source of fresh outrage. And his base at home demands the scalps of leaders who are playing along to the white nationalist autocratic game.

That’s why Trump went out of his way during his NATO visit to attack Germany. That nation’s success in integrating migrants, accepting large numbers of refugees, building up an infrastructure of renewable energy, and holding off the force of alt-reich nationalism is a massive rebuke to Trump and to the forces he represents.

It’s not that Trump doesn’t understand what he’s doing. It’s that he does understand. And that’s far worse.

According to The Guardian, British lawmakers of all parties have united around one thing—their disdain for Trump and their offense at the diplomatic storm he’s not just causing, but cheering on. But those lawmakers also found time in their attacks for a sideswipe on May for simply tolerating Trump’s visit—and that’s all Trump needs. Instability is his fuel. A weakened, angry, divided UK is his goal. This is the age of disaster politics, and Donald Trump surfs the catastrophic wave. Even when he has to make it.

On Friday, Trump is meeting with May again, and the Wall Street Journal reports that May and Trump will speak together at a joint news conference, attend one of Trump’s beloved military parades, and dash off to tea with the queen. But unless the 92-year-old Elizabeth puts a nice cuppa in his face, it doesn’t much matter what faux niceties are exchanged on Friday. Trump has done his dirty work. And he’s not the only one smiling.

This might have been the most embarrassing day in the history of the Fox News network


What the hell kind of summer camp does Laura Ingraham send her kids to? We have one working as a summer camp counselor right now and you know what they are doing? Zip lining, learning how to care for animals, doing craft projects, creating variety show skits and making s’mores over a campfire. 7But, my God, nothing could prepare us for what came next on Ingraham’s show. Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined Ingraham to beat back the growing, legitimate comparisons between the concentration camps of Germany and these border facilities and the indefinite lock-up of migrants. Hitler whipped up nationalism using many of these same techniques, scapegoating Jewish people and immigrants. So, how did Sessions bat down these comparisons? By claiming they are nothing like the Nazis because Hitler wouldn’t let the Jews leave Germany. See? Tooooootally different. Watch:

history of the Fox News network

Laura Ingraham and Jeff Sessions make the argument their border policy is totally different from the Nazis because Hitler wouldn't let Jews leave Germany

Laura Ingraham and Jeff Sessions making a mockery of decency and morality

Just when you think Fox News can’t go any lower, they find a sinkhole. Monday, while people nationwide were grappling with images of children being held in cages and were listening to the stomach-churning cries of a young girl repeatedly crying, “Noooo, Papa! Nooo, Papa!” as border agents tore her from her father in an audio recording snuck out of a Texas detention facility, the folks over at Fox News were clearly sticking to their marching orders: blame Democrats and downplay the cruelty that is clearly on display for the world to see. Here’s a round-up of the more callous, hateful, embarrassing and downright jaw-dropping moments their entire line-up shoved to viewers throughout the day. Buckle up and ride this embarrassing wave until the end. 

The morning began with the bubbly Fox & Friends crew helpfully Foxsplaining to viewers that the children aren’t really being kept in cages. You see, they are “merely chain-link walls” to create rooms. Small rooms, but hey! Definitely not cages! Nothing to worry about Fox viewers, toooooootally not cages. (If you missed it, please view that video rage-inducing below.)

But, it was the evening and night time line-up that provided the best of the worst for Fox News. Let’s work our way through the crazy by starting with Tucker Carlson’s White Supremacy Power Hour. Carlson has really unleashed his racism since Donald Trump was elected and last night it was on full display as he went back and forth between dismissing critics of this border cruelty because many of the people publicly decrying this policy probably “don’t even have kids” (what?) and complaining “their goal is to change your country forever.” It doesn’t take a genius to decipher Tucker’s message to his white audience. 

Aaron Rupar


.@TuckerCarlson comes close to saying the 14 words: “No matter what they tell you, this isn’t about helping children. A lot of people yelling at you on TV don’t even have kids, so don’t for a second let them take moral high ground. Their goal is to change your country forever.”

And with no irony detected whatsoever, Carlson’s guest, acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said the comparison to Nazis is unfair because “they are simply following orders.”

Aaron Rupar


Acting ICE director Thomas Homan, without any sense of irony, tells @TuckerCarlson that he objects to people comparing ICE to Nazis because they “are simply enforcing laws enacted by Congress.”

Next up, Sean Hannity spent his show trying to create news by once again bashing Hillary Clinton and the now-closed email investigation, the same investigation that Republicans have gone back over and over and over again. The same investigation that didn’t result in any charges and won’t in the future, no matter how much Republicans wish it were so. But, here’s Sean kicking that horse for the delight of his #1 viewer and best pal, Donald Trump.

Kim Masters


Go home, @seanhannity. You’re drunk.

Sam Stein


Eyes always on the prize

View image on Twitter

Perhaps Sean and Donald were angry with Hillary Clinton after she grabbed headlines and wild applause yesterday when she called out Donald Trump’s blatant immigration lies and said it’s time for women to lead.


But, nothing, and I mean NOTHING could top The Ingraham Angle with host Laura Ingraham and special guest, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. First up, Laura Ingraham laughed off the suggestion that tearing kids, including babies, from their parents and sticking them in cages inside a former Walmart amounted to child abuse. Ingraham wanted her audience to know, these child prisons are “essentially summer camps!”


Andrew Lawrence@ndrew_lawrence

Laura Ingraham calls child detention centers “essentially summer camps”


What the hell kind of summer camp does Laura Ingraham send her kids to? We have one working as a summer camp counselor right now and you know what they are doing? Zip lining, learning how to care for animals, doing craft projects, creating variety show skits and making s’mores over a campfire. 

But, my God, nothing could prepare us for what came next on Ingraham’s show. Attorney General Jeff Sessions joined Ingraham to beat back the growing, legitimate comparisons between the concentration camps of Germany and these border facilities and the indefinite lock-up of migrants. Hitler whipped up nationalism using many of these same techniques, scapegoating Jewish people and immigrants. So, how did Sessions bat down these comparisons? By claiming they are nothing like the Nazis because Hitler wouldn’t let the Jews leave Germany. See? Tooooootally different. Watch:

Kyle Griffin


Jeff Sessions says that Trump’s family separation policies are not like Nazi Germany because Nazis “were keeping the Jews from leaving.” (via Fox)

Serious question, what is wrong with these people? Where were they radicalized to be so cruel and inhumane? Every action they take is more un-American and deplorable than the last. It is past time for Congress start acting as the check and balance they were intended to be. The only way this stops is if they find their spines and/or the American people send them to the unemployment lines in November. In the meantime, pick up the phone and call your elected representatives today to demand this policy end and these children are reunited with their parents.

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 18:  The phone number of the U.S. Capitol switchboard is displayed during a news conference to call on Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to open up a debate on offshore drilling on Capitol Hill August 18, 2008 in Washington, DC. House Republicans have urged people to call Democratic House Representatives in their districts to return to the Congress from their recess for the debate.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
If you get voicemail here, please Google the state office numbers of your elected representatives. Staffers are far more likely to pick-up these calls in the individual offices across the country. 

If you missed it yesterday, here’s the recap of the bubbly morning crew and their defense of keeping kids in cages.

For more community discussion, see this post from First Amendment.

It’s time for the GOP to come clean: Will they protect people with pre-existing conditions, or not?

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 22:  Demonstrators protest changes to the Affordable Care Act  on June 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Senate Republican's unveiled their revised health-care bill in Washington today, after fine tuning it in behind closed doors.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The astounding decision by the Trump administration to refuse to defend the Affordable Care Act against a spurious lawsuit by a bunch of conservative states has congressional Republicans in a pickle. The suit—and Trump’s position—would do what they’ve been promising their rabid base would happen for eight years: It would spell the end of Obamacare. The problem is: it would spell the end of Obamacare. Specifically, it would toss all the protections that more than one-quarter of the population with pre-existing conditions rely upon to continue their healthcare coverage.

The Trump administration has explicitly argued that those protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down by the courts. Never mind that the legal argument is “pretty bad” in the summation of libertarian law professor Jonathan Adler, and “reflects poor understanding of severability doctrine, you see that in the state’s brief, and you see it implicitly in the DOJ brief insofar as they accept those arguments.” That means that the administration’s contention that because the individual mandate isn’t enforceable since the new tax law zeroed out the penalty, the rest of the law is unconstitutional is pretty much bullshit. Any court that hasn’t been completely taken over by Trump isn’t likely to advance the administration’s desire that these protections be declared unconstitutional.

But that doesn’t mean that the administration’s latest sabotage isn’t going to cause real harm in the meantime, while this case works its way through the courts. The statement from America’s Health Insurance Plans in response to the administration’s brief spells it out. The “renewed uncertainty in the individual market,” AHIP says, will “create a patchwork of requirements in the states, cause rates to go even higher for older Americans and sicker patients, and make it challenging to introduce products and rates for 2019.”

Back to congressional Republicans. When they were writing their so-called Obamacare replacement bill, they insisted that “Americans should never be denied coverage or charged more because of a pre-existing condition,” and that their legislation would “preserve vital patient protections, such as (1) prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions, and (2) lifting lifetime caps on medical care.” Never mind that the legislation actually did undermine those protections, which is one of the reasons it ultimately failed in the Senate.

If they really meant it, that bit about protecting their constituents with pre-existing conditions, they should say so now. They should be filing briefs with the court in support of the law. They could pass another bill, making it crystal clear that these protections need to stand. They could stand up to Trump.

But they won’t. Which tells you everything you need to know about Trump’s GOP.


Attorney General Sessions Cites Same Bible Passage Used to Justify Slavery to Defend Immigrant Family Separations


The United States is currently in the process of separating families who have come across its southern border without the appropriate documentation, which has meant hundreds if not thousands of young children are now being detained all alone in a strange land where they likely don’t speak the language. The act of separating families is a scare tactic by the U.S. government, meant not just to terrorize infants and toddlers, but to terrorize their parents, with the aim of deterring future undocumented immigrants, as well as, presumably, asylum seekers. We know it’s a scare tactic, first, because White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and others have said so, but also because it is more expensive and more onerous to be responsible for thousands of terrified small children separated from their parents.

To be clear, the policy is a moral abomination. It is one we would decry if it were done to American citizens anywhere else in the world. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however, sees it quite differently. He sees moral outrage not in snatching young children from parents, who have come to U.S. out of desperation, but in the fact that they have broken the law.
Not just his law, or U.S. law, but God’s law.

Here’s what Sessions had to say about the situation during a speech Thursday to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I thought I would take a little digression here to discuss some concerns raised by our church friends about separation of families… I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.

Romans 13 has a shaky track record of moral relativism in American history, the Washington Post reports.

“Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement. “While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”


Thomas L. Johnson

His shamelessness is almost mythical in its duration and scope.

While most people raised in a social culture exercise high levels of shame-driven behavior, disguising their dark side behaviors while projecting a persona that is always Facebook pure, the Donald has never demonstrated anything that would qualify as shame.

  • He never apologizes. This week, when an aide made a comment about the impending death of John McCain, he has prevented any public apology. He never apologized to the disabled reporter whose speech impediments he mimicked; he has never apologized for things he said about political opponents or everybody from Meryl Streep to Maggy Haberman.
  • He is the master of the fine art of doubling down. His whole campaign to nullify very achievement of the Obama presidency is just a protracted double-down exercise.
  • He shamelessly insults his allies and supports dictators likely to violate human rights like Rodrigo Duterte. He has bromances with Putin, Xi Jin-Ping, and makes a point of demonstrating limited regard for Angel Merkel.

While Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton both demonstrated well-developed levels of shamelessness, Donald J. Trump has mastered the subject through a life of utter consistency, whether it was taking away the healthcare of a nephew or allegedly bedding down a porn star and a playmate during the early stages of his marriage to his third wife. You have to love a guy who is so convinced of his abilities that he lives in a gold-plated world of shamelessness, even through six episodes of bankruptcy

Take Action: The Trump administration MUST stop ripping families apart at the border






Target: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Immigrant and civil rights groups have never seen anything like this. Infants and children are being ripped from their mother’s arms as they enter the United States.

In one case in Arizona, a 53 week old infant was recently in court without a parent. These are children and families seeking asylum from Central America and Africa―from violence in their home countries.

In a recent interview with NPR, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called this policy a “tough deterrent.” But the motives of the White House are clear: To punish immigrant families.

Now, the ACLU is suing the U.S. government to reunite these families.



Tell U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Stop the atrocious policy of ripping children from their parents arms as they cross into the United States. This policy is unprecedented and is causing permanent harm to children and their families.

We demand that you stop your assault on immigrant families and immediately reunite children with their parents.


We have long known of Donald Trump’s atrocious rhetoric and actions toward immigrants. But now we are learning of his administration’s unprecedented policy of ripping children from the arms of their parents at the border.

In one case in Arizona, a 53 week old infant was recently in court without a parent. These are children and families seeking asylum in the U.S. from Central America and Africa―people fleeing violence in their home countries.

ICE agents are putting children into government detention centers, where children are abused and traumatized.

The motives of the White House are clear: To punish immigrant families.

In a recent interview with NPR, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called this policy a “tough deterrent.” But now, the ACLU is suing the U.S. government to reunite these families.

Stand with me and our partners to demand that the Trump administration and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stop its assault on immigrant families. Demand that children and parents be immediately reunited.

In past administrations, the Office of Refugee Resettlement had been used to assist children who crossed the border on their own. These were children who were often 13 or 14 years old, fleeing violence and poverty. But this new U.S. government policy is unnecessarily turning children―often as young as 6 or 7―into unaccompanied minors.

Immigrant and civil rights groups have said that they have never seen anything like this. This type of policy is causing permanent harm to children and families, in the name of our government.

Sign the petition to Jeff Sessions demanding that he and the administration immediately stop this atrocious policy of ripping families apart at the border.

Donald Trump’s cruelty toward immigrants and people of color knows no bounds. Together we must fight his destructive policies, which directly harm children and families.

Thank you for standing with me and taking action today.


The U.S. lost track of 1,475 immigrant children last year. Here’s why people are outraged now.

May 29 at 7:07 AM
Outrage over reports of ‘missing’ immigrant children

Outrage about treatment of children taken into U.S. custody at the Southwest border has reached a fever pitch, exploding in a barrage of tweets and calls to act 

Reports of federal authorities losing track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children in their custody. Scathing criticism over children being taken from their migrant parents at the border. Proposed rallies.

In the recent days, outrage about treatment of children taken into U.S. custody at the Southwest border has reached a fever pitch, exploding in a barrage of tweets and calls to action with the hashtags #WhereAreTheChildren and #MissingChildren.

How accurate are certain claims circulating online? Are these children really missing? What do those children have to do with the Trump administration’s new immigration enforcement policies? How many families are being separated? And why is there so much outrage about it now? We take a look at how the story has snowballed.

Did the United States really lose track of 1,475 immigrant kids?

In short, yes. During a Senate committee hearing late last month, Steven Wagner, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services, testified that the federal agency had lost track of 1,475 children who had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on their own (that is, unaccompanied by adults) and subsequently were placed with adult sponsors in the United States. As the Associated Press reported, the number was based on a survey of more than 7,000 children:

From October to December 2017, HHS called 7,635 children the agency had placed with sponsors, and found 6,075 of the children were still living with their sponsors, 28 had run away, five had been deported and 52 were living with someone else. The rest were missing, said Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary at HHS.

Health and Human Services officials have argued it is not the department’s legal responsibility to find those children after they are released from the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which falls under HHS‘s Administration for Children and Families. And some have pointed out that adult sponsors are sometimes relatives who already were living in the United States and who intentionally may not be responding to contact attempts by HHS.

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